Meet Leoniek Wijngaards en Kim Zunderdorp

Here UU'ers from the Open Science community introduce themselves. Meet Leoniek Wijngaards and Kim Zunderdorp, leaders of the new Open Science programme, Open Science in Education. 

Who are Leoniek Wijngaards and Kim Zunderdorp?

Leoniek: I work as a vice-dean at the Faculty of Social Sciences and am also affiliated with the Department of Methodology & Statistics of that faculty as a professor. In addition to my administrative tasks, my research and teaching, I have been working for years on various forms of educational innovation in higher education, such as projects on diversity, inclusion and matching. I enjoy working with colleagues from different faculties and universities, including in the context of the Centre for Academic Teaching UU where I am a principal fellow.

Kim: I have been working as an education policy advisor at the Directorate of Students, Education and Research of Utrecht University since 2016. In the past I have been involved there with honours education, the National Student Survey and student graduation. Now I am involved in community engaged learning, internal certification and recently the track Education in Open Science. Besides work, I live in Utrecht with my partner René, I am mother of my 6-month-old daughter Vera, I practise modern dance, I like to walk and I love eating and cooking.

How did you get involved in Open Science?

Kim: Actually, I have been involved in open science for a while, although I never named it so explicitly. In 2018, I wrote a policy paper on open sharing of educational materials in the online repository figshare. And since that same year, I have been programme manager of community engaged learning, in which we encourage students, instructors and social partners to learn from each other about social issues. Both fit well with the vision behind open science: sharing our knowledge with society and actively involving them in the further development of our knowledge of social issues. Based on these experiences, I was very enthusiastic to start the new track Education in the Open Science Programme together with Leoniek.

Leoniek: As director and as professor, the theme of recognition and appreciation and its implementation is high on my agenda. The university needs this culture change in order to better achieve the core objectives of research and education in a meaningful and honest way. Other (cultural) changes, such as FAIR data, are woven into my teaching as a lecturer in the Department of Methodology and Statistics. It therefore feels very natural to be the leader of the education track in the Open Science programme, together with Kim.

What would you like to draw attention to in the context of Open Science?

Kim: I think long-term, reciprocal relationships with society are crucial for the success of Open Science. It is not enough just to make knowledge available; you need a lot of experience to be able to apply university knowledge properly in society. And vice versa, long-term reciprocal relationships are very valuable for formulating relevant research questions and for carrying out research that is of real value for science and society. Finally, those mutual relationships can lead to a great sense of purpose among students and teachers. I hope for lively communities in which students, lecturers and external partners explore social issues together and learn from and about each other.  

Leoniek: I think it is important to discuss the scope of the theme with many people in the first phase. What does Open Science mean for our education? One quickly thinks of the skills and attitude of the open scientist in education. This is essential, of course, but there are many other aspects of education that are also related to this issue. For example, you might wonder how open our education is and how we can best prepare our students for their role in society. 

What will be your biggest challenges?

Leoniek: The workload among colleagues is high, and there are many important educational innovations that require attention. The challenge is to stimulate and support the teachers as much as possible in the changes that are needed in the field of Open Science. In doing so, it is of great importance to keep coordinating with other educational projects.

Kim: There are already all kinds of initiatives in the area of Open Science and education within the UU, sometimes under this heading and sometimes not. Where exactly is the added value of a track education in the Open Science programme? What can and should we deliver in concrete terms? That seems to me the biggest challenge for the start of our work.

What are you proud of in relation to Open Science?

Kim: I think it is great to see that Open Science has really become a movement within the UU to which many scientists feel connected. I hope that we will have just as much involvement of scientists in our track.  

Leoniek: I am proud that the UU is playing a leading role in the national and international debate on recognition and appreciation changes. I would like to draw attention to the aspects of education and leadership, aspects that are also crucial to get the education track of Open Science off the ground.