Five Wageningen students were among the participants at a wildcat strike in
The Hague this week.
They had decided to draw attention to the problems facing higher education
by occupying the new building for the Ministry of Education which is still
under construction. It was easier than they had expected, as the front door
was open, and once inside they stuck signs on the windows: occupied.
Although it did not attract much attention from the election campaign
circus, the students were rewarded with an invitation from outgoing
minister of education Maria van der Hoeven. The students wanted to draw
attention to the plight of higher education, and the lack of focus on this
during the recent election campaign, but unfortunately the meeting with the
minister did not lead to any commitments on her side.
While the international MSc students will have their graduation ceremony
next week, the last batch of Dutch students already graduated a couple of
The ceremony was not without hitches: some left Wageningen with a bitter
taste in their mouth after disturbing experiences such as the impersonal
atmosphere, missing diplomas, and wrongly pronounced names. Graduates are
supposed to fill out a for, giving information about their time in
Wageningen for the talks that are given, but some students did not receive
these. One student turned out to be the only one in the group who had been
contacted personally. Having given a list of hilarious anecdotes to the
person who would address him, this came across as little too colourful in
comparison to the other boring speeches, and left him feeling screwed.
Let’s hope it goes better next week.
The report of the evaluation by VSNU (Association of Universities in the
Netherlands) for Communication and Innovation Studies group was recently
The Wageningen group is by far the most productive when it comes to PhD
graduations in this country. There are seven communications departments in
the Netherlands, and CIS produced 39% of all dissertations in the period
1995 – 2000. While the evaluation committee was forthcoming with praise in
the written part of the report, the grades given were somewhat
disappointing. On a scale of one to five, the group got only a three
(satisfactory) for quality and productivity, and a four (good) for
relevance and viability. According to Professor Cees Leeuwis of CIS, this
was because the reviewers were mainly pure social scientists, whereas
Wageningen is known for its cooperation with technical disciplines, which
is considered by some to taint social science research.