Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bar Success Coordinator and Adjunct Professor Position at Wake Forest

Wake Forest University School of Law (in Winston-Salem, NC) is hiring a Bar Success Coordinator and Adjunct Professor to work in the Academic Engagement Program.  This is a staff/ adjunct position with responsibility for teaching the for-credit bar preparation course,  providing individual counseling for repeaters, and working with faculty to develop teaching tools and methods that lead to improved bar performance.  Here's the link to the position description:



October 8, 2015 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Assistant Director of Academic Development and Bar Services Position at GGU

GGU School of Law in SF is hiring an Assistant Director of Academic Development and Bar Services.  This position is a full-time staff position and would make the fourth member on the team.  They are beginning the interviewing process so interested candidates should apply right away.  At GGU, academic support is fully integrated into the law school curriculum and they have a rigorous bar pass program.

October 8, 2015 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 2, 2015

2015 Annual Conference of the New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals

The 2015 Annual Conference of the New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals will take place on December 7, 2015, from 10:00 to 3:00, at the New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts.


This conference provides a great opportunity to gather with colleagues in a supportive and collaborative environment to discuss our topic this year: 


“Changing Students, Evolving Roles for ASP.”  


We will explore ideas on issues surrounding our challenges as academic support professionals in light of the changing student body (e.g., initiatives to support the influx of students who are scoring lower on LSAT and GPA scales, increased promotion of formative assessment, bar support initiatives, etc.).  We will be setting aside time for presentations, discussion, and workshop activities and look forward to making the most of our time together!

We hope to see many of you in Boston later this year. If you are coming into town for an extended stay (which we encourage!), please let us know and we can provide information on local accommodations and activities.  To register for this FREE one-day event, please email Philip Kaplan with your name, title, school, address, preferred email address, and telephone number.

October 2, 2015 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Invitation to submit a proposal to the 2015 Conference of the New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals

Request for Proposals:Presentation of  Scholarly “Works in Progress”
New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference
December 7, 2015
New England Law Boston
Boston, Massachusetts

The 2015 Conference of the New England Consortium of Academic Support Professionals offers a great opportunity to present in a supportive and collaborative environment. NECASP welcomes proposals on works-in-progress from idea to fruition. The topic this year is “Changing Students, Evolving Roles for ASP.”  We will explore ideas on issues surrounding our challenges as academic support professionals in light of the changing student body (e.g., initiatives to support the influx of students who are scoring lower on LSAT and GPA scales, increased promotion of formative assessment, academic standing issues and grading, etc.).   If you wish to present a Work in Progress, the proposal process is as follows:
1.      Submit your proposal by October 9, 2015, via email to Lisa Freudenheim at
2.      Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF
3.      Proposals must include the following:
        a.     Name and title of presenter
        b.     Law School
        c.      Address, email address, and telephone number
        d.      Title of Work in Progress to be presented
        e.      Abstract of your scholarly Work in Progress, no more than 500 words
        f.       Statement regarding the status of the work (whether in outline form, early draft, or near                 done).
        g.      Media or computer presentation needs.

4.      As noted above, proposals are due on October 9, 2015.  The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by October 23, 2015.
If you have any questions about your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact me and we hope to see many of you in Boston later this year! And if you would like to attend but not present, please email Philip Kaplan at to register for the FREE full-day event!

September 29, 2015 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Choosing the Right Study Aid

It is very easy for law students to get overwhelmed with the wide variety of study aids that are available both in hard copy and electronically. Here are some points to consider when choosing a study aid:

  • What specific tasks do you want to accomplish with the study aid? You want to be clear about your purposes. Study aids fall into categories:
  1. commentaries explaining the law in depth
  2. outlines explaining the law with less depth
  3. very condensed summaries explaining the law with even less depth
  4. visual organizers to depict the law pictorially
  5. practice questions in various formats with answer explanations
  6. memory aids to learn rules and definitions
  7. combination study aids that include multiple categories of material
  • How often should you use study aids? Some guidelines include:
  1. Choose the depth of explanation to match your depth of confusion. With more confusion, you need more detailed explanation.
  2. It is typically better to read a commentary at the time you are confused and not wait until later in the semester.
  3. It saves time to read just the topics or subtopics about which you are confused rather than everything covered in a semester course.
  4. Reading more than one commentary is usually inefficient because you gain little additional knowledge/understanding. Only read a second commentary if you are still confused after the first one.
  5. Complete as many practice questions as possible. Very easy practice questions may help you as you learn the material. However, you want to complete harder practice questions as you learn material more deeply.
  • How closely does the study aid align with your professor's course? Study aids are typically written for a national audience and include topics that a specific professor will not cover. State-specific courses may not have as many study aids available - CA and NY being the exceptions that publishers seem to favor.
  • Does your professor recommend specific study aids? Some professors list in their syllabi the study aids that they think match their course material or test questions best.
  • What sources of study aids may be useful to you for lower costs? You may have more aids available than you realize:
  1. Your law school may have a study aids library for short-term circulation.
  2. Your law school may have a subscription to one of the publisher's electronic study aid collections.
  3. Upper-division students may have study aids to lend to you - be careful about the edition in case the law has changed.
  4. Your professor may have worksheets, practice questions, and other materials on a course website.
  5. Your law school may have an exam database with professors' released exam questions.
  6. Your state board of bar examiner's may post on its website various past exam questions for the state's bar exam subjects.
  • Do other students who have had the course previously have suggestions on study aids? There are a few things to consider when they make suggestions:
  1. Their learning preferences may vary greatly from your own learning preferences.
  2. A professor may have changed books or the emphases in a course since they had the class.
  3. You want to test run a study aid if at all possible before purchase to see if it works for you - see the above point for some options to do so.

Study aids can be a valuable resource to law students. However, care is needed in the choosing so that the timing, task, and specific content are all considered. (Amy Jarmon)

September 28, 2015 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Resources on Classroom Technology and Digital Natives

Hat tip to James B. Levy of the Legal Skills Prof Blog for his September 25th post referencing his own SSRN article on teaching with classroom technology in law school and a forthcoming Australian book with a chapter on the myth of digital natives. His post can be found here: Legal Skills Prof Blog Post by James B. Levy. (Amy Jarmon)

September 28, 2015 in Books, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Director of Academic Support and Bar Success Position at Albany

Position:  Director of Academic Support and Bar Success

ALBANY LAW SCHOOL seeks applicants to direct and expand its academic support and bar success programs. The Director of Academic Support and Bar Success will administer and  assess the existing academic success and bar success programs and recommend additions and modifications to the programs, focusing on initiatives to increase bar passage rates. The director may have other responsibilities as assigned from time to time by the dean and the associate dean for academic affairs.

Qualified candidates will have a J.D. with strong law school credentials and admission to the practice of law, preferably in New York. The position requires knowledge of legal theory, analysis and writing, and other skills necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar examination. Preference will be given for experience in academic support and bar preparation programs, administrative and supervisory experience, law teaching experience, counseling and tutoring experience, knowledge of learning theory, understanding of disability and multicultural issues, and ability to build rapport with students having academic challenges.

This is a full-time, 12-month, long-term contract track position with the beginning rank of Assistant or Associate Professor of Academic Success. The person who fills this position will be eligible for a five-year long-term contract after a probationary period of three years.

Albany Law School is the oldest, independent law school in North America with a long tradition of producing great leaders. We are located in the heart of New York State’s capital since 1851, nestled between the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Albany is within a three-hour drive of New York City, Boston, and Montreal, and is served by excellent highway, air and rail transportation systems. The institution offers students an innovative, rigorous curriculum taught by a committed faculty. Several nationally recognized programs -- including the Government Law Center and the Albany Law Clinic and Justice Center -- provide unique opportunities for students and faculty. With 17 neighboring colleges and universities, including a campus shared by Albany Medical College, Albany College of Pharmacy and Sage College, the school benefits from several joint degree programs as well as other associations. Students and faculty also work closely with New York’s highest court, federal courts and the state legislature, as well as a thriving tech-based economy.

Application (electronic preferred) should include cover letter, curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and three references and be sent to Faculty Recruitment Committee c/o Barbara Jordan-Smith, President and Dean’s Office, Albany Law School, 80 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY 12208-3494,

Albany Law School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Visit Albany Law School’s Website:



September 26, 2015 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting

This year's AALS Annual Meeting will be held Wednesday, January 6 - Sunday, January 10, 2016. Note that these dates are later than usual.

The location is New York City. The co-headquarters hotels are the New York Hilton Midtown and Sheraton New York Times Square.

The Section on Academic Support business meeting will be on Saturday, January 9th 7:00 - 8:30 a.m. The Section's Program (Raising the Bar) will be on Saturday also from 10:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

For more information and to register, go to AALS Annual Meeting 2016.

September 25, 2015 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Check Out the New JLE Website

The Association of American Law Schools sent out a recent press release announcing the new website for the Journal of Legal Education (JLE). You can check it out at Journal of Legal Education.

September 25, 2015 in Books, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Bar Exam Debate Continues

"Is the Bar Too Low to Get Into Law School?" is the headline in today's New York Times "Room for Debate" section. It posed the question: Why are so many law students failing the bar exam? This is a complex issue and as the different responses make clear, there is no simple answer. 

The debate started more than a year ago. The July 2014 bar exam was one of the most exciting (and not in a good way) and controversial bar exams in recent history. It is widely known as Barmageddon or Barghazi due to a nationwide debacle on the first day of the exam. The first day is the written portion; test takers pay a fee ($100-$125) to use laptops and then upload responses through an outside company. Most jurisdictions use ExamSoft. Last year ExamSoft experienced a system-wide failure and test takers across the country were not able to upload responses. ExamSoft eventually fixed the problem but not until thousands and thousands of test takers had stayed up most of the night trying to submit their responses. To say it was stressful is an understatement.

By the time day two started, many test takers still did not know the fate of their responses- were they uploaded? would the jurisdiction accept them after the deadline? Day two of the bar exam is the Multi-State Bar Exam (MBE)- the multiple choice portion of the test that every state (except for LA) uses. It is created, scored and scaled by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) and although it is only one part of the overall score, jurisdictions use it to scale the other portions of the exam. In other words, the MBE score is a big deal. The rest of the bar exam was uneventful. Until jurisdictions started posting results. Almost every jurisdiction reported historically low bar pass rates. This is when the finger-pointing began: Many law schools blamed the MBE, saying the test was flawed. The NCBE fired back, claiming takers were "less able" than in past years. Not many seemed to see any connection between Barghazi and bar scores. 

Fast forward to July 2015. The NCBE added a seventh subject to the MBE but the exam itself is uneventful. No system failures. No Barghazi, part II. Then results started trickling out. Pass rates are lower than last year and so is the national median for the MBE. You have to go back more than twenty years to see a median score this low.  

So, why are so many students failing the bar exam? Is it because law students are "less able?" Is it the addition of more material? Are law schools not adequately preparing students? Is the bar exam itself a flawed test?  There is definitely "Room for Debate".


September 24, 2015 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Awareness Helps

One of my students made me laugh today. We have been talking over the weeks about optimal study habits, her learning styles, her procrastination styles, the types of courses that are harder for her, organization and time management skills, and how to apply all of that knowledge to her studying to select strategies for each course to improve her skills for better grades.

She commented that she has so much more appreciation of how she has to learn in order to conquer the obstacles to her success. As she left, she declared, "I am getting in touch with my inner study nerd."

Have you gotten in touch with your inner study nerd?

A variety of aspects go into that concept:

  • How you prefer to absorb new information
  • How you manage new information presented in non-preferred ways
  • How you prefer to think about and organize information
  • How you manage new information organized in non-preferred ways
  • How you expand your thinking to encompass different legal perspectives
  • How your written and oral communication skills and styles mesh with legal communications
  • How you manage your time for wise use of that time and the most results
  • How you manage your environment to promote learning
  • How you support your brain and body: sleep, nutrition, and exercise
  • How you respond emotionally to challenges or lackluster performance
  • How you approach/avoid asking for assistance from classmates, professors, or others
  • How you find ways of procrastinating on your tasks, work, and decisions
  • How you cope when life happens: illness, financial problems, etc.

If you are not sure you know your inner study nerd, visit with the academic support professionals at your law school. Chances are good that they can help you "get in touch" with assessments, strategies, and advice. (Amy Jarmon)


September 24, 2015 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Law School Action Comics #16


(Alex Ruskell)

September 23, 2015 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Call for Proposals for WCCASP Conference


Save the Date!

West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals

2015 Conference

California Western School of Law, San Diego, CA

Friday, November 6, 2015

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.


We all say to our students, “You’re going to have to do this as a lawyer.” Yet saying so is only the beginning, especially as “practice-ready” continues to be the buzzword driving legal education reform nationwide. Learn from your colleagues how to build practice-ready programming into academic support and bar preparation efforts, and join a discussion about how we can highlight our contributions to the practice-ready movement to our law schools and to the legal education community at large.

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker, Karen Barbieri. Karen is a former California bar examiner and calibration session leader who will share her valuable insights on “practice-ready skills” from the perspective of the professional bar examiner.  (Her comments will address all of us in ASP, not just those teaching at California law schools.)

Call for Proposals:

We are now accepting proposals for 45-minute presentations that show how ASPers have incorporated practice-readiness into their programs.  Have you used a practice-centered exercise to build academic skills as well as contribute to the overall mission of producing practice-ready lawyers – for example, an interview simulation, sample oral argument, drafting assignment, client letter, or even a performance test from a bar exam?  Can you share insights from participating in and grappling with practice-ready initiatives, such as learning outcomes and assessment efforts that examine practice-ready objectives? How have you handled changes to experiential learning requirements, and any challenges posed to required-course and early-bar-prep programs targeting at-risk students? Can you help inform colleagues as to how to promote such innovation to their home institutions? 

These are just suggestions; we welcome all proposals relating to practice-ready legal education, from both ASP and “ASP-friendly” faculty.  Though preference will be given to presentations that fit at least generally within this theme, if time and space permit, we also may be able to accommodate a few presentations on other topics of interest.              

Please submit your proposal to by September 28, 2015, and please include the following:

-          The presenter(s) name(s), school(s), and contact information

-          Whether your presentation requires outside equipment (e.g., PowerPoint projection)

-          Your presentation title

-          A description of your presentation (not to exceed one page)

-          A short blurb (100 words) to include in the conference materials, if accepted




September 17, 2015 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Why We Do What We Do

I know from recent emails with colleagues that our calendars are beyond bursting. Student appointments, workshops, meetings, class time, committee meetings, and much more crowd our days. We go home exhausted and turn right around the next day for another go. Often we are working with too few hands for the tasks, too few funds at the ready, and too little recognition.

So why do we continue to do what we do?

Because of the students. They matter to us.

We want them to discover (or rediscover) a love for the law. We want them to learn. We want them to grow in confidence in their abilities. We want them to gain life skills: time management, organization, and more. We want them to see grades improve. We want them to pass the bar on the first attempt. We want them to graduate and do our law schools proud. We want them to be there to serve the under-served.

So how do we keep going against what some days are daunting odds?

I find that small blessings arrive just when I begin to feel worn out or discouraged at all that needs to be done.

  • An excited student drops by to share news about a good test grade.
  • A student thanks me for help with a study schedule that has made all the difference.
  • A student remarks that my listening and encouraging really helped at a difficult time.
  • An alum stops by to thank me for teaching him a skill he uses every day in practice.
  • A thank you note or card appears in my inbox.
  • A batch of homemade cookies is left on my desk.

We love our jobs because we realize we make a difference in our students' lives. And because they make a difference in our lives. (Amy Jarmon)

September 16, 2015 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Minimizing Confusion When You Read Cases

Reading and analyzing cases are mainstays of daily life as a lawyer. Competence in these areas is critical. Law school is the place to learn these skills well. Students who only read when they will be called on or depend on canned briefs are short-changing themselves as lawyers and their clients.

Here are some tips for getting more out of cases:

  • Before you begin reading the entire case, build a framework of knowledge within which to read. Do not skim the entire case, but instead ascertain key information quickly. By knowing these items, you will avoid confusion as the court lays out its reasoning.
  1. What court are you in? Federal/state and what level.
  2. What are the categories of the parties? Buyer and seller or landlord and tenant.
  3. What is the basic dispute? Widgets never delivered.
  4. What legal authorities will you be dealing with? Cases or statutes or both.
  5. What is the holding? Drop to the bottom of the case and find the holding which gives you the answer to the issue - the whodunit for the case.
  6. What is the judgment? Affirmed, reversed, etc.
  • Chunk the case into natural pieces and deal with one chunk thoroughly before moving on. Read actively by focusing on a chunk and asking yourself questions about it after you read. Then write margin notes that capture the most important points for that chunk. Some of the natural chunks in a case are:
  1. Fact paragraphs
  2. Procedural history paragraphs
  3. Paragraphs about the same precedent
  4. Paragraphs about the same statutory language
  5. Paragraphs about the same policy
  6. Paragraphs giving the holding
  7. Judgment paragraph or sentence
  8. A separate concurrence
  9. A separate dissent
  • At the end of reading the entire case, review all of your margin notes and synthesize them into the points that are most important about the case. Include the most important points in your brief.
  1. Some margin notes will "fall out" because of the court's preference for later discussion in the opinion.
  2. Or the court may have introduced a  change in policy that affects the importance of earlier discussion in the opinion.
  • Always think beyond the individual case that you read.
  1. Why did I have to read this case?
  2. How does this case interrelate with the other cases that I read for today?
  3. What does this case tell me about the subtopic/topic I am studying?
  • Remember that judicial opinions are written for lawyers and casebook opinions are often edited. Lawyers read opinions with a great deal of legal knowledge and experience that you have not yet gained. The editor of the casebook may have edited out something that would help you in understanding.
  1. Give a paragraph three good-faith reads. If you still cannot understand it, put a question mark in the margin and move on.
  2. Something later in the case may help you understand the confusing paragraph. If so, go back and re-read the paragraph again.
  3. If you still do not understand the paragraph at the end, make a note to chat with a classmate about it. Listen carefully to class discussion for clarification. Ask the professor about it if you still do not understand and think it is an important part of the case.
  • Realize that not all cases are created equal. Some cases are very dense and contain multiple issues, rules, definitions of elements, statutory interpretation, policy and more. Other cases are very narrow and contain just one brief point for you to take away.
  1. Editors may focus on just one aspect that they want you to pull from the case and edit out other material extraneous to that focus.
  2. Cases often build on one another. A series of cases may give the common law rule, definitions of several elements, exceptions to the main rule, etc. The cases work together to explain an area of law.
  3. Cases may build on one another to show the historical evolution of the law. If you know how the law changes over time, you learn how to argue for modifications and use policy arguments to support change.

By learning to analyze cases on two levels, you become more adept in the skills you need as a lawyer. Read for depth of understanding of the individual case. Then think about how that case can be used more broadly for understanding the legal specialty and to solve new legal problems. (Amy Jarmon)






September 15, 2015 in Reading | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Texas Bar Today Top 10 Award

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_Small (002)

The Law School Academic Support Blog has been awarded the Texas Bar Today Top 10 badge for Amy Jarmon's September 9th post Becoming an Expert on Your Professors' Courses. Thank you to the State Bar of Texas for this recognition.

September 14, 2015 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Faculty Positions at UNC School of Law

Jon McClanahan, Assistant Dean for Academic Excellence at UNC, has posted a job announcement on the listserv. His description follows:

The UNC School of Law seeks to hire two full-time clinical faculty members to start in summer 2016.  The person hired will teach two sections—each with about 17 students—of Research, Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy (RRWA), a core first-year, two-semester, six-credit course.  Other teaching opportunities may occasionally arise too. 

The person hired will join the School of Law’s Writing and Learning Resources Center (WLRC) (, which also operates an Academic Excellence Program.  Our experienced team—Kaci Bishop, Alexa Chew, Luke Everett, Rachel Gurvich, Jon McClanahan (Assistant Dean for Academic Excellence), Wyatt Orsbon, O.J. Salinas, Craig Smith (Assistant Dean for the WLRC), and Sara Warf—is collaborative and creative.  For example, we are using an innovative textbook written by Alexa Chew and our former colleague (now turned professional writer) Katie Rose Guest Pryal: The Complete Legal Writer (Carolina Academic Press, forthcoming January 2016).  In addition to guiding students with clear explanations and closely related sets of examples, the book uses a genre-discovery approach that promotes student autonomy by teaching a process for learning to write unfamiliar legal documents.

Faculty Position Description


September 12, 2015 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 11, 2015

If You Build It, They Will Come


All of us in academic support and bar prep offer a variety of resources to our students. At times it is discouraging that fewer students than we hoped took advantage of a particular service that was offered.

But wait. Do we need 100% participation for an event or resource to have a positive impact? Sure, it is great if we can have mandatory programs. But few of us have that luxury for all students and usually have only a portion of our students who are required to attend.

Some students will complain that they are adults and argue against mandatory events. They would argue it is their choice to decide what to attend, what to access on-line, what to pick up as a hard-copy packet, or what to hit the delete button on. Until their grades flip them into a narrow mandatory category of at risk/probation, these students want to decide independently on their academic actions - not just whether to use ASP or bar prep resources but whether they will read for class or go to see a professor for assistance.

Mandatory versus voluntary is an on-going question because the students who most need to use resources often are the ones who do not use them. We all have students on probation who comment that they wish they had used resources the prior semester/year/years. The reasons why they did not use resources run the gamut: thought they were doing fine; thought everyone else needed the help but not them; did not like the day/time the workshop was held; forgot about the resources; had boyfriend/girlfriend/family/medical/work/other issues; could not find the office; did not want anyone to know they were struggling; were just lazy.

ASP'ers offer a variety of resources and formats to provide services in ways that might appeal to different learners and student needs. Below are just of few of the common options we offer:

  • Voluntary summer programs
  • Mandatory summer programs
  • On-line summer programs
  • Live workshops
  • Videoed workshops
  • For-credit courses - voluntary or mandatory
  • Non-credit courses - voluntary or mandatory
  • Writing across the curriculum with an ASP component
  • Mandatory study groups
  • Voluntary study groups
  • Upper-division teaching assistants/teaching fellows/tutors
  • Facebook information
  • Twitter information
  • Internet and intranet web pages
  • Email study tips
  • Official law school announcements
  • Stand-alone ASP/bar prep workshops
  • Workshops with student organization co-sponsors
  • Workshops with bar review company co-sponsors
  • Electronic packets of topical information
  • Hard copy packets of topical information
  • PowerPoint slide shows
  • Formats with exercises, pair-and-share, and more
  • Student panels on topics
  • Faculty panels on topics
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Links to Internet resources
  • And more

Boosting attendance? Food bribes work well until the budgets are cut (or students complain about too much pizza). Door prizes work well until the swag becomes same old-same old. And so forth.

So, here is the reality. 100% is not the only measure that matters. Having a positive impact for the students who choose a particular format/resource is legitimate. By providing options for a variety of consumers, we reach students where they are and when they want to partake.

My survey last spring on academic success resources reminded me that there are more students using resources each day than I may realize. There are a lot of "silent consumers" out there who use digital/hard copy packets and intranet/email resources; they just are not as visible as those who want appointments or attend workshops. The survey registered their appreciation for academic success services. It was a good reminder that options are important. The impact on each individual student through less visible methods was just as important an impact.  (Amy Jarmon)   


September 11, 2015 in Miscellany, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wall Street Journal Article about Procrastination

Hat tip to my Texas Tech Law colleague, Natalie Tarenko, for forwarding the link for a WSJ article about understanding procrastination. You can find the article here: To Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved. (Amy Jarmon)

September 10, 2015 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Becoming an Expert on Your Professors' Courses

We are now in our fourth week of classes. Professors have gone beyond introductions and have picked up the pace. When talking with my students, I find that those who have not become savvy about their individual courses and professors are much more anxious about the semester than their colleagues.

Each professor and course needs to be evaluated for information that can help the student prepare for class and approach the course with more confidence. Here are some tips for students who want to become "experts" on their professors' courses:

1. Read your syllabus again for more information about the course than you may have noticed on the first reading. The information gleaned can help you construct a framework for your learning. Your professor may not include all of these items, but many of them will likely be there:

  • Does the professor indicate a particular approach or perspective that will be taken on the material?
  • What are the learning outcomes or objectives for the course?
  • What does the grading rubric tell you about emphases if there are multiple assignments or tests?
  • What information is provided about specific assignments or tests you may have in the course so you can anticipate methods of preparation, time commitments, and expectations?
  • What study aids or supplements are recommended by the professor for the course?

2. Consider your professor's classroom format carefully. Understanding how the class will unfold each time will help you prepare better for the classes.

  • Does your professor format the class the same each time so that you can anticipate the coverage?: Example, starts with context from the last class, proceeds through each case separately, asks policy questions, discusses how the cases work together, asks hypotheticals.
  • Does your professor have a template of questions used for each case discussion?
  • Does your professor have other types of questions that are always asked? Example, policy, trends in the law, tracking justices' votes.
  • Does the professor emphasize common law, restatements, codes, model rules, your own jurisdiction's law, or a combination of these?
  • Does your professor emphasize notes and comments, questions at the end of cases/chapters, hypotheticals or problem sets in the casebook?
  • Does your professor use Socratic Method, take volunteers, or some combination?

3. Consider your professor's teaching style carefully. Understanding the teaching style will assist you in preparing for class and using your learning styles appropriately for what you are responsible to learn outside of class.

  • Does your professor preview material when you begin a new topic or summarize material at the end of topic - neither or both?
  • Does your professor focus on individual cases at depth or discuss cases more broadly?
  • Does your professor provide clear statements of law for you or expect you to extract them from the cases?
  • Does your professor synthesize material across cases or subtopics or expect you to do so?
  • Does your professor want you to understand the policies behind cases/statutes and the evolution of the law?
  • Does your professor use PowerPoint slides, handouts, worksheets, visual organizers, video/audio clips, or other techniques to supplement the class?
  • Is your professor willing to give feedback on your course outline or several practice questions?

You will be able to take more control over your studying as you gain greater understanding of your course and your professor's expectations. By being an expert on the professor's course, you build a framework within which to learn the material. (Amy Jarmon)



September 9, 2015 in Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)