Second mandate for Jos de Kock as rector ETF Leuven

26 March 2024

Second mandate for Jos de Kock as rector ETF Leuven

Current rector enjoys widespread support and great confidence in his leadership

The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven (ETF Leuven) reappoints Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock as rector for another five-year term beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year. De Kock has been rector of ETF Leuven since 2019, in addition to his position as professor of practical theology. His work as rector enjoys widespread support within the organization and there is great confidence in his leadership for a second term.

Together with the team, De Kock hopes to further build ETF Leuven as a place where academic practice of theology merges unconcernedly with personal and communal faith.

From day to day

The five years of the first term were marked by a number of unforeseen developments. The outbreak of the COVID crisis had a major impact on the functioning of the faculty. The subsequent energy crisis and high inflation posed a major financial challenge for ETF Leuven. At the same time, day to day, all colleagues in the organization worked diligently on implementing the strategic policy during this period. Filip De Cavel, Chair of the Board of Trustees of ETF Leuven said, “Despite the complex circumstances during the COVID pandemic and the financial challenges, our rector led ETF Leuven with determination and vision, something recognized and appreciated by all parts of our educational institution. His clear vision has strengthened ETF Leuven’s position within the higher education landscape and theology and religious studies in Flanders and the Low Countries.” ETF Leuven’s educational programs were re-accredited by the NVAO after external evaluation. The research and doctoral program also enjoyed a very positive evaluation. The faculty added a new accredited Master of Teaching in Religion to its offerings. The good image of the faculty was further extended and at the start of the current academic year there was a striking growth in student enrollments across the breadth of the educational programs.


The Faculty Council and Board of Trustees unanimously endorse a second term of office for the current rector. De Kock is pleased with the confidence shown and the opportunity to continue his work in a second term: “I am grateful for a fantastic team of colleagues at the faculty. A team with so much quality, talent, commitment, joy and a great capacity for learning. What ETF Leuven aspires to be, a learning, working and living community, can only be achieved through teamwork. I hope that my personal contribution will help ensure that the administrative, technical and academic staff can develop to their full potential in their own specialties, allowing students to enjoy very good theological education and research from day to day. I am convinced that ETF Leuven plays and will continue to play an important role in equipping people for responsible positions in church and society.”

New strategic policy

At the start of the second term, De Kock will continue to combine his position as rector with responsibility as administrative director, as he has been doing since January 2023. For the period 2025-2029, De Kock is preparing a new strategic policy together with staff and students. At least two issues will play an important role in this plan: intensifying fundraising efforts and better exploitation of the campus. De Kock: “We expect that our faculty will increasingly rely on income from operations and fundraising in the future, in addition to the government subsidy and student contributions. Currently, we are exploring options for creating and renting out additional student housing and undertaking major renovations. These are significant challenges for ETF Leuven, but we will face them with conviction. That can also be expected of us in a time of growing shortages of pastors, shortages of affordable student housing, and a growing need for concrete places of theological formation and Christian spirituality.”

About prof. dr. Jos de Kock, MBA

Jos de Kock (1978) has been the rector of ETF Leuven since 2019 and has also served as administrative director since 2023. He is professor and department chair of Practical Theology, coordinator of the Master of Teaching in Religion and coordinator of the research institute ISREYM, Institute for the Study of Religious Education and Youth Ministry. Religious educator De Kock holds master’s degrees in educational studies (Radboud University Nijmegen) and religion and theology (Utrecht University) and he obtained a master’s degree in business administration from the Vlerick Business School (Brussels/Ghent/Leuven). In 2005, he received his doctorate in social sciences from Radboud University Nijmegen. As a practical theologian, he previously worked at the Protestant Theological University in Amsterdam. As an educationalist, he worked as a teacher and consultant in and for various higher education institutions and as a researcher for Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Amsterdam. His specializations are in the areas of empirical practical theology, research methodology, higher education, religious education, youth ministry, religious identity development and youth and theology.

About ETF Leuven

The Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven (ETF Leuven) is a Flemish institution of academic higher education. It is characterized by a Protestant-evangelical identity, a cross-denominational orientation, an international character and a combination of highly qualified academic work and attention to community building and spirituality. The faculty currently has 240 students in its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.

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