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Natascha Kienstra appointed endowed Professor of Ethics Education

Published: 27th October 2022 Last updated: 02nd November 2022

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The Executive Board of Tilburg University has appointed Dr. Natascha Kienstra as endowed Professor of Ethical Formation at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (TST) effective November 1. Kienstra thereby accepts to hold the Women of Bethany Chair. This aims to contribute to religious education and moral formation in schools. The appointment is for a period of five years.

Moral education and ethics lessons aim, among other things, to do the right thing. In the Netherlands, one can think here of curricula such as philosophy of life, philosophy, citizenship, religious education, social studies, and outside the Netherlands of curricula such as moral philosophy and civic education.

Kienstra's ambition is: 'To show that philosophy contributes to the quality of living together and working together. I would like to give a broad audience, including all high school students, both national and international, access to learning to think well - where they learn to ask questions, learn to reason, analyze, test, criticize and reflect in order to learn to act well in doing so, as well as to form their character.'

The Women of Bethany

The Women of Bethany, a Catholic congregation of women, have allocated one million euros to TST for a named fund of the Tilburg University Fund. The monies from this fund will be spent for purposes of religious education and moral formation. This includes the establishment of a special chair in Ethical Formation/Moral Education. The chair will be embedded in the Department of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at TST.

Natascha Kienstra has been assistant professor of philosophy and professional didactics at TST since 2015. She is the program director of the Christianity and Society master's program and also chairs TST's ethics review committee. She studied philosophy in Tilburg, Leuven and Utrecht. In 2016, she received her PhD from the Faculty of Philosophy at Radboud University in Nijmegen. In her dissertation she investigated the effectiveness of philosophizing. She has long experience as a teacher in higher education: for more than twenty years she worked as a lecturer in professional didactics at that university. She is vice president of the Association Internationale des Professeurs de Philosophie (AIPPh). This organization is a member of the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés de Philosophie (FISP). In addition, Kienstra is president and examiner of State Philosophy Examinations. She is also co-editor of the teaching method Dare to Think! for philosophy, critical thinking, citizenship and philosophy of life in secondary education (Boom Publishers). 

Kienstra's empirical research focuses on the teaching and learning of philosophy, ethics, philosophy of life and moral education. She is the principal investigator in an Erasmus+ project focusing on European ethics education (Community of Ethics Teachers, COMET) and developed a collaborative methodology for philosophy teachers and debate coaches (ADAPT, Her COMET project has received the good practice award and the associated website has reached half a million people. 

For more information, please contact Natascha Kienstra: