Winners UU Teacher Awards 2023: Peter Pelzer and Serena Di Palma

At the OnderwijsFestival on Thursday 9 March, the winners of the prestigious Teacher Awards were announced. Peter Pelzer, teacher in Human Geography and Spatial Planning (Faculty of Geosciences) won the 2023 Teacher of the Year award. Serena Di Palma, teacher in Pharmacy (Faculty of Science) has been elected Teacher Talent of the Year 2023.

The jury chose these teachers because of their commitment within education and the way they do it. These two lecturers have a lot of passion and enthusiasm for teaching and their field, take the students with them in their teaching and know how to make a connection between academia, practice and education. In total, there were 36 nominations this year for the jury to choose from. After the first jury meeting, three nominees remained in the category Teacher Talent and in the category Teacher of the Year. During the second jury meeting, a delegation from each study association came to present the nominated teacher. This year, the jury was very impressed by the quality of the nominations. Criteria in the selection included the teacher’s educational vision, the creation of interaction with students and the role of the teacher in question within and outside the study programme.

Are you curious about the six nominees? Please watch the videos below in which they introduce themselves.

Nominees Teacher Talent of the Year 2023

Nominees Teacher Talent of the Year 2023

Nominees Teacher of the Year 2023

Nominees Teacher of the Year 2023
From left to right: Serena Di Palma, Ronals Bleys, Peter Pelzer/picture: Lize Kraan

Announcement ceremony

The announcement ceremony and presentation of the awards took place in the Academiegebouw, as part of the well-attended OnderwijsFestival. The winners were addressed in the Aula by Ronald Bleys, jury chairman of the Teacher Awards, under the watchful eye of colleagues, family, friends and students of the winners. The teachers in the election are nominated by their student associations. These students put a tremendous amount of work into the nomination every year. Some of them were therefore present at this festive ceremony. During the university's Dies Natalis on Monday 27 March 2023, both winners will once again be highlighted.

Teacher of the Year 2023

Peter Pelzer is associate professor of Human Geography and Spatial Planning in the Faculty of Geosciences. In his teaching, he finds it important to navigate between the inner world of thinking, consideration and conceptualisation and the outer world of societal challenges, action and positioning. He likes to give students a sense of being part of something bigger. Besides teaching, Peter is involved in Mixed Classrooms and setting up the Academy of Hope. Students appreciate his commitment to both front and behind the scenes with a clear view of the future. Peter Pelzer was nominated by Robin Pleizier of study association VUGS.

Teacher Talent of the Year 2023

Serena Di Palma is assistant professor of Pharmacy within the Faculty of Science. Serena is a very enthusiastic teacher who teaches full of passion and energy. She finds it important to provide activating teaching, giving students room to make mistakes and teaching them skills that are applicable in other contexts. Students appreciate the personal contact with Serena and her endless energy. Serena Di Palma was nominated by Ilja Timmermans of study association U.P.S.V. Unitas Pharmaceuticorum.


This year's jury consists of Ronald Bleys (chairman), Danny Broere, Niels Bovenschen, Lotte Henrichs, Gery Nijenhuis, David Onnekink, Frans Pennings, Dax Vendrig, Arjen Vredenberg, Renate Baarslag (student member) and Kes van Achterbergh (student member). The jury is supported by Marijne Wijnker (Centre for Academic Teaching and Learning).