Dekker, TJ

Teun J Dekker (1980) is Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education at University College Maastricht, where he teaches courses on the intersection of the Social Sciences and the Humanities, including History of Political Thought and Distributive Justice in Contemporary Political Philosophy.

As Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, his main duties are: 

  • Conducting theoretical and philosophical research concerning the nature of Liberal Arts education in the European context, as well as its social, political, and educational significance.

  • Contributing to the academic community, teaching, and management of University College Maastricht, with a focus on safeguarding, developing, and spreading its Liberal Arts philosophy.

  • Spreading public awareness of Liberal Arts education among the general public, in the educational sector and in the labor market, both in the Netherlands and in Europe.

  • Further advancing Liberal Arts education within Maastricht University, by investigating and initiating new educational projects at University College Maastricht and the Maastricht School of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

  • Promoting Liberal Arts education in the Netherlands, by developing and contributing to national initiatives in cooperation with other Liberal Arts programs in the Netherlands and by liaising with policymakers.

  • Furthering Liberal Arts education in Europe, by sharing expertise with Liberal Arts programs throughout Europe and by consulting for Universities on matters relating to Liberal Arts education.

Career History

Teun J Dekker (1980) did his Bachelors’ degree at University College Utrecht, with a double major in Social Sciences and Humanities and graduating Summa Cum Laude. Having been awarded both a VSB and a Huygens National Talent Scholarship, he went on to do his Master’s degree and Doctorate in Political Theory at St Antony’s College, Oxford University.  His graduate research focused on the elaboration and defense of desert-based theories of distributive justice. He continued this research at Yale University. He conducted an NWO VENI project which used the techniques of analytical philosophy to clarify contemporary political debates. As part of this research he was Karl M. Loewenstein Fellow of Political Science and Jurisprudence at Amherst College. In 2016-17, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor in the Higher Education Quality Team at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Between 2011 and 2018, he was Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs at University College Maastricht.

Education Projects

Teun Dekker manages UCM's participation in the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Creating Responsive, Engaging, And Tailored Education with Students (CREATES), in partnership wit University College Freiburg, Leuphana University, Sciences Po Paris, King's College London, and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.

The strategic objective of CREATES is to enhance practices that create a responsive, engaging and tailored education with students. There is a clear need for modernising higher education by making students more active in their education and encouraging them to take ownership of their studies. This approach fosters the skills graduates will need to be successful in the 21st century: innovation and creativity, participation and responsibility, as well critical thinking and informed judgement. However, this approach is still not widespread in European HE, which sometimes appears stuck in the 19th century. In part this is because there is a great deal of scepticism towards this kind of education. Even in those institutions that are committed to this approach to education – as all partner institutions of CREATES are – difficult questions remain such as: “How to design, implement and assess courses which are co-created by students?” and  “How to provide effective advising for sound curricular choices?”


At UCM, I teach courses in the History of Political Thought, Distributive Justice, as well as projects on Bioethics, Basic Income and other philosophical issues.

Work for third parties

  • lid raad van bestuur at European Consortium of Liberal Arts and Sciences (ECOLAS)
  • Extern lid examencommissie. at Leiden University College
  • Voorzitter programma raad HO en lid diverse beoordelingscommissies at NWO/NRO
  • Lid raad van advies at Stichting Amalied
  • Lid raad van advies at The Love Foundation
  • Lid raad van advies at Cairo Institue of Liberal Arts
  • Chair at Nat Network of Ethics Review Committees in the Humanities
  • Voorzitter raad van advies at University College Tilburg

Other activities

Chair of the University Council - Maastricht University

Chair of Ethical Review Committee Inner City Faculties

Additional roles & tasks

Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences Education