11 January 2018

And the winner is...

The Geosciences Teacher Awards were presented at the New Year's reception on 9 January. Amir Raoof won the Teacher Talent Award and Douwe van Hinsbergen was named Teacher of the Year.


Jury's praise 

The Teacher Award jury comprises the Vice-Dean of Education, the three Directors of Education and two student members from the Faculty Council. The awards were presented by the two student members: Jonas Liekens and Dionne Melskens, who also read aloud the praise from the jury. All in proper English, as befits an internationally oriented faculty.

Douwe van Hinsbergen

Dionne shared the following about Douwe:

“You have a clear vision on teaching: teach students the right tactics and skills to solve problems, and they can use these in every company or organisation. You train the students by first asking them to quickly formulate a hypothesis, and then to look for ways this hypothesis can be disproven. Because, in your view students learn more from predictions that were false than from showing that one is right.”

Douwe feels it is extremely important for students to learn to think for themselves, to draw their own conclusions ánd to have the opportunity for personal development. Which is why he focuses on what students are interested in.

Amir Raoof

Amir Raoof likewise takes note of students' interests in his lectures and structures his teaching accordingly. Jonas had this to say about Amir:

“You really want your students to be actively involved in your lectures and you encourage them to ask a lot of questions. You subsequently use these questions to define which topics you are going to focus on. As a result, students are never bored during your lectures and remain excited about the different topics you cover. You are committed to find the best fitting teaching method for every course.”

Amir shows students that the issues they encounter in their professional life are more complex than the ones they deal with during their studies. Consequently, during the final courses in the Hydrology track, he pays extra attention to preparing for the work that comes after the Master's degree. In the process, he clearly spells out the social relevance of what students learn.


The Faculty of Geosciences expresses its appreciation for its teachers’ work and effort with the Teacher Awards. In addition to a certificate and a lovely bouquet of flowers, the winners also received  € 1.500,- to be spent on education-related issues. The candidates were nominated by the study associations. The nominees for Teacher of the Year were - in addition to the winner -: Egbert van der Zee (Human Geography and Spatial Planning), Joost Vervoort (Environmental Sciences) and Jan Andries Post (Natural Sciences and Innovation). Unfortunately, only one lecturer besides Amir was nominated for the Teacher Talent Award: Ruud Bosch (Human Geography and Spatial Planning), because two study associations were of the opinion that there was no talent that really stood out.