Sunday, April 24, 2005

In the Academic Support Spotlight

BaliVinita Bali
Director, Academic Success Program
Santa Clara University School of Law

J.D. Santa Clara University School of Law

Although Vinita Bali refers to herself as a "fledgling in the academic support arena," after three years she seems to have come a long way.  Have you met Vinita at one of our Academic Support gatherings?  She offers the community this third-person biographical sketch (djt) . . .

Vinita joined the faculty of Santa Clara University School of Law in August 2002 as the Director of the Academic Success Program.  Now in her third year directing the program, Vinita feels that she has developed and grown tremendously, but knows that the learning and growth have just begun. 

The opportunity to empower individuals through education goes to the heart of her personal commitment, and she describes her work as "the most invigorating and fulfilling" that she has engaged in.  Considering that she has had extensive experience in the legal field, encompassing representing disabled individuals in administrative courts for several years, practicing as a business litigator, and most recently as a transactional lawyer, the statement speaks volumes to the work engaged in by the numerous Academic Support professionals in the legal education community.  “The ASP community gives tirelessly of itself with tremendous heart and caring.  Despite the responsibilities ASP professionals carry within their own school communities, they unhesitatingly offer their support and wisdom to others in the field,”  Vinita says.  What makes Vinita’s experience in her work even more rewarding is the congenial and collaborative environment fostered and cultivated by both the students and the faculty at Santa Clara law school.  She often describes this as the greatest asset of the law school, tapping into this enormous resource and incorporating it into the structure of the Academic Success Program at Santa Clara. 

Recognizing that she is a fledgling in the academic support arena, Vinita has actively sought the advice of other professionals, attended conferences, and read extensively in the field.  She has learned tremendously by visiting other programs, finding that observing selected components of programs that have caught her attention have offered her a “fast track” opportunity to learn.  She sees herself as a person who takes her time to observe and learn, but who “moves with tremendous energy and enthusiasm when a truly worthy idea presents itself.”  She sees the issues of her students at a more personal level as well, having recently returned to law school to obtain an LLM degree.

Vinita’s commitment to her law school and to her community are apparent in her extra curricular involvements.  She serves on three Boards of Directors: the non-profit group HOPE Services, the Santa Clara County Women Lawyers' Committee, and non-profit Attorneys Helping Education and Development.  Vinita also is an active member of the Board of Santa Clara University School of Law Alumni Association, and the Legal Studies Steering Committee Advisory Board of the East Side Union High School District.

When not busy with her work at Santa Clara, with her 14 year old daughter, in her of-counsel position as a transactional lawyer, or with her Board involvements, Vinita can be found rock climbing at beautiful Yosemite, off the beaches in Thailand, or in the deserts at Moab (see photo, left - can you find Vinita?) or Joshua TreeBali_rockShe describes this avocation as her “true passion, and a complete release from every worry in the word.”  That is, not considering the worry inherent in this dangerous sport, of course.  (Editor's note: I found rock climbing on the same "dangerous sport" web page as "bull running." djt)

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