Teacher Awards given to Niels Bovenschen and Marij Swinkels

Teacher of the Year Niels Bovenschen amid the students of Mebiose. Jury chairman Ruud Schotting on the right. Photo: Lize Kraan

The winners were announced last Thursday during the Onderwijsparade, the annual university education party. The official award ceremony will take place during the dies on 26 March in the Dom church.

Niels Bovenschen is associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine and head of the Pathological Research Laboratory. In his teaching, he pays a lot of attention to the integration of scientific research in education. He runs a special program for this within the faculty. As senior fellow of the Centre for Academic Teaching, he also studies the best ways to create synergy between scientific practice and education.

In the lecture halls, Bovenschen challenges his undergraduate students to come up with research proposals for which they can use real data, as students told the jury led by Professor of Water Management Ruud Schotting. Students are also given quick and easy access to his lab and they participate in the research that takes place there

According to the jury, scientist Bovenschen is a role model for his students. Moreover, he is “a passionate teacher with a clear and convincing educational vision that he knows how to apply in his impressive package of activities”.

As winner, Bovenschen receives an exchange trophy and a sum of €5,000. For Mebiose, the study association of Biomedical Sciences that presented Bovenschen as a nominee, 1000 euros is reserved.

The other nominees for the teachers' awards 2019 were Liesbeth Bijlsma (Pharmaceutical Sciences), Kees van den Bos (Psychology) and Bouke van Gorp (Social Geography and Planning).

Teacher talent of the year
The new teacher talent of the year is Marij Swinkels. According to her students from the Public Administration and Organization Science programme, Swinkels is “involved, motivating and open”. Her own research is involved in her teaching programme in an activating and creative way. For example, she uses the 30 Seconds game to practice concepts and encourages academic discussions in her teaching.

The jury was impressed. According to the jury report, the stories of students make clear that Swinkels “has a natural empathy that she uses to get closer to the students, without emphasizing a form of hierarchy”.

Swinkels is also active at the University besides teaching. As one of the founders of InclUUsion, she ensured that refugees have access to education at Utrecht University. Recently she organized a discussion meeting on 'the intention of the University' as a member of Oker, a group of young researchers and students.

Swinkels receives 3000 euros, the nominating association Perikles 1000 euros. Other nominees were Laurens van Meeteren (Biology), Jillis van Maaren (Veterinary Medicine) and Patrick Wijchers (University College Utrecht).

Below: Marij Swinkels with her students from study association Perikles. Photo Lize Kraan

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