Wouter Kalf appointed Education Director at the Institute for Philosophy
As of 1 January, Wouter Kalf has been appointed Education Director at the Institute for Philosophy.
Kalf has always been interested in teaching. ‘I find teaching both fun and important, and throughout my career I’ve actively sought opportunities to teach, both within and outside philosophy. This has led me to work for medicine and dentistry faculties, as well as an engineering programme in England, where I taught a series of lectures on ethics. I have really enjoyed it all!’
Good contracts for temporary lecturers
As Education Director, Kalf will mostly be responsible for deploying lecturers over the various courses and modules offered by the Institute. ‘Our most important challenge right now is that the Dutch government wants to make it easier for people to get a permanent contract. And although we can staff some of our courses with permanent staff, we also still have to hire people on a temporary basis. I’ll do my utmost to offer them the best contracts possible.’
As far as Kalf is concerned, this means offering lecturers the largest contracts possible, in terms of scope and hours, but also organising teaching so that lecturers can be more closely involved in the Institute. ‘I’ve noticed that we tend to plan courses taught by temporary lecturers in the afternoons, which coincides with our research seminars. But it would actually be better if temporary lecturers could also attend these seminars, especially when the speaker is particularly relevant for their research. Imagine a lecturer having to teach a first-year course, while next door there is a lecture by an important professor whom they would love to learn from.’
Contribute to the future
Will Kalf not miss teaching, now that his duties as Education Director take up at least half of his week? ‘Of course. I love teaching, and it was tough having to choose which courses I will no longer teach myself. I really enjoy defining clearly the central problem in a given field, exploring potential solutions, and giving students the tools they need to work further on one of the solutions themselves. But I’m also interested in how the University is governed, and I always enjoy taking on extra administrative tasks, alongside my research and teaching. In this position, I can really contribute to the future of teaching at the Institute.’