Nelleke Veenema wins Honours Teacher of the Year Award 2020

Opening of the Academic Honours Year 2020-2021

Honours Teacher of the Year 2020
Honours Dean prof. dr. Michael Burke hands the ‘trofee’ to honours teacher Nelleke Veenema

Nelleke Veenema has won the Honours Teacher of the Year Award 2020 during the Opening of the Academic Honours Year, which was celebrated with an online video this year – instead of the traditional ceremony at the Academiegebouw. Veenema was nominated for this award by her students Veterinary Medicine.

The jury made up of the Honours Dean, faculty honours directors and honours students, stated that Veenema supported her students when it was needed, but also gave them a lot of autonomy, in which they could thrive. She constantly challenged and encouraged them both online and offline. She even ended up writing an article together with her students, which is now published.

Veenema supported her students when it was needed, but also gave them a lot of autonomy, in which they could thrive. She constantly challenged and encouraged them both online and offline.

With the Honours Teacher of the Year Award, the university acknowledges and celebrates the achievements of the Utrecht University honours teachers. Every year one of the university honours teachers receives this award during the Opening of the Academic Honours Year. The teachers are nominated by honours students of the different faculties and programmes.

Nominated by students

The students Veterinary Medicine who nominated Nelleke Veenema explain that she constantly challenged her students to come up with alternative approaches, instead of following conventional methods. Also, Nelleke was always guiding her students in search for the answers instead of giving the answers herself.

Honours student Carmijn Meulenbroek shares an interesting moment during the lockdown: ‘Nelleke actually managed to teach us online how surgery on a pregnant cow is performed.’ Another memorable moment, according to Carmijn, is the publication of an article in the Tijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde, written after being encouraged by Nelleke.

Challenging days

Honours Dean prof Michael Burke: ‘Working with highly talented students requires extremely talented and inspiring teachers. With this award those individuals are acknowledged and thanked.’ Burke also mentioned the challenging times the university community is currently dealing with. ‘These are certainly challenging days for honours education, of that, there can be no doubt. But remember, it’s in moments of adversity when honours students, and honours teachers, flourish. So welcome these obstacles, in the coming months; meet them head on. I know you will and I know too that you will find creative solutions, to overcome them. And before we know it, we will all be emerging on the other side: stronger, healthier and wiser.’