Organisation - January 20, 2012

Most VHL employees in favour of partnership with 'Wageningen'

A poll of VHL employees has shown that a majority of the Van Hall Larenstein staff want to continue the partnership with Wageningen UR.

Nearly four hundred employees and around twenty students from the different VHL locations travelled to Zwolle on Wednesday for discussions with each other, the VHL directors and the Executive Board about the Inviting Prospect, the document distributed to staff just before Christmas. In this policy document, the VHL board of directors and management team outline what the applied university aims to achieve by 2016 and how these ambitions can be given form within Wageningen UR. The authors want more autonomy for the board of directors, for example, and an end to the compulsory purchase of IT services and rental of lecture rooms. They also describe possible scenarios, should the university of applied science end its partnership with 'Wageningen'.
Encouragement
Around 60 percent voted in favour of partnership with Wageningen UR. Managing director Ellen Marks is 'pleased' and says she sees the outcome as 'encouragement to go full speed ahead in working out the further details of the plans in the Inviting Prospect.' She aims to remove the obstacles. '38 percent of the employees are highly critical, and as the management team and board of directors, we need to take this seriously,' says Marks. 'When we come to work out the details of the Inviting Prospect, we will ensure the close involvement of the VHL organization and make clear what steps we are taking.'

Lack of clarity
One of the objections of those voting against the motion was the lack of clarity in the question. 'I would have preferred to have seen sub-questions dealing more specifically with the problems,' says Dennis de Jager, deputy chairman of the Employees' Council. 'Now I wasn't sure what exactly I was voting in favour of or against. That is because there are a number of interrelated issues, such as the partnership with WUR, the confidence in the board of directors and the question of whether the applied university should have its own Executive Board. That's why I voted 'no' even though I am in favour of a partnership.'

Keeping options open
The VHL board of directors is expected to recommend approval to the Executive Board, which will take the final decision on whether there should be a partnership between the applied university and the academic university, and what form this should take in order to be successful. The Executive Board is currently 'keeping its options open', says spokesperson Simon Vink. 'Staff were able to specify conditions and their objections to continuing or discontinuing the partnership on their ballot paper. This information is currently being categorized. Aalt Dijkhuizen wants to wait until he has seen what comes out of the conditions before taking a decision.'

If the Executive Board sees potential for continuing the partnership with VHL, the VHL board of directors and management team will work out the conditions. The outcome of that process will be presented to both VHL staff and the Executive Board before the summer holidays, and a final decision will be taken.

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