Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Last week, the first students from the Science Programme started their work in the science lab at the Chemelot campus in Geleen. Not all the boxes have been unpacked yet, says dean Thomas Cleij. “We got seven pallets, each of them with ten or more boxes. Filled with glassware such as vials and retorts.”
About 140 new students - 75 per cent from abroad - have registered so far, which is a “surprisingly large number,” says Cleij. “We knew that we had discovered a hole in the market with our liberal arts approach, but it is nice when that market confirms it. It is clear that we will grow.”
Whereas 49 students started their science bachelor’s study last year, this year there will be 70, Cleij estimates. Just like at the University College, students can put together their own curriculum from a multitude of subjects. “It is important to have a lot of students, to prevent having just one or two students signing up for a subject.”
In the meantime, preparations are being made (“by Frits van Merode, dean of the sciences programmes”) to set up the science masters studies. There have been discussions with the TU Eindhoven, says Cleij. This is salient because Eindhoven fiercely opposed a science study in Maastricht. They accused the UM of violating the national agreement to consolidate rather than fragment studies.
Has the battle-axe been buried? “We won’t be fighting forever. Everyone in the southeastern part of the Netherlands realises that you cannot ignore each other and everyone wants good education. Our door is also ajar. Although the contacts are still not intensive, just at managerial level.”