First UT-wide Education Week: 'Getting out of your own bubble and connect'

| Rense Kuipers

A week of award ceremonies, get-togethers and workshops to put education at the UT in the spotlight. All this under the heading 'Going the extra mile'. Educational consultant and one of the initiators Robin van Emmerloot looks ahead to this first 'Week of Education', from 10 to 14 June.

Photo by: Fokke Eenhoorn
Archive U-Today: Heidi Toivonen was voted teacher of the year in 2023.

After a Central Education Day and faculty-led Months of Education, there is now an Education Week. Why?

'The Centre of Expertise in Learning & Teaching (CELT for short, ed.) was asked us to bring back an initiative to value education this year, especially after the Months of Education from the faculties came to a standstill after those of S&T and EEMCS. Education is one of our pillars as a university, but it is the most underexposed activity when you look at the attention and activities around it. We see education as a daily activity, but it's good to reflect on it and put the spotlight on what we have to offer in this area.'

Why is that so important?

'There has been a buzz about recognition and rewards for a while, but how you put that into practice is another question. Therefore, compare such an education week with the UT's well-being weeks: your well-being is extremely important on a daily basis, but you also have to take moments to reflect on it a little more. And in the case of education: also to celebrate it. That's why we chose the theme Going the extra mile, which can be explained in several ways.'

A week is the best time frame for that?

'We hope so: not too long and not too short. So not too short-lived and not too fragmented and scattered. In this way, we try to find a kind of sweet spot in creating a manageable, but as complete and coherent range as possible, with the necessary cachet.'

How is this view reflected in the programme?

'The great thing is that we were able to put out a broad call for proposals last spring to shape the programme. For example, the programme came about from the faculties, but also from, for example, the Organisation of Study Associations and ECIU. During this week, we bundled the awarding of several awards: the Brinksma Innovation Grant, the Senior Teaching Qualification certificates and the Central Education Award. In addition, there will be poster sessions on challenge-based learning, a multi-day hackathon on AI in education, and a live podcast with, among others, rector Tom Veldkamp about the UT educational vision. We also have workshops – for example, about making podcasts and videos, but also about preventing students from free-riding in a project group.'

Is it primarily for UT lecturers or for a wider audience?

'The programme will probably appeal mostly to teachers, but we are taking a broader approach – also for many students. For example, much of the programme is extremely relevant for students who are part of a programme committee. Or even more broadly: the final of the Central Education Award (teacher of the year, ed.) is interesting for everyone. In any case, this week is not primarily intended to professionalize teachers, although it can of course be a nice side effect. The week is meant to connect with each other.'

When can you speak of a successful event?

'I wouldn't want to hang it on the number of participants, because not everything on the programme is equally easy to quantify. What would be nice is that the people who participate can learn something from each other. It's really not that everyone should be pushed towards a Senior Teaching Qualification, it would be nice if we could offer the opportunity for people to come out of their own lecture hall – their own bubble – and talk to each other. There are really cool things happening here in the field of education, you don't even have to look that far for that. As long as we pay attention to it.'

The 'Week of Education' will take place from 10 to 14 June. You can find the entire programme here.

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