News - January 26, 2012

Lost again

Who? Huub Savelkoul, professor of Immunology
Where? In the Forum on 17 January
What? Nominated for Teacher of the Year for the fifth year running
And? Still didn't win

The Joop Zoetemelk of the Wageningen lecturers?
‘Yes, well, I'd rather not be the eternal also-ran. But Zoetemelk eventually won the world cup and the Tour de France!'
You are a consistently excellent teacher.
‘I try to introduce new things into my teaching all the time. Students are allergic to boring routine, you have to capture their interest. I refer to current affairs. One of my fairly famous lectures is the one about the Al Quaeda cells, dealing with the thymus gland, which is hard to get to grips with. But the nicest of all is when one of the students starts talking - it is never quieter than when a fellow student is speaking. You have to exploit that: connect to get your message across.'
You have received 2,500 euros five times now.
‘I have used it to set up a programme for improving the teaching of young staff. In other chair groups people specialize in education, but I don't think that's a good development. To me, it's very important that teaching is done by researchers; students love to hear examples from the coal face and learn how you arrive at research questions.‘My colleagues and managers don't get very worked up about the election, but students are more sensitive to it. I see numbers going up in all the courses I teach. A course I designed for 24 students, I now give to 150 students. That's great.'