Core Vision Bachelor's Programmes
On this page we will keep you posted about developments and updates related to the Core Vision Bachelor's Programmes towards future-proof education.
Core Vision Bachelor's Programmes - Summary
Last year, a core vision on education at bachelor's level was written as a follow-up to the mid-term evaluation of one of our legal programmes. At the request of the Faculty Board, an advisory group led by Jan Adriaanse developed a core vision with the intention of making our education more future-proof, inclusive, and challenging. In November 2022, the Faculty Board decided to adopt this core vision. This can be read in the executive response, which is not yet translated to English.
The executive response describes how this decision was arrived at and emphasises the urgency for Leiden Law School. The implementation of the Core Vision started with the kick-off of the Taskforce at the start of 2023. This Taskforce, led by Bastiaan Rijpkema, has received a mandate from the Faculty Board to further develop the measures described in the Core Vision based on a Faculty-wide commitment in the coming months. The following is a summary of the Core Vision of which the full document can be read here.
The Leiden Law School programmes are of high quality. The bachelor's Rechtsgeleerdheid, for instance, excels in its strong orientation on the positive law and the attention given to the foundations of the law. At the same time, the number of challenges is rising rapidly. Today's labour market and a changing society expect more from us and our students. A low turnout from students in classes and tutorials insufficiently promotes the independence and activation of students. These developments only serve to increase the already significant workload of lecturers and support staff: there are more students, and the same students keep returning to attend the same courses. These challenges eventually could effect the quality, future sustainability, and financing of our legal bachelor’s programmes.
The Core Vision
We would like to work towards creating education at bachelor's level that has a strong identity and enables students to obtain knowledge and skills by using high quality and stimulating teaching methods. The core vision has been transcribed into a cohesive set of measures as a starting point for the implementation. Among other things, we would like to facilitate a change in culture in which lack of commitment is discouraged and an active study behaviour is promoted. This should result in a combination of challenging and stimulating education and an exam policy that purposefully directs the study behaviour of our students.
The Core Vision and measures are based on a number of strategic pillars.
a) Changes in society
A solid positive law and academic base form the backbone of the programme. To align with the changing questions and needs of society, we want to train our students to become versatile, critical, and learning professionals. Students need to become aware of the societal context in which legal practice unfolds.
b) Changes on the labour market
We want our students to remain employable on the labour market, even when this market changes. We aim to prepare our students for broader legal or other professions, and to be less narrowly focused on the toga professions. A broader orientation would also be more compatible with the professions they will eventually end up in. We therefore want our education to better align with the interests of our students and the broad scope of the labour market.
c) Educational innovations and changes in the educational landscape
Students appreciate online teaching because it allows them to process educational content without being bound to time and place. We have introduced educational innovations such as the use of ICT in our curriculum and the principles of the ‘flipped classroom’. In line with the University strategy, our education will be designed according to the principles of ‘blended learning’.
We are investing strongly in interdisciplinary education. Apart from focussing on creating a strong core of legal knowledge, students will also come into contact with theories and research methods from other disciplines, for example economics, political science, sociology, psychology, and humanities. This will teach our students new perspectives that can be integrated into legal issues. Therefore, with these measures, we also focus on broadening, improving, and expanding our current elective courses.
We set high standards which makes us demanding, but we also support students so they can develop to become capable adults who can take the lead in their personal and professional life. We want to increase their motivation by offering challenging and inspiring education. Students, for instance, can gain bonus points for actively taking part in tutorials.
We strive to create freedom through connection for our teaching staff. We expect our lecturers to commit to these measures and that the changes are integrated in all courses. Within that framework, there will be room for lecturers to express their own creativity and activate and challenge their students.
Our curriculum has a clear structure with regard to skills. The skills theme plays a crucial role in this context. Lecturers should be conscious of the position of their course within the curriculum and how it contributes to the final learning objectives of the bachelor’s degree programme as a whole.
Quality is not only about achieving a specific level, but also about realising this level within a specific time frame. In this respect, we are demanding, but we also help students when they face obstacles and limitations. With this in mind, we are working on creating an inclusive community. All students are given a fair chance to meet the criteria and requirements, for example of the Binding study advice (BSA).
Based on these pillars and a number of core objectives, the Core Vision encompasses a number of measures. The Taskforce working on the implementation will take these measures as a starting point from where various teams will proceed. Even though these measures are not final and may be subject to adjustments, they do give an impression of the innovations about to take place within the bachelor’s programmes. The following is an overview of the most important measures:
General overview of most important measures
The level of our entire bachelor’s curriculum needs to align more closely with the starting level of a master’s degree programme. This requires us to improve the analytical and academic level of courses throughout the curriculum, with more focus on greater depth and reflection, in addition to factual knowledge.
One important measure is the introduction of compulsory matching, which aims to help students to make a more conscious choice for our degree programmes.
An active monitoring system will be introduced which aims to signal and address study delays at an early stage. In the first year, students who fail to make sufficient progress or who display too little motivation will be strongly advised to stop before 1 February. In the second and third year, students who incur a study delay will be protected against themselves with a limit on the number of courses they can register for.
To improve study success, the curriculum will be designed based on a fixed structure. Students will always enrol in three courses of 5 EC during each block. This fixed structure will help students attain an optimum ‘study rhythm’.
The educational tracks will be consistent in their design, maintaining the entry demands of courses that build on each other. The level of a course within the curriculum will also be clearly communicated.
In our assessments (exams and other assignments), the emphasis should be on critical application of knowledge, analysis, and reflection.
In addition, assessments will not only be used to guide our students in acquiring content, but also to strategically guide their study behaviour. So there will be less room for noncommitment and we want students to make better use of resit opportunities.
We will introduce 30 EC minors in the fifth semester. The aim is to offer a broad range of courses with interdisciplinary content. Interdisciplinary education will play a significant role in the entire curriculum.
We choose to offer a rich combination of offline and online education (blended learning), which includes providing sufficient support for lecturers and students.
An inventory will be made for each course of the available activating methods and which would be best suited to the course. Course Coordinators will be able to choose from a number of options to make their teaching more activiating and choose those most suited to their specific course.
Not only the toga professions will be addressed, but attention will also be given to the broader (legal) professional practice in which a large number of alumni are currently active. We will offer a combination of curricular activities and extra-curricular activities to prepare students for the rapidly changing labour market.
We want to facilitate and support lecturers as much as possible in making the transition within their own discipline. This involves granting and allocating hours (R&D time) and providing individual support. The Learning and Teaching Community (LTC) will play an important role in this process.
Students will be actively involved in the continuous development of our education by organising interim course evaluations, focus groups, and panel discussions.
All those involved in the bachelor's degree programme will convey a uniform message. This starts with the communication towards future students and will continue throughout the entire bachelor’s programme. In this way, students are provided with clear expectations of what is required of them to successfully complete the programme.
We expect the implementation of these measures to take two to three years. A taskforce in which Programme Directors of the legal bachelor’s and master’s programmes play an active role, with an executive mandate and overriding authority will monitor and supervise the process. At the start, various teams will start working on certain topics (including graduation, 5th semester minors, diversity and inclusion, and quality assurance) to advance the implementation. The teams will work on behalf of the Faculty Board and will be guided by the team chairs and the task force leadership. Five goals have been formulated to implement the Core Vision. These are provided here.
Who are the members of the Taskforce?
Professor Bastiaan Rijpkema (Director of Education Bachelor's Rechtsgeleerdheid, chair of team for strengthening skills and interdisciplinarity)
Professor Jan Adriaanse (Academic Director Tax Law & Economics) Wetenschappelijk Directeur Fiscaal & Economische Vakken)
Dr Rogier Kegge (chair of team for in-depth, activating education & blended faculty)
Dr Stijn Voskamp (chair of team for study supervision, matching & study contract)
Dr Daniëlla Dam (chair of graduation team)
Prof. Vanessa Mak (chair of team for electives 5th semester & connection of education to labour market)
Dr Danielle Chevalier (chair of team for diversity and inclusion)
Dr Ellen Gijselaar (chair of team for quality assurance in education)
Professor Armin Cuyvers (co-chair graduation team)
Niels van de Ven (Head of Education and Student Affairs)
Julie Külsen (Student Assessor)
Student member Education Board
Project guidance & support:
Project Leader: Rachna in ’t Veld MSc (Reflect Academy)
Esther Poort (De Onderzoekerij)
Dr Annemarie Venemans (De Onderzoekerij)
Nard Willemse (Education policy)
Nicole de Waal (Marketing & Communication)
Erik Kien (Operational Management)