A replica of 'de Leermeester'.

Teacher of the Year Award

This yearly returning award is meant to stimulate high quality education at the university. The winning teacher and nominees use the received money for new educational purposes.

    The Teacher of the Year Award 2017 of the University Fund Wageningen has been granted to Jessica Duncan. The jury unanimously decided to award her the prize for her engagement with students, the clear link between research and education that she creates and the innovation of her teaching methods. Jessica, who has been teaching at the chair group of Rural Socioloy since three years, coordinates three courses and teaches in several others. She received the prize during the ceremony on the sixth of April in Impulse.

    Read the article about Jessica Duncan in Resource

    All nominees during the ceremony
    All nominees during the ceremony

    Winner 2017

    Jessica is a relatively new face at Wageningen University & Research. With a background in the unusual combination of food policy and food culture, Jessica responded to the teaching job more based on its topic of research than on the teaching part. However, she finds she enjoys the teaching a lot, and that shows, as expressed in the jury's opinion, in the effort she makes to approach students with different teaching methods. For Jessica, evaluation is not something only from the teacher to the students, but also the other way around. She ensures enough evaluation takes place in her courses, by including an evaluation moment only two weeks after the start.

    She is actively engaged with her students, making sure they participate and helping them take the hurdles on their way to a future in science. A trip to a conference in Rome, a day in the field or co-authoring an article are no exception. With the energy she invests in her students and her contribution to scientific development, both in research and education, Jessica fully deserves this award.

    Student jury 2017

    The student jury of the Teacher of the Year award 2017 consisted of:

    • Thessa Beck - MSc Climate Studies
    • Erik Bootsma - MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
    • Jaap Kerr – BSc Economics and Government
    • Antonella van Osnabrugge – Studentend Council; BSc International Land and Water Management
    • Anouk Nijhof – MSc Nutrition and Health & MSc Food Technology
    • Andreea Simion – MSc Food Quality Management
    • Esther Smits – MSc International Development Studies
    • Janine de Wit – MSc Earth and Environment

    Do you want to contribute to the Teacher of the Year election next year? Send an email to ufw@wur.nl.

    Shortlist Teacher of the Year 2017

    Here are the other nominated teachers on the shortlist of the Teacher of the Year 2017:

    Frits Claassen

    As a teacher, Frits Claassen is remembered by a lot of students. In his decision science courses, being Frits is what makes Frits great. By preparing his course in every detail, from the size of blackboard to the use of coloured pencils, he makes sure students are taught in a good way. By being critical to students and explaining them whatever is necessary, a teaching atmosphere is created in which students can make the best of his courses. It is not necessarily 'modern' teaching, but teaching in a unique way what makes Frits so special that the jury has decided to put him on the shortlist.

    Henry van den Brand

    During the interview, the jury noticed that for Henry van den Brand, preparation is key. When he does something, he gives his 100%. Every year he follows some courses to improve as a teacher. Also, he is always very approachable, and even during Christmas he is reviewing exams in order to give his students their grades within a few days. Teaching is very important for him as well as creating a safe environment for the students. Every student should be taken seriously, as well as the questions they ask. But of course there is always room for some humour. This all results in a nice learning environment and a teacher that cannot be missed on the shortlist.

    John Beijer

    If there is one thing we can say of John, it is that he makes Wageningen Wageningen. It is his personal style, common sense and personal involvement with his students well-being that make him a good teacher. Excursions and practicals are well-prepared. By creating a good environment for his students, John ensures they can achieve the best results possible while also enjoying each other. On top of making the course content interesting, John is also strongly involved in ensuring the methodological aspects are well-regarded by his students. The jury is of the opinion this is an important aspect of academic teaching. John's place on the shortlist is therefore more than deserved.

    Marleen Buizer

    In the person of Marleen Buizer, the jury found an incredibly passionate and motivating teacher. It was then also to their surprise when it was discovered this was her first time to be nominated for Teacher of the Year. Marleen's way of teaching is highly inventive and personal. She motivates her students through the usage of interactive methods, which are often developed by herself. One of her teaching methods involves the performance of plays based around the course's theory and developed by her students. In her work she always tries to find connections, either between approaches from different study fields or between theory and everyday life. One of her key strengths is the promotion of a creative and personal, but nonetheless critical approach to problem solving. She also makes sure to approach every student as an individual and recognizes their personal qualities. The jury is proud to announce that Marleen can count herself to one of the top 6 teachers of Wageningen University.

    Gert Peek

    Gert Peek is a familiar face, both within the Teacher of the Year Award and WUR in general. He won the prize before in 2000 and 2011, but has been nominated almost consistently. One thing is for sure, his teaching leaves a mark on students. Due to his enthusiasm, energy and passion he is instantly recognizable. Furthermore, it often doesn't take long before first year students are familiar with his regular humoristic statements. He also makes a strong effort to be involved with his students and actually manages to learn all their names before the start of each course. Gert is also involved with his students outside of college hours and he is well-known as the principle jury member of the 'Grondboor' competition of study association Pyrus. His teaching style is distinctive for Wageningen University. He prefers to take students with him outside and let them experience his study field first hand. One of his commenters said it best: "Gert Peek and WUR are inseperable". And not putting him on the shortlist, is not an option.

    Longlist Teacher of the Year 2017

    The jury would like to recognize all the teachers on the longlist personally for their much appreciated contribution to the education at Wageningen University.

    Noelle Aarts
    As an energetic and passionate teacher, Noelle inspires her students. With her innovative and creative way of teaching, she also challenges her students to think out-of-the-box and to participate actively in the course.

    Harm Bartholomeus
    Harm is caring very much about his students, such that he struggles together with them to achieve their goals if necessary. He has a very good personal relationship to his students, who have great fun with him.

    Fons Debets
    Fons is a flexible and motivated teacher, who sees opportunities for development everywhere. He manages to convey the, at times, abstract concepts from genetics to students using his own innovative methos. For instance constructing a database of cats belonging to students. Using these methods, he motivates and enthuses his students for his field of research.

    Julia Diederen
    As the teacher with probably the most knowledge on educational innovation, Julia designed a perfect balance between online educational tools and personal contact hours. She improves the quality of education while keeping the Wageningen way of teaching.

    Maria Forlenza
    With her strict but sweet and charismatic character, Maria knows how to motivate the students. Her passion for teaching and her ideas on innovation and science dissemination are an asset to the university.

    Marleen Kamperman
    With her interactive way of teaching, in which she involves questions, examples, and videos, Marleen manages to explain difficult topics very clearly. Her students highly appreciate her challenging and stimulating way of teaching.

    Arie Niewenhuizen
    The strength of Arie's teaching is the way in which he can explain difficult learning material in an easy and practical way. He inspires his students with his enthusiasm and by creating freedom for them to ask questions from their own interest about the course material.

    Jan den Ouden
    Jan is a well-known face within the field of forest and nature conservation and one of the most dedicated teachers of WUR. He speaks his mind and teaches his students to be critical thinkers. Although he might find himself a bit old fashioned, his recent work with the development of a matholoscooop (or practice forest) shows he isn't afraid to innovate.

    Gosse Schraa
    For a vast number of students, Gosse is a familiar face and a well-regarded teacher. With his long experience in teaching microbiology, he has shown his capabilities to perform well with different types of students and to enhance their interests.

    Jet Vervoort
    As a very energetic and enthusiastic teacher, Jet knows how to convey a message to her students. Her passion to create a secure and innovative education atmosphere is highly appreciated.

    Former Teacher of the Year Award winners

    Teacher of the Year 2017
    Jessica Duncan (Rural Sociology)

    Teacher of the Year 2016
    Roel Dijksma (Hydrology and Water Quality)

    Teacher of the Year 2015
    Noëlle Aarts (Strategic Communications)

    Teacher of the Year 2014
    Huub Savelkoul (Immunology and cellular biology)

    Teacher of the Year 2013
    Dolf Weijers (Biochemistry)

    Teacher of the Year 2012
    Frits Claassen (Operations Research and Logistics)

    Teacher of the Year 2011
    Gert Peek (Soil geograpy and landscape)

    Leermeester 2010
    André van Lammeren (Plant Cell Biology)

    Leermeester "hors classe" 2010
    Huub Savelkoul

    Leermeester 2009
    Jan den Ouden (Forest ecology and Forest conservation)

    Leermeester 2008
    Dane Bicanic (Laboratory for Biofysics)

    Leermeester 2007
    Arie Terlouw (Experimental Zoology)

    Leermeester 2006
    Theo Hendriks (Operationele Research en Logistiek)

    Leermeester 2005
    Reint Jan Renes (Communication sciences)

    Leermeester 2004
    Gosse Schraa (Microbiology)

    Leermeester 2000
    Dr.ir. R. Miedema
    Dr. W.G. Braakhekke
    Ing. G.J.W.C. Peek

    Education prize 1996
    Dr.ir. A.W.S.M. van Egeraat

    Education prize 1993
    Dr.ir. P.M. Driessen
    Drs. L.M. Breedveld (honorable mention)

    Education prize 1991
    Ing. T.H. Klein Essink
    Ir. P.J. Linde

    Education prize 1987
    Drs. F. Dietz
    Drs. W.J.M. Heijman
    Drs. E.C. van Ierland
    Dr. J.J. Krabbe
    Ir. E.P. Kroese
    Drs. E.A. Oskamp
    Ir. M. Vervoorn (honorable mention)

    Education prize 1984
    Prof.dr. C.M. Karssen
    Ir. E.P. Kroese (honorable mention)
    Ir. R.P.M. Schout (honorable mention)

    Education prize 1981
    I. P. Koorevaar
    Dr. J.A.M. Mattheij

    The award

    In 1981 the University Fund Wageningen (at that time the Landbouwhogeschoolfonds) began presenting the Education Award once every four years, in addition to the Research Award, the Entrepreneurs Award and the Press Award. In 1996 the Education Award was replaced by the Teacher of the Year Award to emphasise the important role of instructors in education. This award was presened in 1996 and 2000.

    In 2003 the Executive Committee of the Foundation decided to publicly honour one instructor every year with the aim of focusing attention on the importance of good education and to reward instructors who, especially in the opinion of their students, have excelled as a teacher. Students therefore play an important role in deciding the winner of the Teacher of the Year Award. the Award consists of a replica of the statue 'De Leermeester' by Jan Praet (the original is located in front of the Leeuwenborch), a certificate of appreciation and the jury report. Also all nominees on the shortlist receive a cash prize of € 2500.

    This new award was presented first in 2004. Every year from then on, six to eight students join effors as members of the Teacher of the Year jury. With the support of the University Fund they promote the eclections, in which all students in their second year and up can vote for a maximum of three of the 250 by course evaluations selected teachers. Next the jury has an in-depth interview with all the chosen teachers about different aspects of educating. From that a shortlist of nominees is made and a provisional winner is presented to the Executive Committee of the Foundation. Based on the nomination by the jury and in name of the Executive Committee of the Foundation, the winner of the Teacher of the Year Award is announced at the beginning of each calendar year.