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.

Arie Nieuwenhuizen is the Teacher of the Year 2020! Read more about the ceremony and the winner below.

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

Jury 2020

  • Robin Baas, International Development Studies
  • Tele Boit, Health and Nutrition
  • Anniek Brunink, Food Technology
  • Janna Buijs, Food Technology
  • Shassy Cahyani, Leisure, Tourism, and Environment
  • Ralph van Herpen, Student Council Wageningen University
  • Shiv Vasa, Animal Sciences

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

Shortlist 2019

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

Winner 2018

Dr. ir. Henry van den Brand is the winner of the Teacher of the Year Award 2018. The student jury, which attended a lecture by Van den Brand, sees that he likes to share the enthusiasm he has for his profession with his students. He does not merely teach, he tells stories by linking his own experiences as a farmer to the relevance for his profession. To illustrate his stories Van den Brand uses old fashioned chalkboard and chalk. 'I am stunned,' was the emotional reaction of the teacher.

Henry is associate professor at the chairgroup Adaptation Physiology, where he started in 2001 without any experience in teaching. According the jury Henry is an enthusiastic and involved teacher. He does not just gives lectures, he tells stories. During his lectures, the room is full of interested students.

The winner of the Teacher of the Year Award was announced during the opening of the Month of Education on Tuesday 24 April 2018. Unfortunately, Henry wasn’t able to attend the ceremony. His colleague Bas Kemp was there to receive the Award. Two days after the ceremony, when Henry was back in Wageningen, the jury visited him to personally congratulate him.

Click here for the article of the Resource.

Read press release

Judicium van Henry van den Brand

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.