Make way for WAU international managers
Although official university policy is not in favour of more MSc programme specialisations due to financial pressure, the Standing Committee on Education (VCO) last week approved a proposal for two new specialisations in the MSc Agricultural Economics and Marketing programme. In August 1997, programme coordinator Wim Heijman hopes to welcome at least 20 new international students to the Management and Facility Management specialisations
In recent years Heijman has regularly received requests from potential international students. That is the main justification for the establishment of the new specialisations. He suspects that he may even be underestimating when he says that he expects ten new international students for each specialisation. Furthermore, the financial argument used by the WAU management to oppose to an increase in the number of specialisations does not apply in this case. According to Heijman the necessary courses for both specialisations already exist, either in the MSc Economics and Marketing programme or in the regular Dutch programmes. Heijman continues: The courses concerned which were previously offered in Dutch had to be converted into English. This way we kill two birds with one stone, since costs are now shared. In anticipation of the final go-ahead, we are ready to start in August.
Although both the VCO and the Education Institute (OWI) for the Social Sciences have agreed in principle to the expansion, it is unclear whether the University Council or the Board also need to give the green light. According to Jan den Dulk, secretary of the VCO, everything is now settled. Several courses still have to be converted, however, but extra means were lacking. Fortunately the two most important departments involved - the management specialisation falls under its namesake the department of Management Studies, and facility management is the main responsibility of the Department of Household studies - were willing to foot the bill
Plans for the management specialisation are as old as the MSc programme Economics and Marketing itself. The programme started in 1993, but according to Willem Marcelis of the Department of Management Studies, the first response was a sharp increase in Dutch students. With 140 Dutch students a year, we simply did not have enough personnel capacity to set up courses for a MSc programme. Subsequently the Department of Management Studies attempted to set up a Professional Masters programme and last year they were also involved in the establishment of the new MBA programme for Food Industry and Agribusiness. It was believed that a MSc programme on management would thwart the other two. The plans for the Professional Masters eventually folded and the MBA programme committee now has no objections, since the programmes have different target groups. The MBA programme is aimed at higher-level managers from the agribusiness sector and at improving their management skills for the companies where they work. In addition the fees for the MBA are nearly three times as high as those for the MSc programme. The latter, with a fee of 12,500, is one of the cheapest MSc programmes at WAU
Marcelis argues that the MSc management programme will not deliver managers but aims to teach students the ins and outs of management principles with special reference to the agricultural sector. The facility management specialisation is a relatively new discipline in the academic world. Facility management is aimed at creating the support conditions which enable primary production to take place
Ronny Verhoeven, WAU facility manager par excellence, explains in more practical terms what his work implies. Verhoeven is head of WAU's catering services department. He has three main responsibilities: the canteens, the vending machines, and extra activities like conferences and receptions. This afternoon for instance we are doing the catering for a new year's reception at the Computechnion. We are supplying the drinks and snacks. As there is no canteen available we have to move all the necessary material and personnel there on time. Verhoeven's work, however, involves more than managing the movement of cutlery and waiters. He is also responsible for the purchase, maintenance and depreciation of equipment, catering administration, stock keeping and hygiene standards
Johan van Ophem of the Department of Household Studies admits that graduates may end up in this kind of position as well, but he stresses that it is an academic study, including courses on research methodology and statistics. According to van Ophem, graduates are more likely to find jobs as researchers or consultants, where the aim is to improve services in the field of facility management. Employers might include housing companies, hospitals and holiday resorts but could also be disaster management teams
The University of Professional Education Diedenoort in Wageningen offers an MSc course on applied facility management under the auspices of a British university. This programme is taught in Dutch and is therefore not aimed at international students but is an advanced course for Dutch students. Ms Haagsma, chair of the Executive Board of Diedenoort explains that she does not rule out cooperation with WAU in the future. However, she feels it would be premature at this stage. First we have to ascertain the similarities between the programmes and to what extent they might be compatible. Our ideas should take shape during the course of 1997.
Affordable guides to Dutch living
When you are invited by Dutch people to come to their place around eight in the evening, it does not automatically include a supper, unless they mention it explicitly. This is the quote which Nuffic (Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education) uses to announce the publication of two new booklets. An introduction to living in Holland provides an introduction to the Netherlands, its inhabitants, their customs and traits. A practical guide to living in Holland offers what the title suggests: a range of information covering food products and their English equivalent, how the Dutch dispose of their waste, national holidays and how to regulate the temperature of an oven in the Netherlands. It also includes useful addresses which can provide further information
There are many books available here on the same subject, but these two have the advantage of being relatively cheap. If you buy them together they will cost you 20 guilders
Award for the best MSc thesis
Former Rector Magnificus Professor H.C. van der Plas has introduced an annual award for the best Msc thesis. The prize, 1,500.-, will be presented for the first time during the graduation ceremony on Thursday 30 January 1997
Van der Plas explains that it was during his rectorship that postgraduate education at WAU grew. Since there are similar thesis prizes for students in the regular programmes, Van der Plas decided to create an award for international students and to provide the money for it. Much to his own surprise the introduction of the award coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Msc education at WAU. It is of course a perfect occasion, but really it was just a lucky coincidence.
Only students from developing countries are eligible to compete for the prize. Van der Plas admits that he was not aware of the growing number of students from East European countries, but agrees that the criteria for nomination could be adapted. The prize is primarily intended as an encouragement for less well-to-do international students. In order to qualify for the Van der Plas prize students must obtain at least a 9 for their thesis, and must have completed their study within the official set time of 17 months. If students fulfil these conditions they can ask their programme coordinator to be considered for a nomination. Only one student per programme can be nominated. A jury of three professors - Niehof, Huisman and Vincent - will make the final selection. In the case of two equally qualified nominees the prize will go to the female candidate