Bridging the Generation Gap in Higher Education

Erasmus+ Crossroads Staff Week, 10-13 June 2024

From June 10th to 13th, the International Office of Erasmus University Rotterdam hosted an Erasmus+ Crossroads staff week. We particularly invite our UNIC colleagues and staff members from our EUF partner Universities to apply.  

Staff members working in higher education are all dedicated to investing in our future generations. While a large part of the workforce in higher education currently is made up by Boomers, Gen X and Millennials, most of our students are defined as Generation Z. To effectively engage with our students, it is essential to understand and appreciate the unique perspectives, values, and skills that Gen Z brings to the table, and to be aware of our own pitfalls and biases. Bridging the gap between the different generations allows institutions to enhance collaboration across generations and to better meet the needs of their students, thus contributing to a positive and inspiring learning experience. During the Staff Week on "Bridging the Generation Gap in Higher Education" we will explore a range of themes linked to the Generation Gap within higher education with higher education staff from different  countries and backgrounds.


Venue: Woudestein Campus, Polak Building

  • 09.30 - 10.00 | Arrival & registration
  • 10.00 - 11.00 | Welcome, introductions & ice breakers
  • 11.00 - 11.30 | Coffee break
  • 11.30 - 12.30 | Objectives and learning goals
  • 12.30 - 14.00 | Lunch at Erasmus Pavillon
  • 14.00 - 15.00 | Unlock the secrets of the generations by Aleksandra Stuip. 

    Are you curious about what makes each generation tick? Join us for an eye-opening journey through time as we delve into the fascinating world of Boomers, Millennials, and the rising stars: Gen Z and Gen Alpha. What to Expect? 
    • Insights Galore: Discover the defining moments that shaped each generation—war, technology, and cultural revolutions.
    • Communication Unveiled: Peek into their preferred communication styles—face-to-face chats, emojis, or TikTok dances? 
    • Likes, Dislikes, and Everything In Between: From avocado toast to climate activism, we’ll explore what ignites their passions.
  • 15.00 - 15.30 | Break
  • 15.30 - 16.30 | Student Panel: Gen Z perspectives

    Join host Tessa Hofland from Erasmus Magazine as she engages with our diverse panel of students, including Chris Klarenbeek (President of Erasmus Pride), Nicolas Kuenzli (President of ESN), Ana Dziman (Board Member of Sustainability Hub), and Defne Giray (Vice President of International Students Rotterdam). Throughout the discussion, we'll dive into the themes of Communication, Wellbeing, and Innovation in Education. 

  • 17.30 - 18.00 | Watertaxi
  • 18.00 - 21.00 | Welcome dinner @ Supermercado

Venue: Trompenburg, Woudestein Campus, Polak Building, Kinderdijk

  • 09.15 - 10.00 | Coffee & Networking
  • 10.00 - 11.00 | Teaching in the wild: reflecting on the physical spaces as a tool for connection and learning by Ana Uribe Sandoval

    During the last few years, and especially after the pandemic, it seems to be everytime more difficult to find places where we meet. For education, the classroom has become increasingly a symbol of physical constraints and limitations. If everything can be done online – why not just do so? In this workshop, we will discuss the advantages of re-imagining our educational and community activities in different spaces, the role that the city as a backdrop has to the development of active critical thinking, and the advantages to our relationship with the younger generations outside the constrains of formal teaching spaces. The places that we choose to teach also impact how we communicate and how far we can reimagine learning. Bring your comfortable shoes and join us for a walk of discovery! 
  • 11.30 - 12.30 | Student engagement strategies: Insights from Erasmus University Rotterdam's Marketing & Communications Team

    In this session, Erasmus University Rotterdam's central Marketing & Communications team will share their approaches to reaching future generation students in collaboration with marketing agency Snip Snap.
  • 12.30 - 13.30 | Lunch at the Food Court
  • 13.30 - 14.30 | Design Thinking Workshop: Bridging the Generation Gap by Shen Liu

    Have you ever wondered what Design Thinking is? And how it can help you in your professional life? Then this is a workshop for you. In this workshop you will quickly grasp the concept of Design Thinking and experience it yourself. How can Design Thinking help with wicked problems such as bridging the generational gap? And how can you use creative approaches to solve your own professional problems? Design Thinking and its methodology is a useful and proven way of working in tackling these problems. 
  • 14.30 - 18.00 | Visit of UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinderdijk

Venue: Woudestein Campus, Living Room, and Erasmus Sports Building

  • 09.15 - 10.00 | Introduction to Student Living Room by host Perry
  • 10.00 - 11.30 | Student wellbeing in higher education: a shift from study success to student success by Marilisa Boffo and Danielle Remmerswaal


    In this session, Marilisa and Danielle will share how they approached the task of embedding student wellbeing and personal development in the ecosystem of EUR and how to develop a structured programme, blending service design, policy making, and implementation of a preventative initiatives. The goal of this interactive session is to share lessons learned, best practices, and know-how in promoting an organizational shift towards student success. 

  • 11.30 - 12.30 | Lunch at Erasmus Sport
  • 13.00 - 14.30 | Doing the work to support young people to overcome perfectionism and fear of failure by Maria Carmen Punzi
  • 14.30 - 15.00 | Break
  • 15.00 - 16.00 | Discover ROOM: enhancing student wellbeing by Bente van den Akker, Student Wellbeing programme
  • 16.30 - 17.30 | Finding balance: optional Yoga class

Venue: Rotterdam City Centre / Woudestein Campus, Education Lab

  • 10.00 - 11.00 | Visit of the Euromast
  • 11.00 - 12.30 | Free time (time for lunch)
  • 12.30 - 14.30 | Stepping in the shoes of Gen Z: blended/online education by Community for Learning and Innovation 


    Together with two students belonging to the Gen Z, project managers Ivar and Mirjam will welcome you in the Education Lab of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. This is the home base of the Community for Learning & Innovation (CLI). They will tell you about the way the CLI contributes to future-oriented education that activates and engages the Gen Z a little more than the more traditional way of teaching. We will dive a little bit deeper into blended and fully online education, with a few examples of our projects. And just as we’re trying to engage and activate our students, we will try to activate and engage you with different break-out exercises involving e.g. our professional studio and holobox. We’re looking forwards to our conversation!

  • 14.30 - 15.00 | Break
  • 15.00 - 16.30 | Workshop: ChatGPT in higher education by Sandra Lousberg and Tess Ravensberg – educational consultants and trainers in higher education. 

    During this interactive session you will learn how you can apply this innovative technology in education. Topics that will be discussed include the use of AI during learning and we will also pay attention to 'prompt engineering', an essential skill for effective use of AI. The workshop is designed to provide you with some practical knowledge and tools. Together we explore the possibilities of AI in education.

    You will be using a Generative Ai (ChatGPT, Co-pilot, or other) during the workshop. If you are a complete newbie: make sure you have a login/account and know the technical basics of asking AI a question (e.g. ‘what is the meaning of life? What is a fun activity specifically for a boomer/GenX/Milennial/Gen Z’er, etc.)

  • 16.30 - 17.00 | Wrap up and closure
  • 17.00 - 22.00 | Heartbeat Festival (optional)

Aleksandra Stuip: Aleksandra is an all-round digital marketing professional responsible for setting up, optimising and expanding all digital marketing projects and activities within Erasmus School of Economics, mainly aimed at attracting the right students from the Netherlands and abroad. As a passionate advocate for understanding generational dynamics, she is especially interested in the fascinating interplay between older generations and Gen Z and Gen Alpha. She has been closely observing and researching how these cohorts shape our world in order to determine what are the best ways to reach and communicate with the two younger generations. 

Ana Uribe Sandoval: Ana is a Senior Lecturer at the Media and Communication department of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. In her research on the digital divide between students and teachers, and in her daily practice as a lecturer, she explores the relevance of challenging the traditional spaces for learning, to create inclusive places for as many as possible.  

Bente van den Akker: Bente started working as a communication and implementation officer in the Student Wellbeing Programme last January. She is responsible for communicating the entire support offer of the programme and implementing the new ROOM app. The Student Wellbeing Programme began around five years ago at our university. Since then, our support offerings have grown considerably. We host workshops, training sessions, and peer meetings in the Living Room and Personal Support Hub. These are two physical spaces on campus designed for students to relax and connect with other students and professionals who can help them with potential struggles. Additionally, we have been developing a wellbeing app – ROOM – for four years now, and we will launch it in the coming academic year.

Ivar van de Loo: Ivar has a background in Economics and Business from Erasmus University Rotterdam, coupled with work experience in marketing, communication, and project management. In his current role as a Project Manager at the Community for Learning and Innovation, he oversees projects focused on educational innovation. These projects encompass interactive education, the professional development of teachers, future learning spaces, and hybrid and online education. 

Marilisa Boffo and Danielle Remmerswaal: Marilisa and Danielle are the Academic Leads of the EUR Student Wellbeing Programme. They are responsible for the vision and goal setting of the programme and ensuring that all initiatives, services and policies related to student wellbeing are rooted on a solid evidence-based approach and centered around student needs.  

Mirjam van de Woerdt: Mirjam has been active in the Community for Learning & Innovation, which is similar to a 'centre for teaching and learning' as you might know it, at Erasmus University Rotterdam for more than 6 years now. Before that, she worked for 15 years in various marketing/communication roles in the engineering and innovation industry. Mirjam is a senior project manager, realising educational innovation projects ranging from the 'regular' campus education to blended/hybrid/ fully online education (and more) together with the Schools. Besides that, she’s part of the CLI management team.

Shen Liu: Shen studied Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) at the Technological University of Delft. He did his master’s in “Strategic Product Design” and has applied Design Thinking in his professional career. Shen is currently working at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam as a Project Manager at the Community for Learning and Innovation. 

Maria Carmen Punzi: Maria works as a PhD researcher at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and as a consultant in her own company. Since 2017 she has built bridges between the for-profit, the non-profit and the academic world to fight for gender equity. In her research, she investigates the key role menstrual health can play to achieve gender equity. Maria Carmen translates insights from her academic work to media conversation and social change projects. She contributed to debates on menstrual leave and free period products in international media and her input was brought into Dutch Parliament, during the Kamervragen. In 2021, in collaboration with other stakeholders, she has advocated and obtained funding for free menstrual products in the university campus and continues her activism within and beyond the university. She is regularly invited by companies to speak on how to support hormonal wellbeing at work and does consulting work for institutional and nonprofit organizations on her topics of expertise.


If you have questions regarding the staff week, please do not hesitate to contact us via
Martine Wierenga, Head of the International Office
Kirsten Janssen, Event Manager
Sabaï Doodkorte, International Partnerships Officer
Janna van der Wel, Communications Advisor

Birds view photo of Woudestein campus with the Rotterdam skyline in the background.
View of rotterdam
vijf molens op de kinderdijk die in de horizon verdwijnen

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