Cheryl Gerretsen

Having worked in higher education in the culturally diverse cities of The Hague and Rotterdam, Cheryl became fascinated by the cultural diversity of the student populations of these universities of professional education. Cheryl experienced from close by, how such a diverse context is so much more vibrant, dynamic and sometimes also challenging. She was impressed by how students with different backgrounds bring something extra to the table: different perspectives, talents and network. It is her mission to contribute to creating a playing field in higher education in which all students can excel, regardless of their cultural backgrounds, while at the same time aiming for a high standard. An intercultural or international classroom that facilitates learning from each others’ different backgrounds.

Cheryl’s work is inspired by the approach of Inclusive Excellence, which is pedagogical approach from the USA that aims for better results with a multicultural student population in higher education. This approach aims to create opportunities for students to attain study success, while at the same time setting the bar high. Inspired by Inclusive Excellence, she initiated several (research) activities that aim to improve the quality of pedagogy and didactics in an intercultural higher education environment.


Cheryl’s research projects are linked to didactic interventions designed to improve the educational practice of the multicultural classroom:

  • The project ‘Professional Learning Community on the Inclusive Intercultural Classroom’, together with educational science expert Edward van Os: a learning community of 11 lecturers from IBL, IBMS and TMA. The 11 participants are all trained in Inclusive Excellence and design and research their own didactical intervention to improve their practice, resulting in separate research papers. Edward and Cheryl study the effectiveness of this collaborative project. The report on the first iteration (2015-2016) can be downloaded here. A second round of this project is taking place at the moment.
  • The project ‘Study Career Coaching as vehicle for Intercultural Competence Development’: a four-year learning track that aims at developing the intercultural competence of the individual student, by monitoring the students’ development at an individual level, using SCC as the core module. Through a series of portfolio assignments, individual coaching meetings, exercises and small group sessions over the course of four years, students are continuously working on building their intercultural competence. The effectiveness of this programme is researched using, among others, the Intercultural Readiness Check.
  • To ensure that coaches are able to actively contribute to the students’ performance, all coaches have been trained by Edward and Cheryl in principles of Inclusive Excellence and theory on Intercultural Competence development. A survey among students indicated that the participating coaches have indeed improved on inclusive behaviour and attitude.

Presentations, workshops, training

In addition to the above-mentioned research projects, Cheryl also frequently deliver presentations, workshops or training sessions within and outside of Hogeschool Rotterdam and participates in think-tank meetings on teaching and learning in multicultural higher education.

This year Cheryl delivered workshops or presentations on several events, such as:

  • 22 March 2016: Nuffic Jaarcongres. Inclusive Excellence: mijn rol als docent in een interculturele klas
  • 21 April 2016: Vereniging Hogescholen Jaarcongres. Together with Edward van Os. The inclusive intercultural classroom
  • 25 May 2016: Seminar Kansen voor een Inclusief Hoger Onderwijs, Ministerie OC&W i.s.m. E.U.R. Good practices
  • 4 April 2017: Nuffic Jaarcongres 2017, onderzoek naar een Practical Learning Community on an Inclusive International Classroom, in het kader van ‘Op weg naar evidence-informed internationalisering’
  • 29 August 2017: Hogeschool Rotterdam, Seminar on the Professional Learning Community on the Inclusive intercultural / International Classroom. Together with RBS colleagues who participated in this research project and educational scientist Edward van Os.

Education related to research projects

Within the education of the Rotterdam Business School, Cheryl designed and conduct the honours programme elective on ‘Intercultural Competence and Innovation’ in which ambitious RBS students work together on research projects on this theme and that serves as a recruitment pool for student research assistants.

For further information please contact Cheryl at:

Cheryl Gerretsen