News - March 12, 2020

A Council: what’s in it for me?

Albert Sikkema

In a series of four articles, Resource talks to members of WUR’s various participatory bodies. People have until 22 April to put themselves forward as candidates. The elections will run from 2 to 6 June 2020.

Part 2: Julia Diederen, who teaches Food Chemistry. ‘I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of time it took’

Like many Wageningen scientists, Julia Diederen does not want to run for the next WUR Council. ‘I am already drowning in work. I’m on the Food Technology programme committee, for example. I would have to give that up, and I’m not going to do that.’

And yet this past year she has been an ‘external member’ of the WUR Council, on the committee tasked with evaluating the Extended Daytime Schedule.

‘I’m on a committee of three teachers and three students that oversees the evaluation of the new timetable, conducted last year by Education & Student Affairs (ESA). I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of time it took. In total, I attended about eight meetings, and it cost me two hours a month at the most. I didn’t have to organize anything, I could just pull up a chair and join in. We got data from the ESA, we asked critical questions and made suggestions. I learned about how WUR is organized. And I could tell the committee what I’ve heard in discussions about the timetable among teachers. I also helped improve the ESA’s survey for the teachers, because I create surveys for course evaluations and I know what questions to ask.

Would I do it again? Why not? I think the works councils could ask staff more often to join them for a while to help think something through. It’s a way of getting more people involved in the councils.

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