Learning and innovation

Research and education at UM is thematic, multidisciplinary, and inspired by social themes. UM distinguishes itself by focusing on three main research themes (i.e. ‘Quality of life’, ‘Europe and a Globalising World’, and ‘Learning and innovation’) which are studied on the basis of different disciplines at all relevant levels. Maastricht is known for its innovative approach to education and for its university wide choice for problem based learning. A defining characteristic of our research in this domain is the strong link between educational research and educational practice. At a micro-level research varies from the exploration of neurological foundations of learning to research in (new) educational formats to enhance individual learning. Meso- and macro-level research include the evaluation of educational interventions both at school and at systems level, as well as corporate and organisational learning and social innovation. A major segment of this research strategy explores the social, political and economic factors that drive technological innovation.

Although an increasing number of organisations are developing online training initiatives for their staff, participants’ hierarchical ranks are hardly taken into consideration. Are we all equal when we learn or does hierarchy influence our network behaviour? For his PhD, completed under the supervision of professors Wim Gijselaers and Mien Segers, Martin Rehm undertook research into the impact of hierarchical positions within online Communities of Learning (CoLs).

When given the opportunity to coordinate a fine art minor at Maastricht University and introduce one of the first academic creative writing courses in the Netherlands,the Pushcart Prizewinning novelist Ana Menéndez couldn’t say no. “This was a chance to rethink things and take a more European approach. It was exciting to consider how we might offer this programme to people who are interested in writing, but who come from different academic or cultural backgrounds”, Menéndez reflects.

In 2007, Professor Joost Pennings and his colleagues Arvid Hoffmann and Nikos Kalogeras launched a special master’s track at the School of Business and Economics in Maastricht: Marketing-Finance. At first sight, these are two vastly different disciplines. But the programme has been a resounding success, not least because of its practical orientation and academic relevance, as reflected in the recently established Marketing-Finance Research Lab.

At 28 years old, Robbert Duvivier has accomplished a huge amount for someone so young. In eight years he’s completed an MD in medicine and turned in his PhD dissertation on clinical skills training for medical students.

“I let people discover their own talents”

In Body
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 07:23

Jamiu Busari is an English paediatrician with Nigerian roots. He was among the first batch of students to join Maastricht’s pioneering programme in Health Professions Education. Now the medical manager of the Department of Paediatrics at the Atrium Medical Centre in Heerlen, Busari is a true role model, creating a positive workplace atmosphere and training and coaching junior doctors.

As indicated in its proposed performance agreements (‘Voorstel prestatieafspraken 2013-2016’), Maastricht University (UM) aims to be able to give targeted advice to all prospective students by 2015. This is because choosing a study programme that suits you and meets your expectations is not always easy, but it is important – not just for you but also for the faculty. Already, the faculties of Law and Arts & Social Sciences are using a ‘traffic light’ system for prospective students. A questionnaire on their study skills and motivation indicates whether their choice of programme is a sensible one, and issues a greenlight (go ahead!), or a yellow or red one (needs attention!). The advice is not binding. The two faculties each have their own approach to the ‘Matching & Binding’ programme, but are in complete agreement on the preliminary results. 

Annemarie Nelen recently earned a PhD from Maastricht University for her dissertation on part-time employment. One of her findings: toddlers with working mothers perform better in school. “I want my research to be relevant and understandable. It’s rewarding when people outside the academic field are genuinely interested in the results.” Her supervisor was Professor Andries de Grip at Maastricht University’s Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA).

We need women at the top

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 14:42

The future of the academic world belongs to women. A bold statement? Perhaps. Yet it seems a justified conclusion when looking at the figures: not only do women tend to have higher grades than their male counterparts, but they also outnumber men among university graduates. Paradoxically, however, the female presence in top academic positions is best characterised by its absence. For this reason Cathrien Bruggeman, one of the first female professors at Maastricht University (UM), took the initiative of creating an all-female PhD committee this summer. "I wanted to draw attention to women's underrepresentation in a frivolous manner", she says. "I want young women to get equal opportunities to reach the top."

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