Looking back on the 2021 UU Onderwijsparade: Connecting communities
Academic education and society are inextricably linked. How do they relate to each other? How can they benefit from each other? Students, lecturers and staff explored this question during the Onderwijsparade, the annual education day, on the 4th of March. Over 320 participants, 20 sub-sessions with various pitches and speakers resulted in a varied and inspiring programme. It was a special edition of the Onderwijsparade: this year it was held online.
Third Utrecht Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference
In the morning the third Utrecht Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference took place. Because the conference was online this year, it offered an easy opportunity to let international speakers speak and thus lecturers from the universities of Lund, Edinburgh, Poznan and Southern Denmark were represented. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to attend various workshops on designing and conducting their own SoTL research. The conference ended with several rounds of poster presentations by lecturers from within and outside the UU. They discussed the results of their SoTL projects with the participants. Click here for the abstract of all SoTL projects.
Onderwijsparade: keynote address
Day chairman Bright O. Richards hosted a walk-in conversation with James Kennedy prior to the keynote. As chairman of the UU programme Community Engaged Learning, James explained what is already happening in this field at the UU. After the opening address by the Rector, the keynote speakers were introduced. This year, an interactive form was chosen: no lectures but two keynote speakers, Karin Rebel and Rose-Anne Dotinga who talked to each other under the inspiring guidance of Bright.
Karin and Rose-Anne developed the Utrecht 2040 Game in 2019: a serious game that introduces students to sustainability based on the Sustainable Development Goals. In the discussion, it became clear how inspired their collaboration had been. It formed a bridge between society and education. Students who played the game were often so inspired that they wanted to continue developing sustainable goals afterwards. Perhaps the game will be further developed with an interactive platform in the future.
After the keynote address, there were two rounds where participants could choose from no fewer than ten different sub-sessions. For example, the session Teaching with Society: Issue-focused education discussed interventionist education. One of the university's greatest ambitions is to have education contribute to developments in society in an innovative way. But in what ways can students 'intervene' in society? First, two appealing examples were briefly presented: the concept of the award-winning Mixed Classroom lecturers team and the project The Living Pasts. A panel with Sanne Akkerman, Gery Nijenhuis and Rianne Poot discussed the statements Interventional education is an absolute necessity for academic education and Interventional education is - at the moment - difficult to fit into the academic system. There was a lot to say about this: how do you involve your stakeholders? Do you let them give feedback to students? How do you deal with this as a lecturer? But in any case, it was jointly agreed how important this form of education is and that practical objections must therefore be overcome, no matter what.
Another sub-session, How do you discuss controversial topics in the classroom, dealt with the question of how to make complex themes such as terrorism, political violence, freedom of speech and coronas conspiracies discussable in the classroom. TerInfo, an initiative of Beatrice de Graaf, helps teachers in primary, secondary and MBO education to make terrorism and political violence discussable in the classroom. In this interactive session, participants talked to TerInfo staff, experts, teachers and a student about making these subjects discussable in the classroom. Important and stimulating questions were discussed, such as: how do you discuss a terrorist attack without stirring up fear? And should you as a teacher share your own views on a controversial subject in class? Although, as teachers, you sometimes find yourself in a minefield when it comes to these kinds of discussions, everyone agreed on the importance of them and felt that guiding discussions well is an enormous added value.
Winners Teacher Awards announced
The inspiring and lively afternoon was completed by the announcement of the winners of the UU Teacher Awards. This academic year students had nominated 35 lecturers for the UU Teacher Awards. Out of these lecturers, three candidates for the Outstanding Teacher Award and three candidates for the Teaching Talent Award were selected. Jury chair Prof. Ronald Bleys introduced the candidates. The winners were announced in a pair of exciting film clips. Outstanding Teacher of the year is Lotte Henrichs (Academic Teacher Training Primary Education (ALPO) and Educational Sciences, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences) and Teacher Talent of the year is Luciel van Vuuren (Anatomy and Physiology, faculty of Veterinary Medicine). They will receive the prizes during the Dies Natalis.