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The RSM Awards are a yearly celebration of outstanding performance by those working at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Individuals are nominated by colleagues and students, and winners are selected from the shortlist of nominees by the Executive Board, perhaps for excellence in their work, in teaching innovations, or success in gaining research funding, or for their contribution to creating positive change. After another challenging year – the second academic year affected by the Covid-19 restrictions – this year’s awards are testament to the exceptional work done by our researchers, teachers and professional services staff. The five awards were presented during an online ceremony on 16 December. Winners come from a range of departments and work in diverse roles at RSM. All received a €1500 prize.

Mariëtte Kaandorp Award

The presentation of awards began with the inaugural Mariëtte Kaandorp Prize for excellence in thesis mentoring. Mariëtte was an Assistant Professor in the department of Organisation and Personnel Management who died in 2020 at the age of 35. Mariëtte had a special gift for nurturing her students, and this award was established by Mariëtte’s family in her memory to recognise a master thesis advisor who supports students and empowers them to excel. The award was presented to Dr Richard Haans from the department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. Dr Haans received multiple nominations from the students that he supervises for being a passionate, supportive and contagiously enthusiastic supervisor and mentor. His nominators said he showed extraordinary academic expertise with deep insights into the academic literature, and was always willing to discuss underlying concepts and their interconnections to make writing a thesis a real learning experience. His passion and deep knowledge of positive change is passed on to his supervisees. The jury members – Prof. Ansgar Richter, Dean; Prof. Peter Roosenboom, Dean of Faculty, and Prof. Michel Lander, Dean of Education – considered his nomination reflected RSM’s mission particularly well. 

RSM Funding Award

Dr Hannes Leroy from the department of Organisation and Personnel Management was presented with the RSM Funding Award for his achievement in securing €146,773 of research funding. His research proposal was written for a tender issued by ESF Vlaanderen, which is responsible for the management and implementation of the European Social Fund in Flanders. This mechanism is highly underused for attaining research funds, said the Executive Board. It highly appreciated Dr Leroy’s efforts to obtain the funding through this channel – which is very specific in its requirements. The Board urged other researchers at RSM to consider tenders as much as possible.

The research idea behind Dr Leroy’s proposal Impactevaluatie Leiderschap Experiment en Ontwikkeling (ESF-LEO) is to investigate the impact of the three types of leadership training intervention on the employee’s autonomous work motivation and wellbeing, a topic which is particularly relevant at the moment. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and effective and mindful management practices have become urgent fields of inquiry when questions of diversity, unconscious bias, and privilege constitute important topics of debate. Dr Leroy’s research into if and how a leader can display authentic leadership could lead to answers that boost wellbeing and purpose in the employment sector and beyond.

Jury members were Dr Patricia Chaudron from the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management; Masja Kempen from the Erasmus School of Law; Giulia Vidori from the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, and the jury was coordinated by Helena Cristina Rico Vasco da Silva of RSM.  

RSM Innovative Teaching Award

A new and adaptive self-study course that has become part of the thesis-writing section of RSM’s MSc Business Information Management, was, in the opinion of RSM’s Executive Board, worthy of the RSM Innovative Teaching Award 2021 for Dr Dimitrios Tsekouras from the department of Technology and Innovation Management at RSM. 

Dr Tsekouras’ self-study course helps students learn how to write scientifically sound research theses. It incorporates pre-recorded lectures so students can study at their own pace. His structured approach to engage with practice and successfully implement peer feedback, adaptive learning, and the widespread sharing of his innovations so they can be implemented by others – as well as very good teaching evaluations – impressed the jury, as did his sharing of these innovations with colleagues. Jury members were Prof. Nicola Kleyn, , RSM’s Dean of Executive Education; Prof. Michel Lander, RSM Dean of Education; Prof. Peter Roosenboom, Dean of Faculty; and Jeroen Melein, Director of RSM’s Information Management and Consulting department.

RSM Outstanding Professional Services Award

Many colleagues were nominated for the Outstanding Professional Services Award. The stand-out candidate was Stephanie Frazier, Programme Manager for RSM’s MBA department. Some students following one of RSM’s demanding MBA programmes struggled with the lockdown and were unhappy that it affected their studies. Stephanie worked with the students and involved them in complicated decision making and communicating with the Student Association, commented the jury. Stephanie managed several courses and maintained a high level of professionalism with RSM and external faculty members. She received great feedback for her attitude and from the results of her work over the past year, from faculty and students. “She is characterised as a team player, an infectious optimist, caring for others within her team, for faculty and RSM as a whole,” said the report. Stephanie Frazier was presented with the Outstanding Professional Services Award by the jury of Myra van Esch, RSM’s Director of Operations (Chair); Richard Hageman, Chief Operating Officer of RSM BV; and Prof. Peter Roosenboom, Dean of Faculty.

RSM Positive Change Award

RSM’s mission is to be a force for positive change in the world, and this award is intended for a recipient who best embodies that mission. For her work advocating the distribution of menstrual products across the campus of Erasmus University, and a dedication to working with several of the UN’s SDGs, Maria Carmen Punzi, PhD candidate in the department of Business-Society Management, was awarded the RSM Positive Change Award. She has broken widespread taboos and raised awareness of women’s health by drawing on her PhD research in the Erasmus University Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity initiative and the department of Business-Society Management. She has worked closely with stakeholders such as the University Council and Erasmus Verbindt, as well as including SDG 1 No Poverty; SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing; SDG 5 Gender Equality; and SDG 10 Reduced Inequality. Jury members were Prof. Ansgar Richter (Chair), Prof. Daan Stam, Dean of Engagement and Partnerships; and Prof. Michel Lander, Dean of Education. Maria Carmen Punzi was given a €1500 prize, and a steel Positive Change hummingbird pin, representing the story of ‘The Hummingbird and the Forest Fire’ from the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, the late Professor Wangari Maathai; you can watch the story here.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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