Pascal Haazebroek and Kirsten Buitelaar on lecturers and students new style
‘You’re in it together,’ says Pascal Haazebroek, Director of Studies of Psychology. ‘You have an influence on your education; you’re part of a university, so come back to campus now that you can,’ urges Kirsten Buitelaar, student member of the Board of Education. Read this double interview about lecturers and students new style. What keeps them fresh?
Bootcamp and singing lessons
P: It was a tough time. I started in 2020 as the new Director of Studies and two months later everything was online because of corona. As a very new father, I was able to take part in meetings when my daughter wasn’t at the creche. Many a time I’ve had my earbuds in while changing nappies: no video and no smell! Having had some disturbed nights after Linde’s birth and spending whole days staring at a screen in the attic, I’m now trying to shed the corona kilos by pacing the room during meetings, with my earbuds in. I also have a fixed running route in the centre of Leiden, I run the 10 km Leiden marathon every year and I always take part in the Bootcamp Classic training at the USC.
K: In March 2020 I had just come to live in The Hague between the Zuiderpark and the beach and I walked in the fresh air every day with an audiobook or a podcast. Now I’m having to get used to all the social contacts there are in a day, which really puts my ‘social battery’ to the test. Going for a long bike ride helps me feel mentally fit, that really charges my battery. Singing is another outlet for me and it’s a fun way of challenging myself, especially now that I’m taking singing lessons.
‘It’s enormously valuable to have the student perspective represented in the Board of Education during discussions and when you’re making decisions.
Co-production by lecturers and students
P: Education is a co-production by lecturers and students. It’s one of the things we discuss in the Board of Education and the role of our student member is essential. In the Programme Committees, too, you want to get a feeling for the other person’s views; that benefits both students and lecturers.
K: I’m totally excited about the videos for statistics for self-study in parallel with teaching in the lecture halls. We evaluate a lot of these kinds of creative ideas from the lockdown period in the Programme Committees and try to see them from the student’s perspective. We look at how such a good idea can be modified slightly so that it works for students in the way that lecturers intend.
K: In one case, a lecturer with a new initiative received immediate feedback in the Programme Committee. That generated some really great ideas. One suggestion is to have experts from practice present in the lecture hall so that they can contribute to the dialogue. That way students can learn in an interactive way and they get to take a look behind the scenes.
P: That’s a great example: showing them the added value of education in person by having more discussions on the material and getting students to participate actively in the lecture hall. Students aren’t simply consumers; they have to prepare for a tutorial and play an active part when they’re there. That means there is a good reason to get together at the Faculty.
Students are changing; and so are lecturers
P: Have you seen the lounge downstairs? It’s so good to be able to get together for a coffee again. We want every student to feel truly at home here. The role of student is changing from consumer to contributor; that might be by acting as a mentor for other students, for example. As a lecturer, you have different roles and you know that they all matter; one day, one role might be more important and the next day it’s another. You’re an expert, a source of inspiration, a teacher, a coach, and an assessor. In the end, it’s about helping students learn; it’s an interaction.
K: Two-way communication helps, then students find it less daunting to ask questions, they get more control over their own learning process and they pick up the basics a lot better. I keep my eyes and ears open, including when I’m an observer in the Programme Committees together with Pascal. That way we know what the programme needs and what’s on the minds of students. I represent the interests of students and it’s my job to keep my finger on the pulse when decisions are taken in the Board of Education, to make sure the student perspective is taken into account.
Ideas around the coffee machine
P: Now that we’re together more in the Programme Committees and with the Education Coordinators for each section, we realise: ‘Oh, is that how you do that?’ These are inspiring sessions with a lot of exchanging of ideas. We now have a lot more lines of contact available to reach other lecturers and help to inspire them. There’s the Education Kick-Off and the development groups with lecturers who working on all kinds of innovations, supported by the expertise of ICLON and SOLO. Helping and inspiring on another: that’s what we really want to do as a Board of Education, and that has a knock-on effect. We’re open for all kinds of ideas.
K: I think it’s important that students in and around the corridors at the Faculty and that they have the chance to meet up with lecturers at the coffee machine. During the lockdowns, many students were stuck at home with little or no social contact. Here at the Faculty, we want to build a strong community feeling. That’s why it’s important that you’re actually here, and luckily that’s possible again now!
The newer normal
P: When I come home after a day of back-to-back meetings, I see Linde in the living room from the garden. As soon as she catches sight of me, she’s so excited. ‘Daddy!’ she calls and comes running up to me and throws herself into my arms. She does that every day. :) Then, all those work worries fade into the background.
K: I’m a loyal visitor to Lowlands and I’ve had my best times there. It’s fantastic wandering around the whole day in the sunshine and listening to music. With these kinds of festivals spread over several days there’s a strong feeling of belonging and everyone can just enjoy themselves. I’ll be going again this year, with my boyfriend!
Each month we follow the story of a board member: this is what I do administratively and this is what I am like personally.
Executive Board Psychology