Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Gerard van Haarlem has passed away

Dean of the Faculty of Technology

20 Apr 2020 13:08 | Communication

Gerard van Haarlem passed away on Friday 17 April, following the onset of an illness that began last summer. Gerard served for seventeen years as the Dean of the Faculty of Technology at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

With his passing, the AUAS has lost a visionary leader and driving force behind the development of the faculty over the past two decades. Above all, we lose a colleague whose door was always open and who, like no other, embodied trust and respect: "Your success is my success," was his adage.

Gerard led the Faculty of Technology since 2003, when he was appointed chairman of the Domain of Technology, as it was previously called. Prior to that, he worked for fifteen years as a lecturer and institute director at the AUAS.

Gerard realised how important it was to innovate within our programmes and to remain relevant. In doing so, he not only had the companies and organisations in the professional field in mind, but also the future generation of engineers; he wanted to appeal to young people with attractively positioned technical studies. For example, he converted the General Operational Technology programme (Algemene Operationele Technologie) into the Aviation course, which later became the Aviation Academy. This is one of our largest programmes at the AUAS. He also opted for the introduction of broad Bachelor's programmes in order to be able to respond more flexibly to both innovations in practice and the needs of individual students.

Gerard was aware at an early stage of the significance of applied research for HBO (universities of applied sciences), a quest that he led with great vision and ambition. He was energetic in appointing professors and - in the phase that followed - programme managers to streamline the organisation and work more programmatically. With the appointment of senior lecturer-researchers, doctorate candidates who divide their time between research and education, he built an important bridge between the two pillars of our institution. Gerard’s impact during his fifteen years spent developing practice-based research at the Faculty of Technology is enormous. During accreditations the Technology Research always received a positive to very positive result. This means that the Faculty of Technology is regarded within the AUAS as a forerunner in the transition from an educational institution to a knowledge institution.

In his final years, Gerard was at the helm of an extensive development programme: Moving Forward. He strongly believed in focusing on the student and the need to give students control over their own learning process. In identifying the exact issues that are relevant to companies. In focusing on technology that still needs to be developed. And he believed in creating a good mix of on-campus and online education, so that lecturer-researchers could have more time freed up to personally guide students. This vision resonated within the faculty and generated a lot of energy. The construction of the new Conrad Building, where the Faculty of Technology will be housed from 2022 onwards, was an important milestone for Gerard. For him it was the final piece in the puzzle where everything would come together: an open, transparent building, designed by former students, where education, research, learning and gathering are inextricably linked.

Gerard steered FT’s strategy for the long term, as a visionary with clear views on the desired direction. In doing so he realised like no other that it was up to his people to make it happen. He acknowledged talent and drive, knew how to empower people and expected independence. Characteristic for his style of leadership was the freedom and trust Gerard afforded the people around him. This was returned with quality and loyalty.

Gerard, originally a sociologist, had a profound interest in others and human values were high on his priority list: respect, openness and positivity. Colleagues felt seen by him.

Gerard was very much looking forward to the completion of the Conrad building in 2022, but perhaps even more so to the time that would follow after his departure from the AUAS. Enjoying the beautiful things in life together with his wife Anke, son Sanne and his beloved granddaughter. We are very sorry that he could not experience this.

We reflect with much gratitude on what Gerard has meant to us. We wish Anke, Sanne and Marsha, and their many family members and friends much strength during this time.