Professor Dymph van den Boom has been named Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. Van den Boom was conferred this royal honour by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker during her farewell as rector magnificus of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) at the UvA’s Dies Natalis ceremony on Monday, 9 January.
Bussemaker addressed Van den Boom in her capacity as minister, but also as a former colleague. In 2011 she succeeded Van den Boom as rector of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS). Until then, Van den Boom was rector of both the UvA and AUAS. In her speech, Bussemaker described Van den Boom as a thorough, practical-minded manager with strong insight and the ability to get things done. After concluding that Dutch and European academia owe Van den Boom a great deal of gratitude, the minister placed the royal pin on Van den Boom’s chest.
Dymph van den Boom (1951) has been affiliated with the University of Amsterdam since her appointment as professor of Educational Theory in 1996. She combined this chair with various administrative positions. After successively serving as head of the department of Child Development and Education and vice-dean of the UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Van den Boom was appointed dean of the Faculty in 2001. Under her leadership, this comprehensive faculty became internationally leading in teaching and research.
In 2007, Van den Boom joined the UvA-AUAS Executive Board as rector magnificus. After holding this office for two terms, she agreed in 2015 – a year before her retirement – to a request to serve as rector magnificus for one more year and to serve as acting president of the Executive Board until such time as both positions could be filled.
Van den Boom has been unwavering in her focus on quality. She was responsible for the development of a focal points policy at the UvA, the so-called research priority areas, which helped make a number of UvA research fields among the best in the world. Van den Boom also initiated integral quality assurance at the UvA. For example, she was the driving force behind the UvA’s Study Success programme and the Institutional Accreditation. It was partly because of her efforts that in 2013 the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) awarded the UvA a maximum score in all assessment criteria of the Institutional Accreditation. Van den Boom was also the driving force behind the establishment of a new, country-wide Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP) for research.
Van den Boom also invested a great deal of effort in strengthening the international profile of Dutch higher education and the UvA. For example, she was closely involved in the consortia of international universities: Universitas 21 (U21) and the European League of European Research Universities (LERU).
During the Dies Natalis ceremony, Van den Boom officially transferred the rectorship to Professor Karen Maex.