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Involvement and enthusiasm of all people involved

For the past three years, Pieter Roos has been location director of Mechanical Engineering in Amsterdam where he formed the Management Team together with Bernadette Pol and Janine de Schutter. What were the five most remarkable moments for him in those three years? ‘I never thought that in my role of location director I could enjoy the work of other teachers so much.’

No going back

‘I’d  like to make it 4.5 years because I include the run-up. I still clearly remember the very first information meeting in Amsterdam in a room full of 4, 5 and 6 grade VWO students. They were listening to a story about a study programme that was yet to come. You can't really go back then anymore. Later, in the train on the way home, I felt excitement and pride: it’s really happening now.’

Warm feeling

‘The first real lecture day at VU Amsterdam in September 2019 was also a defining moment. It was then that I saw the students all together for the first time and realised: it's real now, we've started. That felt good even though it was a different feeling than I was used to in my role as a teacher. As a location director you are not so visible, certainly not to the students. Much of your work takes place behind the scenes. On that first day, I experienced a warm feeling of involvement and responsibility. And not just for the students, but also for the teachers and all the support staff.’

Steady situation   

‘Corona came down hard on us in the first year. Our development was brutally disrupted. A collaboration such as ours is hit extra hard. You are dealing with two universities that do not think exactly the same about everything and you have a programme in which travel for students and lecturers is so essential. So many questions and dilemma’s came up. Live exams in class or not? Travelling to Twente or not? Yes or no working on practical skills in the labs? Corona required a great deal of flexibility, improvisation and last-minute action from all those involved. In general, this has worked out quite well, but two years of corona also meant  that, as a study programme, we have not yet reached a steady situation. Hopefully, we will get there sometime in the coming academic years.’

Not interfering

‘I have always enjoyed my own role as a lecturer in Civil Engineering at the UT, but never thought I would be able to enjoy other lecturers so much in my role as location director. One of the things I've learned is that I don't want to interfere in the way the lecturer teaches. Everyone should be doing things in his or her own way.  You are kind of trained to sit on your hands. It took me some time to get used to it, but I managed. I have learned a lot from the different teaching styles that I have seen. That also offers me a lot of inspiration in my own role as a teacher.’

Committed and passionate 

‘We recently held an away day with lecturers from VU Amsterdam and the UT and with a number of students. Now people might think: huh, an away day as one of the remarkable moments? And yes, that's true. Because it really was a great meeting where we discussed the past, the present and the future in a very organic way. Including all frustrations and sore  points. It was a gift to finally be able to discuss the programme in detail after three years. Fortunately, it was again in a live setting and in an open, honest and constructive manner. It once again underlined the enormous commitment and passion of all those involved.’