Anton ten Klooster
Assistant professor at Tilburg School of Theology.
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Anton ten Klooster, I am assistant professor at Tilburg School of Theology. Most of my teaching and research focuses on the field of moral theology, which means I get to discuss and study a lot of interesting questions: from vaccines to racism, from the question ‘what is happiness’ to the ethics of proctored exams at our own university. I am a priest of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Utrecht, and I am rector of studies of the diocesan seminary in Utrecht.
Research and education are two important pillars of academia. What do they mean to you?
With every year that I teach, I learn how the two are intricately connected. The questions students ask challenge me to think deeper about subjects in my research, and the things I find in research help me to give students a broader array of insights, and hopefully I can explain these better to them. Both tasks are stimulating to me, although I find that it is easier to sacrifice research for teaching-related obligations than vice versa. To do research is also a privilege: I’m given time to figure out what a subject is about, to look at all sides of it, and then to make up my mind. Society needs spaces where all questions can be asked, including those that challenge the status quo. I also try to make my classes such spaces.
You are now one of the initial members of the TYA. What is that like?
It was a surprise to be nominated as the sole member from TST, and I’m grateful for the trust the board of our school has given me with that decision. At the first meeting, I was elected secretary of the TYA which means I’m all-in from the start. It’s been intense, but I enjoy getting to know the university better – in particular the workings of the different schools.
I am sure you all have topics that are important to you. What is your main focus in the TYA?
At the level of the university, I’m very interested in the implementation of the ‘character’ part of the Tilburg Educational Profile: what sort of students do we wish to form? One of the ways to form character is by leading through example. The way we recognize the efforts of early-career academics really speaks of the kind of academic community we want to be. Therefore, the ‘Recognition and Rewards’ program will be very important to me. It’s a way of staying true to the wise words of my promotor that ‘research is a collaborative effort’.