Science - April 3, 2008

Ellen Marks new director of VHL

Ellen Marks is the new general director of Van Hall Larenstein (VHL). Currently director of Hogeschool InHolland, she will take up the new position on 1 June. Her appointment was made public on Thursday 27 March as she toured the three VHL locations.

Martin Jansen (left), Ellen Marks the new director of VHL, and Martin Kropff at the <em>hogeschool</em> in Wageningen.
During the presentation in the VHL meeting room in Forum, rector Martin Kropff said that Marks had been selected by a weighty committee, which also included the VHL representative advisory council. According to the rector, the recent talks on the work floor have led to conciliation between the Wageningen UR executive board and the staff of VHL. ‘We are now going to tackle the points for improvement that emerged from the talks.’

After completing secondary school, Marks worked in the private sector, from 1991 at management level. After a decade she had had enough of ‘bosses breathing down your neck about win-win situations and targets’, and in 2002 she stepped over to professional education, becoming education manager at the InHolland University of Applied Sciences. She has been director of the School of Economics Alkmaar/Zaanstad since 2005.

Marks: ‘I’ve noticed that lecturers have to operate in various roles, and that can be tough. This is certainly the case with the introduction of competence-oriented education, which also requires a lot of input from the students. Students must leave with a rucksack full of skills and knowledge.’

A point that still requires attention is the knowledge component of competence-oriented education. Ensuring that daily teaching runs smoothly is also a priority for Marks, such as timetables that work. In addition she is in favour of interaction and transparency, and believes in working in an atmosphere of openness, with an element of humour. ‘I am goal and result oriented, but it has to be done in a workable way, not forgetting the human side, content and quality. And goals must be realistic.’

Marks has decided not to base herself in one location, but will divide her time and attention over the three VHL locations. She also wants to extend cooperation with the university, in particular in the research field where she plans to accentuate the VHL curriculum. Kropff also mentioned that it was an advantage that Marks has a network in the west of the country, now that VHL has turned its attention in that direction. Marks said she is looking forward to the task of steering VHL through the mergers within the hogescholen and with Wageningen UR. ‘It’s a challenge and that’s one of the reasons I want to tackle this.’

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