Professor of plant production systems, Louise Fresco, is leaving the university to become director of the Research, Extension and Training Division at FAO in May. She will miss the lecturing and with it the chance to pass on one's eagerness to learn to others. Fresco was involved in the WAU research programme in Costa Rica, where she collaborated with soil scientists, production ecologists, geologists and economists to develop land use models which reflect the spatial and ecological diversity in the research area. WAU researchers should cooperate much more with their colleagues from within and outside the university, states Fresco, to formulate integrated measures for rural development. She is eager to start the job at FAO, where she will manage the international agricultural research, the biodiversity treaty, the natural resources programme and geographical information systems. The colleagues with whom I will work most closely come from Ethiopia, Finland, France, Kenya, Mexico, and Senegal...fantastic, this has really given me a boost.
Relief organisations run from one civil war to the other supplying emergency aid, but they do not evaluate their involvement and the conflicts they encounter. I expected to find a supply of evaluation and monitoring methods in Oxford, the Mecca of disaster and refugee studies, says a disappointed WAU graduate Leonard van Duijn. Can the WAU take up this field of science? The university will do just this, as a special professor in Disaster Management has been appointed this year. Van Duijn, who participated in a seminar on this subject, thinks that an early warming system to prevent disasters, is missing. The emergency aid is too much focused on curative aid, where western relief organisations with a military-logistic structure quickly fly into a disaster area and take full media coverage, says Van Duijn
The number of Dutch pupils that start a technical or scientific study programme at a university is decreasing, despite the extension of the technical curricula from four to five years. Scholars are more and more keen on the job they can obtain after their study and reckon that a study at a school for professional training is less tough, while providing the same result, explains the dean of a secondary school in Wageningen. He criticises the way Dutch universities disseminate information to school children: they stress the scientific programmes instead of promoting themselves as a modern training centre. Their presentation is quite abstract, says one student, which makes the study look difficult. Pupils fear difficulty, because they have to borrow large sums of money for their study
New Wageningen mayor Jaap Sala exchanged Brielle, a small town near Rotterdam, for a jewel of a city. Wageningen reminds me of Rotterdam: cut the discussion and get down to work.