‘The BMS Teaching Academy facilitates the improvement of education in our programmes,’ continues Huijs. ‘It offers opportunities for professionalization of BMS teachers, it connects them to each other so that they can cooperate and learn from each other, and it also aims to reward teaching.’
The initiative started last year and it has already supported eighteen projects focused on innovation in education. ‘The first projects were proposed by programme directors, but from 2021 onwards we’d like teachers themselves to also come up with ideas,’ explains Huijs. ‘The projects cover a lot of topics, for example challenge-based learning or enhanced learning by digitalization. Usually a group of teachers works on the project together. It also allows them to go into more depth on aspects they want to develop in their teaching.’
The reactions of teachers are positive, says the Managing Director. ‘About fifty teachers have participated so far. They enjoy collaborating and discussing their teaching methods. We will soon distribute a survey among teachers to see what their wishes are and how we could incorporate them.’
The BMS Teaching Academy is one of the BMS initiatives for which the Faculty uses the WSV (Wet Studievoorschotmiddelen) funds. These funds are the result of the abolition of the basic student grant, which has been converted from a gift to a loan. Every calendar year from 2019 up to and including 2024, a budget is released from the WSV funds to be used for the improvement of quality of education.
‘The activities of the BMS Teaching Academy are also important for students,’ adds Huijs. ‘It ultimately leads to improvements in their education. That is why we also involve students in the steering committee that decides on the projects.’
The Academy will have its official kick-off event on the 29th of March. Nearly a hundred participants have already registered for the online gathering. ‘It’s great that there is such interest. That is what you want to see,’ says Huijs. ‘I expect more faculties will look at setting up their own teaching academies. Who knows, maybe it will grow into a university-wide project.’