Mariëtte Kaandorp was an assistant professor at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). She passed away unexpectedly in 2020 at the age of 35. The lecturer was known as excellent and considerate, as someone who had an eye for students who could use extra support. Her parents came up with the idea of an education prize. This award is for supervisors of master theses at Mariëtte’s old faculty.

Mariëtte Kaandorp

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A prize to keep Mariëtte Kaandorp’s love of education alive

To ensure that her legacy - her passion for excellent education - will live on. That is…

More recognition

“It is great that this initiative has been adopted by the entire faculty”, says Steffen Giessner, Mariëtte’s supervisor. “Richard, the first winner, was not from our department either. Mariëtte had a connecting role in our department, now this award is a connection within the entire faculty. It is a beautiful way to remember her.”

The first winner was particularly surprised, Haans says. “I myself don’t have the impression that I do much more than other supervisors”, he says. “I am always available to my students, but mainly motivate them to do the work themselves. At the end of the process, they must feel that it is their achievement.”

Haans finds the prize and especially more recognition for theses ‘wonderful’. “They are often the poor relation. Supervisors often see it as a ‘must do’. It quickly comes on top of all your work. It also takes up a lot of time.” He sees how important good supervision can be. “First, there is a strict timeline and I manage the student. Once the research question has been formulated, they manage me. They indicate where and when they need help.”

Lonely process

Haans has been supervising theses every year for years. It is always a lonely process, but since Covid, he sees it as even harder for students. “I always recommend creating a WhatsApp group, and we also work together in a group first. Then you see that you are not the only one running into things.” Since the pandemic, he has also received emails in which students say they are ‘at the end of their tether’. “I have been half teacher, half psychologist in those years.”

Mariëtte’s parents, Mieke Bronckhoff and Frans Kaandorp, say they recognise Mariëtte in Haans. His modesty, his ideas about education and also his eye for students. When the Covid measures are relaxed, they go for lunch together.