From 23rd till 25th May 2023, Driestar Christian University held a seminar on Christian Educational Leadership. Representatives from different universities, networks and institutes from 10 countries (Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Nepal, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom) met together in Gouda.
It was organised as a farewell event on the occasion of Mr. Rens Rottier stepping down as chairman of the Executive Board of Driestar Christian University for Teacher Education at the end of 2022.
The programme included insights into Christian Educational Leadership with time for reflection, discussion, inspiration sessions, roundtable dialogue, and a visit to the town centre of Gouda.
The seminar topic was centred on Christian Educational Leadership, with two subthemes.
The leader as a guide. Rens Rottier looked back on 24 years of leading DCU. What has he learned as a guide of DCU? Not only looking back but also lessons for the future: how can we, as ‘guides’, learn from each other?
The institute as a guide. How do we present ourselves, as Christian institutes and organisations, in society? What are we confronted with and what is our task in guiding young people?
The programme started with registration and a welcome dinner. The first momentum was the official opening of the programme; the board members of DCU (Robert Zoutendijk en Jan Kloosterman) welcomed everybody, followed by a lecture from Rens Rottier about The Art of Godly Leadership.
In the afternoon we visited Gouda town centre, where colleague Winnie Verbeek and former colleague Tom Hage showed us around the Sint-Jan church. We talked about the leadership lessons in the stained glass windows of the Sint-Jan and discussed if Erasmus was a guide.
The following day we started with a devotion from Prof. Dr. Péter Balla, a hopeful message from Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
The institute as a guide subtheme was introduced by Prof. Dr. Bram de Muynck. “Much has been written and talked about exemplary leaders. Especially in pedagogical institutions, the example of the leader has far-reaching consequences, as it sets the tone for pedagogical conduct in teachers' future professional environment.
The question is whether we can also speak of exemplary institutions. Can a teacher training institution be exemplary for the functioning of a school? And can a leader of a higher education institution influence this? In my contribution, I share some thoughts from a recently published book entitled 'Guides' and apply them to those questions.”
The afternoon workshop was held by Robert Zoutendijk, about the strategy plan of DCU. The day ended with a lecture from Pitamber Neupane about the transformational leadership within ECEC in Nepal, a totally different context.
This seminar gave us the opportunity to share insights and experiences in Christian (higher) education. It encouraged us, strengthened old relationships and established new ones, and we certainly made new personal and professional contacts! It was a really exciting and fruitful time together!