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New Year’s reception 2022: towards a new kind of social science

On 11 January 2022, the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences opened the new year during a livestreamed reception. Dean Paul Wouters and Executive Director of Studies Kristiaan van der Heijden were the hosts. After several faculty prizes were awarded, our Dean expressed a new year’s resolution for 2022.

Did you miss the livestream? Watch the full recording below!

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Casimir Prize

Because of COVID-19, it was not easy to continue offering consistent and high-quality education to our students in 2021. Kristiaan van der Heijden emphasised that we, as a Faculty, managed to do that because of intensive teamwork in multidisciplinary teams, despite the constantly changing situation. Kristiaan: ‘In teams we create a sense of belonging, we inspire each other, we increase enthusiasm and we can learn from each other.’

The first prize to be awarded during the reception was the Casimir Prize. It is awarded every year to a team of teachers or teaching support staff and has been named after professor Rommert Casimir, a pedagogue and education innovator.

Assessor Noah Westerlaken had the honour to announce this year’s winners: all teaching support staff, who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes last year to safeguard education.

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Pieter de la Court Medal

Next up was the Pieter de la Court Medal, an initiative for students by students. The Medal is awarded to students who voluntarily contribute to one of the Pieter de la Court themes. This year, two Medals have been awarded. The winners came to the studio to receive their Medal.

Claire van den Helder won the Medal for the themes diversity and inclusion. She devotes great effort to bring awareness about ableism to the general public, for example with her podcast ‘Gewoon Disabled’. The jury called Claire a devoted role model. Claire: ‘I hope that in the future, representation for disabled people will be valued just as much as for non-disabled people.’

Orestes Kyrgiakis won the Medal for the themes entrepreneurship and inclusion. Through the student committee No Student Without A Home, he fights for a better housing marketing for (international) students. The jury emphasised that Orestes is an inspiration for others. Orestes: ‘It is absurd in the 21st century, with all the technology and experience that we possess as humanity, to have students that live in tents.’

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Master’s Thesis Prizes

The last prizes to be awarded, were the Master’s Thesis Prizes. These are awarded to the students who have written the best master’s thesis and research master’s thesis of the Faculty last year. The institutes of the FSW were asked to nominate master’s theses, that would be judged by the jury on scientific quality, creativity, relevance and readability. Kees Verduin, lecturer Methodology and Statistics and chair of the jury, had a chat with the two winners.

The best master’s thesis of the Faculty has been written by Simay Çetin, supervised by prof. dr. Peter Pels. Simay’s thesis is titled: ‘Interpreting Culture through Embodied Practice: An anthropological study of sexuality among Dutch Women with Turkish Migrant backgrounds’.

The jury also had to decide on the best research master’s thesis. The winner was Silav Zeid, supervised by dr. Arnout Koornneef, who wrote the thesis ‘Developing an Academic Vocabulary Test for the Psychological Sciences’.

Read the jury reports for the full considerations of the jury.

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A toast to the new year

Towards the end of the New Year’s reception, Paul Wouters shared his thoughts about the place that social sciences can take in 2022. ‘Let’s be honest: although it’s a difficult time to do academic work and to teach, it’s also exciting to be a social scientist, because our object of study is changing.’

The Faculty Board has set itself the target of finishing a new strategy plan for the Faculty before the summer of 2022, in the footsteps of the Institutional Plan of the University. Paul told us what their new year’s resolution is: ‘We would like to engage all of you in the development of this strategic plan and new vision, to create a new kind of social science that is able to help people give meaning to what it means to be human in these times.’

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