The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an independent institution. The members of all its governing entities are elected by the entire academic community – including faculty staff, researchers, personnel, and students. This system guarantees the democratic process of decision-making and the independence from state and outside organisations. Nevertheless, the university receives significant funding from the Flemish government, although less than other Flemish universities. Other important funding sources are grants for research projects (mostly from Belgian and European funding agencies), scholarships of academic members, revenues from cooperation with industry, and tuition fees to a lesser extent.
The main organisational structure of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is its division into faculties:
- Faculty of Law and Criminology
- Faculty of Economic, Social, and Political Sciences and the Solvay Business School
- Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
- Faculty of Sciences
- Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy
- Faculty of Arts and Philosophy
- Faculty of Engineering
- Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy
These faculties benefit a wide autonomy over how they structure their educational programmes and research efforts, although their decisions need to comply with the university's statutes and must be approved by the central administration.
The central administration is formed by the Governing Board, which is currently presided by Eddy Van Gelder. It decides the university's long-term vision and must approve all decisions made by the faculties. The Governing Board is supported by three advising bodies: the Research Council, the Education Council, and the Senate. These bodies provide advice to the Governing Board on all issues regarding research, education, and the academic excellence of faculty staff, and may also propose changes to the university’s strategy. The daily management of the university is the responsibility of the Rector and three Vice-Rectors. The current Rector of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is Paul De Knop.
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“It is because the body is a machine that education is possible. Education is the formation of habits, a superinducing of an artificial organisation upon the natural organisation of the body.”
—Thomas Henry Huxley (18251895)