Universiteit Leiden

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ICLON research program reviewed as 'very good'

Last year the research program Teaching and Teacher Learning of ICLON Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching had its recurrent external review.

Dual focus

The review committee assessed the research quality, relevance to society and viability of the ICLON research program as 'very good' (scores 2). The qualitative findings from the committee were promising and encouraging as well. The committee members valued the so-called dual focus of the research program on developing theory and practice, which means that the research projects of the program aim at simultaneously contributing to the improvement of educational practice and generating knowledge about this practice. The review report states:

'ICLON embraces a double focus on theory and practice and states this as the key dual mission of the institute. In doing so, the members of ICLON deserve credit. Teaching and teacher education has long been criticized for the gap between theory and practice and calls are given worldwide to bridge it.'

The committee also appreciates the developments the research program went through and the direction it takes. ICLON research is positioned in the center of the domain of teaching and teacher education:

'With its research program ICLON has moved from a more cognitive to a situated approach, which is in line with the current developments in teacher education and teaching research. In this way the institute is positioned to contribute to front-line research as well has broadened its focus. The research program preserves a clear focus and there is ample evidence of a cumulative body of work that builds on the cognitive perspective of the previous program.'

Unique position

The committee believes that given current developments at Leiden University as well as in the international educational research community, ICLON research has a strong opportunity to take leadership in higher education research, and to develop the institute in this area from a service unit to one that also conducts high-level research.

ICLON has indicated a clear preference to continue as an independent specialized research unit in the future, focusing on teaching and teacher learning in secondary and higher education. The committee considers this a sensible strategic choice, since the chosen focus gives ICLON a unique position in Dutch educational research. The specialised nature and clear focus of its research program makes ICLON an attractive partner to collaborate with on a national and international level.


The stand-alone review was performed by an international review committee comprised of distinguished members of academia: Professor Jan Vermunt (chair, University of Cambridge, UK), Professor Antonia Aelterman (Universiteit Gent, Belgium), Professor Tina Seidel (Technische Universität München, Germany), and Professor Judith Warren Little (University of California, Berkeley, USA).