Friday, February 24, 2017
The other day I was listening to music in my office when a student came in. We said hello, she sat, and I turned off my iTunes. The first thing she asked was "What was THAT you were listening to?"
When I first started in ASP, I worried a lot about acting like a "good professor." I read articles and watched professors who were considered "great" as I tried to figure out what personality traits or styles or workshops might connect best with students. Since every ASP thing I've ever done was voluntary, I thought it was especially important for me to be attractive to students. I watched people who were really funny, people who were really energetic, people who were really clear, people who bled with confidence, and people who all but screamed "Real Life Experience!" I stirred all this "good professor" stuff into a slightly bitter bouillabaisse and tried to drink it down. But I wasn't really happy with it.
I read this week's post about a photo board of success and thought that maybe I should do something like that (really, it sounds great and probably helps a lot, and I in no way mean to criticize it). But, honestly, that kind of thing is not me. It would feel phony. I'd hate doing it. I think if I tried something like that with my personality it would actually have the opposite effect. Students would be able to see I was presenting myself as someone I am not, and I think that would ultimately make them less likely to seek my help.
If you are new to ASP, you'll find that ASP people are super helpful and cool about offering advice, teaching tips, etc., but don't feel like you have to do them all, or that what you're doing is necessarily wrong.
The things in your personality that ultimately make you a "good professor" will probably be things that you didn't think would help. On opposite walls of my office, I have a cartoon poster of my daughter as the superhero "Unicorn Girl" and a zombie apocalypse poster from the CDC. I hung them up simply because I liked them, but I have ended up getting an enormous amount of conversational mileage from them. Especially with students in grade trouble who were "sent to my office," the two posters have turned out to be terrific ice breakers. I don't think either poster would fit with anyone's classic image of a "good professor."
Ultimately, if you're worried about connecting with students, I think the best advice is to simply be yourself.
By the by, this is what I was listening to:
Thursday, February 23, 2017
It’s a great time for you - as this week’s bar takers - to reflect, appreciate, and take pride in your herculean work in accomplishing law school and tackling the bar exam.
Let's be direct! Bravo! Magnificent! Heroic! Those are just some of the words that come to mind…words that you should be rightly speaking to yourself…because…they are true of you to the core!
But, for most of us right now, we just don’t quite feel super-human about the bar exam. Such accolades of self-talk are, frankly, just difficult to do. Rather, most of us just feel relief – plain and simple relief – that the bar exam is finally over and we have somehow survived.
That’s because very few of us, upon completion of the bar exam, feel like we have passed the bar exam. Most of us just don’t know. So now, the long “waiting” period begins with results not due out for most of us for a number of months.
So, here’s the conundrum about the “waiting” period:
Lot’s of well-meaning people will tell you that you have nothing to worry about; that they are sure that you passed the bar exam; and that the bar exam wasn’t that hard…really.
Really? Not that hard?
Really? You know that I passed?
Really? There’s nothing for me to worry about?
Let me give you a concrete real life example. Like you, I took the bar exam. And, like most of you, I had no idea at all whether I passed the bar exam. I was just so glad that it was finally over.
But all of my friends, my legal employer (a judge), my former law professors, and my family kept telling me that I had absolutely nothing to be worried about; that I passed the bar exam; that I worked hard; that they knew that I could do it.
But, they didn’t know something secret about my bar exam. They didn’t know about my lunch on the first day of the bar exam.
At the risk of revealing a closely held secret, my first day of the bar exam actually started out on the right foot, so to speak. I was on time for the exam. In fact, I got to the convention center early enough that I got a prime parking spot. Moreover, in preparation for my next big break (lunch), I had already cased out the nearest handy-dandy fast food restaurants for grabbing a quick bite to eat before the afternoon portion of the bar exam so that I would not miss the start of the afternoon session of the bar exam.
So, when lunch came, I was so excited to eat that I went straight to Burger King. I really wanted that “crown,” perhaps because I really didn’t understand many of the essay problems from the morning exam. But as I approached Burger King, the line was far out of the door. Impossibly out of the door. And, it didn’t get any better at McDonalds next door. I then faced the same conundrum at Wendy’s and then at Taco Bell.
Finally, I had to face up to cold hard facts. I could either eat lunch or I could take the afternoon portion of the bar exam. But, I couldn’t do both. The lines were just too long. So, I was about to give up - as I had exhausted all of the local fast food outlets surrounding the convention center - when I luckily caught a glimpse of a possible solution to both lunch and making it back to the bar exam in time for the afternoon session – a liquor store. There was no line. Not a soul. I had the place to myself. So, I ran into the liquor store to grab my bar exam lunch: two Snicker’s bars. With plenty of time to now spare, I then leisurely made my way back to the bar exam on time for the start of the afternoon session.
But, here’s the rub:
All of my friends and family members (and even the judge that I was clerking for throughout the waiting period) were adamant that I had passed the bar exam. They just knew it! But, they didn’t know that I ate lunch at the liquor store.
So when several months later the bar results were publicly available on the Internet, I went to work for my judge wondering what the judge might do when the truth came out – that I didn’t pass the bar exam because I didn’t pack a lunch to eat at the bar exam.
To be honest, I was completely stick to my stomach. But, I was stuck; I was at work and everyone believed in me. Then, later that morning while still at work computer, the results came out. My heart raced, but my name just didn’t seem to be listed at all. No Scott Johns. And then, I realized that my official attorney name begins with William. I was looking at the wrong section of the Johns and Johnsons. My name was there! I had passed! I never told the judge my secret about my “snicker bar” lunch. I was just plain relieved that the bar exam “wait” was finally over.
That’s the problem with all of the helpful advice from our friends, employers, law professors, and family members during this waiting period. For all of us (or at least most of us), there was something unusual that happened during our bar exam. It didn’t seem to go perfectly. Quite frankly, we just don’t know if we indeed passed the bar exam.
So, here’s a suggestion for your time right now with your friends, employers, law professors, and family members.
1. First, just let them know how you are feeling. Be open and frank. Share your thoughts with them along with your hopes and fears.
2. Second, give them a hearty thank you for all of their enriching support, encouragement, and steadfast faithfulness that they have shared with you as walked your way through law school and through this week’s bar exam. Perhaps send them a personal notecard. Or, make a quick phone call of thanks. Or send a snap chat of thankful appreciation. Regardless of your particular method of communication, reach out to let them know out of the bottom of your heart that their support has been invaluable to you. That’s a great way to spend your time as you wait - over the course of the next several months - for the bar exam results.
3. Finally, celebrate yourself, your achievement, and your true grit....by taking time out - right now - to appreciate the momentous accomplishment of undertaking a legal education, graduating from law school, and tackling your bar exam. You've done something great, and, more importantly, something mightily significant. (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
For first-time bar takers and repeat bar takers, this is the week they have prepared for the past two months. This preparatory period was particularly demanding for me as students responded to my advice and used the ASP office extensively. Between November and February, students from coast to coast engaged with me through emails and phone conversations. I heard the devastation of poor performance on mock exams and practice questions and read about the fear of failure and saw it spread to other bar takers. Current students expressed concern for bar takers and asked whether their former classmates were in touch with me. The most challenging aspect of this bar preparatory period was coaching students to manage the roller coaster of inevitable emotions. For some students, the “real talk” discussions to address frustrations, implosions, and physical tolls were insufficient. I had to find a creative way to re-energize bar takers.
Something I have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do came to mind. I always wanted to highlight the achievements of former students, mostly to inspire current students but I saw an opportunity to encourage my February bar takers as well. I contacted a select yet diverse group of alums who I believe would influence current students and requested pictures for display. With their permission, I would post pictures on a wall in my office and use them to motivate current students. Of course, not everyone responded but those who did were quite elated about the idea of sharing their pictures with others. This project provided me with the opportunity to speak with former students, some of whom I met for the first time almost eight years ago.
Today, about two thirds of my display board is filled with pictures from commencement and swearing-in ceremonies. So far, every day has been a wonderful walk down memory lane. I remember each student’s struggles and successes, laughter and excitement. I remember serious conversations we have had, new and unique things they taught me, and fears and concerns they harbored. I witnessed these students achieve their dreams.
For my February bar takers, I shared with them a photo of my wall with an inspirational message and it was a hit. I encouraged them to visualize their own successes and remember what they have already accomplished including the struggles of law school and all they overcame to make it to commencement. For my current students, when they come into my office, there are many unfamiliar faces, yet a few recognizable faces posted on my wall. This wall of pictures has been a great conversation starter particularly about the things students look forward to accomplishing. Reflection is imperative to rejuvenation. Every now and then, I look up at my wall and smile.
Congratulations to the February 2017 bar takers, you survived! Here’s to plenty of rest before your next endeavor. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The University at Buffalo School of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Success. The Academic Success Program is designed to provide students with support through every stage of the academic program. Thus, the Director will work closely with the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, the Vice Dean for Student Affairs, and the faculty to develop small and large group classes and programs designed to enable students to be successful in law school and on the bar exam. Specifically, it is anticipated that the Director will oversee the development and operation of a writing center, manage an individualized academic counseling program, and assist students and alumni as they prepare for the New York State Bar Exam. Salary will be commensurate with experience.
All applicants must have earned a J.D. at an accredited law school and been admitted to practice in at least one state. Applicants should also possess an academic and/or practice history demonstrating strong analytical, verbal, and legal research and writing skills.
Given the critical role that the Director serves in the academic program at the law school, it is expected that the successful candidate will also possess some or all of the following:
- Prior experience managing or providing individualized academic support services in a law school setting.
- Teaching experience in a bar preparation or academic support program, a legal research and writing program, and/or in any other capacity requiring an emphasis on analyzing and applying the law.
- Familiarity with the subjects covered by the Uniform Bar Exam.
- A demonstrated ability to assist students with a diverse array of identified needs, including students for whom English is a Second Language (ESL), students with learning disabilities, and students with disparate learning styles.
- A history of working in a collaborative team setting, with a preference for those who have done so in connection with the development and implementation of an academic support program or in a similar academic setting.
Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest, a current CV, contact information for at least three references, and teaching evaluations, if available, to S. Todd Brown, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, at email@example.com. The hiring committee will begin reviewing applications immediately. All applications will be accepted and considered until the position is filled.
|Associate Director of Bar Support|
|Department:||School of Law|
|Posted:||Feb 10, '17|
About Roger Williams University:
Roger Williams University, located on the coast of Bristol, RI, is a forward-thinking private university with 45 undergraduate majors and more than a dozen graduate programs spanning the liberal arts and the professions, where students become community-minded citizens through project-based, experiential learning. With small classes, direct access to faculty and boundless opportunities for real-world projects, RWU students develop the ability to think critically while simultaneously building the practical skills that today's employers demand. In the five years since launching its signature Affordable Excellence initiative, the University has established itself as a leader in American higher education by confronting the most pressing issues facing students and families - increasing costs that limit access to college, rising debt and the job readiness of graduates. In addition to its 4,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students, RWU is home to a thriving School of Continuing Studies based in Providence as well as Rhode Island's only law school.
Roger Williams University is committed to creating and supporting an intellectual community devoted to teaching and learning and providing the opportunity for personal and intellectual growth for students, faculty and staff. The University credits much of its growth and success to the hard work and dedication of its employees.
The Associate Director of Bar Support's primary objective will be to enhance the bar passage rates at the law school through developing, implementing, directing, and evaluating a comprehensive bar examination program, including teaching the for-credit Applied Legal Reasoning course. The Associate Director will work in the Academic Success Program and will assist the Director of Academic Success to incorporate best practices in preparing students for the bar and in academic advising.
Bar Exam Material Review and Preparation
Teach Applied Legal Reasoning (ALR) course each semester as arranged by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, in multiple sections as appropriate. The primary focus of the course should be the Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE), but there should also be instruction and coverage of the Multi-state Performance Test (MPT) and the Multi-state Essay Exam (MEE) and other skills necessary for first time bar success. Course should include feedback and evaluation of course performance to strengthen content knowledge and analytical and writing skills needed for bar success. The Associate Director will work with the Director of Academic Success to incorporate best practices in teaching into the bar prep program and will incorporate instruction by distance learning into the bar prep program.
Provide support to graduates during bar preparation leading up to the bar.
Provide remedial instruction and support for students who fail to earn a passing grade in ALR for the purpose of improving performance on the MBE and providing a way for students to obtain academic credit for the course, if appropriate.
Design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive workshop series for all law students on topics related to the bar. Workshop series should include, at minimum, the following topics: early considerations for first and second year students, preparing for the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), overview of the application process, and workshops on the MBE, MPT, and MEE.
Student Counseling and Guidance
Meet individually with all third year students to review important information on the bar exam. These mandatory "Bar Information Meetings" are to provide individual counseling and advice for students on the steps they should follow to ensure first-time bar success and to advise students regarding the bar exam application process and choice of jurisdiction. In collaboration with the Director of Academic Success, provide academic advising sessions to first and second-year students, as well as open door advising sessions before course registration.
Serve as academic advisor for students identified most likely to fail the bar exam. As academic advisor, review and approve course registration each semester for adequate coverage of bar courses and provide other academic support, in conjunction with the Director of Academic Success and the Writing Specialist, to improve analytical and writing skills necessary to pass the bar exam.
Work individually or in a group setting with graduates who were unsuccessful on the bar exam to provide coaching and guidance as they prepare to retake the bar exam.
Analyze bar exam results, including analysis by law school performance and admissions criteria (LSAT and undergraduate GPA) and provide regular reports to the faculty and senior staff.
Maintain the law school's website on the bar exam and Character & Fitness process in accordance with best practices and ABA requirement Standards 504 & 509.
Bar Exam Liaison
Advise the faculty and administration regarding any bar preparation matters and work with faculty on the integration of bar exam topics and material, including assessments, in select courses.
Oversee the ABA reporting of bar exam data in consultation with the Registrar and Associate Dean.
Attend regional and national Academic Support Conferences.
Serve as the primary contact for the School of Law with commercial bar course vendors and bar examiners to obtain results, monitor changes to the exam, and arrange for meetings as appropriate.
Provide information to students and administrators about the bar exam, including the application process, and organize sessions with bar examiners where possible.
J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school and strong academic credentials and admission to the practice of law.
Three years of relevant experience, either in the law school academic support field or teaching bar exam skills.
Proven teaching, interpersonal and counseling skills including class preparation, classroom teaching and working with individual students.
Adept at developing, marketing and delivering a bar preparation program.
Commitment to diversity and supporting a diverse student population. Willingness to work with students with a range of disabilities.
Proficient in compiling and analyzing data for statistical analysis.
Intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
Roger Williams University is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive excellence and encourages applications from underrepresented populations.
For information on our Non-discrimination and Title IX policy, visit: rwu.edu/NDT9
Please attach a resume, cover letter, and list of three (3) professional references.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Law students are always looking for shortcuts. The problem is that a shortcut by definition is not efficient or effective: it is cutting corners. Yet year after year, students listen to the upper-division student myth that you just need to get another outline and not make your own.
So let's get it out in the open before it is too late in the semester to still create a good outline of your own: learning occurs when you grapple with material and process it yourself.
- Using a secondhand outline means that someone else learned and processed, you did not.
- A borrowed outline means that you become a parrot who can recite the information without understanding that information.
- You need to understand the law at a deeper level that you reach by outlining if you want to apply it adeptly to new legal scenarios on an exam.
- Each person learns differently; another person's outline or a commercial outline may not match how you need to process material to learn.
- A professor's change in perspective on a course, legal reforms, or a different casebook can all make a prior outline inaccurate - or even obsolete.
- A commercial outline is for a national audience and rarely matches your professor's structure, emphasis, or state jurisdictional focus.
- The quality of the borrowed outline may be suspect if you do not know the grade that was received for the course.
Looking at another outline for format ideas and to check for missing concepts or nuances if legitimate. But depending on it instead of doing your own hard work is asking for deficient learning. (Amy Jarmon)
Sunday, February 19, 2017
For too many law students, law school becomes an endless slog. They get so bogged down in the daily grind that they lose enthusiasm for the law and the legal profession. If they do not rediscover their original sense of purpose, they will endure their legal studies rather than experience them fully.
Here are some suggestions for resuscitating your love of the law and finding your purpose again:
- Remind yourself why you came to law school. What were your goals as an aspiring lawyer? What areas of the law piqued your interest? What wrongs did you want to right? What legal causes were you passionate about?
- Remember who your legal role models were. Who were your inspirations for becoming a lawyer? Whether it was Atticus Finch, your mother the judge, your uncle the corporate lawyer, or the public defender who took your cousin's case, think about why you wanted to be like those individual lawyers.
- Take time to get involved with the "heart matters" of law school. Volunteer to help with intake at a pro bono clinic. Get trained to participate with VITA or CASA or another worthy cause. Join a law school organization that provides community service.
- Meet and talk to local lawyers. Attend a local bar luncheon as the guest of your professor or a local attorney. Attend lectures, CLE seminars open to students, and alumni events at your law school where you can meet the speakers and lawyers in attendance.
- Sign up for courses that help you get hands-on with the law: clinics, trial advocacy, client interviewing, alternative dispute resolution, drafting courses, and more.
- Talk with your professors and career services staff about your legal interests after graduation and ways to pursue those interests. Gather information about types of legal jobs and legal specialties that you are considering.
- Read biographies and other non-fiction books about the lawyers, legal cases, and legal movements that have impacted our world. Explore how the law and lawyers can change society for the good.
A sense of purpose makes any endeavor more meaningful. It gets us through the rough days. It inspires us to move toward our goals. It turns the slog into a stepping stone. (Amy Jarmon)
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
San Francisco Applicants: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.
Below you will find the details for the position including any supplementary documentation and questions you should review before applying for the opening. To apply for the position, please click the Apply for this Job link/button.
If you would like to bookmark this position for later review, click on the Bookmark link. If you would like to print a copy of this position for your records, click on the Print Preview link.
|Job Title||Assistant Dean for Student Affairs|
|Full or Part Time||Full Time|
|Number of Months|
|Position End Date|
|Open Until Filled||No|
|Special Instructions to Applicants|
Position Summary Information
The Assistant Dean is responsible for counseling and advising law students about classes, academic programs, and stress and time management. The Assistant Dean also oversees disciplinary matters, student policies, student government, student organizations and events, and supports the academic and community life of students to enhance retention. In addition, the Assistant Dean supervises examinations, accommodated examinations, wellness programs, special projects and programs, and disabled student services. The Assistant Dean serves on appropriate faculty committees. The Assistant Dean is responsible for the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars offices, including supervision of staff, day to day office operations, and the operations budget.
1. Directly supervise the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars office. This includes supervision of professional and support staffs, day-to-day office operations, and the operations budget. Set performance expectations and customer service standards for each office and annually monitor and evaluate office functions against those standards.
2. Oversee and/or provide academic counseling services to J.D. and LL.M. students . Make referrals to other University student services as appropriate.
3. Process student requests for withdrawals, leave of absences, accommodations, requests to attend summer and other programs at other ABA schools, request for transfer, add/drop classes, switch divisions, letters of good standing, and letters to State Bar re: moral character and other registration information. Provides students with registration information through email and informational sessions.
4. Oversee the delivery of services including in-class and exam accommodations to all disabled students under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and pursuant to establish University policies and procedures.
5. Handles all faculty and staff requests for information regarding academic statistics (academic disqualification, academic probation, division switches). Handle all FERPA issues regarding information maintained by Registrar.
6. Handle all matters which come before the Grading and Advancement Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. Prepare student petition files, attend all Committee meetings and provides academic background to Committee, prepare and disseminate all decision letters.
7. Provide assistance to the Associate Dean including issues surrounding the preparation of the academic schedule, class size and classroom changes, exam scheduling, and requests to audit classes.
8. Assess the University’s student-oriented business processes, policies, practices and procedures to minimize risk and ensure compliance.
9. Assist student organizations with planning and implementation of projects; provide guidance on availability and procedures for obtaining funds including coordination efforts with Advancement. Serve as liaison between the student body, faculty, and administration on matters affecting students; act as an advocate for students as appropriate; oversee student disciplinary processes.
10. Oversee the scheduling and administering of examinations and provide accommodated exams.
11. Oversee wellness programs and manage the student insurance program.
12. Designated Campus Security Authority.
13. Serve on various campus committees and perform other duties as assigned.
Juris Doctorate degree.
Valid driver’s license required. Incumbent must also be able to meet the University’s fleet rules and be eligible to drive for University business. The University’s insurance carrier reserves the right to exclude applicants based on their driving record.
• Education and Experience:
• Communication & Reasoning:
• Computer Skills & Technical Skills:
• Physical Demands:
• Work Environment:
|Background Check Statement||
Applicants who are selected as final possible candidates must be able to pass a criminal background check
|AA/EEO Policy Statement||
University of the Pacific is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer dedicated to workforce diversity. In compliance with applicable law and its own policy, Pacific is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff and does not discriminate in its hiring of faculty and staff, or in the provision of its employment benefits to its faculty and staff on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, sex/gender, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, medical condition, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression or mental or physical disability.
Posting Specific Questions
Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).
- Cover Letter/Letter of Application
- Curriculum Vitae
- Other Document
Friday, February 17, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
As you make your final tune-ups in preparation for your bar exam next week, remember, anxiety is normal. So, please don't fret the "butterflies."
But, as I can attest due to my own exam stress, that is "easier said that done." So, let me offer a technique or two that I use when dealing with a question that I can't seem to figure out how to even begin to answer.
First, I don't try to get a perfect answer. Rather, I treat each exam question as an opportunity to demonstrate my ability to solve legal problems. In other words, I remind myself that I don't have to be right or correct to pass the bar exam; rather, I just have to demonstrate legal problem-solving abilities, something that we have all worked for several months to cultivate in our bar preparation work.
Second, no matter how difficult the exam, I focus on maintaining a winning positive attitude...by realizing that all of the test-takers are facing the same challenges (and therefore the same stresses). That's right. If the problem seems difficult for you (and me), it is difficult for all of us!
Third, I use a simple "3-step plan" to give me a friendly "push-start" to get my mind around how to solve a problem. So, here are the steps, steps that you might try yourself when you find yourself a bit perplexed on how to begin answering a problem:
1. Grab hold of the call of the question and re-write it as an issue statement (e.g., The issue is whether the contract between Pratt and Delta is valid.).
2. Add material facts to your issue statement (e.g., The issue is whether the contract between Pratt and Delta is valid when the defendant failed to sign the contract.).
3. Now, you are ready to organize an answer...because you see (identified the trigger facts) that constitute the big issue (i.e., a statute of frauds problem here).
Let me offer one more "stress-busting" exam tip that you might incorporate in the midst of your bar exam.
That's right. Don't spend all of your time - for hours on end - hunched over your bar exam questions.
INSTEAD, GET SOME FRESH AIR!
LEAN BACK IN YOUR CHAIR...AND BREATHE!
It's amazing but just leaning back in your chair, as the commander of your own "bar-ship" as you read and navigate your way through exam questions, can make a whale of a difference because the action of leaning back brings valuable oxygen to your body...to empower your mind...to do the work that is before you. And, if you really want to take it to the next level, while you are "leaning back," why not just put your hands behind your head to form a "soft pillow" of comfort and confidence. You can picture the move. Just visualizing the move might bring a smile to your face. And, that smile is a bit of relaxation in the midst of taking your bar exam. So, nicely done! (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
In February, some celebrate Black History Month but at our law college we celebrate Diversity Week. Diversity Week is a celebration of diverse aspects of our community and raises awareness of various issues affecting our law college community, surrounding communities, and the legal profession. Diversity week is celebrated for a full week in February and the theme this year is Pulse Check. This week of events and programs has allowed me to reflect on my past experiences as a black law student and on the manner in which I engage with law students generally and black law students specifically. I interact with black law students quite a bit by virtue of my community involvement and service to the law college. I serve as advisor to the Black Law Student Association, volunteer with affinity groups, and serve as an ASP professional. My black students hail from various states and countries and were raised in rural and urban settings. They are first generation college and law students. They are parents, immigrants, and children of immigrants. They have various political and social affiliations. In sum, I interact with a very diverse group of black law students.
Socio-cultural backgrounds do not always change the experiences they share which are similar to mine as a black law student. When I encountered challenges I thought unique to me as a black law student, I had very few individuals I could turn to for help navigating these experiences so I am glad to help others. I do not always have an answer but I can empower, encourage, and help students manage a variety of experiences. Some students experience stereotype threat through verbal or non-verbal interaction in class or with classmates who sometimes perceive a black student’s academic ability and intelligence as inferior. I have seen the brightest students have their confidence shaken by a comment or remark that attacks the core of who they are, minimizes what they bring to discussion, and delegitimizes the reasons why they are in the law school. Other black students never encounter this and appear to have very positive experiences so it is important to recognize that everyone has unique experiences.
I am lucky to be at an institution where our Diversity Officer is readily accessible and her office serves as a place where several students of color converge to meet, build community, and support one another. The Diversity Officer creates opportunities for students to discuss issues related to their experiences as students of color and possible challenges as legal professionals. All I have discussed here might seem unrelated to academic performance but it does have a significant impact. How students feel and the support networks they are able to develop are important. We are here to help students achieve their dreams which entail completing their legal education and passing the bar exam. We need to pay attention to the individual and each encounter is a possible transformative moment in the life of a student. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
A parade of sick students has marched through my office for the last several weeks, so I was not surprised when I finally succumbed myself last week. Just like my students though, I had tried to soldier on for a day and a half and get my work done rather than give in and visit the doctor at the very first signs. (My doctor kindly did not roll her eyes at me when I stated that I guessed I would be home in bed for a few days.)
As I lay in bed for four and a half days feeling really sick, I reminded myself of all the reasons why we tell our students to go to the student health center, stay home in bed, and get well. All we do if we persevere is get more ill, prolong our illnesses, and possibly pass our germs on to others.
So, the voice of consequences (if not wisdom), intones this advice to one and all: Go to the doctor, climb in bed, and stay there until you are well. Do not keep showing up for class. Do not infect your fellow students, faculty, and staff. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are being noble or heroic to continue in your academic slog.
For those of you who can, stay well. For those of you who cannot, face reality and go to bed.
Happy Valentine's Day. Hoping yours is germ free.
Hat tip to Professor Louis J. Sirico of Villanova for his post on the Legal Writing listserv recommending an article on advice for students nervous about public speaking. The information he gave is here:
Mark Cooney has written a helpful article in the ABA’s Student Lawyer: “It’s OK to Get Nervous.” His advice on public speaking: “Always nervous, but never scared.” I think this is a very helpful article to pass on to students. You can access more on the Legal Skills Prof blog. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2017/01/public-speaking-always-nervous-but-never-scared.html
Monday, February 13, 2017
POSITION: Assistant Director for Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services
DEPARTMENT: Academic Success and Bar Preparation Services
DATE POSTED: 02/10/2017
The Assistant Director for Academic Success and Bar Preparation Programs will participate in the development and implementation of a comprehensive program that partners with students and alumni from admission through matriculation and bar passage. The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for academic success within the College of Law and responsibilities will include assisting students with academic skills to be successful in law school, planning and presenting academic skills workshops, academic counseling, and coaching alumni who are studying for the bar exam.
- Assists students with academic skills to be successful in law school.
- Planning and presenting academic skills workshops.
- Collaborates with faculty members to implement academic success strategies within the curriculum.
- Provides academic counseling to students seeking assistance with study techniques and exam preparation.
- Reviews student work product to provide analysis and feedback to help students improve legal writing skills and exam preparation strategies.
- Develops and presents academic skills workshops for first-year students, focusing on time management, note taking, and preparing for classes and exams.
- Works closely with at-risk students academic strategies.
- Bar Preparation Counseling
- Meets with students in their final semester to begin developing an individualized approach to the bar exam.
- Develops and presents bar preparation workshops for all students, providing information on long-range planning and the skills required to pass the bar exam.
- Answers general student questions related to completing the Florida Bar Application.
- Communicates with commercial bar review companies to coordinate student services.
- Helps College of Law alumni to create individual study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.
- Coaches individual alumni as they prepare for the bar exam through regular meetings, reviewing sample bar exam essays, and providing feedback and analysis based on their performance.
- Develops and maintains the Academic Success, Bar Preparation and, Bar Prep Portal website.
- Assists in planning and presenting at New Student Orientation.
- Participates in campus-wide initiatives in collaboration with other student services offices to provide a comprehensive and meaningful academic experience for Stetson students.
- Performs all other duties as assigned.
- Sound judgment and discretion sufficient to build relationships with students and colleagues that foster trust and cooperation.
- Ability to develop rapport with students in an individual counseling setting.
- Ability to complete tasks in an expeditious and courteous manner.
- Ability to collaborate in order to build highly effective academic outcomes.
- Work collaboratively with academic success and bar preparation team.
- Sufficiently strong minded so as to impart unambiguous directions to students who need motivation, both in law school and on the bar exam.
- JD degree from an ABA accredited law school required
- Member attorney in good standing required
- At least one to three years’ experience in academic success program preferred.
- Member of the Florida Bar preferred.
- High level of organization, flexibility, sound judgment, and interpersonal skills.
- Strong written and verbal communications skills.
- Large group and small group presentation ability.
- Ability to maintain confidentiality pursuant to FERPA and other regulations.
- Ability to conduct basic statistical analysis, preferred.
- Teaching experience helpful
- Must establish and maintain positive working relationships within department and College of Law.
- Must be a dependable, responsible contributor committed to excellence and success.
- Flexibility to work outside the normal assigned schedule when requested.
- Computer skills include: Proficiency in MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook), required.
Please visit http://www.law.stetson.edu/jobs. Click on How to Apply to complete the secure online application and upload your resume. You may also mail your cover letter/resume/application and salary requirements to Human Resources Office at 1401 61st Street S, Gulfport, FL 33707 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org Resume review will begin on February 27, 2017. The position will remain open until filled.
The Stetson University community is dedicated to being one of inclusive excellence, where people from all backgrounds can live, learn, work and contribute.
Stetson University is an Equal Opportunity Employer that affirms cultural diversity and inclusion as a core value of academic excellence at Stetson University. We are committed to achieving equal access in education, employment, and participation through the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, staff, and students from diverse backgrounds, and to meaningful academic and intellectual transformation in curriculum, research and service. We are dedicated to actions and policies that foster a community in which individuals with various identities, cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints work together to create opportunities for engagement through rewarding and fulfilling careers and personal experiences in a culturally and racially diverse society and a globalized world. We strongly encourage members of historically under-represented and economically-disadvantaged groups and women to apply for employment. Stetson University is an EEO, ADA, ADEA, and GINA employer.
University of Kentucky College of Law
Advertisement for Director of Academic Enhancement/Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing
The University of Kentucky College of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Enhancement and Assistant Professor of Legal Research & Writing beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year. The successful candidate will oversee all aspects of the Academic Enhancement program at the College of Law. This includes planning the Academic Enhancement Pre-Orientation Legal Reasoning program, teaching regular Academic Enhancement workshops, and continuing to enhance the College of Law’s Bar Exam Support program.
In addition, the successful applicant will usually teach one section of legal writing in the first-year Legal Research and Writing course. The course is a year-long, four-credit course that introduces first-year law students to legal writing, analysis, and research. Law librarians teach the research component of the course, which is approximately 1 of the 4 credits. Thus, the new faculty member must be able to work collaboratively with other faculty involved in the Legal Research and Writing program.
The position offers an initial contract as Director of Academic Enhancement and Assistant Professor of Legal Research and Writing (clinical title series) for a term not to exceed three years. After the initial appointment period, the successful candidate will be eligible for renewable five-year appointments. The salary will be commensurate with experience. This is a twelve-month appointment due to the requirements of the Academic Enhancement program.
Qualified candidates will have a J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school, a distinguished academic record, strong analytical, writing, and research skills, and substantial legal-practice experience (a minimum of three years is strongly preferred). Experience teaching in higher education and knowledge of adult learning theory is preferred.
Applicants should submit a cover letter, C.V. or resume, writing sample, and at least three references. Apply online for requisition # FE00870 at www.uky.edu/hr/ukjobs. Applicants who submit their materials by March 1, 2017, are assured consideration, but applications received after that date will be reviewed until the position is filled. For further information, please contact Scott R. Bauries, Chair of the Appointments Committee, at email@example.com.
The University of Kentucky College of Law is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
- The position advertised:
__ a. is a tenure-track appointment.
_X_ b. may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.
__ c. may lead only to successive short-term contracts of one to four years.
__ d. has an upper-limit on the number of years a teacher may be appointed.
__ e. is part of a fellowship program for one or two years.
__ f. is a part-time appointment, or a year-to-year adjunct appointment.
- The professor hired:
_X_ a. will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings (with some limitations).
__ b. will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.
- The school anticipates paying an annual 12-month base salary in the range checked below. (A base salary does not include stipends for coaching moot court teams, teaching other courses, or teaching in summer school; a base salary does not include conference travel or other professional development funds.)
___ over $120,000
_X_ $110,000 - $119,999
_X_$100,000 - $109,999
_X_ $90,000 - $99,999
_X_ $80,000 - $89,999
_X_ $70,000 - $79,999
___ $60,000 - $69,999
___ $50,000 - $59,999
___ less than $50,000
___ this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
___this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000
- The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:
_X_ a. 30 or fewer
_X_ b. 31 - 35
_X_ c. 36 - 40
__ d. 41 - 45
__ e. 46 - 50
__ f. 51 - 55
__ g. 56 - 60
__ h. more than 60
Friday, February 10, 2017
Writing papers is a drag. I think it's a safe generalization to say that most students, when faced with a writing assignment, start down the primrose path of procrastination, which pushes people to panic and plot putting down their pencils in the p.m. instead of producing a page of proper paragraphs or poetic prose, probably producing protracted palsy and palm sweat with poisonous prophecy and postgraduate poverty, prayer, and pupil pressure.
Basically, anticipating starting the work is the worst part.
So, instead of waiting until you have a few clear hours or a clear day to do your work (in most cases, seemingly the day before it is due), try to do a little bit every day as soon as you get the assignment. Fifteen or 30 minutes every day adds up, and once you get started, your brain will likely come up with ideas during your downtime, making the entire project a lot easier and giving you time to edit and rethink the way you might be analyzing or phrasing things.
If you don't believe me, believe Tom Petty:
Thursday, February 9, 2017
I just came out of a great conference. However, it wasn't a great conference because it made me feeling better. In fact, I left the event realizing how far I often fall short of the mark as a teacher. But, it was great...in the sense that I learned (or perhaps re-learned) some key principles...that I can bank on in trying to BECOME a better teacher.
So, let me cut to the chase. Based on the principles shared by conference leader Dr. Maryellen Weimer, Professor Emeritus at Penn State University, I started to think that I might be trying too hard to teach my students. That's right. I might be trying so much to help my students learn that I leave very little for them to do, which is to say, that I leave them no room for learning.
You see, according to Dr. Weimer, I can't actually "learn anything for my students." Rather it's my students that are the learners. And, to be frank, learning is just plain hard work. It's messy. Its discomforting. It's even downright excruciating sometimes. But, I often don't want my students to feel that sort of uncomfortable frustration that is required to generate real learning. Or, as Dr. Weimer put it, "we are often doing a lot of the hard messy work of our students" by making decisions for them, which, if true, means that our students are not truly learning. In short, we are just teaching them to be dependent on us rather than coaching them to succeed as independent learners, to put it in my own words.
So, my sense is that my students need less of me as a teacher and more of me as a coach. They need me to step out of the limelight, to give them fresh air to try, to let them work hard and ponder mightily as they grapple with the course materials. That's because learning is personal. It therefore requires lots of practice. It requires deep engagement in the materials. It requires sometimes (or even often) failing.
But, as Dr. Weimer pointed out, my students often do not see me fail. Instead, they often see me demonstrating how to succeed (i.e. teaching!). But, I didn't learn the materials through success. Rather, I learned the materials through lots of rough 'n tumble practice (and that means through lots of trials, errors, and downright embarrassing mistakes).
So, Dr. Weimer encouraged me (us) to open up with our students, to admit our mistakes, to let our students have empowered agency to personally engage with the materials. In short, it's time for me to teach from the sidelines, and, that means that I am not "making the big plays for my students." Instead, I am their coach on the sidelines and they are the players moving the ball downfield as learners. That's a game that I am excited about watching. Oh, and by the way, taking Dr. Weimer's words to heart, I admitted to my students just today that I have made lots and lots of mistakes on the path to learning how to become a lawyer, and it was through walking through those experiences that I truly learned. (Scott Johns).
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Information about this April 27-28 conference was recently posted to the ASP Listserv. The information is here: Download ASP-L6688 AMLSDP - Conference Hotel Rooms Available.
Monday, February 6, 2017
Through The Learning Curve, we hope their works here can enrich all of our work in law teaching and support. And if you have something to contribute to the conversation, the submission deadline for next issue of The Learning Curve is March 15, 2017. Articles should be 500 to 2,000 words in length, with light references, if appropriate, and attached as a Word file. Please send your submissions to LearningCurveASP@gmail.com.
The Winter 2017 issue of The Learning Curve is here: Download The Learning Curve (Winter 2017).