News - June 18, 2019

Fred de Boer is Teacher of the Year

Associate professor of Resource Ecology Fred de Boer has won this year’s Teacher of the Year Award, announced the student jury on Monday. This is the first time De Boer has won the prize. ‘I didn’t see this coming.’

© Guy Ackermans

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.’

The tutor
De Boer received a replica of the statue in front of the Leeuwenborch, De Leermeester (The Tutor), and 2500 euros to spend on educational objectives of his own choosing. The other four shortlisted teachers, Jessica Duncan, Hannie van der Honing, John Beijer and Huub Savelkoul receive the same amount. ‘This is not easy, this prize makes me emotional,’ said De Boer when he was handed the award. ‘I am just a small cog in the wheel of the network involved in our group’s classes. This is not my achievement; this is a prize for 15 people who work together.’

Excellent teaching
The prize-giving ceremony was held on Monday 17 June in Impulse. The winner of the Thesis Award was announced at the same time. Master’s student of Biology Margaretha Antonia Veltman won this prize for her thesis entitled Domestication and dispersal of African rice (Oryza glaberrima): from West Africa to the Americas.

And rector Arthur Mol handed out the Excellent Education Prizes for the best courses. The prize for the best basic course went to Policy, People and Resources in Comparative Perspective, coordinated by Jessica Duncan. Trending Topics in Biology and Chemistry of Soil and Water, coordinated by Ingrid van de Leemput got the prize for the best advanced course and the prize for the best special course went to Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, coordinated by Domenico Dentoni. Organic Chemistry 1, run by Maurice Franssen won the prize for the best large course and Maarten Jacobs won an honourable mention for his course Statistics for Leisure, Tourism and Environment, in which he has found ‘a refreshing way of helping students with a statistics phobia to understand them.’ All 16 courses nominated for the Excellent Education Awards received 1000 euros to use to make the course even better.

Rector Arthur Mol closed the ceremony with some remarks on the importance of the education prizes. ‘The university is not just about excellent research, but about excellent education too. We should pay tribute to that.’

Fred de Boer with the statuette of De Leermeester and some of the student jury behind him.