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Starting 1 September 2024, Ward Romp will be the new education director of the Master's programmes at the Amsterdam School of Economics (ASE). He takes over from Massimo Giuliodori, who has held this role for 9 years and is going on sabbatical.
Ward Romp
Ward Romp

What will you bring to your role as education director?

'Through my 6 years’ experience as programme director of the Master’s Economics, and before that a number of other management roles, I have gotten to know the faculty well: procedures, rules, but above all people. Karin Breen is a great support, and I have direct lines of communication with various departments of the Education Service Centre (ESC), with the Marketing and Communication department. The same applies for my contact with with Peter van Baalen en Mark van der Veen - the two other education directors. Still, I hope Massimo will pick up his phone in Bologna from time to time.'

What are your motivations in education?

'Academic teaching is a brilliant blend of research and preparing students for a role in society. This is our opportunity to challenge and guide them during their studies. I hope every student gains insights that help them make decisions that benefit others. The new Minister of Finance is an alumnus of our faculty. It would be fantastic when at least one student from each cohort will go on to make a big impact on society.'

'Although I have an organisational role as education director, I am pleased that I will continue to teach at least 1 course to maintain contact with the students.’

What challenges do you see?

'In education, we face some significant challenges, ranging from 'fun' to 'unfortunate'. I see Generative AI (GenAI) as a fun challenge. In the short term, we need to figure out how to integrate these new tools into our teaching. In the slightly longer term, we need to determine which skills are still useful for students to learn and which new skills they need to develop. And how we can prepare our lecturers to guide students in this process.'

'Another challenge is the proposed internationalisation legislation. In response to this proposed bill, we have initiated Dutch-language tracks. We prepare our students for an international labour market. For the master's programmes, the intended Balanced Internationalisation bill is less urgent. But there are still challenges. For example, the transition from a Dutch-language Bachelor's to an English-language master's requires extra attention.'

What are your first priorities as education director?

‘I have 3 points on my whiteboard:

  • Contact, listen: I know the Master’s Economics well, beyond that firstly it's mainly about listening. I want to discuss challenges and ambitions with the programme directors as a group as soon as possible. Establishing more contacts with the ESC and other faculties through the university education committee is also a priority.
  • GenAI: The coming academic year, we will continue and expand pilot projects. For 2025-2026, I foresee structural adjustments to be made in collaboration with the programme committees, the examination board, and other stakeholders.
  • Internationalisation: The Balanced Internationalisation bill and its implications will keep us busy for some time.'

As an associate professor and researcher, Ward Romp is specialised in Macroeconomics of pensions and ageing. He is affiliated with the Macro and International Economics (MInt) section at the Amsterdam School of Economics, and he is a Tinbergen Fellow, and a researcher at Netspar.