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Senior Teaching Qualification for first ten lecturers

The Senior Teaching Qualification is for experienced lecturers who have done more than lecturing alone. Ten quotes from the first ten lecturers to receive the STQ award.

As well as the University Teaching qualification, Leiden University now also has the Senior Teaching Qualification. This is a qualification for lecturers who play a leading role in developing and innovating teaching at curriculum level, in other words, beyond their own discipline. In a pilot STQ, an assessment committee evaluated the portfolios of ten lecturers nominated by the faculties. The committee was impressed by the candidates' commitment to the education provided in Leiden, and saw examples of inspiring projects in the area of innovation in teaching. The pilot will now be evaluated and in the course of this year an announcement will be made about the number of lecturers that can apply for the STQ.   

Simone van der Hof

Simone van der Hof, Law and the Information Society

What did you change in your teaching and why is that   important?
'At the start of our advanced master's in Law and Digital Technologies I thought it was important for our team to develop some new interactive teaching methods. We knew what knowledge we wanted to impart to our students, but the question was how do you do that in an appealing and effective way? We invested a lot of time in thinking about this and  we now have a programme that offers a lot of diverse working and testing methods that our students really appreciate.'

Marcello Bonsangue

Marcello Bonsangue, information science

Why was it important for you to have the STQ certificate?

'Higher education needs to move towards making teachers' primary role that of coach. As coaches they are better able to support student learning and ensure that students really understand the subject matter, rather than simply being able to reproduce the knowledge that has been fed to them. The STQ certificate is an indication of a higher level of competence: it gives a lecturer a role as a mentor, who in turn facilitates and supports other lecturers in their role. The idea is for these senior lecturers to use their competences and vision to improve education as a whole.' 

Lindsay Black

Lindsay Black, International Relations of East Asia

What do you like about your leading role in teaching?
'A leading role in curriculum development has its own challenges and rewards.You are constantly forced out of your comfort zone, devising new learning tracks. How do the different components of a curriculum enrich and build further on one another? How do the learning objectives of a programme reflect the way each of the courses is taught and assessed?  The rewards come from the students who graduate, having developed their knowledge and skills in your programme.'  

Marlies Reinders

Marlies Reinders, Internal Medicine

What is the essence of good teaching?
'I would say that curiosity-driven and active learning, where students themselves play a more hands-on part in the learning process, is the essence of good teaching. In Medicine, we use technological innovations to stimulate curiosity-driven learning and in recent years we have, for example, produced a MOOC, a SPOC and several virtual reality videos.  The STQ helped me give my vision about how teaching and research are intertwined a scientific basis, and to determine how this is expressed in my teaching.' 

Marjo de Graauw

Marjo de Graauw, Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences

What do you like about your leading role in teaching?
'When I was working towards the Senior Teaching Qualification, I was able to develop and implement a number of different innovative teaching projects. The key points of these projects were improving activating and curiosity-driven learning, in particular digital learning, embedding peer review in the teaching and focusing explicit attention on career development. I want to use my experience to coach other lecturers in how they can inspire students to become curious, critical-thinking young professionals.' 

Bart Barendregt

Bart Barendregt, Cultural Anthropology and Development

What have you gained from creating your STQ portfolio?
'If teaching is the art of making people curious, it's a breath of fresh air to be able to ask openly how you can keep on doing that, and doing it better every time. It helps to look at what others are doing, but every discipline also has its own didactic insights; that's something I became aware of while writing my portfolio: how little room and time we allow ourselves to look more deeply at the didactics of each specific discipline.'  

Joanne Mol

Joanne Mol, Archaeology

What is the essence of good teaching?
The ultimate aim of a good educational programme is to deliver academics who are better than yourself. Education needs continuous reflection, because not only do students and teachers change, insights also constantly change. It's great to modify courses, and even whole programmes, so that students understand how a a particular subject fits into a programme, and at the end of the day they feel they have learned something useful as well as how to apply what they have learned in a creative way. The STQ forces you to make these kinds of reflections.' 

Egbert Koops

Egbert Koops, Law

What is so good about being a senior lecturer?
'Students underestimate the impact of evaluations. Lecturers spend a lot of their time working out how things can be done better, which is good; it keeps them on their toes. At the same time, evaluations - good or bad - aren't the be-all and end-all.  A senior lecturer is experienced enough and has the composure to see through evaluations, and to recognise the difference between an incident and a trend. He or she will know when to make changes and when not to, and how to package the core message to keep it interesting for new students. But even more importantly, he or she knows just what that core message is, what students really do need to know and be capable of.'

Niels van Willigen

Niels van Willigen, Political Science

What have you changed in your teaching, and why is that important?
'My biggest challenge as Director of Education for Political Science was setting up the new bachelor's specialisation in International Relations and Organisations (IRO) in The Hague, and structurally improving the attention paid to academic and professional skills in the bachelor's curriculum. As a lecturer, you are mainly working on your own teaching, and it was a good learning experience to think about what direction a complete programme should go in.' 

Thijs Bosker


What did you get out of compiling your STQ portfolio?
'Developing an STQ portfolio was a good way of taking a step back and thinking about your own role in teaching, and within the institute. For me, it meant, for example, reflecting on questions relating to research-led teaching. How do we shape this within our institute?  And then there's the question of the importance of interdisciplinary teaching. What exactly is that? And how can you incorporate it in a programme? When writing the portfolio, I had some great discussions with colleagues as well as with the STQ committee.'

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