Professionals increasingly face changes and challenges that call for adaptability and innovation. For a few years now, I have been leading the researchproject Adapt at Work together with Loek Nieuwenhuis and Wietske Kuijer of the HAN University of Applied Sciences. In this project, together with 11 universities of applied sciences and universities, we investigate the development of expertise needed for this, often called adaptive expertise. Does this differ between domains? How do we shape learning work environments and learning pathways that support this development? And how can we integrate this into higher education?
A fascinating project in which we also required and developed a lot of adaptive expertise ourselves. A theme issue of the journal Research in Education will be published soon, in which we will share the insights we have gained. For instance, it is important to give students more control over what and how they learn and to let them work on complex issues that require collaboration with others.
One insight keeps popping into my head: let go. Educational organisations need to have the courage to let go, allow uncertainties and dare to put students more into the director's role. It requires also critical reflection on what we are doing in our education. Is the ability to adapt to new situations really an expertise we need to teach, or have we nipped this ability in the bud as soon as a young child enters the education system? A question every teacher and education support worker should ask themselves.
Daring to let go also keeps playing on my mind in another way. At the end of this year, I will retire! It feels like I am starting a new job, but with a job description that is completely open and where I get all the freedom to define it by myself. A great new challenge! My chair at Radboudumc will be taken over by Karen Stegers-Jager, from Erasmus MC Rotterdam. She focuses, among other things, on inclusiveness in education and in the workplace.
This also means that I will be handing over my spot as research theme leader of the TLC. Here, we are also very happy with the start of another great successor. I am running my last part of the race and then I will hand over the baton to Merel van der Wal, Associate Professor of Methods at the Faculty of Management Sciences, who is eager to start on 1 November.
I will let go with the confidence that like the Dutch women in the 400-metre relay, we are on our way to gold!!!