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Harmen Jousma catapults students onto the job market

Practise in the Board Room and getting start-ups through difficult times. Students of Harmen Jousma, lecturer in Science Based Business, learn about the art of doing business. Jousma is one of the three nominees for the Leiden Teaching Prize.

What is your reaction to the nomination?

‘It's hard to take it in. When I used to teach as a PhD candidate, I knew my teaching was good. Today, I think it can always be better, it should be different or that I ought to know a lot more.'

Three nominees

Harmen Jousma teaches at the Faculty of Science.

The Leiden Student  Platform (LUS) selected three names from the more than 20 nominations in the race for the Leiden Teaching Prize, the prize for the best lecturer of the year. The three candidates are: Anita van Dissel (lecturer in Maritime History), Harmen Jousma (lecturer in Science Based Business at the Faculty of Science) and Jan van der Ploeg (lecturer in Biodiversity, at the department of Anthropology). The LUS will announce the winner during the celebration of the Dies Natalis on 9 February. The prize consists of a place in the Leiden Teachers' Academy, and a sum of 25,000 euros that the winner can spend on teaching.

Why do you think you were nominated?

‘In all honesty, I think it's more about how the programme is structured. I have embraced case-based teaching because that's how it's done at business schools. It focuses on cases from management practice. As an example: in a complex and uncertain situation the management of a young company has to decide whether they will give other companies the right to use their new technology or whether they will launch a new product on the market themselves. Our discussions on these cases are interactive and students really do have to make sure they are well prepared.' 

I want to give students knowledge that will be useful to them as alumni.


What makes your lectures so attractive?

‘Students prepare for the discussions in small groups. This process means that they are closely involved because they are specifically asked to reach a shared opinion: what is the decision to be, and why?’

What would you say is typical of your teaching?

‘Informal, at times confrontational, open and accessible, I hope. I am sure that there are also students who don't appreciate my style of teaching. But what's more important is that we make choices aimed at the future possibilities for students outside academic research. For example, by inviting guest speakers from practice and the way we organise internships. What's crucial is the drive to share as much knowledge as possible with students, but above all from the perspective that it has to be knowledge that will stand them in good stead after they hve graduated.'

What does the nomination report say about this lecturer?


‘Harmen Jousma and his colleagues set up Science Based Business in 2004. This programme offers students the opportunity to follow well-supervised internships both in the Netherlands and abroad at one of the many comanies with which Jousma and BBB collaborate. At RBB (Research Based Business) the emphasis is on entrepreneurship. Jousma creates an ambitious environment for students, fully supports their interests, ensures a strong focus on teaqching and supports students with their own businesses. Je always keeps his promises and is available 24/7.  Thanks to the many successful alumni, Jousma is famous on the Bio Sccience Park for his extensive network.'  

(15 January 2015)

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