Teaching and Learning

Contributions to Teaching

Irma is a passionate and seasoned lecturer, trainer, mentor and supervisor with consistent high teaching evaluation scores* from graduate students. Her broad background in labour market, sociology and social policy has prepared her to confidently teach, develop, and coordinate a range of subjects and a variety of classes at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level ranging from small to very large classes. 

Her approach to teaching is underpinned by various principles of effective teaching, and she strives to meet the highest educational standards. Her role in the classroom is to create enthusiasm for the subject matter, to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning, and to help them to develop skills that they can apply to understanding methodological and policy–related issues throughout their careers.


Irma’s teaching approach emphasizes various innovative teaching forms including flipped classrooms, blended learning, project-based education, and online education. One of Irma’s key objectives in all her teaching is to demonstrate the links between rigorous academic research and the ‘real world.’ To achieve this goal, she emphasizes a collaborative and participative approach whereby students work in teams to solve problems using theoretical and conceptual resources and by making extensive use of cases and other materials from a range of countries which emphasize intercultural issues.


Over her career, Irma has (co)designed and introduced various subjects and workshops to enhance the quantitative skills of graduate and postgraduate students, early career researchers and faculty staff members. She has co–designed and organised 11 PhD courses with international scholars on substantive and methodological issues and has been the architect of various graduate programs at the VU University and at the University of Melbourne.

Courses Developed and Taught, University of Melbourne, since 2014

  • Comparative Social Policy (Graduate level, 46 students), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
  • Project-based analysis (Graduate level, 23 students), 2018
  • Critical Analytical Skills (Undergraduate level, 653 students), 2014, 2015
  • Changing Labour Markets and Social Inequality (coordination, only)

Courses Developed and Taught (VU University) 2008-2013

  • Current Issues in the Social Sciences 1 (PhD level), 2012.
  • Interdisciplinary Seminar: FSS research Fields (Graduate level), 2011.
  • Research Master's Class (Graduate level), 2010, 2011, 2012.
  • Key Thinkers in the Social Sciences (PhD level), 2010, 2011.
  • Quantitative Methods in the Social Science Part I, (Graduate Level, 124 students), 2010, 2011.
  • Quantitative Methods in the Social Science Part II, (Graduate Level, 120 students), 2010, 2011.
  • Life Course and the Labour Market (Undergraduate level) [with H. Ganzeboom], 2010.
  • Comparative Politics (Undergraduate level) [with B. Vis and G. Schumacher], 2010, 2011.
  • Comparative and International Political Economy (Undergraduate level) [with J. de Raadt], 2010 & 2011.
  • Quantitative Methods in the Social Science (Undergraduate level, ± 1000 students) [with C. Elzinga, H. Ganzeboom and P. Roelofsma, 2010, 2011.
  • Mathematics for Statistics (Undergraduate level), 2008.
  • Quantitative Research Methods (Undergraduate level, 200 students) [with I. Nagel], 2008.
  • Social Capital, Networks and Labour Relations (Undergraduate level), 2006.
  • Social Research Methodology (Undergraduate level) [with H. Goede], 2006.

Invited Workshops and Guest lectures

  • Invited to give a 2-day workshop on 'Longitudinal and Sequence Analysis' for the Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands (with C. Elzinga).
  • Invited for a guest lecture on ‘Simultaneous Selection Models and their use in Social Science’. Longitudional Analyses Class. The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (80 PhD students)

Curriculum Development and Coordination 2010-ongoing

  • Designed, developed and implemented a 150 point program for the Master of Social Policy.
  • Responsible for the development of the 2010-2011/2012 (transitional) Masters’ Programme in Social Research, VU University.
  • Responsible for the development of the 2012 Masters’ Programme in Social Research, VU University.
  • Coordinator of around 25 lecturers involved in the MSR and PhD programme of the VU-GSSS.
  • Coordinator and organizer of lectures/courses and workshops offered by our International fellows within the VU-Graduate School of Social Sciences.

* Between 2016-2020, Irma scored an average teaching evaluation score of 4.5 on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high).

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