The lecturers of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies always score high in the National Student Survey (NSE), which makes it all the more difficult every year for the Faculty students to select the very best. This year, the honour goes to Dr
, Director of the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain (CRCPD). This was announced by a student committee led by Arianne Anker at the opening of the Academic Year on 2 September 2015. Why is she the best?
Due to her work as Director of the CRCPD, Dr Wilson teaches relatively few course units, so that only some of the Faculty’s students have experienced her teaching. Of the students who have attended her classes, however, the great majority voted for her. And no wonder. Her interactive teaching style, which links examples from her own research to current events, and especially her enthusiasm, spontaneity and genuine interest in her students were the reasons given by the jury for selecting Dr Wilson as the best lecturer within the Faculty.
Her lectures reflect her research on the role of religion in politics, globalization and human rights. Discussion forms an important component of her lectures. Students are not only offered knowledge, they are also asked many questions. In this way, Dr Wilson stimulates her students to reflect critically on social issues. The link between theory and social practice plays a central role in her teaching. ‘ The university is not only meant to give knowledge to students, but to also deliver good citizens to society. Citizens who think critically and who want to change the world ,’ says Wilson. She also sees it as her task to guide students as effectively as possible in their search for a suitable job. Setting useful assignments helps her achieve this goal. For example, her students are asked to write policy papers, so that they will be able to advise policymakers on social issues in which religion plays a role.
Dr Wilson’s students primarily appreciate her humour, her calm personality and her genuine interest. ‘She is very open. When she says that we can come to her with any questions or problems that we may have, she actually means it, and she really makes time for us. She also creates an open atmosphere in her lectures, so that everyone feels safe to contribute to the discussion,’ says one of her students.
In January 2016, Erin Wilson will represent the Faculty at the election of the University of Groningen Lecturer of the Year. Since this competition was first launched eight years ago, our Faculty has already won twice, an exceptional performance.
Previous winners within the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies: Stefania Travagnin (2014),
Michaël van der Meer
(2013), Justin Kroesen (2012, University of Groningen Lecturer of the Year),
Kocku von Stuckrad
(2010), Mirjam de Baar (2009), Geurt-Henk van Kooten (2008, University of Groningen Lecturer of the Year) and
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