Dean’s blog episode 4: Bachelor Open Day
Now that law gets little attention in high school, we must enhance our initiatives in the field of pre-academic experience. We already have a wonderful virtual open day for law, but the challenge is to also make one that places prospective students right in the middle of a tutorial and have them actively think along in solving a problem.
Last Saturday it was Bachelor Open Day again. This was already the third open day during my tenure as Dean. These are highlights in the life of University and Faculty, at which staff and students greatly work together to offer our prospective students and their parents an unforgettable experience. This was again very much true last Saturday thanks to the great efforts of Kitty Peijmen and many colleagues, students and alumni. I was present myself at the Parents Café and very much enjoyed speaking with our guests, but also with colleagues, students and alumni. I even participated in the Legal Pub Quiz organised by the JFV Ouranos (it may be better not to reveal my own personal score).
Open days are also an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the type of students we would like to have at our Faculty. Anyone having read the Dutch newspapers in recent weeks will have seen the fierce debate about the prisoner’s dilemma Dutch universities are facing: universities are funded on basis of the number of students they have and diplomas they hand out; this led to an explosive growth of students, while the total government budget spent on education did not grow accordingly. This has for a result that universities have less money available to serve their students. One university could in theory decide to no longer participate in this race, but it will then obtain a smaller part of the cake.
The one thing our Faculty must do, is try to attract students who make the conscious and motivated choice to study law and therefore know what they can expect. This is also important to lower the dropout-rate in the first year. During one of the presentations of last Saturday, the question was put before the audience why one wanted to study law. No one answered. I do recognise that a high-school student may find it scary to answer such a question in a big lecture hall, but this is not necessarily the only explanation. I believe we must show prospective students better what it means to study law, and what this means in Maastricht. Now that law gets little attention in high school, we must do this by enhancing our initiatives in the field of pre-academic experience. We already have a wonderful virtual open day for law, but the challenge is to also make one that places prospective students right in the middle of a tutorial and have them actively think along in solving a problem. Next stop: Master’s Open Day on 24 March.
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