In September 2023, I joined the team of Educational Development & Training. My expertise is in research and training of feedback: how to provide, receive and seek feedback in the educational and workplace setting. For over 20 years I worked in the field of medical education focused on faculty development -training faculty, staff, teachers, and learners- to become better in teaching. Further, I guided faculty and students new to education research navigating medical education scholarship. Because of this background I am part of the teams (1) Feedback and Assessment and (2) Scholarship in Higher Education (Leren Onderzoeken in Hoger Onderwijs) which organizes for example the course Supervising PhD Research.
My teaching, scholarly work, and service is characterized by a strong person-centered approach. In medicine, the care provided to patients should be patient-centered. I believe my teaching, scholarly work, and service should be learner-centered, tailored to the needs of the people in front of us. My vision on teaching is heavily influenced by my research on giving and receiving feedback in clinical education. One of the most important claims I make is that feedback is only effective when it is tailored to the needs of our learners.1
An article by Ten Cate et al.2, has further strengthened my educational vision. Learning happens on three levels: cognitive (what we need to know), affective (why we need to know) and meta-cognitive level (how we learn). In my teaching, scholarly work, and service, these three components are reflected. I not only teach, mentor and advise on the explicit aspects of what we need to know, but I also try to make the implicit knowledge explicit: why do we need it and how can we acquire it. This approach forces people to self-reflect (How do I do this? Why do I do this?) and to be vulnerable to their learners, mentees or advisees. They have to share their strengths, weaknesses, and questions. By doing this, the relationship between them often improves and becomes stronger.
The third aspect that drives my work is Ryan and Deci’s Self-Determination Theory.3 This theory focuses on what motivates humans to move towards growing. Three components are crucial: autonomy (the need to feel ownership of one's behavior), competence (the need to produce desired outcomes and to experience mastery), and relatedness (the need to feel connected to others). I try to incorporate these three aspects whenever I work with either learners or my colleagues.
These three perspectives have one aspect in common: they all are other-centered approaches of teaching, research and service. When other-centered approaches are practiced, they make us all grow and help us to accomplish the mission of Utrecht University: '[...] educate students who are prepared in the best possible way for the uncertainty and complexity of society, both today and in the future. This requires not only sound specialist knowledge, but also skills which enable them to work together beyond their own specific fields and cultures. It also requires leadership, entrepreneurship and a capacity for lifelong learning.' This other-centered focus will also ensure that students, colleagues and collaborators stay motivated. Focusing on the success of the team, and not just individual success, will help education, research procesess and collaborations go a long way.
1. Molloy, E., & Van de Ridder, M. (2018). Reworking feedback to to build better work. Learning and teaching in clinical contexts. Sydney: Elsevier, 305-20.
2. Ten Cate, O., Snell, L., Mann, K., & Vermunt, J. (2004). Orienting teaching toward the learning process. Academic Medicine, 79(3), 219-228.
3. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American psychologist, 55(1), 68.