Looking back on the 2020 UU Onderwijsparade - Academic Education: What is the purpose?

In teaching, like gardening, it is what you do but also what you not do has visible, lasting consequences

Prof. Giselinde Kuipers

What is de the purpose of academic education? Students, lecturers and staff explored this question during the Onderwijsparade, the annual education day, on the 5th of March. Over 260 participants, 9 workshops, and various pitches and speakers proved to be the perfect recipe for a successful day filled with inspiration.


Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling met docent van het jaar Gerda Andringa (links) en docenttalent Lorena de Vita (rechts)
Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling with Outstanding Teacher of the year Gerda Andringa (left) and Teacher Talent Lorena de Vita (right)

Winners Teacher Awards announced

This academic year students had nominated 33 lecturers for the UU Teacher Awards. Out of these lecturers, four candidates for the Outstanding Teacher Award and four candidates for the Teaching Talent Award were selected. Jury chair Prof. Ruud Schotting introduced the candidates. The winners were announced in a pair of exciting film clips. Outstanding Teacher of the year is Gerda Andringa (Liberal Arts & Sciences - University College Roosevelt) and Teacher Talent of the year is Lorena De Vita (History - Faculty of Humanities). They will receive the prizes during the Dies Natalis.


Giselinde Kuipers spreekt tijdens de Onderwijsparade 2020
Keynote Giselinde Kuipers

Keynotes from a societal and philosophical perspective

The two keynote speakers shared their views on the topic. Prof. Giselinde Kuipers from a societal perspective, Prof. René ten Bos from a philosophical perspective. Among other things, Giselinde Kuipers discussed the university's responsibility to produce good citizens who are aware of society's problems and are actively involved in solving them (link to presentation). René ten Bos outlined the perception at today's university in the face of an ideal image of the university, i.e. the idea of the university (link to presentation).


Studentassessoren Suzanne Akkerhuis en Merel Dekker
Student Assessors Suzanne Akkerhuis and Merel Dekker

Student Assessors Suzanne Akkerhuis (Geosciences) and Merel Dekker (Medicine) gave a brief response to the content of the keynotes. They underlined that students have an obligation to remain involved with the reality of society and sometimes have to step out of the university bubble, and also stressed that students should first develop broadly and generally before specializing in a particular discipline.


Subsessie Onderwijsparade 2020 met Michael Burke
Honours dean Michael Burke

Inspiring subsessions

One of the nine workshops was about the academic community of the future and was organized by the Special Interest Group Oker and the editors of the magazine Verbeelding van de Academische Gemeenschap (in Dutch). Findings from this session can be requested through Marij Swinkels. Marij Swinkels, Pieter Huistra, Siebren Teule also wrote a retrospective on this on DUB (in Dutch).
During the session Value of the Humanities, there was a discussion led by honours dean Michael Burke based on this short documentary 
Under the guidance of the two student assessors, the purpose of academic education according to students was discussed. What do they think the university does well and what do they miss in their academic education? Link to presentation.
In the session Back to basics with the latest technology, led by Richta IJntema, they addressed the question of how we can increase the impact and 'fun' of our education. Link to presentation (in Dutch).


Theatermakers van Flunknarf tijdens de Onderwijsparade 2020
Theatre makers of Flunknarf

Exchange and meet

During lunch there was plenty of time to meet and catch up informally. Staff from the partners of the Centre for Academic Teaching walked around and answered questions of participants who had educational questions. At the same time, participants were able to visit the poster session of the Second Utrecht Teaching and Learning Conference that was held in the morning.

Dryly comical wrap-up

The wrap-up of the day was slightly different: the theatre makers of Flunknarf made a musical, theatrical and comical summary of the day using key words from the audience. Enough to talk about during the subsequent drink!