Doing research that you deeply care about? Teaching what you actually believe in? Handling your administration responsibly but in a manner that it does not get in the way of your personal priorities? It can be done. It just takes raising your awareness of what you are doing on a daily basis and why you are doing it.

I created Academic Authenticity because of signalling lack of.. well.. er.. happiness in the academic world… Over the years, as a teacher and post-doc researcher I have observed an increasing number of even the youngest of academics – our students – at the risk of burnout.

In teaching, training and coaching, I get academics back on their inspired track, by helping them remember and value their ideals and higher goals in life.

“I love coaching students and academics and helping them re-member what they have ‘on offer’ matters. Nothing is more inspiring than people working as their authentic selves.”

And believe you me… I have been there: at the risk of burn-out, dreading the nearing ends of contracts, feeling alienated from the stuff I really love.

I have learned so much from the various positions that I have held in Dutch academia, acquainting myself with mildly different academic cultures, working in wonderful interdisciplinary teams.

What I have learned most of all: working in academia can remain fun, adventurous, playful and inspiring. I developed learning trajectories for students suffering from burn-out and depression or were simply studying under challenging circumstances to get back in the game and succeed.

I know how to help others  who may have forgotten how to even be playful…

How?

Simply by helping them re-member their inspired selves: exploring, trying to understand and explain phenomena, working together to create inspiring learning trajectories, and doing your administration to help your colleagues and students move forward smoothly. It can be fun. Sometimes academics just need a little help in figuring out how to allow yourself to work in an inspired manner and serving their own highest potential.

With regard to (re)creating happiness and a feeling of excitement and gratitude I am inspired by the American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg amongst others. Rosenberg invented Non Violent Communication. A Language of Life. Comparisons take away all fun, Rosenberg reminds us. Emphatically reconnecting with ourselves will help us getting to terms with the alienating side of the academic environment.

“By the way: it is also the language I teach my daughters. I am a mom of two wonderful, critical minds. Speaking NVC is all about trying over, and over again. No matter how much you fail… It’s the trying that really matters.”

From a young age I have been interested in (imaginary, moral) boundaries. I have been intrigued by people who have contested those boundaries and tried to change the world into a more ‘inclusive’ place. The dynamics of in- and exclusion and the way in which (groups of) people maintained and maintain those dynamics have always been of interest to me.

Trained as an interdisciplinary historian at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam I wrote my final thesis on the concept ‘odd woman’ in political endeavours to establish secondary schooling for girls in the 19th century in the Netherlands. Betsy Perk, the founder of the first Dutch women’s magazine, was a protagonist in that history. Want to know why I am so intrigued by Betsy Perk? Just click on this link and see my contribution to Vrouwen Voorwaarts! in the NTR/VPRO-television series ‘De IJzeren Eeuw’.

I received my PhD from the Utrecht University in 2009. Based at the International Institute of Social History (2004-2009), I wrote my dissertation on the prosecution of moral and sex crimes in the Netherlands around the years of the German occupation.

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I developed a deep love for writing and teaching courses that inspire students to reach for their best selves, early on. Combining my research with teaching at the University of Amsterdam, I just loved designing courses and facilitating nurturing learning environments. Working as a lecturer and later on as an assistant professor at the Leiden Institute of History (2009-2016), I got nominated for the Teachers Award in 2012 by the Leiden Humanities Faculty for ‘inclusive’ teaching. Gosh… that is such a fond memory…

I love talking about research interests as well. Don’t worry, I won’t do that during coaching sessions. 😉

I have always combined academic work with working in other domains, e.g. business, non-profit and politics.

In 2014, I became ‘a slasher’ officially, working as a ‘assistant professor/director’. From that year on, I lead the Rotterdam Information Center of LGBT-emancipation for a while. Why I feel LGBT-emancipation should choose ‘democratic citizenship’ and should leave ‘anti-discrimination’ as a point of departure? Read this, or listen to my contributions to OVT (NPO1) on the Homomonument in Amsterdam, or the one in which I share that we’ve nothing to worry about when er… confused? … pastors want to visit our country. 

Since the unfortunate demise of RotterdamV, I worked in academia fulltime again. I taught political history at the Utrecht University and worked as a postdoc researcher at the Willem Pompe Institute (Utrecht University) helping set up an interdisciplinary network of professionals interested in studying the history of (prosecuting) crime.

“I do scary stuff too. I just feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Annually I contribute to the Huizinga seminars for PhD students where my ideas and practices for profound academic selfcare were born.

Since the 5th of September 2018, I am the owner of Academic Authenticity. Coaching academics individually, lecturing on “Belonging in Academia”, organizing workshops and… if you feel you could do with some brushing up on your playfulness and feeling happy about your academic work and life: I am here for you.