News - December 29, 2016

2017 will be my year because … I will try to go back to the basics of university

Liza van Kapel

The Wageningen campus is usually calm in the days around the turn of the year. It is a time to look forward to the new year. Resource asked several students and staff members why 2017 is going to be their year. Jordi Vila tells us why his wants to go back to the basics of university.

Jordi Vila, associate Professor Meteorology and Air quality; the Professor originates from Spain

There is a large difference in work pressure and atmosphere between now and 15 years ago, when I started my appointment at Wageningen University. Back then, I had more room to think and discuss with students. Especially in the last few years, there has been a high pressure to write proposals and meet deadlines. Next year, I will try to reduce this pressure and create more space.

The pressure is mainly caused by the large amount of work and the need to obtain external funding. However, in my opinion, the basics of university are learning and the development of students. I want to give students the space needed to grow: they are the most important aspect at WUR and the drive of why I do this work. They are at a point in their lives where they can develop academically and personally.

These past few years, there has been a high pressure to finish everything on time. This is a pity, because you can often create much better and higher quality results if you just take a bit more time. This does not only apply to performing research, but also to the entire thinking process: debates, brainstorming and conversations are very important.

Creating room to improve lecturing, advising and investigating is my wish for 2017. To achieve this, I will set priorities. This will mean that I will have to say no more often, which might be hard. But it will allow me to dedicate more time to students and PhD candidates, to focus on the university essentials. After all, university is a place for students to develop, so that should be our main goal.’