The WAU has to come up with a plan to reduce spending on education by several million of guilders. Professors and members of the education committees find it difficult to make choices about which courses or chairs should disappear to implement the cutbacks. They are suggesting that the Executive Board needs to adopt an old-fashioned, centralist, top-down approach to reduce the number of courses. The University spends 43 million guilders on eighteen programmes, sixty specialisations and twelve hundred courses. The students have a lot of optional choices, but reducing these will only reduce spending by three million guilders
Professors Aalt Dijkhuizen, who held a chair in the economic aspects of animal disease control, is leaving the University to become manager for a multinational feed company. Dijkhuizen is very enthusiastic, driven and productive: he managed to collect more than twenty million guilders for contract research over the past ten years and produced 350 publications in that period. That is not as special as it seems to be. I stimulate my PhD students to go to seminars and congresses. The first time they can taste the atmosphere, the next time they only get approval and money if their paper is accepted by the congress.
Historical geographer Hans Elerie has studied the influence of ancient farming on the rural landscape of Koekange, a village in the north part of Holland. His study is relevant at a time when agricultural land is being redesigned as a nature reserve in this area. What looks like a channel is in fact a drainage system from the Middle Ages, when farmers tried to gain control over the land. Elerie says that this drainage system is an essential part of the current landscape and that nature conservationists should be more aware of the cultural history in their urge to restore natural conditions
WAU's Executive Board has decided to freeze vacancies, given the severe cutbacks by the Ministry of Agriculture. The decision doesn't affect PhD students who are paid by external funding. Most vacancies for professors will also be filled. The university is anticipating a twenty million-guilder cutback in the next four years from the Ministry of Agriculture. The WAU claims that the argument for these cutbacks - less students - is poor and that it feels like an outlaw. The Dutch parliament will discuss the proposed cutbacks in the coming months