With effect from 1 April 2015, the Executive Board at the University of Twente has appointed professor Theo Toonen as Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS). He succeeds professor Ton Mouthaan who has held the position temporarily since January 2014.
Professor Toonen has an impressive track record. Since March 2008, he has been Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at Delft University of Technology. Previously, he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Leiden University. Theo Toonen is also Professor of Public Administration in Delft and Leiden. From his chair in ‘Institutional Governance and Comparative Public Administration’, professor Toonen’s research focuses on such areas as water management and governance, European governance, (international) comparative public administration, the reform of civil service and administrative systems and metropolitanism.
In addition to his role as dean and professor, Theo Toonen has also held a range of ancillary positions. He is a former member of the executive committee of the Netherlands Institute of Government (NIG), of which he was co-founder and first Director of Research. He has been adviser to various Dutch ministers and was a member of the Advisory Committee on Water (AcW), under chairmanship of His Royal Highness Prince Willem of Orange. He is currently an external member of the Financial Relations Council (Rfv).
Professor Toonen is the founder of the European Public Administration Network (EPAN), as well as the EU Thematic Network on Public Administration that formed the basis for major European exchange programmes relating to Public Administration and was incorporated within the European Group of Public Administration (EGPA) in 2004. Since 1984, he has also been Visiting and Associate Fellow for the ‘Workshop of Political Theory and Policy Analysis’ at Indiana University, coordinated by the late Co-Directors Vincent and Elinor Ostrom. The latter was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2009, together with Oliver E. Williamson, for her analyses relating to economic governance.
President of the Executive Board, Mr. Van der Chijs is delighted with Professor Toonen's appointment: “We cannot imagine a better appointment for this position. The BMS faculty has high ambitions. A key area of focus for the new Dean will be to further strengthen collaboration between technology and the behavioural, management and social sciences and raise its profile in the Netherlands and internationally. Theo Toonen has a great deal of experience in combining social sciences with technology and has an interesting vision. We have no doubt that, together with the staff within BMS, he will be successful in the years to come in contributing to the University of Twente's integrated solutions to major issues facing society.”
Professor Toonen comments on his appointment: “It is a great honour and an inspiration to be able to take on this position at this stage of the faculty's development. The faculty covers a very wide range of disciplines. In today’s world, institutions, human behaviour and technical and technological developments have become inextricably linked. I have become fascinated by the fundamentally interdisciplinary approach that, under the banner of comprehensive engineering, combines natural, engineering and technological sciences, on the one hand, with the humanities, as well as the organizational, behavioural and social sciences, on the other, in subjecting major social issues and transformations to systematic and integrated analysis in an attempt to put forward solutions. Very few of the world’s universities are as effectively positioned and well-balanced as the University of Twente to shape this mission in such an innovative way. The BMS faculty has an essential and instrumental role to play in this field. I very much look forward to joining forces with the staff and students, also from an international perspective, in taking a major step forward in this area of education, research and entrepreneurship that will be so important for the future.”
The appointment of professor Toonen brings to an end the acting deanship of professor Ton Mouthaan, who with the support of professor Ellen Giebels and professor Ariana Need, has continued to shape the merger process already in progress. The Executive Board very much appreciates the results achieved by these three people during the past year.