1 February 2022
UM's new rector: Pamela Habibović

Freedom to experiment

On 1 February, MERLN’s Scientific Director Pamela Habibović succeeds Rianne Letschert as rector of Maastricht University (UM). As she prepares to move to her new office, the professor of Inorganic Biomaterials talks about her engineering mind-set, how interdisciplinarity is crucial but far from easy, as well as her dedication to openness, creativity and experimentation.

College van Bestuur UM

UM's Executive Board: Rianne Letschert, Pamela Habibović and Nick Bos

Building on strengths – collectively and individually

“UM is obviously one of the pioneers of Problem-Based Learning and that’s a strength worth leaning into. We need to make the most out of the knowledge and expertise we have amassed over the years and what we have learnt from the last two years of forced digitisation. That would allow us to make our education even more attractive and effective.”

While Habibović considers it paramount to guarantee the high quality of education UM is known for, this mustn’t come at the expense of employees’ wellbeing. “The increasing number of students and programmes should not mean that we overburden staff.” Instead, she considers smart use of digital technology and a harmonisation of duty and inclination the way forward:

“I don’t want to squeeze more hours out of people. Instead, I want to get the best out of them by allowing individuals to understand and develop their talents and deploy them to achieve team goals.” Accordingly, Habibović is an ardent supporter of the Rewards and Recognition scheme. “It fits very well with my plans and I look forward to see how we can find the best possible implementations to fit the different needs of faculties and programmes.”

“We’re still a young university, but at 45, we’re also grown up now!” And so Habibović, one year UM’s junior, sets off to learn, experiment and solve problems as UM’s new rector.

By: Florian Raith | Photos: Philip Driessen (portrait Pamela Habibović) and Hugo Thomassen