Organisation - July 5, 2012

VHL timeline

The history of VHL

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1988 Merger of agricultural college in Deventer, laboratory studies in Wageningen, horticultural college in Boskoop and forestry college in Velp to create the Internationale Agrarische Hogeschool Larenstein with branches in Velp and Deventer.
1995 Rural economics college in Groningen merges with dairy college in Bolswaard and agricultural college in Leeuwarden: the Van Hall institute. The merger is not by choice, it is a gentleman's agreement between commissioners Vonhoff and Wiegel.
1996 Bram Peper advises Ministry of Agriculture on future of agricultural education: merge the six higher education colleges.
2000 Van Hall Larenstein Holding foundation set up to prepare for merger and amalgamation with Wageningen university.
2003 Introduction of competence-based teaching. Leeuwarden, Velp and Deventer fail to develop a joint approach.
2003 Administrative merger of Van Hall and Larenstein.
2004 VHL joins Wageningen UR.
2004 Van Hall Larenstein has been fiddling the applications and has to pay back 3 million euros in government funds: chairman of the board Wiebe Wieling resigns.
2004-2006 Transfer profiles introduced with aim of facilitating moves to academic university. VHL fails to develop VHL-wide generic model. Faculties create their own transfer profiles.
2006 Deventer branch moves to Wageningen.
2008 Wageningen UR board tells VHL employees' council improvements are needed in student intake, teaching quality and collaboration. VHL boss Erica Schaper thinks that is too negative and hands in her notice. She sees 'a divide between the organization and the Executive Board'.
2008 Lecturers link up research of Alterra, Imares and Livestock Research with VHL's applied research.
2009 Directors introduce the strategic plan VHL Ahead, aimed at improving teaching and recruiting more students. Part of this plan is a management structure intended to reduce the autonomy of the faculties.
2010 After six years of discussion about whether Van Hall and Larenstein should merge, time is running out. The law says a board can only manage one applied university as of 2011. Dijkhuizen threatens: 'If you don't want to merge, fine. But we won't be interested either.' The employees' council agrees after exacting 23 conditions, e.g. Leeuwarden will remain the only place offering an Animal Management course for five years.
2010 VHL Ahead criticized by study programme directors, lecturers and employees' council. Critics include Hans Hardus, programme director in Leeuwarden. Director Ellen Marks is alleged to forbid him to speak out.
2010 Municipality, province and Wageningen UR provide 20 million euros for Dairy Campus for dairy farming research, teaching and training in Leeuwarden.
Jan 2011 Employees' council gives vote of no confidence in managing director Marks.
July 2011 Marks fires Velp programme director and critic Hans van Rooijen. Staff are furious and within a week a petition signed by nearly four hundred people is handed to Executive Board chairman Dijkhuizen.
Sep 2011 While Marks opens the academic year officially in the chapel in Velp, staff are attending an alternative opening in the auditorium with Arnold Heertje. Dozens of them are wearing T shirts saying 'Hans has to stay'. The next day, Marks cancels the opening in Leeuwarden.
Sep 2011 Executive Board orders study of support for VHL strategy and collaboration within Wageningen UR.
Nov 2011 Van Rooijen gets his job back.
Jan 2012 About 200 VHL staff talk to directors and Executive Board in Zwolle. Afterwards, 60 percent vote to continue collaboration provided VHL gets more autonomy and has to pay less for IT and hiring lecture rooms.
12 June VHL staff find out by accident that Ellen Marks has had her contract as managing director renewed for another four years.
14 June Board: we will review VHL charges but applied university will not get its own executive board.
20 June Another VHL poll in Zwolle: 51 percent for and 46 percent against collaboration.
26 June Executive Board concludes there is insufficient support and decides to split off VHL. It will get its own supervisory board and executive board.

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