Teacher of the Year Award

Ever since 1981 high quality education on the university is stimulated by rewarding the teachers most concerned with their students and their way of teaching. Every year, University Fund Wageningen organizes the Teacher of the Year Award. Students can vote for their favourite teachers, after which our student jury hands out the price. The winning teacher and the nominees receive money they can spend on new education goals.

Dear WUR teacher,

It has already been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us and we had to start working from home. A lot has changed since then, including education.

Ever since 1981, high quality university education is rewarded by the Teacher of the Year Award, organised annually by University Fund Wageningen. This year, instead of putting one teacher in the spotlight, we wanted to applaud all teachers who have made innovative blended education such a major success during the past year.

To express our gratitude and admiration of what has been achieved, we have developed this special video.

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The video can be found here as well.

Again, a big thank you from Wageningen University to everyone who has contributed to realising high quality blended education. And of course a big thank you to all supporting staff and students for their understanding, support and flexibility as well!

Kind regards, on behalf of Wageningen University,

University Fund Wageningen and the Student Council

Jury 2021

  • Feline Heussen, MSc Management, Economics and Consumer Studies, MSc Food Quality Management, member of YUFA
  • Anne van den Brink, MSc Health and Society, member of YUFA
  • Nadjieba Joemman, MSc Food Quality Management, member of YUFA
  • Jette Breedijk, Student Council Wageningen University, Education & Regulation
  • Shassy Cahyani, MSc Environmental Science
  • Vedaste Niyonsaba, MSc Forest and Nature Conservation
  • Desmond Yaw Aglago Lartey, MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning

Supported by two student assistants:

  • Eveline Massop, MSc Organic Agriculture, member of YUFA
  • Tobias Roebroek, MSc Food Technology, member of YUFA

    Winner 2020

    And the Teacher of the Year 2020 is... Arie Nieuwenhuizen!

    Biologist Arie Nieuwenhuizen is the Teacher of the Year for 2020. The teacher of Physiology was handed the prize this morning by jury member Anniek Brunink.

    The ceremony took place in the human lab in Zodiac, where Nieuwenhuizen had been summoned for a ‘meeting’. This turned out to be a meeting with a delegation from the seven-strong jury that allocated the prize this year. Nieuwenhuizen follows Fred de Boer. He received a certificate, a statuette of The Schoolteacher and the sum of 2500 euros.

    Arie Nieuwenhuizen and jury member Anniek Brunink
    Arie Nieuwenhuizen and jury member Anniek Brunink
    Arie Nieuwenhuizen receiving the Teacher of the Year certificate
    Arie Nieuwenhuizen receiving the Teacher of the Year certificate

    Photos: © Guy Ackermans

    Lab rat
    Nieuwenhuizen (50) got through to the last five in 2015 too. Then the prize went to Noëlle Aarts. He won it this time for his enthusiastic and creative teaching style, in which he encourages his students to use him as their lab rat in physiological experiments. He has been working at WUR since 2010, and teaches the basic principles of human physiology and of nutrition and sport.

    Nieuwenhuizen studied Biology in Groningen and got his PhD there too. After a research job in industry (at Numico), he worked at the University of Maastricht for five years. After an interim year at the Nutrition Centre, he was invited to Wageningen by Professor Jaap Keijer to teach in the Human and Animal Physiology chair group.

    Read more on the website of Resource or read the full article, including interviews with the shortlist, in the digital edition of the Resource magazine on page 24 and 25.

    Shortlist 2020

    Henry van den Brand

    Henry is very involved with his students. He shows that by trying to remember everyone's name and by being active outside of classes too, for example he joins activities from study associations or attends 'borrels' to get in touch with students.
    Student jury 2020

    Hannie van der Honing

    Hannie made it to the shortlist because she puts a lot of effort into thinking about how she can become a better teacher. The innovation of her education reflects how involved she is and how passionate she is about her students.
    Student jury 2020

    Tijs Ketelaar

    Students appreciate that Tijs is not afraid to get silly and use humour during his classes. It's a way for him to connect to students while also teaching them something, and shows that he is committed to explaining things in such a way that everyone can understand them.
    Student jury 2020

    Arie Nieuwenhuizen

    Arie makes sure to highlight his 'human side', by admitting mistakes he's made, something the jury appreciates. It makes him more approachable. His practicals are also very much appreciated, they are innovative and interesting and really get students involved.
    Student jury 2020

    Ute Sass-Klaassen

    Ute is, first of all, handling the current situation very well, which shows in her teaching. The jury likes that she pays attention to cultural integration in the classroom and that she plays diverse roles, such as those of coach and coordinator, rather than being a teacher only.
    Student jury 2020

    Read more in the Resource article. Take note: the article is written in Dutch.

    Longlist 2020

    The long list for the election of Teacher of the Year has been made public. Two new names are featured on the list: Arnold van Vliet and Bastiaan Engel. A total of fifteen teachers have been nominated for the award for best WUR-teacher.

    Some former winners are also nominated, such as Henry van den Brand (2018), Roel Dijksma (2016) and Jessica Duncan (2017). A total of  17.53 per cent of the students cast a vote for their favourite teacher.

    The 2020 longlist, in alphabetical order:

    • Henry van den Brand
    • Roel Dijksma
    • Jessica Duncan
    • Bas Engel
    • Hannie van der Honing
    • Argyris Kanellopoulos
    • Tijs Ketelaar
    • Kris van 't Klooster
    • Klaas Metselaar
    • Arie Nieuwenhuizen
    • Ute Sass-Klaassen
    • Elke Scholten
    • Anneke Valk
    • Jet Vervoort
    • Arnold van Vliet

    Read more in the Resource article.
    Text: Luuk Zegers

    Winner 2019

    And the winner of the Teacher of the Year Award is...

    Associate professor of Resource Ecology Fred de Boer! This is the first time De Boer has won the prize. ‘I didn’t see this coming.’

    The jury, which is made up of eight students from different degree programmes and of different nationalities, picked De Boer because he is ‘extremely enthusiastic’ and ‘a master of the use of examples to clarify a message’. Jury chair Suzanne Ruiten: ‘With his boundless enthusiasm, Fred tries to get his passion for nature and ecology across to his students in a way that helps them understand the subject completely. His lessons are quite theatrical. Fred has a full house of 200 students sitting on the edge of their chairs. You could almost hear a pin drop. That’s the way to do it, and that’s how he does it.’

    Source and full article: Resource

    Photos: Guy Ackermans

    Curious about the shortlist of 2019?

    This is them:

    • Fred de Boer

      His unique and different ways of teaching is very nice, furthermore, when you can make a course like statistics fun, you deserve the shortlist.
      Student jury 2019

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    • Hannie van der Honing

      She is really involved with her student and the fact that she is super structured makes it very clear to the students what is expected from them.
      Student jury 2019

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    • Huub Savelkoul

      The fact that he makes sure there is no barrier between him and the students makes him very approachable and he keeps his courses fresh with the daily news.
      Student jury 2019

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    • Jessica Duncan

      She is very open to her students and is really skilled in motivating students to think for themselves.
      Student jury 2019

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    • John Beijer

      His passion is incredible, how he talks about his students and teaching is as inspiring as his stories.
      Student jury 2019

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    Source & more: Resource

    Former Teacher of the Year Award winners

    Teacher of the Year 2018
    Henry van den Brand (Adaptation Physiology)

    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)

    Teacher of the Year 2010
    André van Lammeren (Plant Cell Biology)

    Teacher "hors classe" 2010
    Huub Savelkoul

    Teacher of the Year 2009
    Jan den Ouden (Forest ecology and Forest conservation)

    Teacher of the Year 2008
    Dane Bicanic (Laboratory for Biofysics)

    Teacher of the Year 2007
    Arie Terlouw (Experimental Zoology)

    Teacher of the Year 2006
    Theo Hendriks (Operationele Research en Logistiek)

    Teacher of the Year 2005
    Reint Jan Renes (Communication sciences)

    Teacher of the Year 2004
    Gosse Schraa (Microbiology)

    Teacher of the Year 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 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 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.