Wetenschap - 9 mei 1996

University signposting simplified

University signposting simplified

Signposts with the names of university buildings will make it easier for both the Dutch as well as the foreign public to find its way around Wageningen. Mr Aben, head of WAU's Press and Public Relations Office, explains that it concerns names like Zodiac, Leeuwenborch and Biotechnion. These names are already in use by personnel and students, they are short, fixed and need no translation.

Names of departments, on the other hand, change quite often due to moves, fusion or simply because times are changing. Besides, names of departments tend to be quite long. To put the names in both English and Dutch would require huge signposts. Aben argues that it is important that departments adopt the new naming in their communications, for instance on their letterhead.

Aben admits that for international visitors WAU's external signposting has been inadequate until now but that this is even worse inside the premises.

Newly arrived international students raised complaints in the International Student Panel last year about the fact that all signposts were written in Dutch. After some time, however, these students know where to go and no longer need signposts. Yet, with hundreds of international students and staff around and numerous temporary visitors, it would be no luxury to start replacing Dutch signposts with bilingual ones.

Mr Nicolaij of the Building and Grounds Office explains that in principle all signposts, both outside as well as inside the university premises are in Dutch. Only when there is a specific request from the manager of a department are English signposts supplied.

Dean for international students Jeanine Hermans feels that WAU's main building should have first priority with regard to bilingual signposts. She also feels that while the contents of the university's performance is of the utmost importance but outward appearances should not be neglected. Aben fully agrees, Discussions on internationalisation are about education and research, not about signposts."

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