Ab van Kammen, chair in Molecular Biology, will retire this week. He has been responsible for developing fundamental research on cell differentiation, symbiotic nitrogen fixation and plant embryo development at WAU over the past twenty-five years. Departments like ours should stay completely autonomous. We should be able to decide for ourselves what kind of research we want to do. His department is not dependent on contract research from companies. Knowledge produced within the university should be available for everybody, claims the professor. His department receives a lot of young researchers from Russia and China. The idea is that they return to their country to build up the universities there. But I can't blame them for not going back, given the appalling conditions in their universities.
Members of the WAU Department of Agronomy have criticised the recommendations of the Verhoeff-committee. This committee advised on the reorganisation of the chairs in Horticulture, Crop & Grassland Sciences, Ecological Agriculture and Forestry, including a large number of redundancies of low quality personnel. The report is messy and lacks good reasoning, the agronomists argue. The report is based on impressions and suspicions.
The study results of women are better than those of men. They collect more credit points in less time and more women finish their studies than men. How come? Women are less critical and digest the courses that the lecturers offer more easily, according to education psychologist Hans Lodewijks of the University of Tilburg. A member of the WAU Department of Gender Studies disagrees: I believe women have a more critical approach than men. They complain that the education does not match up to their wishes. Lodewijks counters: We didn't want to reinforce old prejudices, but women are more conformist. Other studies confirm that.
The student flat Dijkgraaf celebrated its twentieth anniversary last week with a whole week of parties. A sports afternoon and eating around the stairs were part of the festivities. Epicentre was the bar downstairs, the Hunkebunker: an important place to hang around, also at other times. Tuesday night is party night and then the bar is usually full of students from Dijkgraaf: We don't go out of the building a lot.