Working at Tilburg University

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Profile Rector Magnificus

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Tilburg University

At Tilburg University, education and research take place in an excellent academic environment. Tilburg University enjoys a high reputation with regard to scientific research and education, is embedded in the region, and is a global player with a clear internationalization strategy. Under the motto of Understanding Society, Tilburg University aims to advance society by deepening our understanding of that society. Connected as we are with society, we initiate excellent research programs in order to ensure “the good life” for everyone. We train our students with the aim of developing their knowledge and skills as well as character, qualities they will need to be able to face the challenges of today’s world.


Tilburg University is run under the auspices of the Catholic University of Brabant Foundation (Stichting Katholieke Universiteit Brabant). This foundation’s objective is to promote academic education and research with an open catholic identity. The Board of Governors monitors the objectives of the University and operates as an internal supervisory board. The Board of Governors has largely delegated the executive functions to the Executive Board. At the central level, staff and student participation in the decision-making process is embodied in the University Council, in which both staff and student bodies are represented. At the decentralized level, staff participation takes place through the School Councils and a Services Council, within the Schools and Divisions, respectively.


The primary processes of education, research, and impact are covered by the University’s five Schools and one Business School, that are diverse in size and positioning: Economics & Management, Law, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Digital Sciences, Catholic Theology, and the TIAS School for Business and Society, which collaborate closely in an interdisciplinary fashion. University Services, which organizes the support of those processes, consists of seven Divisions: Academic Services, Executive Services, Facility Services, Finance & Control, Human Resources, Library & IT Services, and Marketing & Communication. Tilburg University has an enrollment of 16,000 students (about 2450 of whom carry non-Dutch passports, representing a total of 100 different nationalities), has about 1700 FTE of staff (890 FTE of whom are academic staff), and has an annual turnover of almost € 200 million. The University has its main campus on the outskirts of Tilburg, with a number of facilities across the city and additional campuses in Utrecht and 's-Hertogenbosch. The University’s financial position is healthy, which enables it to accommodate the strong growth realized over the few past years.

In recent years, the University has performed well and has effectuated a number of important new initiatives, including the foundation of the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS) in ’s-Hertogenbosch, in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology, the realization of an impact program focused on knowledge valorization, and the establishment of a first-rate augmented reality lab.

The task for the forthcoming years is to capitalize on the available potential. This requires sharp and strategic choices, and the implementation of the intentions as designed and stated in the widely supported institutional plan, Strategisch Instellingsplan (2018-2022).

Board and Management

The Executive Board is responsible for preparing and implementing policy and managing the University. Members of the Executive Board collaborate as a team. At present, the Executive Board consists of three members: the President, the Vice-President, and the Rector Magnificus.

Each School is led by a management team consisting of the Dean, the Vice-Dean for Research, the Vice-Dean for Education, and a Managing Director. The supporting Divisions forming University Services are each headed by a Managing Director. There are different frameworks and moments for meetings between the Executive Board, the Deans, and the Directors, focused on exchange of knowledge, opinion building, and decision making. 

Students’, employees’, and citizens’ expectations regarding the way Tilburg University takes responsibility, is open for collaboration, and communicates with transparency, are high and rightly so. Given that the final responsibility regarding the management of Tilburg University and the professional autonomy of academics is vested in the Executive Board, the governing philosophy is characterized by integral management at the decentralized level, shared support facilities, and risk management tailored to this structure. This governing philosophy also implies that, with regard to decision-making, the objective is broad consensus among Deans, Directors, and participatory bodies, because all parties are asked to show ownership, to contribute actively to this consultative process, and to make a valuable contribution to the preparation, realization, and implementation of the decision-making process, and that everyone renders internal account as to the performance of duties and responsibilities.

Tilburg University has a shared vision on leadership (Connected Leading). By means of stimulating dialogue, openness, and transparency, participants work on team building and the further development of leadership teams. The University’s leadership team (Executive Board, Deans, Vice-Deans, and Directors) is an important ambassador for the leadership program.

In order to offer excellent and innovative education and to excel in both mono- and multidisciplinary research, all support staff and activities, excluding the five School Directors, are centrally embedded in the Divisions, altogether forming University Services. With a view to excellent management for the benefit of education, research, and impact, Tilburg University works according to a service-oriented attitude that centers on students and scholars. The objective is to harmonize the support processes and organize them effectively as well as to further develop the strong partnership between the Schools and University Services.

Core Tasks

The Rector Magnificus to be appointed:

  1. stimulates an open culture in which great importance is attached to good research practice, academic integrity, and professional conduct;
  2. strengthens Tilburg University’s profile as an international research-driven and student-centered university with a strong identity, excellent research and education, and social impact;
  3. actively guides the continuous improvement of quality of research and education;
  4. is geared to connecting research and education in the various disciplines and to the development of innovative multidisciplinary research and educational programs;
  5. strives to create an academic culture that stimulates collaboration and co-creation in order to connect Tilburg University’s activities with those of other national and international higher education institutions, the business community, the regional authorities and social organizations, and alumni;
  6. contributes to effective cooperation with local and regional authorities and other national forums (the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van OCW), the Tilburg City Council, the provincial government of Noord Brabant) and other relevant actors;
  7. disseminates Tilburg University’s leadership vision (Connected Leading);
  8. is committed to our objectives in the field of sustainability and diversity.

Personal Competences

The Rector Magnificus to be appointed:

  • has a strong academic profile and the natural authority associated with it, and uses it to lead and represent the academic community;
  • is able to stimulate innovation and excellence in research and education based on international standards;
  • possesses managerial experience in complex organizations within an interdisciplinary environment;
  • acts with integrity and transparency and is committed and inspiring;
  • seeks connection, dialogue, and widespread support;
  • is a team player both in collaboration with the other members of the Executive Board and in the relationships with Deans, Directors, Board of Governors, and participation bodies;
  • has a strong and up-to-date network, regionally as well as nationally and internationally (the academic world, politics, society);
  • knows the higher educational system, is well-informed regarding important national and international administrative developments in higher education, and has a clear vision on these issues;
  • has an excellent command of the English language;
  • has a positive attitude regarding the University’s identity as an open catholic institution and the ability to provide leadership in realizing it.

Personality and Managerial style

The Rector Magnificus functions as a role model for academics, teachers, and students and is able to define and promote the importance of the social value of the University‘s academic research and education. She/he creates a vision on Tilburg University’s academic positioning with the strategic agenda as a starting point, in collaboration with the other members of the Executive Board and based on connection and support. She/he is accessible and operates with integrity and transparency towards the academic community. The Rector Magnificus stimulates the importance of individual responsibility, a careful, fair, and balanced weighing of the interests involved, and the value of professional decision-making.


The Board of Governors determines the remuneration of the Rector Magnificus in agreement with current Wet Normering Topinkomens (WNT2, the Dutch Senior Executives in the Public and Semi-Public Sector (Standards for Remuneration) Act). The appointment is for a period of four years with the possibility of reappointment.


In this procedure, Tilburg University is assisted by Pieter Cortenbach of Van der Kruijs, partner in executive search. Applicants are invited to express their interest to be considered for the position by sending a letter of motivation and an up-to-date curriculum vitae to For further information, applicants can also telephone Pieter Cortenbach or Dino Duarte (research consultant) at +31 20 726 7270.