Cees van Gent

Cees van Gent is Project Manager Educational Support at the University Library of VU Amsterdam. When it became clear that for the time being one had to work from home, the University Library directly joined the initiatives developed by SOZ/NT&L to support teachers in their search for online education. In this way, Cees became involved in an ad hoc project group focused on educational support. He manned the daily online helpdesk together with Erik Boon and he participates in working groups on the strategic development of these supporting initiatives.

According to Cees, it is important that the University Library is active in these working groups, because the perspective of specific legal copyright aspects could possibly be snowed under when making education online under high pressure. “We predicted that in a panicked rush people would use resources that should also be looked at at the copyright level. In order to help instructors work on additional subjects and literature, we have, for example, course & theme specialists. Teachers can come to them for support in the choices they now have to make”. Cees believes that when it comes to copyright, it should not be made more difficult, but rather easier for a teacher. An instructor must be able to use all kinds of information without having to think too much about copyright consequences him/herself. “We at VU Amsterdam must facilitate the instructor.”

Cees’ substantive work has generally remained the same. Before the corona crisis, he worked a lot on projects on a national level together with others, so it is now easier to do this via videoconferencing tools without the travel time. “Zoom is actually much more efficient, speaking time is better and more easily distributed and people generally get more attention for their input and there are no problems for the commuters. The only thing you do occasionally miss are the emotions and looks of people who offer more context and contribute to a well-functioning conversation. Call it the corridor or coffee machine talk. It seems less political.” Cees’ job lends itself well to working from home, as he works a lot on projects that can be controlled remotely. He would like to keep working from home. When asked what he is looking forward to when he is allowed to enter the VU campus, he answers that he hasn’t thought about that at all. However, he has thought about the next academic year. “My son is going to study at the VU soon, and I think it’s very important to look at how these new students will be taken care of. We need to make sure that these students can meet and get to know each other and the people at VU. The intention is that they can feel at home, and it is the responsibility of everyone who works or studies at VU to contribute to that”.