The WUR Council has appointed Sabine Vreeburg as its new chair. She will combine the position with her PhD programme at the Laboratory of Genetics.
© Albert Sikkema
Vreeburg was appointed chair of the WUR Council on 17 October. She had been chairing the university’s Student Staff Council for several weeks and was the only candidate for the position. ‘It seems like a great opportunity to gain experience’, says Vreeburg. ‘I think it will be fun to see the university as an organisation and to get to know how it works. Those processes are not something you usually get to see as a PhD candidate.’
Vreeburg says that her eagerness to learn is her main motivation to become chair, but she also hopes to achieve something for Wageningen PhD candidates and postdocs in her new position. One aspect she wants to address is the fact that most PhD candidates require more time to graduate than the usual four years. ‘That development can have many reasons, but part of the solution is better monitoring of the progress by the both PhD candidate and their supervisor.’
She started her PhD four years ago and still has a year and a half ahead of her. Halfway through her programme, she became a mother and decided to work narrow down her activities to 80 percent. And now she will work for the WUR Council for one day per week, on average. ‘That way, I will keep within the contract duration.’
Vreeburg also wants more attention for PhD candidates who do not have a contract with WUR, such as sandwich PhDs and researchers with a scholarship. ‘It is important that they are heard as well when drafting policy. They have the right to vote for the PhD candidates in the council, but they cannot fill a place themselves. I hope they will contact me if there is anything I can do for them.’
She has been on the WUR Council for a month and a half. What drew her attention the most? ‘That the WUR Council is involved in many different subjects. In recent weeks, we have been discussing the new WUR strategic plan, the university’s administrative regulations, the anticorruption code and the proposal for the distinguished professors. It’s a lot of reading. What I have to learn above all is to what detail I have to read proposals in order to be able to properly judge them.’
With her new position as chair of the WUR Council, her work did undergo some changes. Her main goal as chair? ‘To ensure that the decision-making process runs as smoothly as possible.’