Teaching is something I truly enjoy. I have been lucky to have had many outstanding teachers during my education, who still inspire me today.
I have been teaching courses on interest groups, advocacy and lobbying at the University of Antwerp and the Australian National University, where my syllabus combined research-driven lectures with contributions from prominent practitioners. At ANU, I have advanced my teaching skills by becoming a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and completing the Foundations of University Teaching and Learning.
Courses I am currently teaching at Leiden University include "Introduction to Public Affairs" (Bachelor), "Theory & Practice of Public Affairs" (Master) as well as "Research Methods".
TEACHING AND LEARNING PHILOSOPHY
I believe that teaching really is about developing students by growing their intellectual capacities and confidence. One of my key goals here is that they develop different and new perspectives on an issue, and learn to understand and appreciate these different point of views. I believe this approach makes them both more knowledgeable and capable of having high quality conservations about a variety of topics. In that sense, the impact I aim to achieve does go beyond my own course or area of expertise; in the end it is about providing people with optimal incentives to make the most of their talents (which of course will be different for every student), on a personal and professional level.
Here, I follow the path of teachers who inspired me as a student. They inspired me because they clearly enjoyed teaching, were passionate about their topic, and cared deeply about the learning experience of students; for them teaching clearly was not just “a job”. They did not only trigger my interests in a particular topic, but also stimulated me to continue learning and to be curious, ambitious and open-minded. I definitely aspire to play a similar role for my students, as without these teachers I would not have the pleasure of working at a university today.
While it is obviously also important that they acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, I believe that communicating academic knowledge and state of the art research in a way that motivates students to learn more about a particular subject is imperative. This is obviously a high bar, but I think this should be the ambition of every teacher. I think this can be done by relating course topics and research theories clearly to current events and the daily life of students. I also actively aim to support their learning process, for instance by providing ample opportunities for questions and discussion during class, as well as by encouraging them to share their own perspectives. Oftentimes, I find that their ideas and opinions provide highly complementary and innovative insights that make vital contributions to the quality of the lectures.