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Associate Professorship Hospitality Education

Hospitality Education plays a vital role in shaping future proof professionals for the dynamic hospitality industry. In recent years, hospitality education has evolved significantly to meet the changing demands and trends of the industry. To support learners to become future proof professionals in the Hospitality Industry, new educational concepts, such as Design Based Education, are developed.

The professorship Hospitality Education observes the transfer of the intended curriculum, the design of the concept (and other concepts), into practices (implemented curriculum). The research group explores the drivers and constraints of the concept from a trialogical and narrative approach, which entails the involvement of students, educators (including researchers) and industry partners in sharing their perceptions and narratives (attained curriculum). To bridge the stakeholders’ perception gaps, the professorship fosters constructive dialogues across various networks and promotes boundary crossing and collective learning among students, educators, researchers, and hospitality industry professionals.

Research themes

  • Looking behind the Scenes
    To identify and (re)conceptualize underlying philosophy and learning principles of Design Based Hospitality Education, and research and support ‘Living the Learning Principles’ within Hotel Management School Leeuwarden.

  • Designerly Learning in Hospitality Education and Hospitality Industry
    To explore to what extent Designerly Learning supports students to develop higher order skills.

  • Small case learning: Ateliers: the place to be!
    To explore the concept of ateliers and the place of ateliers in the Hospitality Education curriculum.

  • Design Based Learning Study. Our way of learning and working!
    To explore to what extent Design Based Learning Study (DBLS) supports lecturers to design, apply and evaluate didactical (tailored) interventions based on DBE (Design Based Education) learning principles.
    To gain insight into facilitators’ collective learning processes within the DBLS approach

  • Stakeholders’ voices from a trialogical perspective
    To get insight into how students, lecturers and, industry partners, perceive design-based hospitality education.

  • Design Based Hospitality Education team model
    To identify lecturers’ tasks, activities and needed competencies of educators in DBE

  • Hospitality, care and well being
    To explore to what degree hospitality, care and well-being in education and professional field mutually support one another.

The Team

Associate professor Hospitality Education

Dr Hanneke Assen

Hanneke Assen holds a master’s in Learning and Innovation (cum laude) and a PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Her doctoral research focused on the transition from a teacher- to a learner-oriented approach to teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on the educators’ collective learning processes. Subsequently, she conducted a postdoctoral research on “Activators for change: Moving to Design-Based Education in which she focused on evidence-informed educators ‘collective learning in a design-based learning environment. Since 2022, Hanneke is associate professor Hospitality Education at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden.

Hanneke has over three decades of expertise in education grounded in social constructivist concepts and trialogical learning processes between education, research and industry. One of the outcomes of her postdoctoral research is the professional learning initiative “Design-Based Learning Study” for educators. This initiative advocates for an evidence-informed and iterative approach, where educators design didactic strategies based on the principles of Design-Based Education (DBE). Moreover, she has designed the DBE team model.

In collaboration with the research groups, she focuses on the fundamental principles guiding hospitality education to promote future-oriented and lifelong learning. She emphasises the lasting impact of educational experiences from a trialogical perspective, considering the perspectives from learners, educators, and industry (partners in learning). Key components of the research group include boundary crossing and community of learners, which encourages dialogue and shared narratives among stakeholders in hospitality education, research, and industry.

Her statement: “Research in Hospitality Education should serve as a catalyst to foster meaningful learning in hospitality education and industry from the perspective of theory and practice”.

Researcher, Lecturer and Student Coach

Georges El Hajal, PhD candidate

Georges El Hajal is an expert in the people profession and researcher at the Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Born and raised in Lebanon, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Lebanese University, Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and a master’s in International Service Management from London Metropolitan University and NHL Stenden. He is working towards a Ph.D. at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Spatial Sciences. 

As a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Chartered MCIPD), Georges leverages this designation to underscore his extensive experience and expertise in HR and L&D practice, showcasing a steadfast commitment to excellence. With a rich background in HRM spanning various countries, including Lebanon, Qatar, the UAE, the Netherlands, and Iraq, coupled with diverse experiences in the humanitarian field with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) across Switzerland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Mauritania, and the Philippines, Georges offers a unique and broad perspective on the people profession. He is also a member of The Institute of Hospitality (MIH) and an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential holder from the International Coach Federation (ICF), demonstrating a high professional coaching practice standard.

At NHL Stenden, Georges is a student coach and HRM lecturer at the undergraduate and graduate levels, blending real-world experience with academic insights. He is also a part of the Academy of International Hospitality Research and the Hospitality Education research group and is deeply involved in academic research. Georges is also on the bachelor programme’s curriculum committee, bringing valuable research insights to support the curriculum redesign, ensuring an alignment with the evolving needs of the hospitality industry.

His Ph.D. focuses on the future of hospitality jobs, developing strategies for attracting, engaging, and retaining talent in the hospitality industry. His research aims to create a conceptual model and a regionally adapted framework for talent management strategies and theorise a support approach for the hospitality industry to prepare for future jobs and equip the current workforce with the skills required for tomorrow. Georges is also actively engaged in the RIF Project GastvrijFriesland, a collaborative effort to strengthen the hospitality sector in the Dutch province of Friesland. His involvement aligns closely with his Ph.D. research focused on developing a talent attraction and retention strategy tailored to the hospitality industry in the province of Friesland.

Georges has a passion for the people profession rooted in the belief that by investing in people and creating supportive, inclusive workplaces, organisations can achieve success while also contributing to broader societal well-being. In his work, George aims to advance knowledge in hospitality HRM, inform policy and practice, empower future professionals, promote innovation, and drive positive change within the industry.

Senior Lecturer (Digital) Marketing

Inga Mons, MSc

Inga Mons, a Senior Lecturer and Researcher at Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, brings a wealth of international and multidisciplinary experience to her role. Originally from Germany, she has lived and worked in various countries including Argentina, Ecuador, South Africa, the UK, and Indonesia before settling in the Netherlands. With an undergraduate degree in Tourism Management (BBA) and postgraduate degrees in International Relations (MSc) and Digital Marketing (Master), Inga combines academic knowledge with practical insights gained from her extensive travels, enriching her understanding of the hospitality industry across cultures.

As a facilitator, coach, and marketing expert within the bachelor programme International Hospitality Management, Inga leverages her global insights to inspire and educate her students. Her experiences across different continents and sectors have equipped her with a deep appreciation for diversity and innovation, which she incorporates into her teaching approach.

Inga’s role in the Curriculum Development Project Team tasked with designing a Design Based Education (DBE) curriculum for the bachelor programme underscores her commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional education. Her passion for curriculum design is fuelled by a desire to prepare students for the ever-evolving demands of the industry, ensuring they are equipped with the skills and adaptability needed to thrive in a globalised world.

Driven by a passion for enhancing education and making an impact, Inga dedicates herself to her roles as educator and researcher. As a member of the Hospitality Education research group, she contributes to projects examining the DBE concept and its implementation, stakeholder perceptions, and evolving educator roles. Completing Radboud International Training for High Ability (RITHA), she aims to optimise educational approaches for diverse student groups, maximising talent development and individual potential.

Lecturer Human Resources Management, Organizational Behaviour and Hostmanship

Macmillion Braz Fernandes, MSc

Macmillion Braz Fernandes is a lecturer-researcher at the Hotel Management School Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Born in Goa, India, he holds a master’s degree in psychology and is certified as a performance and competence developer.

With hands-on experience in the international hospitality industry in India, Middle East and Indonesia, he brings a wealth of expertise to his role. Adept in Design Based Education, he presently lectures, supports student’s final thesis and is the coordinator for a ten-week minor study focused on Hostmanship. His current research areas include collaboration among learning professionals, dynamics of the learning environment, the pivotal role and influence of Human Resources-people practices in diverse and multinational organisations, Hostmanship and Ethics.

Senior Lecturer

Mandy Wen, MA

Mandy (Xiaomin) Wen serves as a facilitator, expert, coach, and supervisor within the realms of internship guidance and consultancy projects at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences. Originating from China, she has dedicated the last fifteen years to her academic and professional pursuits in the Netherlands, particularly at NHL Stenden. She holds an MA in International Service Management from London Metropolitan University and NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and has further refined her expertise in intercultural communication.

Wen has consistently emphasised the significance of cultural awareness and understanding, integrating these principles into her teaching and professional practices. Her recent inclusion in the DBE research group marks a continuation of her efforts to explore the interplay between Research everyday educational practice.

Wen’s role at NHL Stenden encompasses a variety of responsibilities. She mentors students through their internships, offering them guidance to navigate diverse and challenging environments effectively. Additionally, she supervises consultancy projects, applying academic theories to practical scenarios, thereby enriching the students’ learning experience with real-world insights. As chairperson of the curriculum committee for Hotel Management School Leeuwarden (HMSL), Wen has significantly contributed to aligning educational programmes with academic standards.

Wen’s research interests include intercultural communication and its influence on lifelong learning, curriculum development, and the practical application of teaching methods. Lately, her interest has extended to the integration and potential of AI to support and innovate traditional teaching methodologies and curriculum design for more effective outcomes.

Coordinator of the Master’s Research Programme and Research Lecturer in Qualitative Research

Dr Marte Rinck de Boer

Marte Rinck de Boer obtained a master’s degree (cum laude) in German Studies from the University of Groningen and a PhD from the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht. 

Her expertise lies in educational innovation and constructivist critical pedagogy. In her doctoral research, Marte Rinck used interdisciplinary approaches integrating the sociology of knowledge by Karl Mannheim and anthropological methodology by Tim Ingold to identify and critically examine the role of ideological and utopian thinking in educational innovations.

Building upon her research, she contributes to the conceptualisation and development of constructivist hospitality education in a design-based curriculum. Furthermore, her research revolves around understanding the perceptions and experiences of students in constructivist education and the fruitfulness of anthropology for learning. In her pedagogical and research activities she combines her love for literature, art, pedagogy and qualitative research to learn with and from the world.

Currently, she is a faculty member of the Master of International Hospitality and Service Management at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences and co-coordinates the research programme. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the Journal Research in Hospitality Management. Moreover, Marte Rinck held the position of NHL Stenden confidential counsellor for research integrity until January 2024.

Editor in Chief - Research in Hospitality Management

Dr Rodney Westerlaken

Dr Rodney Westerlaken, M.A., M.Si., M.Ed., is a versatile professional with a passion for driving positive change across various domains. With a rich background encompassing philanthropy, activism, research, lecturing, and disaster management expertise, he brings a holistic approach to his research.

Currently serving as a lecturer at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, his commitment to education and academia extends to his role as the Editor in Chief of the Research in Hospitality Management journal, where he leads the charge in advancing scholarly discourse within the field.

Having earned his PhD in Cultural Studies from Universitas Udayana in 2020, Dr Westerlaken has conducted impactful research focused on cultural modification concerning children placed in child welfare institutions in Denpasar. This work underscores his dedication to addressing complex societal issues and advocating for vulnerable populations.

Beyond academia, Dr Westerlaken is the founder of the Westerlaken Foundation and serves as a Patron at Yayasan Westerlaken Alliance Indonesia, demonstrating his commitment to philanthropy and community development.

His academic journey includes acquiring master’s degrees in humanities, environmental studies, and education, reflecting his interdisciplinary approach to learning and problem-solving.

Dr Westerlaken’s research contributions span a diverse range of topics, from hospitality volunteer engagement and consumer behaviour to the impact of tourism on local communities and environmental sustainability. Notable publications include studies on volunteer engagement in residential care facilities, the ethical implications of wildlife tourism, and the relationship between sustainability initiatives and employee motivation in the hospitality industry.

With a keen focus on social responsibility and ethical practices, Dr Westerlaken continues to make significant strides in his academic pursuits, leveraging his expertise to effect positive change and inspire future generations. Currently, Dr Westerlaken is involved in a research project in volunteerism in hospitality, together with Breda University of Applied Science (BUas).

Learn more about this professorship