Merel Jonker appointed as new Director of Education BA law

Merel Jonker

Merel Jonker will be director of education for the Bachelor of Law at Utrecht University as of September 1, 2024. She takes over the baton from Bald de Vries. She sees the use of AI, the well-being of students and the further development of the learning paths as priorities.

I'm really looking forward to this new role. Bald de Vries has fulfilled the role of education director with verve in recent years, so I am in the pleasant position of being in a place where many things are already running well, says Merel Jonker. This is also evident from the recent assessment of the Utrecht University School of Law education programmes.

She will work on a few societal developments that influence education. The use of AI is one of them. I believe that we at the faculty are tackling the rise of AI decisively, but it remains a development that has our full attention. I not only want to look at the dangers, but also see the potential of certain tools, both for students and teachers. I think we have to keep up with these technological and societal developments, with a critical but open attitude.

An eye for the well-being of individual students

Student welfare is another priority for Merel Jonker as the new education director. It is and remains a major challenge to be able to concentrate as a student in a world full of distractions and to deal with pressure during studies. How do we deal with this as a training course? How do we keep an eye on students and how do we prepare them as best as possible for life after studies? It is important to be 'seen' during education at the university. Law, especially in the bachelor's phase, is a study with such large numbers of students that I want to be careful not to pay attention and space to the individual.

Another challenge for Jonker and her colleagues is to further develop the learning paths at School of Law. We want graduated lawyers who, after their studies, have the substantive knowledge and skills to interpret and develop the law. The foundation for that knowledge and skills must be laid during the three years of bachelor's education.

As a teacher and researcher, Merel Jonker specializes in family law, she is Research Fellow at UCERF, the Utrecht Center for European Research into Family Law of Utrecht University.