Rest in peace, Jan

It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing away of Prof Jan Loisen. Jan died of cardiac arrest on 6 March 2023. He leaves behind his wife, Prof Karen Donders, and his two children. We are deeply affected by the sudden death of Jan, who left a great impression on us all. We cherish all fond memories and strongly sympathise with the family, friends and acquaintances.

Jan joined the Department of Communication Studies in 2001 as teaching assistant. He was a highly dedicated and warm colleague with a heart for his students. After finishing his PhD in 2009 on the Audiovisual Policy of the WTO, under the supervision of Caroline Pauwels, he became assistant professor at the Communication department in 2011. Since then, Jan has been a committed and loyal colleague with a focus on curriculum design, teaching and research. With a passion for research on communication theory, on European and international audiovisual policy, Jan contributed to the scientific field. He guided multiple PhDs in these topics. Highly dedicated in his teaching, he initiated thousands of students in communication studies through his Introduction in Communication Studies.

Jan was instrumental in developing the Erasmus Mundus Master on Digital Communication Leadership with Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg, Aalborg University and Wageningen University. He guided the department through multiple visitation and evaluation procedures with great success. Without any doubt Jan contributed to the DNA of our department. He will be dearly missed by all.

In this page, you can leave a condolence message or a fond memory of Jan.

Neither flowers nor wreaths. Jan’s family prefers a gift to the Caroline Pauwels Emergency fund for students: BE51 0013 6779 3562 (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, β€˜GIFT FO7’).

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Professor Jan was an incredibly kind and warm Professor, who believed in his students and in the project they wanted to achieve.

A true proof of profound humanity.

Merci pour tout ce que vous nous avez appris, et ce bien au delΓ  de nos cours.

My best wishes to his family and loved ones.

It was quite a shock to hear the sad news of Jan’s passing. As for many, he was my first introduction to Communication studies, and with his unique approach provided a great starting point.

Aside from his teaching, it was his sense of humour and caring nature that has stayed with me since completing my degree. It is rare to find people as genuine as Jan, especially in academia.

I send my sincerest condolences to his family, and hope they know that he will be missed by countless students across the globe.

Thank you for everything, Professor Jan.

Professor Jan was an incredibly kind and generous Professor who has achieved a long-lasting legacy through his incredible wisdom, knowledge and kind-heartedness.
During Covid, I was facing many personal troubles where I had to retake my exam orally online; since it was the first time this was being done, Professor Jan sent all of his students doing the oral exam an email with sample questions. I read the email and mistakenly thought the list of sample questions was the exam questions and learned only the list thoroughly. During the exam, when Prof Jan asked me questions outside of the list, I was confused and was unable to answer. Seeing my sadness and misunderstanding, Prof Jan gave me a second chance. He gave me another date in a few days, allowing me to prepare for the course again.
This kind of misunderstanding amongst some professors might be judged harshly. As an international student, my parents have been going through much trouble for me to get this education, and Prof Jan helped me sustain not only my hard work but the hard work of my parents through the gift of a second chance. Professor Jan always exuded this kind of just, holistic thinking along with kindness and mercy to all of his students.

I would not have continued my education without his genuine understanding and care for his students. He gave me the confidence and belief to carry on with my degree and think of the world differently. I can for sure say that Prof Jan's students will not only miss him dearly but will continue to carry on his legacy, through the knowledge he spread, so passionately to us.

Jan was one of the kindest, most genuine person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He always greeted everyone with his warm smile and a gentle demeanor that immediately put people at ease. Jan had that rare quality.

Thank you for everything you did for us in DCLead and as an inspiring colleague at SCOM, especially as one of your TAs for Seminar Current Issues 1. I remember fondly that you would always get us coffees before an exam supervision and be extremely grateful that we were there to help out even though we were just doing our job. Jan had a subtle, quiet way of letting people know that they mattered. You have had a profound impact on countless lives.

You will be deeply missed but never forgotten..

It is a big loss for the university and all of us, Prof. Loisen was the most humane teacher with kindness and understanding to everyone. Only warmest and lightest memories of that great man, best wishes to the whole family.

You were not just a good professor but also a great human. Your hope for humanity sparkled hope in us.

Ongezien: tijdens een van mijn eerste lessen in het hoger onderwijs gooide de professor met een kubus door de aula. Dat was Jan, die op die manier zijn studenten toestond via een micro te spreken voor het hele leslokaal.

Niet alleen door zijn vlotte, sympathieke zelve te zijn in de omgang, maar ook door dat eerste 'enge' semester aan het hoger onderwijs kleur te geven was Jan voor velen een lichtpuntje waar we tweemaal per week naartoe konden. Zelden zag ik een professor die zo een grote groep voor zich had en het toch oh zo persoonlijk aanpakte. Jan keek erg op naar en was erg trots op Caroline Pauwels, die hem ooit nog les gaf. Op dezelfde warme, inspirerende manier waarop hij het over zijn oud-professor had, ben ik er zeker van dat de komende generatie(s) maar al te goed zullen ontdekken wie Jan Loisen was.

Heel veel sterkte gewenst aan de familie van Jan, collega's, oud-studenten en studenten. Wij zullen alleszins nooit (!) vergeten wie Jan was.

Professor Loisen inspired all of his students with his spirit and devotion to his lectures and classes. Heartbroken for his family and loved ones. My deepest condolences.

Professor Loisen was incredibly loved by his students, everyone knew what a good heart and amazing personality he had. Everyone would always speak fondly about him.
He often mentioned his family in his classes, he would tell us little stories about them with so much love and pride.
I am so glad i had the chance to get classes from him, he will be missed here at the VUB.

Pro. Jan was an amazing professor, we enjoyed his lectures and his way of teaching. May your soul rest in peace, you will never be forgotten ! My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Woorden schieten te kort om dit verlies te beschrijven. Jan kon op een heel gepassioneerde manier lesgeven over zijn vak. Veel sterkte aan de familie!

Jan was an amazing Professor, who inspired me a lot when I started my bachelor studies of Social sciences. His way of giving lessons,in a very interactive way, showed that he was always extremely interested in his students and always gave them a voice through his famous microphone in the shape of a cube,thrown around the aula.(Something I haven't seen ever since)
Jan Loisen was a memorable person, a critical person with strong views and someone who made the VUB a better place.
From the few anecdotes I have about the VUB way of teaching. He was an example I would bring up as a way to persuade someone to study at the VUB.

Thank you for your work! πŸ’š

Professor Loisen brought a compassionate approach to higher education that was felt by all his students. He began every lecture with β€œGood morning/afternoon, dear students” and gave thoughtful examples that helped make abstract theory fun and approachable. His kindness, jolly nature, and steadfast presence in Communication Studies at VUB will be sorely missed. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to his loved ones. May we all follow his example in emphasizing the importance of humanity in the communication sciences.

Professor Loisen heeft mij nieuwe perspectieven geboden op de wereld. Ik nam met heel veel plezier deel aan zijn lessen. Het was een ontdekkingsreis waar hij en professor Badran ons door de wereld leidden. Ik ben eeuwig dankbaar hiervoor. Het heeft een stempel gedrukt die ik nu uitdraag. Duizend maal dank voor het delen van uw kennis. U heeft de wereld groter en mooier gemaakt.

Loisen succeeded in giving the students the feeling that we knew him. And that he knew us. Even without ever having an actual conversation. Impossible to dislike him.
We will all miss him.

I can't believe this happened. He was such a passionate professor, who really love to teach us everything he has. I can also feel that he respected his students and cherish the time we spent together. Professor Loisen, R.I.P
I will remember what you gave us all the time, the spiritual legecy and the attitude.

Jan was a lovely person, always willing to help out his students. He was a great professor and his passion for communications always radiated in the classroom. My deepest condolences to his loved ones.

Professor Loisen was exactly the kind of professor every first-year student can hope for: knowledgeable, approachable, and inspiring. I am glad I had the chance to tell him this in person, and I hope he will be remembered as the excellent educator he was.

It was an honour to be taught by him. Jan gave a beautiful introduction into the field of communication studies and he taught it with great passion.
My heart goes out to the family at this difficult time. My deepest condolences.

He was a great professor and a wonderful person. My deepest condolences to his loved ones.