Harmen Jousma wins Teaching Prize

‘Always focus on your students, and make sure that what you teach them will be relevant to them as alumni.’ In his speech of thanks, Harmen Jousma, lecturer in Science Based Business, shared what drives him: training students for the world outside the university.

Universities are part of society

In a crowded Pieterskerk, Femke Vermeer, chair of the jury of the Leiden University Student Platform, explained the criteria that the lecturers nominated have to meet. Just giving good and inspiring lectures is not enough. ‘These lecturers do not see the university as an ivory tower that is only there to teach, but as an integral part of society.’ The other two nominees, Anita van Dissel (lecturer in Maritime History) and Jan van der Ploeg (lecturer in Environmental Anthropology), were highly praised for the way they gie their students a good understanding of the field of practice.

Harmen Jousma

Harmen Jousma

Lecturers who get the best out of their students

Vermeer keeps the tension alive: ‘Each of these lecturers deserves to win the prize. They are all fantastic examples of how university teaching gets the best out of students.’ But it was Jousma who was declared the winner, during the Dies celebrations on 9 February. His solid preparation for the job market is one of the reasons for his success, according to Vermeer.

Tough cases in the boardroom

Jousma gives his students tough cases from management practice so they can try out how things go in the Board Room. He also encourages and supports them with their internships at one of the many companies in the Science Based Business network, the teaching programme set up by Jousma and his colleague. Vermeer: ‘Students praised him because he is always accessible, even with his busy schedule.’ In his speech of thanks, Jousma, clearly somewhat taken aback, explained that it was his intention to train students for the world outside the university. His motto is: ‘Always focus on the students, and make sure they acquire skills that will stand them in good stead as alumni.’

Place in the Teachers’ Academy

This prize will earn Jousma a place in the Leiden Teachers’ Academy. The aim of the Academy is to give an extra impetus to innovation in teaching. Over the course of five years Jousma will be able to spend his 25,000 euro prize money on teaching. A total of twenty lecturers were nominated for the Teaching Prize. They were all put forward by student associations or groups of a minimum of four students. The jury was made up of students from the Leiden University Student Platform, who also selected the winner. 

(9 February 2015)

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Last Modified: 09-02-2015