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The Harmony Model

The Higher Education and Research Act (WHW) entrusts the University Council with a number of specific tasks and powers, among which to guard against discrimination on any ground and promote equality between men and women, as well as to involve people with a disability or chronic illness and immigrants. The law further requires the Board of the University to inform the council in time about financial, organizational, and educational policy, conditions of employment regulations and agreements, and any information that it reasonably needs for the performance of its duties. In turn, the University Council is entitled to make proposals and express views to the board in all matters concerning the university, which should be answered by the board within three months with a written, reasoned response in the form of a proposal to be discussed in the council.

In order to do justice to the prevailing tradition at the University of Groningen of involvement of students and staff in the university’s management, the Board of the University and University Council adopt the working method of the Harmony model. By this term it is expressed that, without prejudice to their official duties and competences, the board and the council also exchange views on matters on which strictly formally no powers are granted to the council (anymore). This model promotes in a constructive way the cooperation aimed at support. Fruitful cooperation is the starting point. This is in the interest of the university, students and staff.

Thus, the provision of information by the board to the council adheres to the principle that the board makes available its agenda, meeting documents, and overview of decisions to the presidium of the council. Where confidentiality is necessary, it is as much as possible responsibly and temporarily employed. The administrative calendar serves as a basis for the council agenda. This calendar is discussed in the joint meeting at the beginning of the academic year and adjusted if necessary during the year.

After biweekly consultation between the board and the council presidencies a dossier is tabled for the joint meeting, in which it is awarded one of three statuses: discussion, advice, or consent. It includes at least the board position, including underlying considerations. Discussion on formal position and status is omitted if substantive agreement is reached, or continued in concerted consultation outside the council. The workflow under the Harmony model is further elaborated in the Covenant .

Last modified:06 October 2016 11.17 a.m.
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