According to Wageningen students, these are the five teachers who give the most inspiring lessons and practicals. We will find out on 21 April which of the five gets the Teacher of the Year Award 2016. ‘And the winner is...’
Photos: Daniel Dreadson
Plant cell biology teacher André van Lammeren, who won the prize in 2010 and has been nominated several times, is ‘amazed’ by his nomination. The popular lecturer retired recently and is no longer actively teaching but he is still involved with a number of courses. The Teacher of the Year jury praises Van Lammeren for his enthusiasm. What is more, he has managed to perfect his course materials thanks to his years of experience. ‘We are proud that he has not only reached such a high standard but has also managed to maintain this standard for years, right up to the end.’
Ute Sass-Klaassen, university lecturer in Forest Ecology and Forest Management, has been nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award several times in the past but has not yet been able to win the prize. ‘I find it a great honour to be called one of the five best teachers.’ She emphasizes that teaching is a question of teamwork. ‘There isn’t just one kind of teaching that’s excellent — it’s actually very diverse. It would be fantastic to have a team voted Teacher of the Year.’ The jury finds Ute Sass-Klaassen an excellent teacher because she knows exactly how to key into the way students see things. She knows her students well and uses a different approach for each individual person.
The extra mile
University lecturer in Hydrogeology Roel Dijksma is thrilled with his nomination. ‘This is a big compliment.’ Dijksma had never been nominated before although he had regularly been on the longlist. ‘I like telling stories that make students say: that is really relevant.’ He tries to prevent the teaching from becoming a routine. According to the Teacher of the Year jury, Dijksma’s nomination is thanks to his personal, natural style of teaching in which he is able talk enthusiastically even about less interesting topics. What is more, he is willing to go the extra mile for all his students. ‘He cares about his students, and not just when it comes to teaching.’
University lecturer Maria Forlenza, who works in the Cell Biology & Immunology group, was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award last year for the first time. She had been on the longlist before then too. ‘It’s always an honour, I’m very pleased with this.’ She praises her group of students, who were very good this year. ‘I had a really good course, so I had secretly been hoping a little for this.’ The jury calls Maria Forlenza a ‘passionate teacher with innovative ideas who just finds it boring that the university closes at five pm’. In the contact with her students she starts off strict but becomes more and more friendly towards the end.
Great at making connections
Noëlle Aarts, professor of Strategic Communication, was chosen as Teacher of the Year last year. She says that it would feel really special if she were to win the award again. ‘If as a teacher you are nominated or win the award repeatedly, that says something about how stable your quality is. Many teachers are insecure and find teaching quite nerve-racking. You like to teach and you give your all every day. Then a prize like this says you are doing a good job.’ The jury says that Noëlle Aarts is great at making connections. 'She has clear ideas about teaching and combines that with a strong focus on her students’ personal development.