Name: Wilco te Winkel

Age: 47

Job description: Information Manager, IT Demand Manager and interim Marketing, Recruitment & Admissions Manager at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

Has been in his current position since: 2001

We have agreed to meet at the coffee vending machine immediately to the right of the lift. It’s a good place to meet, because Wilco te Winkel is generally either in a meeting or on his way to a meeting. It should be noted that this place – which is on the 15th floor of the Mandeville Building – provides fabulous views of the Maas river and downtown Rotterdam.

So what does your job entail?

“In addition to my various management positions, I am the Product Owner for Sin-Online and the Product Owner for Canvas, meaning that I get to supervise the continued development of these two products on behalf of the faculties. But starting from the 1st of February I will have a more centralised job. I’ll be the Teaching Information Manager at CIO Office (the support service that is in charge of the university’s ICT policy – ed.). In other words, I’ll be moving from the fifteenth floor to a basement in the Erasmus Building. So I will just miss out on celebrating my 20th anniversary at this faculty. The main difference with my current job is that I will focus on one single subject full time in my new job.

“In the meantime, I’m also working on my doctoral research, which I’ve been working on ever since 2001. It’s about digital support in problem-based learning. I’m halfway through my dissertation; I’ve completed two empirical articles, but I need to complete two more.”

What will you be doing in your new job?

“I have drawn up my perfect daily schedule for my new job. In the morning I’ll spend an hour talking to the IT Development Team. Then I’ll spend the rest of the morning at the Community for Learning and Innovation. In the afternoon I’d like to talk to an information manager at one of the faculties (a different manager every day of the week). This is important because it will allow me to hear and feel what’s going on on the shop floor and to provide feedback, solve minor issues and connect people. My new job didn’t exist prior to my appointment; until now, this has all been done at weekly two-hour meetings.”

“My field of work is undergoing exciting changes – for instance the digital economy, robotisation and artificial intelligence that may help students become more efficient. And since these changes are so significant, this organisation must be agile. For instance, it must reassess its strategic plans, preferably once every six months, because no one is able to look more than six months ahead.”


Image credit: Levien Willemse

Do you enjoy working here?

“I think EUR is a fabulous university. It’s so entrepreneurial and has such drive. Just great. We are currently working on our third strategic plan since 2009; isn’t that wonderfully ambitious? And the plans just keep on coming. Alright, sometimes things do get a little crazy – take the University Support Center, for instance, which was first centralised, then decentralised again – but that’s all part of the process. And the things we’re doing in the fields of digitisation and information of teaching are incredible. That’s what means the most to me.

“The great thing about the university is that it has so much to offer its employees. Switching jobs and positions is almost the order of the day, even for employees who perform well. I guess I’m sounding very American now? Ha ha, but I really do believe in carving out your own niche. And I just love the faith people here have in me, and the leeway I am being given.”

In a way, everything you do is about facilitating your customers, i.e. the students.

Do you ever talk to any students?

“Not anymore, no. I used to until quite recently, when I was the Product Owner for the student version of MyEUR. Since students are closely involved in the choice of MyEUR’s features, I used to talk to a panel of ten students every week.”

You are embarking on a new job at EUR on the 1st of February, but where will you be five years from now?

“At some point I’d like to work in the business community, or at an organisation that has a lot of data and a high degree of digital complexity. Or alternatively, at the Tax and Customs Administration, Rijkswaterstaat (the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management – ed.) or some travel-related company.”

Will you have completed your PhD dissertation by then?

“Well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure about that. If I want Henk Schmidt (Emeritus Professor of Psychology and former EUR Rector Magnificus – ed.) to remain my supervisor, I’ll have to get a move on, because he won’t be allowed to act as anyone’s supervisor once he’s been retired for five years.”


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