Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Legal Ed Videos on Teaching

Hat tip to Dr. Victoria Sutton, Texas Tech Law's Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, for alerting me to the collection of videos from the Igniting Law Teaching conference in 2015  found on the Legal Ed web pages. You can also find the 2014 conference through the Legal Ed web page by following the conference link. (Amy Jarmon)

September 24, 2016 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016


I have reached the age where I have a lot of "back in my day" thoughts.  EDM makes my head hurt.  Modern movies are terrible.  I hate how connected people are with phones.  I hate ball parks named after corporations.  What was so wrong with the original pop tart that we had to fancy it up with the toaster strudel?  

Law schools have had a few rough years in the popular press and imagination, and the struggles of law students seem to hit a blog or newspaper more or less every day.  I read all of it.  A criticism that bothers me is when someone says, "a law student who needs _____________ to be a lawyer shouldn't be a lawyer."

First, it's an easy, flip, and reductive statement.  Second, the hubris of making such a flat declaration about someone else's talents or abilities based on one factor is stunning.  Third, it's just another version of "back in my day," the implication being that the person making the statement became a lawyer (or entered some other profession) without that particular need.

Whenever a commentator questions certain things schools do to help law students, I think about "back in my day" and how I studied for the bar.  I had to go all the way across Austin (on a mule, uphill both ways, in the snow, with an onion on my belt) and sit in a hot warehouse for several hours with a couple of hundred people and listen to live lectures.  Although some of the lectures were O.K., many of the lectures were horrible from an easy-to-follow/easy-to-pay-attention/not-rather-be-eaten-by-rabid-weasels standpoint.  One lecturer in particular had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of jokes involving America's Greatest Living Thespian Keanu Reeves.  There is nothing wrong with jokes and I loved the original Point Break and My Own Private Idaho, but the jokes were not funny.  It might have been a brilliant display of Kaufman-esque anti-humor, but I was too freaked out and tired by the looming bar exam to be more than put off by it.

Despite the Keanu jokes, without that forced structure of getting up, driving, and sitting there, I wonder how I would have done on the bar exam.  Because of how brutal I found the entire thing, if I could have, I probably would have studied and watched lectures at Barton Springs pool.  I'd probably have started every day at 11 and stopped at 5.  Studying on Fridays would probably be out.  I doubt I would have written out any practice questions or done any practice exams.  I probably would have simply relied on my history of being very good at standardized exams to get me through.  

When I actually sat for the exam, I had pneumonia and the woman sitting next to me cried the entire time (not because of my pneumonia).  Without the enforced structure, I wonder if I would have passed under those circumstances.  As it was, I had been forced to learn the bar material so well that I could have been on fire and still passed.  However, I doubt I would have put myself in that position if I had been left to my own devices.  I think I was "a law student who needs to be forced to sit in a warehouse and listen to Keanu jokes to be a lawyer" and, despite that need, I think I turned out to be a pretty good one.

I understand why some observers say that "a law student that needs _______ to be a lawyer shouldn't be a lawyer," but very few people can succeed in an endeavor without help.  For 25-year-old me, I think I needed the help of that warehouse.  For my students, it might be giving them extra help, handing them physical books, going over practice questions with them, etc., but I do not believe that needing a particular type of help is any kind of inherent disqualification to being a lawyer.

(Alex Ruskell) 

September 23, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Predicting Success? Exciting Research from the Western Heart of Texas

There’s exciting research work going on in West Texas, entitled: “Will I Pass the Bar Exam? Predicting Student Success Using LSAT Scores and Law School Performance,” co-written by Dr. Katherine Austin, Professor Catherine (Cassie) Christopher, and Dean Darby Dickerson, all hailing from Texas Tech University.

According to the abstract: “Texas Tech University School of Law has undertaken a statistical analysis of its recent alumni, comparing their performance in law school with their success on the Texas bar exam. The authors conclude that LSAT predicts bar exam success while undergraduate GPA does not. The also study replicates findings in previous literature that both 1L and final law school GPA predict bar exam success. Going beyond existing literature, this study also conducted more specific analysis of how student performance in specific courses can predict success on affiliated subcomponents of the bar exam; the Article identifies which courses have significant impact on bar exam performance and which do not. Additionally, the Article reports a completely new analysis of whether student participation in curricular student engagement activities (such as journal, clinic, and advocacy competitions) predicts bar exam success.”

As background, the researchers used first-time Texas Bar Exam results (and scores) to analyze a host of factors that might predict bar exam performance– such as UGPA, LSAT, first-year LGPA, graduating LGPA, law school grades in some bar-tested subjects, bar exam percentile subject matter scores, and final bar exam scores. The study pool comprised a total of 1562 Texas Tech law school graduates that sat for the Texas Bar Exam as a first-time taker during the period of 2008 to 2014. Consequently, the authors use a robust database for analyzing bar exam performance.

In brief, here are some of the major findings:

  • UGPA did not predict either LGPA or bar exam performance
  • LSAT scores predicted bar exam performance, albeit imprecisely as LSAT only predicted about 13 percent of bar exam scores
  • Final LGPA was a substantially better predictor of bar exam scores than LSAT scores, accounting for about 52 percent of the variance in bar exam scores
  • Law Schools can either use first year LGPA or final year LGPA to predict bar exam scores as both LGPA measurements have substantially similar predictive abilities
  • Because first year LGPA is substantially similar to final year LGPA in predicting bar exam scores, law schools can use first year LGPA to help with early intervention efforts to improve bar exam performance for their graduates
  • Civil procedure grades were more predictive of bar exam performance (accounting for about 25 percent of bar exam scores) than legal research & writing grades (accounting for about 18 percent of bar exam scores)
  • Journal participants had both higher LGPA and bar exam scores
  • Clinic participants had higher LGPA but lower bar exam scores (but only slightly lower with a mean bar exam score still substantially above passing)
  • Moot court and advocacy participants had higher LGPA and bar exam scores
  • Some bar-related “courses…predict[ed] bar performance on the relevant subcomponent of the bar exam, while others did not”

For the ground-breaking details, particularly regarding the relationship between law school courses and bar exam scores and the relationship between core extra-curricular activities and bar exam scores, please see the article at:  "Will I Pass the Bar Exam."  It provide us all with much to reflect upon and and talk about!  

And, if your state supreme court does not provide your law school with bar exam scores (as many do not), share this article with your local bar examiners because the researchers empirically demonstrate the priceless worth of transparent sharing of data in order to better understand the relationship between legal education and bar exam performance.  Or, as Helen Keller said:  "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

(Scott Johns)


September 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Early Semester Stress

This the fourth full week of classes for our students and stress has already crept in. First year law students who were enthusiastic about the beginning of the law school journey are now working hard and trying to balance all of their responsibilities.  More assignments are due in legal writing and doctrinal courses now include some challenging material.  Students are trying to maintain their sanity and humanity while balancing the demands of their checklists and trying to do one or two things they enjoy.  Moreover, students are trying not to be too distracted by the various news reports about tragedies and events in our backyards and around the world.  With students feeling a number of emotions, self-care is essential.

Here are my top five self-care considerations:

  1. Check-in with your emotions. It is helpful to sit by yourself, quietly, and name what you are feeling. Don't judge your emotions but simply name them, claim them, and maybe even feel them so you can let go of the negative ones.
  2. Boogie down. Select your favorite upbeat tunes and dance or sing at the top of your lungs. This helps you reconnect with positive emotions and gets your body moving.
  3. Unplug all devices. For about an hour daily, turn everything off. Turn off your computer, put your cellphone on airplane mode or silent, and shut off all electronics with alarms or alerts.
  4. Be selfish. Weekly, do something just because it makes you happy. Have something to look forward to particularly if you have a very demanding week.
  5. Mute the negative. If you have negative people in your life or individuals who fill your social media feeds with sad or negative information you might want to mute them. You may have close or long term relationships with these individuals so you might not want to delete them. You can temporarily or permanently block their information and go from there.

(Goldie Pritchard)

September 21, 2016 in Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Call for Proposals for NECASP Conference

Request for Proposals: Presentation of Scholarly “Works in Progress”

New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference

December 5, 2016

Western New England University School of Law

Springfield, MA

NECASP will be holding its annual one-day conference and has designated time for the presentation of scholarly “Works in Progress.”  Our topic this year is “ASP Tackles new ABA Standards; ASP’s Indispensable Role.”  We will gather in Springfield to share and explore ideas with ASP colleagues on issues surrounding the plethora of new ABA standards.  We are all required to comply with new bar pass, learning outcome, experiential learning and many other standards. We welcome a broad range of proposals – from presenters in the New England Region and beyond – and at various stages of completion – from idea to fruition!  If you wish to present a Work in Progress, the proposal process is as follows:

  1. Submit your proposal by October 11, 2016, via email to Kandace Kukas at
  2. Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF
  3. Proposals must include the following:
  4. Name and title of presenter
  5. Law School
  6. Address, email address, and telephone number
  7. Title of Work in Progress to be presented
  8. Abstract of your scholarly Work in Progress, no more than 500 words
  9. Statement regarding the status of the work (whether in outline form, early draft, or near completion).
  10. Media or computer presentation needs
  11. As noted above, proposals are due on October 11, 2016.  The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by November 1, 2016.

If you have any questions about your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact one of us, and we hope to see many of you in Springfield later this year!

NECASP Board members are as follows:

Chair:              Kandace J. Kukas

                        Assistant Dean and Director of Bar Admission Programs

                        Western New England University School of Law

Vice Chair:      Philip Kaplan

                        Associate Professor of Academic Support

                        Suffolk University Law School

Treasurer:        Lori Albin

                        Director of Bar Success

                        UMASS School of Law

Secretary:         Joe Brennan

                        Director of Academic Success and Assistant Professor

                        Vermont Law School

September 20, 2016 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Senior Director Position at St. Thomas University (FL)

ST. THOMAS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applications for a Senior Director of Academic Support beginning in Fall 2017.  The position title and whether the position is tenure-track depend on the applicant’s qualifications and experience.  The Faculty Recruitment Committee will review applications on a rolling basis.   Applicants should send a cover letter indicating their experience with and vision for Academic Support, a current curriculum vita, and at least three professional references to Professor Lenora Ledwon, Co-Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, St. Thomas University School of Law, 16401 NW 37th Avenue, Miami Gardens, FL 33054 or email

Located in Florida's beautiful, cosmopolitan, diverse Miami area, St. Thomas University School of Law was founded in 1984 and is continually ranked as one of the most diverse, student-oriented law schools in the nation. Our main campus is commuting distance from Broward and Palm Beach County. St. Thomas University School of Law has earned a national reputation for its mission of inclusion and admission opportunity for students from historically underrepresented groups, for academic support, legal writing, tax, business, environmental and intercultural human rights legal education programs.

We encourage potential applicants to visit our website at to learn more about our school of law, our community and our programs.  St. Thomas encourages applications from female and minority candidates, and all others who will contribute to our stimulating and diverse cultural and intellectual environment. All applicants must have a strong academic record and be committed to outstanding teaching, scholarship, and service.

September 20, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are you a new ASP/bar prep professional who needs to subscribe to the listserv?

For those of you who are new professionals in ASP/bar prep at your law schools, signing up for the ASP Listserv is done in the following manner. These instructions were sent to me by Stephen Sowle at Chicago Kent (he runs the listserv) in August 2015. If you run into problems after you have tried to subscribe, I would suggest that you contact him for assistance at (Amy Jarmon)

To sign up for the ASP listserv, follow these steps:

Address email to
No subject
In the body of the message enter: subscribe ASP-L your_first_name your_last_name title school_name
your_first_name is your first name,
your_last_name is your last name
title and school_name are optional

September 19, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

UNC Position: Director Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

Director for Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives

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.

Please see Special Instructions for more details.

All candidates must submit a cover letter, CV/resume and a list of three professional references, in order to be considered for this position.

Posting Information

Position Information

Position Type Permanent Staff (EHRA NF)
Department Law-360001
Working Title Director for Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
Appointment Type EHRA Non-Faculty
Position Posting Category Student Services
Salary Range $55,000 - $62,000
Full Time/Part Time? Full-Time Permanent
Hours per Week 40
Vacancy ID NF0002165
Position ID 20018060
Posting Open Date 09/14/2016
Application Deadline 10/14/2016
Open Until Filled No
Proposed Start Date 12/01/2016
Position Summary

The UNC School of Law is seeking a seasoned admissions/student services professional with a proven record of commitment to diversity, inclusion and student success to serve as Director of Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion. The Director of Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion reports to the Assistant Dean for Admissions.

The Director will plan and implement the law school’s outreach and recruiting strategy for all JD students. The Director will work with the Office of Communications to annually develop creative recruiting strategies using a variety of print and electronic media to attract a talented and diverse class of students to the applicant pool. The Director will represent the School of Law at on-campus and off-campus functions with regard to admissions and diversity and inclusion matters and serve as a liaison with pre-law advisors. The Director will participate in the application screening and selection process. The Director of Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion will play an important role in developing and implementing diversity and inclusion programming and strategies in collaboration with Student Services. The Director will serve as the liaison with a range of affinity organizations and assist with outreach efforts to alumni from underrepresented constituencies. Other duties as assigned by the Assistant Dean for Admissions.

Educational Requirements

Relevant post-Baccalaureate degree required; for candidates demonstrating comparable independent educational or instructional activities associated with the delivery and/or management of admissions and/or student support functions, will accept a relevant undergraduate degree and relevant experience in substitution. Specific minimum experience requirements are at the discretion of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or the Department Head in other units that may employ such positions based on accepted professional standards of practice within the field.

Qualifications and Experience

Three or more years of admissions and/or student affairs experience, preferred. Sophisticated working knowledge of the legal profession and legal education. Experience with database management. Excellent communication, marketing, interpersonal, and organizational abilities. Ability to interface and effectively maintain relationships with multiple constituencies. Ability to work independently in high-visibility and under high-stress situations, and make presentations before varied audiences around the country.

Other Preferred Qualifications include: Other professional experience with diversity and inclusion. Experience with PeopleSoft, ACES2 or comparable database management systems. Professional supervisory experience.

Equal Opportunity Employer

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.

Special Instructions

All candidates must submit a cover letter, CV/resume and a list of three professional references, in order to be considered for this position.

Quick Link

Department Contact Information

Department Contact Name and Title Naadii Salaam, HR Consultant
Department Contact Telephone or Email 919.962.8509
Office of Human Resources Contact Information

If you experience any problems accessing the system or have questions about the application process, please contact the Office of Human Resources at (919) 843-2300 or send an email to
Please note: The Office of Human Resources will not be able to provide specific updates regarding position or application status.

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Curriculum Vitae / Resume
  2. Cover Letter
  3. List of References
Optional Documents

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Please select the response below that describes your level of education that best or mostly closely satisfies the education requirements for this position.
    • Bachelor’s degree in required discipline(s) listed or related field
    • Bachelor's degree in any field/discipline
    • Master's degree or Doctorate degree in required discipline(s) listed or related field
    • Master's degree or Doctorate degree in any field/discipline
    • None of the above
  2. * Do you have a J.D.?
    • Yes
    • No
  3. * Have you developed communications materials for diversity and inclusion events and programs?
    • Yes
    • No
  4. * Do you have at least 3-5 years of experience in graduate admissions or career services with an accredited institution of higher education?
    • Yes
    • No
  5. * Do you have experience leading or participating in a diversity recruiting initiative?

    (Open Ended Question)

  6. * Describe a specific event within your professional career that demonstrates diversity or cultural competence and explain how you managed the event.

    (Open Ended Question)

  7. * Please state how your commitment to diversity has been demonstrated.

    (Open Ended Question)

  8. * Do you have any experience with student recruitment, admissions, and post-enrollment support? If yes, please describe.

    (Open Ended Question)

September 19, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Counterpoint to Laptop Bans

Much has been said about the positives of banning laptops in the classroom. Proponents of the ban position have pointed to studies that support handwriting over typing notes.

The Chronicle of Higher Education contained an article this week that does not buy in to the studies and takes a more moderate approach: No, Banning Laptops Is Not the Answer.

In that article is a link to a May blog post on The Tatooed Prof that also supports a different approach to classroom technology: Let's Ban the Classroom Technology Ban.



September 18, 2016 in Miscellany, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Additional Information on the Washburn Law Position

Washburn Law is searching for an ASP Director. Washburn has a long tradition of unitary tenure track for its full-time faculty, and this position has that potential, depending in large part upon the interests of the candidate.

Even though this is an ASP position, I have included the usual form after the full-text announcement. The only question that we can’t answer easily is class size, since it can vary quite a bit depending on how the ASP Director would like to design the program.

Full text of position announcement:

WASHBURN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW invites applicants for the faculty position as Director of Academic Support and Bar Passage. The position may be tenured, tenure-track or non-tenure track, depending on the candidate’s qualifications and interest. The commencement date for the position is the 2017-18 academic year.   The Director will design a comprehensive academic support program for law students, supervise other academic support professionals, teach in the academic support program, and direct the provision of a full range of academic support services. The successful candidate will have taught in a student success program, will be experienced in developing or teaching in bar exam support programs, and will have the ability to report on assessments and outcomes.

The Washburn campus is located in the heart of Topeka, Kansas, blocks from the state capitol.  Recently, the Topeka and Shawnee County Library was named the 2016 Library of the Year, the highest honor for libraries in the U.S. and Canada.  Topeka has previously been named a Top Ten City in Kiplinger’s magazine.  Topeka features affordable housing and beautiful, historic neighborhoods filled with well-maintained parks.  It is also the home of the Brown v. Board of Education historical site.

Washburn Law School is committed to diversity in its faculty and encourages applicants whose backgrounds will enrich the law school. Candidates should possess a JD degree from an ABA accredited law school; a distinguished academic record; record of, or demonstrated potential for, scholarly production; and a strong commitment to academic support.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  (All faculty appointments are contingent upon funding.)  Interested candidates should send a resume, listing three references, and a cover letter.  Contact: Professor Janet Thompson Jackson, Chair, Faculty Recruitment Committee, Washburn University School of Law, 1700 College Avenue, Topeka, Kansas, 66621.  E-mail:

Optional provision of LRWProfs listserv form:

  1. The position advertised:

     _*see below*_   a.   is a tenure-track appointment.

     __   b.   may lead to successive long-term contracts of five or more years.

     _*see below*_   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.

Additional information about job security or terms of employment, any applicable term limits, and whether the position complies with ABA Standard 405(c):

The position may be tenured, tenure-track or non-tenure track, depending on the candidate’s qualifications and interest. The commencement date for the position is the 2017-18 academic year. The Director will design a comprehensive academic support program for law students, supervise other academic support professionals, teach in the academic support program, and direct the provision of a full range of academic support services. The successful candidate will have taught in a student success program, will be experienced in developing or teaching in bar exam support programs, and will have the ability to report on assessments and outcomes.

  1. The professor hired:

     _x_   a.   will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

     __   b.   will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

  1. The school anticipates paying an annual academic year 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

___ $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

Additional information about base salary or other compensation: Dependent upon candidate qualifications, term of annual contract, and nature of position.

  1. The number of students enrolled in each semester of the courses taught by the legal research & writing professor will be:

     __   a.   30 or fewer

     __   b.   31 - 35

     __   c.   36 - 40

     __   d.   41 - 45

     __   e.   46 - 50

     __   f.    51 - 55

     __   g.   56 - 60

     __   h.   more than 60

Additional information about teaching load, including required or permitted teaching outside of the legal research and writing program:     

The Director will design a comprehensive academic support program for law students, supervise other academic support professionals, teach in the academic support program, and direct the provision of a full range of academic support services.

If you have questions, our faculty recruitment committee welcomes contact as noted above.

September 17, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Assistant Director Position at St. Thomas University (FL)

Assistant Director of Academic Support

St. Thomas University School of Law is seeking an Assistant Director of Academic Support. The Assistant Director will help the academic support team coordinate and implement supplemental first year courses, including legal skills workshops, other academic related workshops, and perform other teaching duties as assigned. The Assistant Director will advise students regarding academic success in law school, meet with students to gain insight into academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as confidentially explore any other concerns that might impact their learning. The Assistant Director will act as a liaison between the students, faculty, and staff for academic issues. 

Job Requirements:

J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school is required, as well as a minimum of 5 years in private practice or judicial clerkship experience.  Good standing with the Florida bar or another state bar.  Experience in teaching, advising, or mentoring students.   Highest ethical and professional standards and proven ability to exercise exemplary judgment. Willing/able to work some evenings and weekends.

How to apply

Send your resume, cover letter detailing your qualifications, a writing sample, and three professional references to Associate Dean Tamara Lawson at

September 17, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Giving struggling students a workbook of practice questions

When a student is placed on Academic Probation, I meet with them once a week during the next term.  Importantly, I assign them Q&As, E&Es, or other sample question books to work on throughout the semester.  Every week, I assign about 10 pages of questions in each of the subjects they are taking.  I don't pick up any of their work once it is completed, unless they have a specific question.  I just use it to keep them on task and to get them used to the idea of continually doing practice questions as they read and outline their courses.  Toward the end of the semester, I give them long essay questions that I have created, have them turn them in, and go over the answers.  I've used this model the past few years, and it has significantly improved student work, leading students to get off probation and to ultimately pass the bar on the first try.

I think the key to this is to actually give weekly assignments and to actually give them copies of the materials.  It's much harder to ignore the extra weight in their backpack than it is to ignore something I've emailed, pointed out on CALI, or posted on TWEN.

(Alex Ruskell)


September 16, 2016 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September is a Great Time to Really Get Organized…with a Low Tech Journal!

Interestingly, as Anne Marie Chaker comments in her column "September is the Real New Year," we should "forget about January…[because] this is the start of the real New Year."  That's right, more people make more lasting changes in September than at any other time of the year, including on New Year's Day.

So, here's a REAL change that can bring organizational peace to law students and ASPers alike...create a "Bullet Journal," as devotees call it.  

What's a "Bullet Journal?"  

Well, first, some great news.  It's not bouncing back and forth between apps or other technology in order to try to get oneself's organized.  That just leads to more frustration and anxiety.  Rather, a so-called "Bullet Journal" involves old fashioned handwriting…your handwriting…and old fashioned thinking…your thinking…in which you make daily "to-do-lists" and then you keep a record of your accomplishments throughout the coming days and weeks.  

You see, according to Dr. Tim Pychyl, associate professor of psychology, there is something extremely powerful in handwriting our "to-do-lists" rather than using technology because handwriting allow us to "process the information" in such a way that the writing process actually helps to calm us down…actually helps to reduce our anxiety…in short, actually helps us to reflect on what we are doing and why we are doing those tasks.  Ah…organizational peace!  In sum, in order to be plugged in organizationally, we don't need to be plugged in…at all.  That is indeed great news!

Want more details?  Just check out Nina Sovich's article "The To-Do List Strikes Bike," available at:

Finally, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal (Jady Carmichael and Greenishplanning), here's a photo of a "Bullet Journal" in action.  Just one picture, and I'm ready to handwrite!  How about you?  (Scott Johns)

An entry from Jady Carmichael’s journal

September 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Paula Lustbader: 30 years of Academic Support

Last week was the 30th Anniversary Celebration of Seattle University School of Law’s Access Admission Program, the Academic Resource Center, and Professor Emerita Paula Lustbader. I am an alumna of Seattle University and the few times I return to Seattle typically have something to do with Professor Lustbader. My cultural background dictates that I remember and honor those individuals who have paved the way for me. I look to them for guidance, wisdom, support, and history. For me, Professor Lustbader is one of these special individuals.

I started writing this entry prior to the celebration and surprisingly, the themes I identified aligned with the remarks and conversations at the celebration. The themes I had identified and those that emerged at the celebration included legacy, family/community, and paying it forward. I was excited to realize that I had it right but recognized that I could not include all of my observations.

In my opinion, Professor Lustbader is a pioneer of the Academic Support Movement. I imagine that very few formal academic support programs existed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As a student at the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law), Paula Lustbader had a desire to promote diversity at the law school and in the legal profession. She was recruited by Professor Emeritus David Boerner and together, Professor Boerner and student Lustbader designed and began to implement the various components of their program. Today, Seattle University School of Law boasts of one of the few true “Access Admissions Programs” in the country which is not only a testament of the institution’s commitment to social justice and diversity but also a reflection of the commitment of Professors Boerner and Lustbader to this program. I can assure you that the story is more amazing and exciting than this but you had to have been at the celebration to capture the full story. Please follow this link for Professor Lustbader’s 2010 article about this program: here

Professors can have a profound impact on the lives of their students particularly if they take the time to listen and pay attention to their students. Professors can sometimes perceive a student’s potential before the student can even conceive of her/his ability. This particularly happens when the learning environment lends itself for students to be their authentic selves which would indicate that trust has been established.

The presence of numerous former students and individuals who gathered to celebrate Professor Lustbader and the program is a testament to the positive impact the Access Admission Program and the Academic Resource Center have had on these students. In attendance were both students from the early years of the program and current students who just started their 1L year. Individuals flew in from as far as Hawaii, Texas, Michigan, and Florida just to list a few. Former teaching assistants, faculty, and staff who contributed in some way to the program were present. It was a joyous occasion that brought together individuals unified by the impact of two key individuals (Professors Boerner and Lustbader) and a shared experience with this program.   

I feel very privileged to have gotten to know Professor Paula Lustbader as a professor, supervisor, mentor, and friend. She discovered my potential early on and challenged and supported me even when I resisted.  I credit her for seeing the “Academic Support Educator” within me long before I thought of this as a career option. I look forward to the many amazing things she accomplishes in this next phase of her life.

The Anniversary Celebration has reenergized me, helped redefine my purpose, and led me to reassess my passion for the professional work I do. I am contemplating a number of things: What is our legacy as academic support professionals and educators?  Do we constantly reinvent the wheel simply because we want to put our imprint on something or do we recognize when something works?  Do we learn from those who came before us who fought and won the battles we now find ourselves trying to fight?  Are some of us young and so too proud to ask for help and too "all knowing"?  Are we truly an inclusive community that practices what we preach and embodies the ideals at the foundation of Academic Support Programs?  Is it at the very least helpful to assess our own hang-ups and challenges? These are all pertinent questions I am asking myself and hope to connect with like-minded individuals to explore them. (Goldie Pritchard)

September 14, 2016 in Academic Support Spotlight, Diversity Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor Position at Suffolk



SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL in Boston invites applications for a full-time position as an Academic Support Professor starting in the fall semester of 2017. The appointment will be made at the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor of Academic Support, commensurate with experience. Professors in the Academic Support Program (ASP) are responsible for assisting incoming students as they acclimate to the rigors of law school by teaching them skills such as case briefing, course outlining, legal synthesis, and legal analysis. In addition, ASP Professors work with upper-division students in order to enhance their study skills and analytical abilities. Candidates must be available to work with both day and evening-division students. The successful candidate will be required to teach an upper level course titled Legal Analysis and Methods in addition to working with students on a one-on-one basis. The position is not tenure-track, but may lead to successive long-term contracts.

We welcome applications from all persons of high academic achievement with a strong commitment to academic support and a demonstrated commitment to excellence in teaching. We particularly encourage applications from women, people of color, and others whose backgrounds will contribute to the diversity of the faculty. Experience in the field of Academic Support or other law school teaching experience is strongly preferred. Candidates for the position must have a J.D. degree and be admitted to a bar.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, résumé, and a list of three references by accessing the following link: The Committee will begin reviewing resumes in the Fall of 2016 and will continue until the position is filled.

  1.  The position advertised:
    ___ a.   is a tenure-track appointment.
    XX 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.  (Full Time Position)
    ___  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.  (One-Year Visitorship only)

___  g.  is for at will employment.

  1.  The professor hired:
    ___ a.  will be permitted to vote on all matters at faculty meetings.

XX  b.  will be permitted to vote in faculty meetings on matters except those pertaining to hiring, tenure, and promotion.
___  c.  will not be permitted to vote in faculty meetings.

ASP faculty are entitled to vote on all matters except appointments and promotions of tenure track faculty and tenure issues.

  1.  The school anticipates paying an annual academic year 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
    ___ $110,000 - $119,999
    ___  $100,000 - $109,999
    XX  $90,000 - $99,999
    XX  $80,000 - $89,999
    XX  $70,000 - $79,999
    ___  $60,000 - $69,999
    ___  $50,000 - $59,999
    ___  $40, 000-49,999
    ___  this is a part-time appointment paying less than $30,000
    ___  this is an adjunct appointment paying less than $10,000

Depending on experience and qualifications, the successful applicant may be hired at the rank of Assistant, Associate or Full Professor of Academic Support, which accounts for the wide salary range checked above.

  1. The person hired will have the title of:

___  a.  Associate Dean (including Dean of Students).

___  b.  Director.

XX  c.  Professor

___  d  No title

  1. Job responsibilities include:

XX  a.  working with students whose predictors (LSAT and University GPA) suggest they will struggle to excel in law school.

XX  b.  working with students who performed relatively poorly on their law school examinations or other assessments.

XX  c.  working with diverse students.

XX  d. managing orientation.

XX  e.  teaching ASP-related classes (case briefing, synthesis, analysis, etc.).

___  f.  teaching bar-exam related classes.

XX  g.  working with students on an individual basis.

___  h.  teaching other law school courses.

  1. The person hired is required to publish, in some form, in order to maintain employment.

___  a.  Yes.

XX  b.  No.

While encouraged, publication is not required to achieve the ranks of Assistant or Associate Professor of Academic Support.  To be eligible for promotion to the rank of Full Professor of Academic Support, publication is required.


September 13, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 12, 2016

ASU Spoof Video for Encouraging Students to Meet with Professors

Hat tip to Professor Brian Shannon at Texas Tech Law for sharing this video that Arizona State is using to encourage students to use their professors' office hours. The article with the video link is here.

September 12, 2016 in Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Icebreakers in the Classroom

Do you ever wonder whether your icebreakers at the beginning of the course or a training session are helpful or a waste of time? Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga) recently posted a blog entry on the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning web pages with hints on successful use of icebreakers: Icebreakers in Law School: Juvenile or Helpful?

September 11, 2016 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Associate/Assistant Director Position at UC Irvine

Recruitment Period

Open date: July 13th, 2016
Last review date: August 15th, 2016
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: October 31st, 2016
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The University of California, Irvine School of Law invites applications for the position of Assistant/Associate Director in the Academic Skills Program. The successful candidate will develop, enhance, and implement a program to assist students in the transition to law school, to promote their successful completion of the J.D. program, and to prepare them to sit for the bar exam.

The Assistant/Associate Director will promote the academic success of students at the Law School.
In collaboration with the Director of Academic Skills and the Academic Skills Program team, the Assistant/Associate Director will have the opportunity to:
• Develop curriculum for and teach third-year/post-graduation bar preparation programs;
• Develop curriculum for and teach first-year Academic Skills “Labs” and integrated exercises in doctrinal subjects;
• Develop workshop content and teach workshops for matriculating first-year students;
• Assist in developing curriculum and teaching second-year programs focusing on legal analysis and legal writing skills;
• Provide individual and small-group feedback on student practice exams and exercises;
• Manage department databases (e.g., internal shared drive, TWEN), create and administer student surveys to assess programming, create marketing materials, and coordinate with administrative assistants on logistics for department programs;
• Assist with hiring, training, and supervising student fellows to help administer various first-year student programs;
• Engage in professional development through collaborating with Academic Skills professionals at the local, regional, and national levels to present educational and innovative programs; and
• Assist in planning and managing the budget for first-year programs, student fellows, and books/materials purchases.

The UC Irvine School of Law's inaugural class graduated in the Spring of 2011. The School projects total enrollment of approximately 350 students across all three classes in 2016-17. At full size, the School anticipates an annual enrollment of 600 students. With the School still in its growth stage, the Assistant/Associate Director of Academic Skills will have a rare opportunity to contribute to the design, development, and implementation of the Academic Skills Program. It is therefore expected that the successful candidate will examine and add to existing programs with the same spirit of innovation that characterizes the School. The successful candidate will be expected to exercise independence and judgment, drawing on past experience and careful analysis of the Law School’s particular needs.

UC Irvine School of Law seeks to create the ideal law school for the 21st century by doing the best job of training lawyers for the practice of law at the highest levels of the profession. UCI Law is an innovative and visionary law school focused on educating talented and passionate lawyers driven by professional excellence, intellectual rigor, and a commitment to enrich our communities through public service. The law school is a collegial, supportive, and friendly environment and our faculty is comprised of accomplished, nationally-ranked thought leaders from around the country with a broad range of expertise. Recruited from prestigious schools, the faculty ranked sixth in the country in scholarly impact in a recent study. The student body has admissions qualifications comparable to those of student bodies at top 20 law schools. The school's innovative curriculum stresses hands-on learning, interdisciplinary study, and public service.

Since 1965, the University of California, Irvine has combined the strengths of a major research university with the bounty of an incomparable Southern California location. Consistently ranked among the nation's best universities - public and private - UCI excels in a broad range of fields, garnering national recognition for many schools, departments and programs. With more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system.

Please visit the following link to apply for this position:

The University of California, Irvine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy. A recipient of an NSF ADVANCE award for gender equity, UCI is responsive to the needs of dual career couples, supports work-life balance through an array of family-friendly policies, and is dedicated to broadening participation in higher education.

Job location

Irvine, CA



  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Statement addressing how past and/or potential contributions to diversity will advance UCI's Commitment to Inclusive Excellence.

  • Misc / Additional - Relevant publications or writing samples


3-5 references required (contact information only)

How to apply

  1. Create an ApplicantID
  2. Provide required information and documents
  3. If any, provide required reference information

September 10, 2016 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

ABA Journal Articles "Bar Fight" and "Accreditation Question"

If your copy of the September 2016 ABA Journal has landed in your mailbox, you may want to turn to pages 48-55 to read the article by Mark Hansen entitled "Bar Fight." The online article appears here.

In the same issue, you will find on page 67 a brief article written by Stephanie Francis Ward about the ABA's problems with the Department of Education. The online article appears here

In an article found in Inside Higher Education, an update on UNT and Ave Maria and accreditation is found here.

September 10, 2016 in Bar Exam Issues, Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Student Evaluations and Academic Success

For my programs and the programs involving my tutors, I always hand out student surveys at the end.  I imagine everyone does this.  Usually, it's a nice lift to the spirits, with comments like "you rock!" or something funny like "more candy!"  However, there are sometimes a few negative comments, and those negative comments always seem to revolve around the bedrock, yet admittedly boring topics of time management, note-taking, and case reading.  These comments tend to say something along the lines of "we already know how to manage time!" or "we already know how to take notes!"  I'm sure some of the students do know how to do these things (I hope so, anyway), but plenty of them do not, and plenty of them are going to be hurt by not knowing how to do them.  Consequently, these comments don't end up being particularly useful.

However, I've been wondering if the real value in these types of student comments is not in evaluating my program, but in evaluating the students making them.

Since I am a one-person shop, I try to target my efforts at the students who are most in need of my services.  At the beginning of the school year, I don't have a lot of information regarding which students may struggle.  For the first semester at least, I depend on professor and tutor referrals and students voluntarily coming in for help.

From my experience, the top students attend everything, take advice, and never give negative comments, even if a topic is clearly something they've already mastered and even if they are probably bored silly.  A lot of times, I'll look out at one of my voluntary lectures and see a wall of top students sitting in the front row, when they're not the ones I'm worried about at all.

We just did evaluations of the Orientation program, and the few complaints were about presentations on time management, note-taking, and reading and were the exact same "we already know how to do this!"  That being said, I've already had several students come in asking for help in these areas.  But I've been wondering about the ones that complained.  Because the evaluations are anonymous, I do not know who they are, but will they be the ones in the bottom of the class?  Will I be reaching out to them in the spring after a disastrous fall?  

(Alex Ruskell)

September 9, 2016 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)