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Political Science

Marcel Hanegraaff

‘I’m always very proud at the end of the course when students have produced an original paper based on their own creative thinking.’

Marcel Hanegraaff is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science.

Marcel Hanegraaff
Photographer: Jeroen Doomernik

Which course(s) do you teach?

‘I teach an elective on global non-state actors, which looks at the world of lobbying and the ways in which non-state actors such as companies, organised citizens and NGOs seek to influence global political processes. I also teach a course on research design and statistics in the second year. I’m always very proud at the end of the course when students, sometimes to their own surprise, have produced an original paper based on their own creative thinking and acquired statistical skills.’

What do you want students to learn?

‘I encourage students to challenge my opinions both in class and outside the classroom. This approach also means that I have an open door policy and invite students to stop by and discuss a paper, an idea or anything else, whenever they like. For me, this aspect is part of the joy of teaching, seeing young people challenge themselves and in the process grow as human beings.

In my role as coordinator Professional Skills and Professional Orientation, I think about novel ways to improve the connections between our programme and the future career paths of our students. We are experimenting with various didactical approaches to enhance writings skills and leadership skills. While academic education is the primary goal of our programme, I’m very proud that we also provide students with the tools to transfer their academic skills into all kinds of professional practices.’

What is your own research about?

‘My research interests are lobbying and interest groups, international politics and research methods. I recently received a four-year grant from the Netherlands Scientific Council to study the agenda-setting power of interest groups in the European Union. I feel really fortunate to be working on such cutting-edge issues and make a living out of what I like the most: observing, analysing and writing about politics, as well as discussing my ideas and findings with students.’