Message from the Chair of the Governing Board

Message from the Chair of the Governing Board

Daniel Tarschys, Chairman EHU Governing Board, greets new Rector D. Pollick.

To the EHU Community:

I would like to congratulate Dr. David Pollick on his appointment as new Rector of the EHU.

Dr. Pollick brings with him to this job a significant experience of university leadership both in the US and in other countries.  He has been in Vilnius since late 2013 and will now work closely with the Governing Board and all the stakeholders to develop the strategy of the EHU.  His experience in strategic planning and transition management in different higher education contexts and cultures is very extensive, and those skills will be much in demand at EHU in the coming years.  

As you know, the discussion around the Rector recruitment has been lively, with strong support expressed for various candidates but also some elements of negative campaigning. The selection has been linked to the continuing quest to define the mission of the EHU. As the world's only university in exile, EHU has by necessity multiple identities. As the name implies, EHU is based on European values and oriented to the Humanities. It is a Lithuanian university bound by the norms of the European Higher Education Area. And nobody questions its Belarusian roots and vocation. The overwhelming majority of both students and faculty members are Belarusian.

Identities apart, EHU is a good university which must now become an even better one. The main task is to safeguard and develop the quality of its education and research.

The Rector search drew 19 candidates from 7 countries, many of them highly qualified. Seven applicants were interviewed in Vilnius by the Search Committee, faculty members and students. Towards the end of the process the Governing Board considered David Pollick as well as a younger internal candidate, Dr. Tatsiana Shchyttsova. She may be a promising successor next time.

The students asked for a vote in the Governing Board, but that was not provided for in the Statute. We agree however that greater faculty and student participation in the work of the Governing Board is desirable and I am pleased to report that the University’s General Assembly of Part Owners has just approved our request to grant permanent position on the GB to a representative of the EHU Senate. A permanent position on the GB for a representative of the EHU student body shall be granted at the upcoming GAPO meeting later this year.

The interest generated by the Rector recruitment is very encouraging.  It has shown that in wide circles around the university there is a deep commitment to the EHU as well as a strong concern for its development. A question that will now come on the agenda concerns expanding our presence in Belarus. Is a second campus in Minsk conceivable? We hope to explore this issue in full consultation with all stakeholders, even as we start work immediately to address the requirements for our next formal accreditation in two years, the development of our new strategic plan, and the necessity of re-balancing the EHU budget.

The challenges facing our community are real and they are serious, but they are also solvable, if we can work together effectively and systematically, always keeping in mind that it is future generations of Belarusian students who depend on us to make the right decisions now, even when they may affect particular programs, positions or activities that are near and dear.

Please join me and the members of the Governing Board in wishing Dr. Pollick every success in the important role that he now assumes at EHU, assuring him and our President, Anatoli Mikhailov, of our full support and cooperation in advancing the work of EHU.    

Daniel Tarschys, Chairman
EHU Governing Board  

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