Arts instructor Lecturer of the Year

Wednesday afternoon marked the tenth edition of RUG’s Lecturer of the Year award. This year’s nominees battled in a series of ten minute lectures with subjects ranging from computational linguistics to traditional Chinese medicine.
By Nina Yakimova

This year’s list of nominees included four female and five male instructors, and chairperson professor Brigit Toebes of the faculty of law is the first female chair of the event.

‘There is no shortage of good teachers at the university’, RUG president Sibrand Poppema informed the audience in the nearly full aula as events got underway. The nominees were assessed based on internationalisation, interweaving teaching and research, student engagement and innovative teaching methods. The winner receives a prize of 7,500 euros, a work of art and an invitation to develop and teach a course for the Honours College.

Yin and yang

Herman Woerdenbag from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences spoke about traditional Chinese medicine and balance between yin and yang. With an interactive lecture on author analysis, Malvina Nissim from the Faculty of Arts discussed the ‘fingerprints’ and clues we all leave in our writing and the possibilities for ‘teaching’ a machine to identify such clues.

Law faculty lecturer Barend van Leeuwen talked about the issues related to euthanasia in the EU and the balance between an individual’s right to make an ethical choice and the rights of EU Member States to protect their ethical positions. ‘Students need to have an ‘A ha!’ moment when all clicks’, according to Mathilde van Dijk of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies. Tamer Nawar, an instructor in the Faculty of Philosophy attempted to defuse a paradox in ten minutes. Arno van der Vlist from the Faculty of Spatial Sciences covered housing in his mini lecture.

‘You have a lovely voice, you should sing’, Toebes compliments FEB lecturer Liane Voerman following her lecture on retail marketing. Although behavioural and social sciences instructor Kees Keizer was out of the country, he still managed to gave his lecture via a livestream. Rounding off the afternoon, medical sciences instructor Noor Mouton discussed the connection between muscles and good academic research, but could not provide a definitive answer to Toebes’ question of whether good posture is important for good teaching.

And the winner is…

In the end, it was the arts faculty that swept up: Malvina Nissim was chosen as Lecturer of the Year and also received the Audience Award. ‘Your ability to evoke curiosity, your innovative and research-driven teaching approach which transforms classroom work into a collaborative effort of teacher and students, stands out and enhances the learning of all’, said Hans van Ees, University College Groningen dean and jury president, who presented the Nissim the award.

Nissim remained humble in victory. ‘I feel honored and grateful, but the best feeling came when I received the email with my nomination’, she says. Barend van Leeuwen is the winner of the Web Award.

Photo: Elmer Sterken



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