Staff, teachers and students of Van Hall Larenstein Wageningen are sceptical about the institutional merger, it emerged at the presentation of the plans given by the executive board on Monday 3 December. In particular, the planned introduction of the ‘broad bachelor’s’ raised questions among the fifty people present.
The creation of the broad bachelor’s raised the most questions, however. In the advisory report on the merger this is presented as a way to solve the problem of the five programmes that are not unique in Wageningen and Leeuwarden. For example the Livestock and Horticulture & Arable Farming programmes in Leeuwarden would be fused into one Agriculture programme. The executive board believes that broad bachelor’s offer the best chances for development and will revive the smaller programmes. Ton Wiegmans, student member of the joint representative advisory body (MR), commented that his study is given a new name each year. ‘While they say continuity is important.’ But according to VHL director Erica Schaper, not everything has to change. ‘Existing majors will be gathered under the umbrella of a wide bachelor’s,’ she responded. However, the broad bachelor’s do not offer opportunities for new programmes.
After the meeting, MR member and major coordinator Marise Haesendonckx said that she would like to know what the board plans to do with all the critical questions. ‘What I miss in their story are the advantages of the merger for students.' The four students who showed up despite it being a lesson-free week asked for another meeting especially for students on the institutional merger, a request that the Wageningen board will honour.
The series of discussion meetings that has been held in Leeuwarden, Velp and Wageningen has made it clear that the differences between the locations are big, thinks Schaper. ‘But it’s very positive if the discussion is about renewal and prospects. It’s about increasing the size of the cake as far as the outside world is concerned, while at the same time developing the prospects for each location.’