Press release

Noëlle Aarts Teacher of the Year 2015 Wageningen University

Published on
January 16, 2015

This year, the Teacher of the Year Award at Wageningen University went to Prof. Noëlle Aarts. The sculpture of De Leermeester, the certificate and a cash prize of €2,500 were presented at a festive ceremony held on Thursday 15 January in the student bar ‘The Spot’ in the Orion teaching building on Wageningen Campus.

Students were invited to vote in the annual Teacher of the Year elections, organised by the Wageningen University Fund. A quarter of all second and third-year students cast a vote. The student vote resulted in a longlist of nominees. A jury of seven, headed by Lara Minnaard, interviewed the sixteen best candidates (the longlist) and chose the person they considered to be the best teacher.


The four other nominees in contention for this year’s Teacher of the Year Award were: Maria Forlenza (Cell biology and immunology), Arie Nieuwenhuizen (Human and animal physiology), Huub Savelkoul (Cell biology and immunology) and Arie Terlouw (Experimental zoology).

De Leermeester

The jury’s decision to present the Teacher of the Year Award 2015 to Prof. Noëlle Aarts, Professor of Strategic communication, was unanimous. She won this prestigious prize on account of her critical outlook, her open attitude to students, her dynamic style of lecturing and her focus on more cooperation and less on the mere transfer of knowledge. On Thursday evening, 15 January during the New Year’s Drinks held by the Student Council, she was presented with a replica of the sculpture ‘De Leermeester’, a certificate and a cash prize of €2,500. The presentations were made by Jan Karel Mak, chair of the Wageningen University Fund, and Lara Minnaard, who headed the jury.

In the jury’s opinion, Noëlle Aarts stands out because of her critical-reflective attitude to teaching and her phenomenal commitment to her students, who she treats as her equals. As part of an ongoing effort to maintain and raise the quality of her lectures, she encourages students to give feedback on her style of teaching and the content of her lectures. Aarts is praised for her hard work and the fact that she devises most of the content of her lectures herself, regularly adding up-to-date material. Students refer to Noëlle Aarts as interested and friendly, and claim that she tailors her lectures to meet the needs of her students.

This year was the 19th edition of the Teacher of the Year Award. This prestigious Wageningen prize was set up to inspire lecturers to improve their educational qualities. The cash prize enables the nominees and the winning teacher to purchase extra teaching materials, for example.