People and Community

It is only thanks to the expertise and dedication of its people, alongside the valued collaborations with committed faculty members and external partners, that the Extension School is able to perform its tasks and effect a positive impact on individual learners, campus education, and society at large.

Extension School for Continuing Education

Due to the success achieved in the last seven years, as of 1 January, the Extension School went from being an innovative program to having an embedded, permanent position within the university corporate office. Although its mission remains unchanged, the organisation’s new name reflects its renewed ambitions in the field of online education for professionals and lifelong learners. In the coming years, the following areas will be of particular interest: portfolio development with a focus on future demands and on modular programs for working professionals; a strongly established quality culture; and excellent services tailored to lifelong learners. The new organisational structure includes advisory and quality assurance bodies comprising both academic and industry members. It rests on the principle of shared ownership between faculty and the Extension School, where faculty is responsible for the content and the Extension School for the processes and monitoring of the quality of delivery.


In line with the new organisational structure and the broadening of our remit for LLL education, in 2021 we recruited and appointed the following colleagues, faculty partners, and board members. Amongst them, eight new hires took up positions in the Extension School Office and in our Education Support and Business Development teams:

  • Administrative Officer
  • Coordinator Learning Experience Team (LET)
  • Functional Administrator
  • Manager Business Development
  • Project Manager Energy Switch
  • Project Manager Lifelong Learning
  • Quality Assurance Officer
  • Research Coordinator

Faculty appointments

  • Arno Smets as Director of Extension School Education
  • Arjan van Timmeren – Academic Portfolio Director for the Sustainable Cities theme
  • Arvind Gangoli Rao – Academic Portfolio Director for the Future of Transportation theme
  • Christoph Lofi – Academic Portfolio Director for the AI & Cyber Security theme
  • Menno Veldhorst – Academic Portfolio Director for the Quantum Computing theme
  • Rene van Swaaij – Academic Portfolio Director for the Energy Transition theme
  • Sylvia Mooij – Academic Portfolio Director for the Skills for Engineers theme
  • Tim Horeman-Franse – Academic Portfolio Director for the Medical Technology theme

Advisory board

  • Gillian Saunders – Associate Professor in Aerospace Structures and Materials, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering
  • Giulia Calabretta – Associate Professor in Strategic Value of Design, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
  • Timon Idema – Program Director MSc Nanobiology, Faculty of Applied Sciences
  • Tineke Ruijgh-van der Ploeg – Assistant Professor in the Policy Analysis Section, Faculty of Technology Policy & Management

Quality Assurance Board

  • Joris Melkert – Director of Education, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering
  • Joost Groot Kormelink – Coordinator Open and Online Education, Faculty of Technology Policy & Management
  • Nikol Hopman – Director of the Centre of Professional Learning Leiden University

Strategy Board

  • Dick van Gameren – Dean Faculty of Architecture & the Built Environment
  • Marianne van de Werke – Head of Education & Student Affairs Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences
  • Ruud Balkenende – Director of Education Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering
  • Sacha Kroonenburg – Director Education & Student Affairs

Learning and assessment regulations

In collaboration with the newly established QA Board, we developed and published the Extension School Learning and Assessment Regulations. These are in line with the Teaching & Examination Regulations for bachelor and master education and the rules for contract education. In the current absence of a national framework for professional education to adhere to, this type of policy development is one aspect of our work that contributes to making us a credible provider of continuing education.

Renewed accreditation for two ProfEd courses

Another instance of QA activity in 2021 was the renewed accreditation of two of our online professional education courses in wastewater and water treatment by the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM - Professionally Accredited Educational Programs).


Our organisation’s standing as a leader in open and online continuing education and the excellence of its contribution were once more recognised at national and international level by the awarding of prestigious prizes.

Open Education Global President's Award

The Extension School Executive Director, Willem van Valkenburg, received this international recognition for his work as an exemplary leader in open education – an achievement also showcased in the OEGlobal 10th Anniversary book about the outstanding contributions of open education luminaries around the world.

Gillian Saunders-Smits edX Prize finalist Prof Saunders and her course team – comprising Calvin Rans, Joost Sinke, Katharina Ertman, Julie Teuwen and René Alderliesten – were amongst the top 10 finalists in this annual award for exceptional contributions and innovation in online education with their MOOC Introduction to Aerospace Structures and Materials. The prize eventually went to the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). TU Delft was finalist for the 3rd time with two previous wins: in 2020 with a MOOC by Andy van den Dobbelsteen and team, and in 2016 with a course by Arno Smets.

Extension School for Continuing Education

Image credits (CC-BY): Daniel Funes Fuentes on Unsplash, Polina Zimmerman on Pexels, Cottonbro on Pexels.