Organisation - March 10, 2016

Bulte critical of tenure track

Albert Sikkema

Wageningen UR is not a top university yet. Says the Wageningen professor of Development Economics in an interview with Resource. He criticizes the assessment of talented scientists in tenure track.

‘At the top universities the staff play a major role in assessing and appointing talented academics. There the staff discuss the quality of the candidate and the significance and innovativeness of their work. We don’t have that here because in Wageningen the staff don’t have the capacity or the authority. So we fall back on spreadsheets and point-counting – this many publications, this many PhD students. I am pleased that the tenure track now gives talented people the prospect of an academic career, but we don’t have the capacity here to assess them properly.’

Bulte, one of the Dutch economists, not only works for Wageningen, but also for Oxford and Cambridge. ‘In Oxford there are two seminars a day for economists; in Wageningen there is one a week. In Oxford nearly everybody attends, to learn from others; here in Wageningen half of the staff don’t show up. Let me put it this way: there is plenty of room for improvement in Wageningen.