News - June 28, 2018

Chair massages

WUR Council recently received concerned emails from staff about chair massages. It’s always good to get input from people in the organization so I’ll definitely be raising this issue in my last meeting. I will be leaving the council this summer after nearly two years. Two new PhD representatives will be starting in September, the successors to me and my colleague Tjitske Geertsema.

Membership of the council means that you help decide how WUR gives shape to its policy. WUR Council advises the Executive Board, and the council’s consent is required for key topics. That means for example that you make sure the board reserves a little more money for chair groups, builds a new teaching building a little faster or makes more of an effort to have an even more sustainable campus. Tjitske and I have worked on improvements to the range of courses for PhD candidates and better checks on how your research is progressing to reduce the risk of PhD students dropping out. Everyone has their own input. I am impressed by how hard all the staff and students on the council work to promote the interests of the people they represent.

Like councils at other universities, we have problems finding people to stand and getting feedback from the rank and file, despite the important topics we are dealing with. That’s why I was pleased when concerned employees at Wageningen Research expressed their dissatisfaction at the fact that university staff will now become entitled to chair massages but they won’t. We will therefore be discussing that matter this week with the Executive Board.

I hope the council will get more spontaneous contributions from staff in future, possibly even on such topics as the budget, teaching or the development of the campus.