News of the week 48

What's happened this week? Better salary for late graduates, lower wages for university leaders, Leeuwarden campus keeps 'Fryslân' and more. 

Job prospects better for later graduates

After researching 824 RUG alumni, it appears that finishing your studies quickly is not always advantageous. The longer a student takes to complete their master, the quicker they have a job and the more they earn.

This could be due to participation in extracurricular activities and creating a network which allows one to quickly find a job. Those who do an internship have more chance of finding a job. The economics and business faculty has the lowest percentage of unemployed alumni, whereas the Faculty of the Arts has the highest. Physicians are the most satisfied with their jobs.

Lower wages for university directors

Educational directors can only earn up to 170,000 euros from 2016 onwards – as opposed to 230,000 currently – due to the implementation of maximum salary law for academic education. The new norm only applies to incoming directors and renewed contracts.

Salary is dependent on the administrative complexity of the university; the more students and programmes, the higher the salary. Externally-hired directors can earn 24,000 euros per month for the first six months and 18,000 for the following six months. The current RUG directors don’t fall under the new norm.

Campus keeps ‘Fryslân’ in name

The University Campus Fryslân (UCF) would be better off not using the Frisian-language name for the province in its title, according to Rieza Aprianto of the staff faction of the University Council. The Indonesian PhD candidate suggested an English-language name would be wiser since they want to recruit internationals who don’t understand the current name.

But Poppema does not dare to change it out of concern that it would cause conflict. It is the name of the province, and thus the appropriate name for the campus, Poppema says.

RUG hopes for self-assessment

Last month, political parties VVD, D66, SP, PVV and GroenLinks dismissed education minister Bussemaker’s plans for research and applied sciences universities to conduct their own assessments of their academic programmes. While all parties acknowledge the excessive bureaucracy connected to external evaluations, they could not support the minister’s plan.

Bussemaker has since met with the National Student Union and the VVD, according to Poppema, and she will be making a revised proposal soon. Whether any traces of the internal evaluation pilot will remain is uncertain.

Curtain falls on Infoversum

Despite efforts in recent months, no solution could be found for Infoversum’s financial problems: they have declared bankruptcy. This summer it became clear that income and visitor numbers were lagging behind: Infoversum should have attracted more than 260,000 visitors per year, but only managed to attract 40,000 last year.

The municipality blindly invested 2.5 million euros in the Infoversum, which is likely gone for good. Target, part of the RUG, and construction company Rottinghuis and Centraal Staal also invested 2.8 million. Plans for the future of the unusual building are not clear.

‘Close coal power plants’

More than 60 professors have written an open letter to the House of Representatives in favour of closing all coal power plants in the Netherlands, which would greatly decrease the emission of greenhouse gases and result in less pollution.

They want Prime Minister Rutte to take their message to the UN climate summit next week in Paris. According to the professors, Dutch electric power plants which work with gas provide more than enough energy for industry and households. Shutting down coal power plants may increase the energy price, but only by around 10 euros per year.

Volunteers needed for Sound project

RUG historian Jan Willem Veluwenkamp has been researching 700 volumes detailing shipping passages across the Sound, a straight between Denmark and Sweden, between 1497 and 1857 which belonged to the Danish king. The tomes include details about cargo, crew and sailing routes.

Veluwenkamp, together with Tresoar in Friesland, has been working on the project Sonttol Registers Online for several years, but needs 200 volunteers to help finish the project by September 2017. An online course is available to teach volunteers how to read the text.