In reaction to a letter from students to lecturers complaining that they were setting too easy exams for some subjects, University Vice-chancellor Professor Bert Speelman has warned the lecturers that the level of examinations must not be allowed to drop.
A short article about this appeared in Wb 14, after which the matter was picked up by the national press. Despite the fact that reprogramming of education in Wageningen means that some subjects will no longer be given, this is no reason to let standards drop according to Speelman. The educational committee for Rural Development Studies plans to set up a signalling system for complaints, and wants to encourage students with complaints about exams to come forward.
Preliminary undergraduate application figures for Wageningen University this year are down again.
By the middle of April 355 applications had been received, 4.4 percent less than last year. However it looks as though Wageningen might make up some of the difference with the national average. In the middle of February Wageningen lagged by more than ten percentage points, but this has been reduced to only five.
Wageningen University, together with seven other universities, has won the American Association of Distance Education (ADEC) 2001 award for excellence in distance education for the open course 'Global Seminar'.
ADEC stimulates the development of computer-aided distance education. Organiser of the Global seminar in Wageningen, Dr Gerrit Meerdink, said it was an honour to receive the prize, together with the other seven universities that participate in the course on the environment and sustainable food systems. The course is now in its fourth year, and Meerdink believes that they won the award because of the international character of the course, and the 'perfect' connections during the video-conferencing.
Professor Patricia Howard-Borjas gave her inaugural lecture on May 10 for her appointment as research professor.
In her speech she focused on the role of women in the maintenance of biodiversity in the plant world, and made a plea for them not to be ignored by researchers and policy makers. Women use plants in the household, often have a kitchen garden in which they grow plants for food and medicine, and collect seed, all of which gives them ample knowledge of the biodiversity of plants. Howard also expressed her regret that there is no women's studies group within Wageningen UR, which would strengthen its research position. The Institute of Social Studies (ISS) and FAO have fully integrated gender, which means that there will be projects that Wageningen will miss.
Research done by Alterra has indicated that satellite photos can be used to determine the carbon dioxide emissions and absorption for large areas of the earth's surface.
Forests and agricultural areas are thought to be important storage areas for CO2, but measurements taken up to now have been done with earthbound measuring masts, which can only cover very small areas. Landsat satellite photos can be used to measure CO2 flows for areas of 180 km2.