Bohemian academic life in Prague

by Alexandra den Heijer

Yesterday I gave a lecture in Prague, Czech Republic by invitation of the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth & Sports (Ministerstvo školství, mládeže a tělovýchovy) for about 80 representatives of tertiairy education institutions, including many Czech universities.

conference for project EFIN in Prague – two of the three international speakers: Jon File (CHEPS) and Alexandra den Heijer (TU Delft)

The conference was part of the EFIN project (, only in Czech): promotion and development of effective management principles. I want to thank dr. Aleš Vlk (Alevia) and prof. Josef Basl (main guarantor EFIN) for their hospitality.

Again, it was clear – by the reactions and questions from the audience – that the challenges for universities are the same in many European countries. Struggling with the limited budgets, the increasing demands of students and professors, the low occupancy rates (utilization of space) and the aging campus. However, the cultural heritage and the bohemian quality of place are assets – cards we should play in the global “war on talent”. The trade-off is quantity for quality: less territory, less m2 per user and more quality per m2 and sense of place in return.

During the conference I also learned from the other international speakers Dennis Dunn (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Jon File (CHEPS – Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies). Higher education management – including campus management – is a huge responsibility which requires skills and management information. The latter I hope to supply with every lecture and publication. The hand-out of my presentation – including all photos – can be downloaded (see DOWNLOADS). Below the four propositions that I ‘defended’ during my lecture are translated in Czech, thanks to Aleš Vlk.

1. Each university goal can be frustrated by the physical campus. Každý cíl vysoké školy může být zmařen kampusem / infrastrukturou.

2. It takes a crisis – for example a fire – to change the academic workplace. Ke změně akademického pracoviště může pomoci krize – například požár.

3. The innovative and flexible knowledge economy can bring new life to obsolete industrial heritage buildings. Inovativní a flexibilní ekonomika založená na znalostech může vnést nový život do zastaralých průmyslových historických budov.

4. The campus of the future is a city. Kampus budoucnosti je město.

See PROPOSITIONS for these propositions in 4 more languages – Spanish, French, German and Dutch – translated by native speakers.

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