Sofie Smeets is a PhD researcher at the department of Cultural Anthropology. She focuses on diversity in higher education, and combines her research with her job as a teacher at Hogeschool Rotterdam (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, RUAS).
Her research It's Just Education: the (im)possibilities of an inclusive pedagogy in higher education aims to give insights in the processes around diversity in higher education in the Netherlands and the (im)possibilities of an inclusive pedagogy. While there is an increasing diversity of the student population in Dutch higher education, specific groups of students drop-out faster and more often, which limits the accessibility of higher education. Hogeschool Rotterdam proposes an inclusive pedagogy as an approach and possible answer to prevent or reduce this drop-out. Yet, literature review and experiences in practice show that this approach is often met with resistance, by students, teachers, and the organisation of higher education institutions, such as RUAS.
Most research on inclusion and diversity in higher education in the Netherlands, focuses on the experiences of (minority group) students. This ethnographic research, instead, highlights the experiences of teachers of Hogeschool Rotterdam, who want to make their educational practice more inclusive, and, thus, gives insights in the (im)possibilities of an inclusive pedagogy.
For her PhD research, Sofie received a PhD-grant for teachers from the Dutch Research Organisation: NWO Promotiebeurs voor Leraren.