Senior lecturer Department of Marketing and Project Leader Implementation Tilburg Educational Profile
"We want stimulate our students to be critical thinkers but also to act in a responsible way with an open mind for large societal issues."
Can you give us a brief description of your career?
Having worked in marketing, holding general management positions for over 26 years, I decided to make a career switch in 2000, to join the academic world and spend the next part of my professional life there. People frequently asked me why did you make this switch? Don’t’ you miss your company car or bonus? One important reason was my wish to do something radical different, being 50 years old. No more detergents, breakfast cereals, petfoods and sealants. Maybe my choice for education has something to do with my Christian background: helping others, in this case young people. Moreover, I was always interested in understanding the reasons behind the behavior of consumers and governance in international companies. Another reason was my wish to educate myself further.
In 2000, Tilburg University through Rik Pieters offered me a teaching position in the Marketing Department, and Theo Verhallen, Dean of TiSEM at the time, was willing to act as my PhD supervisor. I got my PhD in 2006. I taught courses till September of last year, and was Academic Director of the IBA Bachelor’s program for six years, which I enjoyed very much.
You are currently project leader of the project group that is involved with the implementation of the Tilburg Educational Profile. Can you tell us a bit more about this project?
At the core of the Tilburg Educational Profile (TEP) are the three pillars of Knowledge, Skills, and Character. We want to transfer state-of-the-art knowledge to our students in the best possible way, provide them with appropriate skills, and stimulate them, not only to be or become critical thinkers but also to act in a responsible way and to approach big societal issues with an open mind. Interestingly, most of the discussions surrounding the TEP is focused on character: what is character? Is it the same as attitude? Can you develop character, is developing character part of our task as a university, and if so how should we go about it?
My major task is to work with dedicated representatives of each school (called School Project Managers) and a team of highly motivated colleagues from Academic Support and Marketing & Communication on the implementation of what we call TEP 1.0: an implementation plan consisting of ten action lines agreed on by the Vice-Deans for education and the Rector Magnificus. The progress on these actionlines is discussed in monthly meetings with the rector and vice-deans.
What is the current state of affairs in the implementation of TEP?
Most of the actions formulated have been realized, but some have not been fleshed out completely yet, such as Character Development, where we are in the middle of the process of development. Last week our project group had a very constructive meeting on this subject with eleven teachers and full professors. Based on a university wide survey in June we concluded the awareness of the Tilburg Educational Profile is still low, especially amongst students. My colleagues from the Marketing & Communication Department are working hard to improve this level.
Is there anything else you want to say about TEP?
Teaching is demanding as I experienced myself during the last 18 years, but it is also very rewarding, and more than makes up for the loss of a lease car, which I used to drive before I got into academia. Teaching is also highly individualistic: you own the expertise. I hope my colleagues are willing, despite time pressure, to contribute to making the implementation of the Tilburg Education Profile a success.
See also: Tilburg Educational Profile