Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Wynand Wijnen Education Prize
Just before Christmas, Fabienne Crombach received an e-mail from rector Rianne Letschert telling her that she had been nominated for the Wynand Wijnen education prize. “Really nice, but I never actually expected to win. With my background as a student from a university of applied sciences, I was competing against scientists with doctorates and master’s titles. I went along to the founding day celebrations anyway.”
Crombach is a co-ordinator of the excellence programmes at Edlab and she won the education prize for the way in which she leads Premium, one of the interdisciplinary honours programmes for master’s students. The education prize - awarded every year since 1994, during Maastricht University’s founding day celebrations - goes to a member of staff who has made an exceptional contribution to education. She won a certificate, a bronze statue and five thousand euro, three thousand of which is for personal use.
She got her diploma at the university of applied sciences in Breda: Tourism Management, with the specialisation Corporate Communication & Business Administration. After her study, she started working in Gran Canaria for an international hotel chain. When her relationship ended and her father became ill, she sold her house and returned to the Netherlands. After various management positions, she applied for a job at the UM in 2015. Crombach: “The vacancy looked like fun but I never thought I would be accepted. I was asked to start right away.” At first she worked as an assistant to the co-ordinator at the time, Ellen Bastiaens. Crombach took over officially in 2017.
A busy job: “I am constantly on the look-out for new projects for students, I am in contact with a lot of different parties – clients, trainers, academic staff, alumni, and participants of course. I am also closely involved with the selection and evaluation of the students,” says Crombach.
“Fabienne is the spider in the PREMIUM web,” says Arie van der Lugt, Premium co-ordinator and associate professor at Psychology in the short video about Crombach shown at the founding day celebrations. “I feel so at home here,” says Crombach. “I combine my study with what I like doing most of all: creating a unique experience and running an organisation.”
Under her leadership the approach to the programme has become much more personal. “My colleagues and I know all the students and alumni by name. We believe that a safe learning environment is very important.” Premium ambassador Rutger van Mierlo in the nomination video: “She knows everything about everybody in the Premium community.”
The PREMIUM programme is an extracurricular programme for the best master’s students. In groups of four to six people from various programmes, they work on assignments for various – usually external – clients. These are companies such as Philips and Atos Consulting, but also small organisations such as the South Limburg Tourist Information Office. In addition, all participants receive one-on-one coaching and take part in different workshops and training sessions, for example on leadership, presentation skills, and working on a project-based approach. Students spend about 250 hours on the programme. Upon successful completion, the participants receive a certificate.