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How to find us dr. B. (Bettina) van Hoven

dr. B. van Hoven

Academic Director of Education University College Groningen, Associate Professor Cultural Geography
dr. B. van Hoven

Teaching mission and approach

My research and teaching styles have been impacted by critical and feminist geography, and show many features that characterize interdisciplinary ways of working. As a result, my teaching philosophy comprises the following beliefs:

- Students understand the meaning and relevance of theories best in an applied and experiential way.

- Students should be encouraged to step outside their comfort zone in learning and learn from mistakes. As an educator, my role is to facilitate this, help students make connections with learning content and guide them in issues of academic and social integrity, accountability, innovation and inclusion.

- Students need to understand the importance of communicating knowledge produced within academia to a broader public, and be creative in ways to achieve this. They should be encouraged to use their work to bring about social change.

- Students benefit from seeing educators who are passionate about their work.

Collaborations, methodological innovations, engaging audiences

In order to achieve my teaching goals, I seek out opportunities of learning and collaborating myself in order to gain new insights and skills, and enrich my teaching. In 2007, for example, returning to my academic roots in Biology, I co- produced, with students of Cultural Geography, the documentary "A Forest for the Future“. Through this hands-on experience with film making and the attended training, I was able to innovate the Faculty of Spatial Sciences’ qualitative methods course and include video making as a qualitative research method.

In 2010-11, we collaborated with the VPRO programme Tegenlicht when exploring regional identities in the Master Cultural Geography ('Tegenlicht. De nieuwe Noorderling'). These research projects with students as a part of teaching received attention by the media as well. The magazine Geografie used some of the student research on 'Oost Groningen' (R. Boeve and G.J. Hospers (2011), Groningen als thuishonk, Geografie, 20 (4), pp. 9-11)

Recently, I gained experience in working with artists within the AHRC and NWO funded network 'Between the Tides "(see ) (2012-14). My involvement in the network had a significant impact on my development as a teacher since it resulted in a collaboration with photographer Andrea Stultiens at Minerva Art Academy, and a care provider in the context of a shared course. In this collaboration, rather than writing an essay alone, students co-developed a photographic exhibition which generated discussion with new audiences about their work. Students exhibited their work at Noorderlicht Gallery (Feb 2015), at Minerva (Jan 2016; Oct 2016; Jan 2017), Noorderbrug (Feb-May 2016; Feb-April 2017) and the Royal Geographical Society in London (Aug 2016). In their written reflections on the project, students commented that they appreciated the opportunity to step out of their academic, and sometimes personal, comfort zone in this learning experience. They expressed that they became much more aware of the impact of urban space on marginalized groups and the importance of encounter on social inclusion.

Such interdisciplinary projects with students are not without risks as they often defy traditional ways of categorizing and researching that are still inherent to much scientific research and teaching. Students are not meant to merely be neutral instruments of observation, recording and ´telling´ but need to actively engage with the studied group and their life worlds. This is usually a challenging yet transformative learning experience.

Use of technologies for teaching

In conveying knowledge to students in different, interactive ways, I have made use of newer available technologies as well. When in Canada (in 2007), and as the first person at the University of Groningen, I taught an entire course (Representing Places) using video conferencing, podcasts, chats and Wikis (see: ). In the course Representing Places and later the qualitative methods course, the students learned to present findings in ways other than academic writing and thus reach different audiences, for example through using photography or video documentary. Recently, I have also started to use social media in teaching in order to engage students more actively (e.g. in the Honours courses I use (closed) Facebook groups). In addition, I use Storymaps as a way of assessment, Storymaps are visual presentations of geographic stories using the power of maps, and weaving in text, video, statistics, figures, etc. Storymaps are created using Esri templates and are built into Arc GIS (see  ). Storymaps inform and engage a broader audience about/ with a topic in a place-based and interactive way.

Stimulating student talent

I have a passion for bringing to light student research that addresses important social geographical issues. I do so by co-authoring articles based on student research in professional and international, peer-reviewed journals. In addition, when an opportunity arose, I founded the Herta Macht Dissertation Prize in 2005 to recognize and stimulate talented young student researchers. 

Current Teaching (2016-17):

In addition to supervision of Master theses, and giving guest lectures, I teach the following courses:

Faculty of Spatial Sciences:

Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis (Master level, Faculty of Spatial Sciences) (5ec)

Individual Research Training (Research Master, 10EC)

Master thesis supervision

Honours College (Bachelor level)

deepening module ‘Practicum Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen’ (5ec)

broadening module ‘Diversity and Inclusion in the Urban Context’ (5ec)

summer school Vancouver (2,5ec)

Petrus Camper Atelier (2,5ec)

Honours College (Master level) Leadership lab (5EC)

University College Groningen (Bachelor level)

Introduction to Human Geography (5ec)

Research and Methodology: Qualitative methods (7,5ec)

Humanities Methods (2,5 ec)

2nd year project ‘A Geography of Colour’ (6EC)

Nethur (PhD level)

CC1: Qualitative research

CC6: Visual methods


Since the collection of Master theses in the library repository in 2005, I have supervised 40 Master thesis students, of which 10 Research Master theses, as well as 8 Bachelor group projects. Below, Mastertheses for the past 5 years are listed.

 2016 T.E.M. Drabe: Jongeren en plaatsbinding: een onderzoek naar de plaatsbinding van jongeren in de Hoogte met hun alledaagse plekken

2016 R.P.Huizinga: Place Attachment: Syrian Male Refugee Experiences in the Northern Netherlands

2015 (Research Master) A. Caiza: Becoming-bat: Bat-lovers’ values, practices and their role in bat conservation at the city of Groningen

2015 (Research Master) L.A. Kapinga: Identities of young second generation British Muslims: Noneveryday places beyond the borders of the UK

2015 E.Bos: Wat Ouderen Beweegt: Mobiliteit en Welzijn van Ouderen in Krimpgebieden

2015 (Social Planning) B. Dijk: Mantelzorg- en kangoeroewoningen : zorg voor de toekomst? Een onderzoek naar ervaringen van bewoners en professionals met mantelzorg- en kangoeroewoningen.

2014 (Research Master) P.A. Plazier: Bicycle commuting to University of Florida campus - realizing a modal shift at the heart of the Gator nation

2014 B.M.A. Lont: Place attachment ouderen in Selwerd

2013 (Research Master) A. Huck: Think different: Socially responsible planning in the context of a 'culture of fear'

2013 (Research Master) G. van der Vaart Performing Tourist Photography & Social Life. An Examination of the Photographic Events of International Students in Florida

2013 L.A. Andreas: Sociaal kapitaal van ouderen in Vinkhuizen. Een onderzoek naar het belang van de lokale woonomgeving voor het sociaal kapitaal van ouderen.

2012 (Research Master) J.Rots: Cultural Identity and Everyday Life among Elderly Dutch New Zealanders

2012 R Brandenburg: Jongeren en plaatsbinding Plaatsbinding van scholieren in Moroto, Oeganda

2012 K.S.R. Esselink: Waar 'ga' je?

2012 A.C.J. Roos: Invloed van de beleefde mobiliteit op de levenskwaliteit van ouderen. Onderzoek in verzorgingstehuis De Lijte te Ureterp.

2012 W.Wilts: Alsof je omarmd wordt door alles om je heen - een cultureelgeografisch onderzoek naar de beleving van de natuurlijke tuin

Last modified:09 November 2017 11.14 a.m.

Contact information

Hoendiepskade 23-24
The Netherlands


Location Zernike, Building 5417, Room 209

University College Groningen