I am fascinated and inspired by how systems work, in their composition from small interacting building blocks. This has always applied to computer systems; more and more I also include organisational and social systems in my sphere of interest, in particular where it concerns the university educational system.
After understanding why a system works, or doesn't work, the question of improvement arises. I usually do not take for granted that things must be the way they currently are, even after understanding why they are that way. Change, however, is not easily brought about: in software, the (lack of) maintainability stands in the way, in organisations it is typically inertia and lack of motivation for change.
UT Research Information System
Google Scholar Link
After having helped develop and teach numerous courses in the Computer Science Bachelor and Master programmes, and having served for many years as Examination Board member and chair, since September 2019 I am Programme Director of those study programmes.
In this capacity I foremost guard the content and quality of the programme. Though this has always been and still is quite safe in the hands of our dedicated lecturers, with the increasing volume of the programme there is growing need of a firm safeguarding system.
It is my firm conviction that a large factor in the continued quality of the programme is the feeling of community, both among the students and among the teachers. We try to stimulate this through various means:
- For the students, by defining conglomerates (houses) in size between the total number of the yearly student intake, which has grown too large to feel at home in, and the much smaller group of personal friends.
- For the teachers, by explicitly welcoming all new staff members through the employee news, by sending a biweekly news mailing regarding all teaching matters, by organising an annual Educational Day, and by supporting the faculty-wide UTeachers Community.
Affiliated Study Programmes
The principle of Model-Driven Engineering is widely applicable and, indeed, widely applied. In consequence, collaborations and projects can be established in many places. This diversity is clearly reflected in the list below: there are industrial collaborations and large European projects as well as more fundamental research projects.
As scientists, it is part of our job to explain, not once but again and again, what the role of research is and why it is one of the cornerstones of our society. No matter how easy it is to shed doubt on truths uncovered by truly objective research, and no matter how hard to explain the outcomes and their consequences, it is the only way in which we can make progress and dispel ignorance.
In another role, as managers of such a large and complex organisation as a university, we have to make sure to communicate using all available channels, to look for feedback and to explain why decisions are made, especially if they are painful. Transparency is the only way through which the open atmosphere can exist that we need to do our primary jobs: teaching and research, research and teaching.
In the press
News on utwente.nl
- Measures needed to absorb student growth - on ensuring that the 300 Computer Science Bachelor students starting in 2019 will have the same opportunities as before (in Dutch, February 2019)
- English is also the informal language at Computer Science - on the need to use English pervasively in an English-language programme (May 2019)
- Master with 11 students not viable - on turning the Master on Internet Science and Technology into a specialisation of Computer Science (in Dutch, January 2019)
- Computer Science gives three 10s in one year - on excellent Computer Science Mater students winning national prizes (in Dutch, October 2018)