Renate Klaassen bids farewell to 4TU.CEE after 10 years
Renate Klaassen, TU Delft’s programme coordinator within the 4TU.CEE, leaves her position per 1 September, for a new role within TU Delft. From the very beginning in December 2013, she has put her heart and soul into building the centre, called 3TU.CEE back then, giving it direction and prominence, and bringing it to fruition. The mission for the centre, brought forward by the CvBs of TUD, UT, TU/e was brief but powerful: “Bring to life a model of cooperation between the three TUs in which expertise in innovative education and educational research is aligned and shared, so that the quality of engineering education in the Netherlands is raised to an internationally high level.”
4TU.CEE, the four universities and TU Delft in particular, owe Renate an incredible amount in the ten years that followed. She is substantively strong with her educational background. She knows how to enthuse and engage people. She is creative and daring. She has an extensive network of educational experts in Europe and knows many teachers personally from the work floor in Delft.
The diversity of the many dozens of educational innovation projects she initiated and had under her wings makes it difficult to give a representative picture of her work. Nevertheless, three common themes can be discerned in the activities Renate devoted herself to with great passion and energy:
- Interdisciplinarity and design-based education
- The changing role of engineering professionals
- Future scenarios of engineering education
The research and development in these three areas had a strong inspirational value for the 4TU.CEE and TU Delft. She received personal recognition for this in the foreword of the TU Delft Vision on Education 2018-2024.
Together with the Delft CEE leaders Aldert Kamp and later Marcus Specht and Remon Rooij, she set out the strategic policy lines for the 4TU.CEE from the TU Delft perspective, took the initiative in organizing study trips abroad to universities in Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, and tirelessly organized one thematic workshop after another, at a central location in the Netherlands; spread across the TUs; or online. Memorable were the workshops of VR/AR in education, Makerspaces, Teaching Excellence, and Gamification. In addition, Renate contributed in many ways to educational innovations in mathematics and ethics education at TU Delft.
Her commitment to interdisciplinarity and design-based education has resulted in the development of the Joint Interdisciplinary Project at TU Delft, which has been offered as an elective to second-year master’s students since 2018. This course has become the example at TU Delft for the institution-wide renewal of master’s programmes, offering space to all students to have some sort of JIP experience.
To explore whether the academic and industrial field in 2030-2035 will need the same engineering profiles as today, and what knowledge and skills engineers should acquire during their education, Renate initiated a Think Tank in 2015 with 18 very diverse participants, which she called The Free Spirits. It also provided a starting point for discussing scenarios to create space and freedom in today’s rigid curricula for more personalized learning paths that cater to students’ personal talent, interests, and ambitions.
Perhaps the most fascinating project Renate initiated was The Engineering University of the Future. In it, according to the Vision in Design (VIP) method, a team made an exploration of how the Future Roles of Engineers might develop in the future. With Renate at the helm, it became an unusually fascinating exploration of future university engineering education, resulting in The Personology Arena. The scenario, report and presentations had and still have much inspiring value among interested parties in the Netherlands and especially abroad.
With Renate’s farewell, someone from the very beginning of 4TU.CEE is leaving. The 4TU.CEE and TU Delft could not have wished for a better programme coordinator in the past ten years. Renate continues her career at the TU Delft Graduate School as senior policy advisor.