Valérie Daenen

Why did you decide to take up this challenge?

I had been working for the same company (a construction group in the Province of Luxembourg, editor's note) for twenty years. Over the years, I took on more and more responsibilities. Over the last 2 years, I've reorganised the company's structure to ensure its future development. It was time for me to take on some new challenges. The position of General Administrator of the University of Namur was an obvious one. I've always been looking for meaning. Joining the university was a step in that direction.

What is your knowledge of higher education?

My knowledge comes mainly from my studies: I studied management engineering at Fucam in Mons and then at the University of Liège. Having worked in a completely different sector, I'm obviously going to learn a lot. However, my outside input is a great asset: I'm pragmatic, I like to ask questions and I'm a quick learner. Higher education funding is very standardised. You have to be ingenious and do as much as you can with the budgets that are allocated to you. My experience in the private sector is an advantage when it comes to putting resources where they are most needed for the benefit of the university. I'm lucky enough to have been able to manage major responsibilities very early on in my previous career, in a very wide range of areas: human resources, budgets, etc.

What are your priorities?

My first four major assignments are in the following areas: human resources, finance, campus management and well-being at work. Since my arrival, I've spent a lot of time meeting members of staff. I'm looking forward to meeting the deans in the near future, who have a lot of hands-on experience. I've come at a pivotal time for the University of Namur, with the forthcoming renovation of the university library, the creation of a new faculty... These are exciting projects and great challenges to take up!

What are you particularly proud of at UNamur?

The future of our society depends first and foremost on the education of our children. It's this teaching mission that makes me particularly proud: we're training the citizens of tomorrow. And alongside that, there is the importance of research in our society. This dual mission is essential, and I'm proud to be able to make my own contribution to it.

What do you bring from your former professional life to this position as Managing Director?

First, pragmatism, the desire to do the best we can with what we have. Secondly, the ability to build bridges between people from different backgrounds, to develop the best possible cohesion! 

Express biography

  • Age 47
  • Originally from Liège, she now lives in Tellin.
  • Passionate about coaching and personal development

Her favourite quote

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!