An interview with Teachers of the Year Herman van der Meulen and Cees Koomen
Last weekend, Herman van der Meulen and Cees Koomen received several Awards. Van der Meulen received the Teaching Beyond Teaching Award in the BSc in Business Administration Program (Cohort 2019) and the Best Lecturer Award in the Part-time MSc in Management Program (PtMsc24). Koomen took home the Professor of the Cohort Award in the BSc in Business Administration Program (Cohort 2019).
Koomen completed his MSc in Management at Nyenrode Business University in 2000. In 2006 he started teaching at Nyenrode under the supervision of Van der Meulen. It only took a few years before the ‘master-apprentice’ relationship turned into an equal ‘master-master’ relationship and a close friendship.
Both gentlemen have jointly won 23 awards based on student selection throughout various years and programs. During a previous interview Van der Meulen already shed some light on the secret to this success: “The Teaching Beyond Teaching Award touches me right in the heart”. According to him, that is exactly what teaching is all about as far as his duty as a teacher goes.
The lecturers given by Van der Meulen and Koomen are anything but boring. “Each in our own way, we switch up the lecturers as much as possible. We stay away from endless monologues, and instead interact a lot with the students”, explains Koomen. Also educational innovation with digital tools such as the Financial Mindmap and flipped class rooms is used – and content should always include humor and student (inter)action.
According to Koomen and Van der Meulen, the foundation is a safe, familiar learning environment where students can completely be themselves. Van der Meulen explains: “Based on solid (digital) preparation, the student is able to explore the teaching materials both in and outside the classroom. They do this together with us, in amazement and with an open mind without prejudice. During this process, it is essential that the student feels and experiences that they can come to us at all times. In other words, inner hospitality based on genuine attention.” Van der Meulen does however expect his students to always have a ‘triple-A’ mentality, which stands for being alert, attentive and actively present.
Koomen calls it mutual understanding, respect for the experience of different generations: “The interaction is based on equality and has an informal character”. Koomen requires a strict preparation and can even be somewhat firm towards the group, so that, in his own words, room for fun is created. Receiving appreciation for this aspect of his teaching methods makes the award therefore extra special to Koomen.
Each year, the Nyenrode Teaching Award is handed out to the Teacher of the Cohort. In addition, the Teaching Beyond Teaching Award has been initiated by the BScBA students since 2020. This award goes even beyond the Nyenrode Teaching Award.
Van der Meulen says the following about the award: “It is a reflection of how we present ourselves as a person in our relationship with the students. Genuine curiosity and interest have to do with being there at a certain moment, which goes way beyond a lecture hall”.
Van Der Meulen received this Award in 2020 and 2022, and went to Koomen in 2021. Koomen says: “Teaching is in our DNA and this award is an acknowledgment of a Nyenrode connection that is established during the education program”. Both Koomen and Van der Meulen are very honored to have received the awards and congratulate all graduates on their outstanding achievements and diplomas.
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