3mE Lecturer of the year 2017-2018

News - 05 July 2018 - Webredactie 3ME

3mE selects Best Lecturer of the Year

The 3mE study associations Variscopic, Froude and Leeghwater have once again put their heads together to select the best 3mE teachers for the academic year 2017-2018. The prize allows the students to place the teachers in the limelight and show their appreciation of the unique, creative approach taken by the teachers in their lectures. The Faculty of 3mE recognises the vital importance of the nominations. After all, good teachers are essential to the quality of the courses offered within the faculty. Once all of the faculties have selected their best teachers, there is also a round of nominations for the ‘Best TU Delft Teacher 2018’.

Daniel Tam best lecturer of the year 2017-2018

For many students, the subject of fluid mechanics within the MSc Mechanical Engineering is quite complex. Their lecturer Daniel Tam makes this difficult subject comprehensible, fun and interesting. So interesting in fact that Tam has won the lecturer of the year award for his classes.

‘I hate fluid mechanics, but I love his classes.’ One of Daniel Tam’s students wrote that on the evaluation form paper for the course. ‘The students grumble sometimes because they find the material so difficult, and that’s fine of course, because it is complicated. That makes me all the more proud when they finally understand it,’ says Tam. What they especially appreciate is that he can explain the subject matter so calmly and in so much detail.

Good teachers

What is Daniel Tam’s secret? ‘I think teaching is really important. I studied at MIT, where there are a lot of good teachers. Teaching was just as important as doing research there. After all, you’re educating the engineers of the future. That notion was at the back of the professors’ minds every day in everything they did. You don’t teach students tricks so they can pass their exams. You want them to understand and master the material.’

Developing an inquisitive attitude is also something he learned at the American university, Tam says. The lecturers were also open to new learning methods and insights, obtained from recent research. ‘You really want to give the students the basic principles and at the same time be open to new research. Because students have to learn to think conceptually. When they face a new problem you want them to able to adapt quickly to a new situation and not look around helplessly. Discussions in the classroom were also always well documented, and questions were written down and explored, so that you didn’t answer a student’s question based on gut feeling but based on a scientific perspective and the latest research.’ 

Old-fashioned blackboard

Tam uses the lessons he learned from his American colleagues in the Netherlands. But he does find teaching at TU Delft different than at an American university. ‘That makes sense, of course, because in America students react differently than in the Netherlands.’ In America there was a lot of room for debate. In Delft he frequently uses the blackboard to explain the material. ‘It’s a bit old-fashioned, but it does work best here.’ He teaches them the basics of fluid mechanics by explaining it as clearly as possible. ‘And I’ve noticed that when they do grasp the material, it really gives them satisfaction.’

Education has always been extremely important for Tam. Neither of his parents went to university, and they always encouraged him and his brother to give it their utmost effort. It gives Tam great satisfaction to have won the award now. But you won’t find him patting himself on the back because of the award. ‘That’s not why you become a lecturer. You do it to help others.’


That’s typical of Tam, according to his colleague Jerry Westerweel, Professor Fluid Mechanics. ‘Daniel doesn’t put himself in the forefront, but he listens well, explains things with great enthusiasm and clarifies the material. He has put a lot of time into his lessons. He came here about six years ago and already starting speaking Dutch after three weeks, that’s how important it was to him. That he is now being recognised for all of this by his students by becoming lecturer of the year is really great.’


The best teachers per bachelor and academic year and per Master (academic year 2017-2018)

Below are the best teachers per bachelor and academic year and per Master (academic year 2017-2018) with reactions from the students and study associations.

  • Student association Leeghwater, Mechanical Engineering bachelor programme
  • Student association Leeghwater, Mechanical Engineering master programme
  • Student association Froude, Marine Technology bachelor and master programmes
  • Student association Variscopic, Clinical Technology bachelor programme

Student association Leeghwater, Mechanical Engineering bachelor programme

Deanne van der Slikke, Commissioner of Bachelor Education: ‘During the freshman design contest we handed out the awards to the bachelor lecturers. Despite having been told about it only shortly before the award ceremony, they managed to free up some time and were all present. All three received their certificate with a big smile, and it was evident that the lecturers really like receiving recognition from the students.’

Year 1 ME: Matthijs Langelaar, Structural Optimization and Mechanics (Sterkteleer).
According to the students, it’s evident that he puts time into preparing his lectures. He can explain things in a calm, structured and clear way, and on top of it knows how to convey that enthusiastically. Matthijs manages to keep the attention of an entire auditorium full of students. ‘His classes are so good that you almost don’t need to study your book.’
‘The only lecturer that gave me the feeling that every class was fun and useful.’

Year 2 ME: Roelof Koekoek, Differential Equations.
‘Roelof is a great lecturer with a passion for teaching. The material is difficult sometimes, but he makes sure that students stay concentrated. He also keeps classes light by suddenly throwing in holiday pictures among the slides.’ ‘Roelof knows how to think like a student when solving problems, which makes the examples extremely clear and applicable.’
‘A student once asked a question about the ‘U’ component, to which Roelof replied, ‘You can say “jij” to me.’

Year 3 ME: Paul Breedveld, Integrated Mechanical Systems.
‘Paul is extremely adept at clearly explaining the material with practical examples, and he often brings objects with him to show the class and arouse the students’ curiosity. His enthusiasm for the subject is contagious. Exactly what I expected when I started to study mechanical engineering.’
‘The classes had little to do with the exams, but Paul explains things with such passion that it’s quite simply exciting.’

Student association Leeghwater, Mechanical Engineering master programme

Coen Bakker, Commissioner of Master Education: ‘Electing the best lecturer is an opportunity to put education in the light. Lecturers always welcome this form of recognition positive, and it encourages them to keep investing in the quality of their teaching.’

MSc BioMedical Engineering: Amir Zadpoor, Computational Mechanics of Tissues and Cells.
‘Because he is an inspiring lecturer that knows how to explain the most difficult concepts in a comprehensible manner. Thanks to his enthusiasm and well-prepared classes, I was happy to get out of bed for a class at 8:45 AM.’

‘Amir is able to engage with his students in an interactive way. His know-how of the field is enormous, and he is able to convey it in such a way that it challenges us instead of intimidating us with its sheer complexity. He uses examples and a good structured course to entice us into the subject matter. Amir Zadpoor is a leading example of how a master professor should be.’

MSc Materials Science and Engineering: Ian Richardson, Joining Technology.
‘Honestly, I wasn't expecting him to be such a nice lecturer. I like the way he teaches, his attitude, and the energy he brings to each lecture. Besides, by sharing his own experiences with industry, he really helps to relate what we learn to actual practice.’

MSc Offshore and Dredging Engineering: Peter Wellens, Introduction to Ship and Offshore Hydromechanics / Motions & loading of structures in waves.
‘Peter Wellens is capable of explaining the material well, is very patient and always willing to help students when they get stuck.’ ‘Works in a structured way and explains everything clearly.’
‘He was really helpful and funny.’

MSc Systems and Control: Tamás Keviczky, Control Theory, Digital Control, Networked & Distributed Control.
‘Great professor with the unfortunately rare ability to give his students real insight into the subject he is teaching.’
‘I have seldom had a teacher who could teach so much material in the space of the lectures, so that you would leave the lecture room understanding all of it. Furthermore, his courses are extremely well structured, as it is always super clear what we need to do.’
‘The assignments he gives are challenging but once done will really help you understand what you are learning.’
‘I heard the phrase “if only Tamás could teach every subject” several times this year, and I completely agree with it. He is incredibly clear and does his utmost to convey his understanding of the material, not just the formulas.’

Student association Froude, Marine Technology bachelor and master programmes

Anna-Louise Nijdam, Commissioner of Education: ‘As a student association, we are closely involved in the education of Marine Technology. That’s why it’s important that we continue to motivate the lecturers and put them in the limelight when students have very positive experiences with them! It’s striking that what students appreciate most is enthusiasm and involvement. There were five winners again this year.’

Year 1: Mirek Kaminksi.
‘You can feel his passion for the subject matter when he teaches a class, and he’s always prepared to answer students’ questions.’
‘Mirek knows how to make students enthusiastic about his field in a fun, funny and enthusiastic way. In addition, he’s very involved in our association. He likes to give students Salsa lessons and always knows how to make a party out of informal events.’

Year 2: Henk de Koning Gans.
‘I’d like to nominate De Koning Gans for his ability to convey what is actually extremely difficult learning material in a humorous and effective way.’
‘Henk has his own particular way of keeping our attention focused during classes and knows how to convey the material in concrete terms, in part thanks to the ship he that carries with him to every class.’

Year 3: Tjakko Keizer.
‘Tjakko really puts his students to work so they can completely grasp the basics of the material right from the start.’
‘Knows how to effectively convey a complex subject in a structured way through a mix of lectures, projects and assignments.’

MSc MT Design Production and Operation: Peter Wellens.
‘Peter really wants the students to be involved, and he creates room for good discussions. Very motivated and helpful lecturer.’
‘In addition, Peter joined us on our student trip to Romania this year. There he demonstrated how involved he feels with the students, and he knows how to motivate people at the personal level.’

MSc MT Science: Henk den Besten.
‘He is very involved and helpful. He does a lot to make lectures interactive.’ Moreover, Henk has been very open to feedback this year, and he never hesitates to introduce change when it’s needed.''

Student association Variscopic, Clinical Technology bachelor programme

Rosemarijn van Paassen, Commissioner of Education: ‘This award means a lot to our new programme! It’s important to aspire to high-quality education and then reward it as well. Indeed, lecturers are extremely proud when they win. Paul Steendijk, for example, is hugely proud to have won lecturer of the year these past two years. And I’m pretty sure that both certificates are still on display in his office. It’s really special to see a new lecturer immediately become “lecturer of the year”. Sander Bregman only took over the control technology part of CT2101 this academic year. This generated so many positive responses from students that they already singled him out as contender for lecturer of the year in November.’

Year 1 CT: Peter Somhorst, Cardiovascular and Respiratory System and Biomedical Instrumentation.
‘Very clear and fun classes, knows how to answer questions well and always puts the material quickly on Brightspace.’
‘He’s a highly motivated lecturer and a good example for CT students. His lectures are interesting and clear.’

Year 2 CT: Sander Bregman, Endocrine system, modelling and control technology.
‘Greatest boss of the year! Kudos to him for organising things so well in his first year.’
‘Thanks to him there was a great deal of order in what was said. Suddenly the things we had already been exposed to last year were clear. He explained things well and that’s why he managed to keep everyone’s attention.’

Year 3 CT: Renske Los, Organisation of Healthcare and Medical Informatics.
‘She’s involved, motivated and instils enthusiasm. Her lectures are clear, fun and interesting, and she likes to think along with us. And she still manages to stick to the agreements she has made and doesn’t give way to deadlines. In short, a really excellent lecturer.’

There was no lecturer of the year nominated from the Technical Medicine mastertracks as the response to the survey was too low.