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Everyone knows those people who are already sure of what to study way before they finish secondary education. Well, Tara Moorman isn’t one of them. “After secondary school I thought a social study programme would suit me best”, she explains. “But after - almost coincidentally - attending a presentation about NHTV’s Facility Management bachelor’s programme, I changed my mind drastically. I threw myself into this degree programme wholeheartedly and never regretted that for one moment.”
When asked how she feels about stepping out of her comfort zone she answers: “Here I think Pippi Longstocking’s quote is very applicable: ‘I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that’. I am truly convinced that in order to be successful you need to look beyond boundaries.” This defines the alumna’s mindset quite well.
Tara graduated cum laude in 2009, she even received the honourable title of Student of the Year. Back then the Facility domain was located at Sibeliuslaan. Her management traineeship at Facilicom, one of the biggest providers of facility services in the Netherlands, ultimately resulted in a job there. “But, although I really enjoyed working there, eventually I wanted to work for a smaller company with a matching job description, one containing a broader range of tasks.”
Five years after graduating Tara started working at HWRK Housing + Facility Professionals (www.hwrk.nl). This company was not new to her because she did her first work placement here. After projects at companies such as TU Delft, Drukwerkdeal, Zimmer Biomet, she is now interim senior project manager real estate at BUas, another familiar setting. In this role she was, among other things, responsible for moving her former academy from the Sibeliuslaan to the new campus grounds. Although she has come full circle on several themes, Tara still is far from finished taking on new facility management challenges.
Listening is learning
An enthusiastic sparkle appears in Tara’s eyes when she talks about facility management or real estate. Right from the beginning she developed a passion for this sector, but above all she values the interaction with other people it brings. “I love the social side of this job. So actually, I didn’t entirely renounce myself”, she says with a smile referring to the social study programme she never started. “By working with new colleagues every time I keep learning new things. For instance, take janitor Manie van Duuren; last year he taught me so much about the technical aspects of the job. And Tim van Leeuwen, head of the AFP department, taught me a lot about strategic decisions. So, never underestimate the things you learn when listening to others.”
Planning may be Tara’s middle name, but some things just can’t be enforced. Things which are entirely up to nature, such as pregnancy. However… at the time this interview was held the interviewee only had two workdays left before here maternity leave. Tara has it all worked out: “By the time I’m ready to pick up work again, I will finish my assignment at BUas by coordinating the move of the last three academies to the campus.”
Last Thursday, our chapel was crowded with people for the guest lecture of photographer, documentary maker and medical doctor Ruben Terlou, who is well known for his documentary series Along the Banks of the Yangtze and Through the Heart of China. By using his striking photography, interesting stories and personal interviews, he gave us an impressive look into the soul of modern-day China.
“Photographer, film-maker, physician… That might seem a strange combination,” Terlou started his lecture. “But it all comes down to one thing, and that isn’t even China. No, it is all about people, I study humans. And when doing so, I think it is important to listen and not to judge.”
The title of his lecture Chinese Dreams: the Human Face of Changing China says it all. Within a span of ten years, China changed immensely, but how did the people of China achieve this? What drives them? Are there any side effects to these ambitions? And what effects on a global scale can we expect in the years to come? Rather than just answering these complicated questions, Terlou shares his knowledge of China from historical, political, cultural, social and ethical points of view in order to open people’s minds and encourage them to stay unbiased.
However, the huge steps China is taking do come with a price. The depopulation of rural areas and the overpopulation of urban areas, the increasing social pressure on individuals of certain groups and the rising level of pollution are all issues that cannot be ignored. But even here we should be aware of our judgement, “For instance, did you know that China is the world’s number one investor in sustainable energy?”
To understand China, you also need to accept the enormous differences in ethics and morality between ‘us and them’. Terlou: “By now, everybody must have heard about these tests with facial recognition software used by Chinese authorities to create blacklist files on citizens violating traffic rules. This all sounds like a dystopian nightmare, but keep in mind that, for instance the Chinese perception of privacy is very different to ours. We in the West like to see ourselves as independent individuals making a change, whereas in China there is much more of a collective group conscience.” Wrapping up his lecture with these suitable words and a big smile: “If you ask me, Western society could use a bit more modesty… But now I am judging, while I have just told you not to.”
After her pre-university education Judith Freijser wanted to do something with communication, languages and foreign cultures. “I went to several open door days, such as the ones of communication studies, general literature, hotel school, but it was only at the NHTV open day that everything fell into place,” the alumna explains.
Accordingly, in September 1993 she started her leisure studies at NHTV, which is one of the former names of Breda University of Applied Sciences. She liked her course of study and Breda even better. “I had just turned 18, a brand-new world opened up to me. I was living together with six other girls in a house at the Ginnekenweg, joined the student unions Phileas Fogg and Dispuut Piu(s), soon made a lot of friends and discovered the Breda nightlife. No worries, in the meantime my school results were more than sufficient,” she eases our minds.
Work and leisure
Judith still keeps close contact with her friends from those days. And, just like many other BUas alumni, regularly she crosses paths with them in the professional field: “We ask each other for advice and we share the names of trustworthy suppliers or new colleagues. Two of my former jobs were even suggested by NHTV people.”
She graduated in 1998 at the Broadcasting Museum in Hilversum which back then was preparing to merge with various archives into the present Museum for Image and Sound. “The cultural sector still appeals to me. After jobs at an events agency, an advertising agency and a regional tourism agency, I ended up at the Maritime Museum Rotterdam (www.maritiemmuseum.nl) as marketing and communications advisor.”
Judith still works here with lots of pleasure and enthusiasm on corporate communication and campaigns around expositions and events. “I am involved in the development of communication strategies, purchase of media, generation of free publicity, production of commercials, assessment of public surveys, and the list goes on.”
The fun in this job is that I am involved from policy to execution. Furthermore, it stays exiting because it also enables me to work on completely different projects. For example, back in October we opened the expo ‘Dealing with Drugs’. No-one less than Chris Westendorp, script writer of the famous Dutch crime series Penoza, wrote the script for this interactive experience. At the same time, I am working for entirely different target groups on the fifth edition of our successful play-and-learn exposition ‘Professor Plons’ and a unique one-time exhibition which brings special pieces of art from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen together with ours.
But the ‘Offshore Experience’, which is our biggest project ever, gives me the greatest sense of pride. Visitors fancy themselves on board of a working platform at sea or 3 km underneath it. This interactive exposition of almost €5 million was realised with the help of over 50 sponsors from the maritime sector and 26 different funds. Energy production at sea normally isn’t very appealling to the broader audience. So, a big challenge in exhibition design and marketing strategy lay ahead of us. Imagine how great it feels to me to see that the experience has become such an enormous success amongst regular visitors, schools and business partners!”
Back to school
These days, Judith can regularly be found in the classroom again, however, this time in a different role: “Besides my job at the museum I recently started teaching at the Hogeschool Rotterdam one morning every week. So, with a backpack full of experience I am actually back at where it all started,” she concludes with a smile.
Yesterday, Breda University of Applied Sciences presented the results of two research projects during one of its ‘Meaningful Meetings’. After the presentations the researchers discussed the outcome with representatives of interested companies; an approach which underlines the significance the institution bestows to the relation with the trade and industry.
After a brief word of welcome by Research & business innovation manager Marijke Bogers of the Academy for Built environment, Logistics & Mobility the audience was divided into two session groups; one for the research project ‘Serious gaming during work… does it work?’ the other for the research project ‘Control Towers; possibilities and where to start?’
Many companies feel an increasing need to cooperate, share knowledge and accumulate information about what is happening in their supply chains. According to part-time lecturer Marcel Wouterse the pace of development in the world of logistics is accelerating: “Modern logistics bare so many possibilities that nowadays it’s humans who are the restricting factor.”
A control tower (in a commonly accepted definition: ‘a hub with the required technology, organization and processes’) can make processes more efficient. But do we make optimal use of its possibilities? And is it implemented swift enough to keep up? Wouterse is pretty explicit about this: “If we don’t start taking research about this subject seriously and if we don’t provide the resulting information publicly and in a structured manner, it is probably too late.”
Fortunately, the research project DOK4CT provides a sound basis for taking up this challenge. The project, partially made possible by NWO en TKI Dinalog, shows how to gather knowledge about control towers and, thereafter, how to make it available to the public.
Gamification work processes
As we know, serious gaming can be a very effective tool in educating and training, but will it also be a success when applied to regular work processes? That was the key question in the second room. During his presentation project leader Maarten van Rijn shared the project design, experiences and provisional results of the research. The tests of gamification of work processes were conducted with the cooperation of employees of Confectionery Merba in Oosterhout and Jan de Rijk Logistics in Roosendaal.
The research clearly shows that, concerning the application of serious games, there are entirely different dynamics in training than there are in real work situations. “Gaming and working of course are totally different things”, according to Van Rijn. “In games you always have different options, which is seldomly the case in a work situation. Furthermore, mistakes gamers make in work situations could cause real trouble.” At this moment the research is not completed yet. Van Rijn: “We simply don’t have enough data to draw conclusions now, but it seems very likely that the gamification of work processes will be much less successful compared to gamification for educational and training purposes.”
Centuries ago Confucius already nailed it; “Tell me, I will forget. Show me, I will remember. Involve me, I will understand.” A saying Breda University of Applied Sciences still puts into practice daily and not only regarding her students, but also regarding her employees. For example, by making it possible for them to experience a day amongst their own target group.
Study coach Lieke Mensink seized the opportunity and went back to school for one morning. “A few months back I read an article on our portal about the possibility to spend some time among secondary school students”, Mensink explains. “Being a study coach, I find it interesting to know what our upcoming students are doing during their preliminary education nowadays. So, how is their school day schedule, what is the working method of their teachers and does all this link up with their continuing education?”
During such a day many already existing thoughts will be confirmed, but according to Mensink the highest value in it is the consciousness-raising aspect. She visited the Mgr. Frencken College in Oosterhout: “A secondary school is a completely different world compared to that of our students. It is teeming with children, teachers, caretakers, lockers and big sized backpacks. The bell rings, hallways and stairways fill up and as soon as the students are seated in the classroom there is an awkward quiet. 50 minutes later the same bell rings and the whole scene starts all over again.
To me it was very interesting to see how teachers shape their lessons and how students react accordingly. Every teacher has his or her own style, differing from one standing in front of a classroom with an old-fashioned school desk formation to one moving through the classroom and providing individual instructions.
Thanks to this opportunity I understand even better, for instance, why new students show certain behaviour. Often, they find it difficult to deal with the amount of freedom they get at our college. Here, at BUas we tell them that they are fully responsible for their own development, which is very contrasting to the guidance, order and overview of the familiar secondary school. This opportunity raised my consciousness and I advise anybody interested in the transition from secondary education to college to a pay a visit to a secondary school.”
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