Indicated by six study associations
Meet the nominees for the 2024 Teacher Awards
There are three nominees for the Teacher of the Year award this year. The award is a recognition for inspiring teachers who play a prominent role in the programmes they work for, thanks to their educational vision.
Each year, study associations recommend their favourite teachers for the award, and the jury reveals the list of nominees a while later. This year, the associations had to prepare a portfolio to demonstrate that the teacher possesses the qualities mentioned above. A total of 18 associations put forward their best teacher.
Gerard van der Ree, an assistant professor at University College Utrecht, is the first nominee. They teach International Relations with an eye for gender studies, postcolonialism, and the relationship between humans and nature (the teacher's pronouns are they/them, according to their profile page). They also give courses on social innovation and change. Van der Ree was indicated by UCU's Student Council.
The second nominee is Tom Wennekes, an assistant professor working in Pharmaceutical Sciences, recommended by the study association U.P. Wennekes researches glycosylation, the chemical reactions between sugar and proteins in the body, and how it can be used in the development of medicines. As a teacher, he works for both the Pharmacy programme and the international programme College of Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS), in which the discovery and development of new medicines are key. Wennekes is also involved with the Junior Science Lab and organises the programme Waar of Niet Waar (True or False, Ed.), alongside UU Science Hub and the University Museum.
Also running for the Teacher of the Year award is Jelle Zandveld, a biologist working for the Biology Education Institute. He is mainly involved with courses in the fields of Evolutionary Biology, as part of the Bachelor's degree in Biology and Utrecht University College. He approaches evolution from an interdisciplinary point of view, researching how our knowledge about evolution can be used in various disciplines. As a researcher, he delves into the teaching of Biology. He owes his nomination to the study association U.B.V.
Teacher Talent Award
The Teacher Talen Award is meant to recognise teachers who have been working for the university for less than five years. Three people have been nominated this year out of fifteen candidates.
The first nominee is Gerrit Verweij, a teacher at two programmes: Education Sciences and Academic Programme for Primary Education (Dutch acronym: Alpo, Ed.). Verwij used to be a school teacher. He worked in primary education for four years. After obtaining a Master's in Education Sciences, he now teaches students who will sand in front of classrooms someday. For this reason, he says he strives to connect theory and practice. He was nominated by the study association Vocus.
The second nominee is the Movement Scientist Lieke de Wit, the only woman to be shortlisted this year. De Wit works for the Faculty of Medicine, where she teaches Anatomy. She was nominated by the study association Sams.
The chemist Ward van der Stam, an assistant professor in Chemistry, is also running for the title. His research delves into the reduction of CO2 emissions. He is connected to both the Bachelor's and Research Master's in Chemistry. The student association Proton chose him as the greatest talent of the year.
The jury is going to meet again in February, led by its chair, the Associate Professor in Social Geography and Planning, Gery Nijenhuis. They will meet with the study associations who picked the nominees.
The Education Festival (OnderwijsFestival, formerly known as the Education Parade, Ed.) will take place on March 7, 2024, at the Utrecht University Building. That's when we will know who will succeed the Planning teacher Peter Pelzer and the Pharmacy teacher Serena di Palma as Teacher of the Year and Teacher Talent, respectively.
The two winners will get a trophy, which is supposed to be given to the future winners next year, and prize money. The Teacher of the Year gets 5,000 euros and the Teacher Talent gets 3,000 euros. All other nominees receive 1,000 euros each. The two study associations responsible for indicating the winners receive 1,000 euros each as well.