Education vision

My education vision aligns with my research vision and allows linking the latest developments of my research to my teaching activities. Importantly, it focuses on advancing how I teach rather then on what I teach.

My teaching methodologies and assessment methods progressively update to align with the learning outcomes that students need to achieve - in terms of acquired skills and competencies - to work in organizations embedded in complex systems and facing wicked problems.

In particular, three pillars of my education vision involve:
  • Developing students and trainees’ inductive thinking: my BSc and MSc courses train students to work on cases and deal with managerial problems through their appropriate choice of one or more theories. Starting from the empirical cases rather than from theories, students reach higher cognitive learning levels (such as applying, assessing and criticizing) (Bloom 1965) and express their creativity across multiple theories to address problems. Similarly, in my role as PhD co-promoter, I train PhDs to develop inductive thinking by using empirical evidence to criticize and advance existing theory. 
  • Making students and trainees experience dialectics within and among organizations: by practicing dialectical processes in BSc and MSc courses (e.g., through role-plays and negotiation sessions in teams and in plenary discussions) students develop competencies of stakeholder engagement, emotional empathy, facilitation, and coordination of multiple communication channels that are crucial to prepare them in their role as consultants, facilitators and managers in organizations embedded in complex systems. 
  • Developing a community among students/trainees and outside stakeholders. Students and colleagues at multiple levels (BSc, MSc, PhD, postdocs) interact with each other to share empirical cases, theoretical views and networks with stakeholders. We use the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI; see section 5) website and blog as first “poles of attraction” for new students and project partners; and then it is catalyzed through an IT platform articulating across dropbox and social media. This community triggers students’ entrepreneurial competencies, as they can develop their ideas further through the resources available in this community. 
These education vision pillars have been theorized in the context of managing wicked problems and have been recently published (Dentoni and Bitzer 2015). Along with benefitting the regular teaching activities in Wageningen, these pillars have also constituted the foundation to gain grant acquisition funding (such as “Putting Big Ideas Into Practice: Developing Skills for Large Systems Change” and the “Global Center for Food Systems Innovation” projects, see more section 5).


Bloom, T.M.E. (1965). Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Longman.

Dentoni, D. and Bitzer, V. (2015). The role (s) of universities in dealing with global wicked problems through multi-stakeholder initiatives. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, 68-78.

Wesselink, R., Blok, V., van Leur, S., Lans, T. and Dentoni, D. (2015). Individual competencies for managers engaged in corporate sustainable management practices. Journal of Cleaner Production, 106, 497-506.

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