BSS pulls out of Lecturer of the Year election

Faculty will host podcast about quality education

BSS pulls out of Lecturer of the Year election

The Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences (BSS) has pulled out of the annual Lecturer of the Year election. The faculty says the competition has lost sight of its original goal to shine a spotlight on quality education.
7 October om 11:23 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 7 October 2020
om 11:23 uur.
October 7 at 11:23 AM.
Last modified on October 7, 2020
at 11:23 AM.


Giulia Fabrizi

Door Giulia Fabrizi

7 October om 11:23 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 7 October 2020
om 11:23 uur.
Giulia Fabrizi

By Giulia Fabrizi

October 7 at 11:23 AM.
Last modified on October 7, 2020
at 11:23 AM.
Giulia Fabrizi

Giulia Fabrizi

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‘We feel it’s not about the lecturer as a person, but about the different educational designs’, says Nadia Taha, student assessor and co-organiser of the election at BSS. It’s also about sharing these different designs and learning from each other. 

The faculty is changing tack this year: they’ve asked the programme committees to select quality educational practices and organise a podcast – since corona prevents a live event – to discuss the best practices with the lecturers in question. 

‘Like a round table discussion where we’ll talk about different themes and how they design their education, how things can be done differently’, Taha explains.

No competition

Taha says the change at BSS came about gradually. ‘Many of the lecturers, including the ones who were nominated previously, would prefer not to participate in this kind of competition.’ 

The way the election is set up right now, it’s like a knock-out race: first, the various departments nominate lecturers they think are worthy. Those lecturers compete for the title of faculty lecturer of the year. The winner of each faculty round then moves on to the university-wide round.

Celebrate education

While many lecturers endorse the idea behind the election – focusing on education rather than research for once – few of them enjoy the work that comes with it. They also feel that the competition focuses too much on the lecturer as a person rather than their educational practices. 

‘We’ve been talking about this for a while’, says Taha. ‘We have changed our format slightly over the past few years. But this year we decided to do things completely differently. Everyone who teaches here works hard. We want this election to celebrate education, not turn it into a competition.’

Change of heart

The fact that BSS lecturers were unhappy about the competitive aspect of the election also became apparent when associate professor Stephan Schleim published an opinion piece in UKrant last week. The department of psychology approached him as a possible nominee for the ‘old’ award. He declined, for the same reasons that BSS decided to eliminate the competitive section of the election.

Schleim appreciates the faculty’s change of heart. ‘After my opinion had been published, the vice dean emailed me explaining the changes. I enjoyed that’, he says. ‘I’m also pleased that the changes are being discussed elsewhere at the university.’

The central organisers of the annual election have indeed taken notice of the change at BSS. ‘We’ll be discussing what the larger election is going to look like this week’, says co-organiser Jaap Mulder. What this means for the future of the Lecturer of the Year election at the UG will possibly be announced next week.

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