As part of the RADIX (ROC Association for Dutch International ConneXions) faculty exchange program with the Netherlands, Marianne deKok, pictured right, spent two weeks at North Shore Community College in October. She was hosted by Marsha Pease, left, of Amesbury, Associate Professor with the college’s Math Department, who in turn will visit the Netherlands next spring.
Ms. deKok is Head of School for IT, ROC Mondriaan College, a vocational college with 26 schools, 20,000 students and 2,000 faculty and staff. ROC Mondriaan offers programs and courses in social studies, business, and technical and IT studies. As Head of School for IT, Marianne is responsible for day to day running of the school or 480 students and 32 faculty and staff. She oversees all functions including Human Resources, curriculum development, business relationships, and program innovation.
The college promotes social participation of its students by offering vocational training, general education, and job-related courses. “We put our students and careers at the heart of everything. Knowing that providing knowledge alone is not enough, we have found included capabilities and qualities such as independence, taking initiative, responsibility, trouble shooting, cooperation, and creativity to be equally important.”
While at NSCC deKok visited many classes and met with faculty and staff. “I was interested to learn how colleagues abroad work, whether they experience the same difficulties and challenges that I am faced with and how they cope with the day to day running of a school.”
She found similarities and some differences. In both the US and the Netherlands, she finds that teachers are dedicated to seeing their students succeed. She noted that NSCC’s student body includes many more non-traditional age students – at her college 90% of students are between the ages of 16-24. She said she was impressed with the openness of NSCC’s faculty and staff and how they were so willing to share with a stranger. She thought NSCC’s online courses are more developed than hers, and she was very impressed with the college’s Women In Transition program as her school offers nothing similar.
deKok enjoyed her first visit to the United States, particularly walks on Plum Island, Boston and the Freedom Trail, Salem during Halloween season and trying various restaurants. She said she was shocked by the portion sizes Americans consume but stocked up on authentic Levi’s as she was pleasantly surprised at the “low” prices compared to the Netherlands.