Science - January 17, 2008

Dane Bicanic voted best teacher of 2008

‘Those who dare to teach must never stop learning.’ This was Professor Dane Bicanic’s message at the Leermeesterprijs ceremony 2008 on Thursday 10 January. The students appreciate his evocative and topical lessons.

New Year’s drink organised by the Student Council.
The prize for the best teacher at Wageningen University was awarded during the New Year’s drink, organised by the Student Council in the maths building. Bicanic received a replica of ‘De Leermeester’, the sculpture by Jan Praet in front of the Leeuwenborch, as well as 2500 euros to spend on further professionalising teaching at the University.

A Croat, Dane Bicanic went to the United States after finishing a degree in Physics. In the US he encountered a wide range of people, an aspect that also drew him to Wageningen. The student jury praised Bicanic for his enthusiastic manner of teaching biophysics, in which he draws evocatively on examples from daily life. Moreover, Bicanic is concerned not to lose students during his courses. ‘Perhaps that’s why I’m so dedicated,’ he comments. The others nominated for the prize were Dr Gosse Schraa (Laboratory of Microbiology and 2004 winner), Dr Rijkelt Beumer (Food Microbiology Laboratory), Professor Erik de Jong (Landscape Architecture) and Dr Lisette Graat (Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology).

In addition to the awards ceremony, there was a talk by a representative of DADTCO, an organisation involved in sustainable cassava development in Nigeria. Despite the good work, the talk came across as a promotional talk and the audience responded with groans and sighs. Rector Professor Martin Kropff presented the students’ most popular wishes: sustainable food in the canteens and a laptop. The rector promised that the notebook project for students and employees would be launched in February – two years after the first initiative. But apart from that he made few solid commitments. ‘If students really find organic and fair trade food so important they should let Wageningen University caterer Albron know,’ said Kropff.

After a forty-five minute sit, the students were finally released and made their way to the free beer and refreshments provided by Kropff at SSR-W student club. Within five minutes, the hall in the maths building was empty, except for those who had to clear up.

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