Prof. Dr. Maarten Wisse appointed new PThU rector

21 April 2021

Prof. Dr Maarten Wisse will be the new rector of the Protestant Theological University as of the academic year 2021-2022. On Wednesday evening, April 21, the General Synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands expressed agreement on his appointment as rector. Wisse succeeds Prof. Dr. Mechteld Jansen, who held this position for seven years. The transfer of the rectorship will take place on 3 September during the opening of the academic year in Amsterdam.

Unanimous and positive advice after careful selection

Wisse's appointment is the result of a careful and intensive process. Early January 2021, the current rector Jansen announced she wanted to step down from her position. The selection process for a new rector was started. First, a profile was drawn up by the Supervisory Board. Subsequently, interviews were held with various candidates. Ultimately, the choice fell unanimously on Wisse. The Supervisory Board is particularly pleased that Wisse is willing to take on the role of rector of the PThU. “In him, the Council has found the right person to lead education and research at our university in the coming years and to empower our academic identity in church and society. Institutional plan means that, as few others, he is aware of the challenges facing the PThU in the coming years and the course to be followed," said Piet Hein Donner, chairman of the Supervisory Board. "We are therefore pleased that the confidence in Professor Wisse is unanimously supported by the College of Professors and the University Council." Chairman of the Board Kees Boele is also pleased with the appointment of Wisse as the new rector. "In Maarten Wisse, the PThU has appointed a worthy successor to Mechteld Jansen. Maarten is someone with a great heart for theology, with scientific authority, broad support within and outside the PThU and with a feeling for managerial processes."

Major challenges for academy, church and society

Prof. Maarten Wisse himself sees it as a great honor and responsibility to co-lead PThU as rector. He also realises better than anyone that the university is facing major challenges: "Broad Protestant theology is under pressure, but it really has a lot to offer. It is precisely in a university like the PThU that we experience the tension between Scripture, faith and church on the one hand. and on the other hand everything that belongs to the modern world. The challenge is whether we can bring these two worlds into conversation even more, sometimes let them collide and also have them reinforce each other." Another one of Wisse's spearheads is representing research and education to the outside world. "I look forward to working with partners and other external parties to think about how we can use our theological expertise to translate questions from church and society into scientific projects. As PThU we want to be at the forefront and show how theology is extremely relevant to church and society. "

A man of substance and connection

The selection committee describes Wisse as a professional scientist who connects people, with a broad and astute view on academy, church and society. Wisse graduated and obtained his doctorate in Utrecht and gained a lot of international and ecumenical experience in research and education. At the universities of Heidelberg and Tübingen he became acquainted mainly with a context in which the Lutheran form of Protestantism dominates. In Leuven he got to know Catholic theology from within. His time at the Free University gave him a renewed deepening in the Reformed tradition. Wisse is currently professor of Dogmatics at PThU, he is chairman of the Project Team Institutional Plan PThU and project leader of the Moral Compass Project. Wisse has a lot of managerial experience. He is a board member and co-founder of the Association for Theology (VVTh) and a member of the Advisory Board for Reformed Confession of the General Synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. In addition, he has a lot of management experience, including as program director of the Master of Theology and Religious Studies (research) and as director of the Graduate School of Theology and Religious Studies, both at the VU University.

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