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For Ayo Adedokun, gratitude prevails: 'Happy with national recognition for my passion in teaching'

Ayo Adedokun, Assistant Professor at Leiden University College The Hague (LUC), was one of the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year Prize for 2022. The National Prize is an annual event organized by the Dutch National Students Association (Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg, ISO), and the Comenius network. Although Ayo did not win the final award, he enjoyed the learning experience and expressed gratitude for the national recognition. Reinoud Lavrijsen of the Technical University Eindhoven became the winner.

Ayo Adedokun during the 'Docent van het Jaar Verkiezing'

Adedokun, political scientist at LUC, was in the race for the prize honouring good teachership alongside three other candidates. The election was held for the eight time and the award was presented during an event at the Muntgebouw in Utrecht. The finalists each held a mini lecture showcasing their abilities. Prior to the event, they had send in several items, recorded a video, and had several interviews with the jury of five.

Teaching is his calling

This year, the jury, which included three students, paid special attention to the collaboration between students and teacher. Ayo Adedokun had already left an impression last year with the manner in which he interacted with his students during the pandemic. He took them for walks to find out how they were really doing. He also played jazz music during breaks to bring inner peace to the students. And organised coaching sessions in which students were invited to think and philosophise about their lives after graduation. These included topics such as careers and further opportunities for self-development. Adedokun won the LUS Teaching Prize during the opening of the academic year last year. The LUS Teaching Prize is the teacher-of-the-year award organised by the Leiden University Student Platform.

It’s incredible to see that my passion for teaching has received national recognition with this nomination. I’m very proud of that.’ 

For Adedokun teaching is his calling and the class room his super power. Which he emphasised once more during the presentation in Utrecht. Dressed in a tuxedo, he was announced as best dressed candidate. ‘It’s incredible to see that my passion for teaching has received national recognition with this nomination. I’m very proud of that. Getting to the final stage of the national teacher of the year award in less than two years of joining Leiden University means a lot to me.  There is much more than winning. I have received unprecedented support from my incredible students at LUC, colleagues, and the Leiden University Student Platform (LUS) as well as the Executive Board of the University. So, I am grateful for this great opportunity, and I appreciate the learning experience.’  

Winner Reinoud Lavrijsen has received a grant of 25,000 Euros for education and/or research, facilitated by the Comenius network and the Dutch Ministry of OCW. He will also be an honorary member of the Comenius network  during the upcoming year, and he takes home a trophy designed by students of the Academy of Arts Utrecht.

Text: Margriet van der Zee and Rob Dorresteijn

Images: Rob Dorresteijn

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