Faculty Spotlight: Marjolijn van der Velde

Marjolijn van der Velde started out at DU as a resident director at Davenport University at the former Fulton Street Campus in downtown Grand Rapids in 1975. After completing her doctoral degree, returned as an adjunct instructor and joined as a full-time faculty member in 2007.

“It has been fascinating to watch the organization change and move forward over the years,” said van der Velde. “With the support of our donors, we are fortunate to teach in the Donald W. Maine College of Business building that is cutting edge and exposes our students to real-world situations.”

In her 19-year academic career, van der Velde has taught graduate-level management courses and undergraduate courses in general business, international business and management. She also served as department coordinator for the MBA program, department chair for the Management program and program director for the European Business and Culture study abroad program.

The European Business and Culture study abroad program takes students to destinations in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in a three weeks duration. This program involves corporate visits and cultural excursions.

“I was born in the Netherlands and am still a Dutch citizen. My background is one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about encouraging students to study abroad,” said van der Velde. “Studying abroad urges students to get out of their comfort zone and stretch themselves. The international experience can be a life-changer.”

She has traveled with the program five times, taking students throughout Western Europe to apply business concepts to various settings.

“It’s exciting to me to watch those lightbulb moments where you can see that something is connecting,” she said. “I consider it a privilege to take a group of students to a different environment and culture to see how the businesses operate.”

van der Velde has spoken at the International Accreditation Council for Business Education international conference in Europe. The IACBE is DU’s accreditation body. Additionally, she has spoken at the Lilly Conference Series on College and University Teaching and Learning.

“These types of experiences are really important because it’s not only sharing the information that I have found, but getting feedback and hearing what other faculty are doing in the classroom to determine the best practices,” said van der Velde.

Outside of her involvement at DU, van der Velde continues to focus on academic and professional development as a member of the Academy of Management and the West Michigan World Trade Association.


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