Organisation - November 29, 2012

'We split up during the engagement'

Now that the administrative split is definite, nothing can stop the divorce of Wageningen UR from Van Hall Larenstein.

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Services are being hived off and the university of applied sciences may be moving out of the Forum. It is clear what the applied university thinks about the split. But how do Wageningen University's 'people' feel about the divorce? What will they miss?
Edwin Kelhout
Head of Publicity and Recruitment
'There has been pragmatic collaboration between the student recruitment departments of the academic and applied sciences universities. There were concrete plans to merge the departments to give one helpdesk for prospective students, for instance, but that merger won't go through now. I personally don't feel a big sense of loss. The applied sciences university has its own recruitment activities and we have different target groups. What I will miss is swapping our experiences of open days, campaigns and the benefits of Facebook, and sharing networks when recruiting internationally. But apparently the identities of Wageningen University and VHL are incompatible. It doesn't feel like a divorce - more as if we split up during the engagement.' 
Iris de Winter
Master's student in Biology
'I'm a degree choice coach for the Biology Master's, so prospective students who have a question about the Master's, career prospects or student life can contact me. In the four years I've been a degree coach, I've only had one e-mail from a student who wanted to transfer from VHL to do the Biology Master's. I think this is because of the year-long linkage programme they would have to take. So I don't expect the divorce between Wageningen University and VHL to have many consequences for me.'
Theo Lexmond
Environment and Climate programme director
'After the decision was taken to hive off VHL, I read a response from the HAS Den Bosch applied sciences university in Resource: "This will mean an end to VHL's preferential treatment". But I never gave them that; I treated all applied university students the same. No special transfer options, such as a shorter Master's programme, were introduced for VHL students for the environmental degrees. Perhaps the applied sciences university had been counting on preferential treatment and maybe not getting it was one reason for leaving. We did discuss options for collaboration between the academic and applied sciences universities in the field of teaching, but nothing much was implemented. So I don't expect the split to have any consequences for teaching.'
Rene Kwakkel
Animal Sciences programme director
'Within Animal Sciences we made agreements with the Larenstein part of VHL and we will maintain that after the split. So we will continue to refer students to the applied sciences university and to take students transferring from there. Nothing will change in that regard. It's a shame, though, that we won't be operating as a joint unit when recruiting students internationally. We hadn't got that far in practice but that was the plan. I do think it's important for VHL to stay on or close to the campus. We collaborate far more with VHL Wageningen than with VHL Leeuwarden and that is partly to do with the distance. Take Wageningen University's information day on 17 November; you are much more likely to refer them to an applied university Bachelor's in Wageningen.' 
Elyn den Hollander
Master's student in Food Technology and AID committee member last year
'I know most VHL people in Wageningen think the decision to split up is a real shame but I don't think there was a really close partnership as far as the students are concerned. As a student myself I'm not really bothered by it. I know a few VHL students who did their minor at WU, but that's about it. My impression is that most VHL students are not as interested in Wageningen as the academic university students are. You see that at the AID too. For years, only a small proportion of the mentors, crew and committee members have come from Van Hall Larenstein. That's hardly surprising in my view as they spend much more time on internships and so are less directly involved with Wageningen.'
Ronald Esman
WUR shop employee
'I don't know much about it, but it will be bad news for us commercially if VHL moves out of the Forum. Both Wageningen University students and VHL students buy their study materials, such as books and course readers, from us. We get hundreds of them here on the first Monday of every term. Also, a lot of students buy the Wageningen University sweatshirt. That includes VHL students. I think that will change once they are completely separate. The VHL students won't be buying Wageningen University sweatshirts any more.'

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