Message from the Supervisory Board
In this chapter, the Supervisory Board (SB) aims to report about its duty to supervise the Executorial Board (EB) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in 2019.
An independent Board
In the given year, the Supervisory Board was composed of members that could operate independently and critically in relation to the Executive Board, as well as in relation to each other. In 2019, there were a few changes in the composition of the Board:
- Prof.dr.ir. C.J. van Duijn has been appointed for a second office term as SB member by the Minister of Education, as of 1 August 2019.
- Ir.dr. H.N.J. Smits had been appointed as SB member by the Minister of Education on 1 October 2019. Due to his appointment as interim chairman of the Executorial Board, he resigned as an SB member on 30 November 2019.
- J.M. Bijsterveldt-Vliegenthart resigned as SB member, as her office term ended on 30 November 2019.
Furthermore, the SB consisted of the members prof. mr. dr. J.E.J. Prins (chairman), and mr. drs. P.H.M. Visée RA.
Based on the distinctive character of the university, the activities and the desired expertise, the SB has written a profile for the board's size and composition. This profile is a public record. For more information, visit www.eur.nl/over-de-eur > bestuur en organisatie > raad van toezicht. Please refer to Appendix I for the positions and ancillary positions of the current SB members.
In report year 2019, the SB had an Audit Committee and a Quality Committee. The composition of these committees remained unchanged compared to 2018. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities are in the following areas: EUR’s finances (including but not limited to internal audit and risk management), IT policies, the other business operations and the real estate. The Quality Committee’s responsibilities are in the areas of quality of education and research (including but not limited to the way quality assurance is organised and how it functions).
In 2019, the Audit Committee has four meetings. Discussed topics were: Financial statement 2018, Budget 2020, Risk management, Strategic real estate management, Management letter, Framework note (Erasmus Perspective 2019-2022), Periodic financial reports and the consequences of the new national subsidisation of Higher Education and Research. The IT policy, the IT security and the internal auditing activities were topic of discussion. The external accountant, as appointed by the SB, reported their findings in the Audit Committee.
In 2019, the Quality Committee had four meetings. The topics discussed during these meetings include: the choices within the Strategic plan Creating Positive Societal Impact, the collaboration with Erasmus MC and TU Delft, the new Common Framework for the collaboration with TU Delft and Leiden University, the progress and translation into practice of the quality agreements, participating in the HOKA audit of NVAO, the EUR diversity policy, the operation of the Erasmus Research Services Office, and the outcome of bilateral discussions with third parties.
In the meetings of the Supervisory Board and the Executional Board in 2019, the regular topics as stated below, were discussed. Besides, the SB spoke about several specific subjects, such as the survey among staff members.
Annual Report and Annual Financial Statement 2018
Het Audit Committee besprak in aanwezigheid van de accountant in mei 2019 het Jaarverslag 2018, de Jaarrekening 2018 en het bijbehorende accountantsverslag. Het Jaarverslag inclusief de Jaarrekening 2018 werd door de RvT in haar junivergadering goedgekeurd.
Erasmus in Perspective and Budget 2020
In the spring of 2019, the SB discussed the policy nota Erasmus in Perspective 2020-2023 (formerly known as Framework note). This nota was the start of Budget 2019 and was approved by the Audit Committee, and subsequently discussed and approved by the SB.
The SB closely monitored Campus in Development, Phase III. These plans included the renovation of existing buildings and the new construction of a sports centre. SB also took note of the plans for renovating the faculty building of Erasmus MC. The financing of this renovation has been succeeded by signing the programme Erasmus MC Research & Education Accomodation Development (EREAD). At the same time, a note has been discussed in the Audit Committee on risk management of EUR’s real estate projects.
General IT Control (GITC)
In the year 2018, a GITC audit was performed and robustness was tested. Nevertheless, the systems were found to be vulnerable in a more specific check in 2019. Drastic measures have been taken to resist hacking attacks. Since then, the organisation of EUR’s IT department has been critically evaluated.
Management and administration regulations
In the reporting year, SB updated the Management and administration regulations.
Standards for Remuneration Act
Concerning the renumeration of the EB members, the SB conformed to the Standards for Renumeration Act. This also applied to the renumeration of the SB members themselves.
Evaluation Supervisory Board
In the reporting year, the SB has extensively evaluated its operations, using external expertise. The operations of the EB have also been evaluated and discussed with its members.
Meeting with chairs of SB Dutch universities
In the reporting year, the chairs of the Supervisory Boards of the Dutch universities met twice. At one occasion, the Minister of Education was present during the meeting. The meetings’ topics included the allocation of the government funds for higher education institutions, the national Code of Good Governance and the Strategic Agenda for Higher Education.
Collaboration Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE)
As a result of the evaluation of the collaboration projects between the universities of Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden and the public management thereof, it was decided to draft a common framework. Furthermore, the SB took knowledge of the strategic collaboration plan, as based on the evaluation.
Meeting with the University Council (UC)
In the reporting year, the chairperson and a member of the SB, spoke twice with a delegation of the University Council. The EB received feedback of each meeting, in part with the request to act upon certain points. Both the SB and UC have experienced these discussions as positive and constructive.
In the reporting year 2019, several changes in the composition of the Executorial Board were made. The EB chairwoman, drs. K.F.B. Baele, resigned on 1 December 2019, after her office term ended. The SB is very grateful for her contribution during her presidency, in particular for her efforts to launch a new strategic plan for the university. The SB has found its member of the Board, ir.drs. H.N.J. Smits willing to temporarily fill the vacant position of chairman of the EB, until a successor has been found. At the moment of writing, he has been appointed as Chairman EB ad interim for seven months, until 1 July 2020.
Governance and Compliance
The SB acted pursuant to the Code of Good Governance Universities, as laid down in 2017. Meaning, in the annual report an elaboration is given on how this Code has been conformed to.
Contacts within EUR
The SB held several informal meetings with members of the academic community. For example, on two occasions, a Dean and his Management Team spoke with the SB, discussing developments of their faculty. The EB chair also spoke with all Deans separately. In October 2019, the Strategy Days of the SB were held on the ISS Campus in The Hague. A meeting was held with the Rector of this institute as well. Apart from the formal meetings, discussions on strategic themes were held with members of the EB on several occasions. Another noteworthy event was the meeting between the SB ad the panel of The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO), concerning the visit relating to the institutional audit.
The SB concludes that the university has had an inspiring year, establishing a new strategic plan, developed by the academic community. Also, the directions of innovation and reinforcement of the organisation and infrastructure were continued during the reporting year. It is noteworthy that steps were made to establish a more intensive collaboration with TU Delft and Erasmus MC in the framework of a broader collaboration in Zuid-Holland.
The SB notes that the EB members, each from their own position and expertise, have taken a leading and inspiring role, especially in laying down the basis for the new strategy. The EB notes that the EB closely involves the Deans and the University Council in the university’s policy. Besides, the EB delivered an important contribution in reinforcing EUR’s academic reputation.
The SB is content with its interaction with the EB. The common approach in complicated files, reinforces our mutual trust.
The SB would like to express its appreciation for the efforts of EUR’s staff members. It is thanks to the continuing involvement of academic and supporting staff that EUR can achieve its strategic aims and ambitions.
Supervisory Board – Erasmus University Rotterdam,
Prof. dr. J.E.J. Prins, chair