Anke Liefbroer

Anke Liefbroer nominated for national Teacher of the Year election 2024

Published: 15th February 2024 Last updated: 08th March 2024

With a passion for research and spiritual care, Anke Liefbroer seeks to connect her teaching and its practical applications. This resulted in a nomination for the national Teacher of the Year election 2024. "I believe it's essential that my lectures not only include (sometimes quite abstract) theories and concepts but also that students learn how to develop or investigate that theory and understand its relevance to everyday practice."

Update: Anke Liefbroer stands out among seven candidates selected by the jury to proceed to the next round of the Teacher of the Year election 2024. She has been invited for an interview to present herself, with the final four finalists to be chosen from these interviews scheduled at the end of February.

The Dutch National Students’ Association (ISO) is organizing the tenth edition of the Teacher of the Year election on March 25, 2024. With this election, ISO aims to provide a platform for inspiring teachers and showcase the teaching profession in a positive light. Anke Liefbroer has been elected by the students and Executive Board of Tilburg University as Teacher of the Year and is being nominated as a candidate for the national election.

Anke Liefbroer - Uitreiking Docent van het Jaar
Anke Liefbroer - Docent van het Jaar klassenfoto

Research on spiritual care

Since 2021, Anke has been affiliated to the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (TST) as an Associate Professor. Her enthusiasm for teaching stems from her passion for conducting research. "I explore, among other things, the care provided by spiritual caregivers to their patients or clients, how they guide them in matters of meaning and life questions, and the impact it has on their wellbeing," says Anke.

Meeting the learning needs of students

Anke demonstrates the relevance of research by allowing students to apply theories to concrete cases. "A case in point is the Pastoral Care & Psychopathology course. In response to students' requests, we discussed topics such as dementia, addiction, autism, and mental health issues among migrants. To ensure that students achieve the learning objectives, I use interactive methods, such as discussions in pairs or small groups on specific questions, short group assignments, debates based on statements, or incorporating quizzes."

anke liefbroer vierkant

"I tailor my teaching as much as possible to the learning objectives and needs of my students."

New Master’s program

There is currently a growing demand in the field for well-trained spiritual caregivers. To meet this demand, Anke has been working on educational innovation for the past two years by establishing a new degree program in Spiritual Care. "In this two-year Master's program, education is explicitly connected to recent developments in research and the professional field, not only at course level but also at curriculum level."

Connector and pioneer

Even though Anke is relatively new to education, she has already made a significant impact over a short period. ‘’Her impact stems from her educational philosophy, her original and diverse approach, her research, and the connection she seeks with her students and society. The profession of Spiritual Caregiver is rapidly evolving, and Anke is a bit of a groundbreaker in this context’’, tells Prof. Jantine Schuit, Vice-Rector Magnificus and member of the Tilburg University Executive Board.

"Anke actively contributes to the character formation of young individuals. Her expertise and commitment ensure that students are not only engaged in education and the field but also with each other and society."

jantine schuit

Anke has the ability to connect, utilizing expertise and creativity, to give students an active role in the teaching-learning process and to empower them with ownership of their learning journey. Jantine: ‘’She is able to convey her knowledge on her innovative research to students during her lectures. Nationally, the field of spiritual care is expanding and is becoming increasingly influential. Her vision for the future of the field enriches the interdisciplinary dialogue between theology and psychology.’’ 

Quotes from students

  • josje

    Josje Schoonus


    "Her approach goes beyond just imparting knowledge: she motivates us to think independently and develop our own perspectives."

  • remco

    Remco van Horek


    “What sets Anke apart is that she lends us a sympathetic ear, without compromising on substance."