Friday, October 27, 2006

LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop Updates

The two hotels have provided slight extensions to the deadline to get the conference room rates. Hawthorne Suites will allow room reservations through midnight on October 31st. Lubbock Inn will allow room reservations through 6:00 p.m. on October 31st. Hawthorne Suites (806) 765-8900 conference rate code "LSAC." Lubbock Inn (800) 545-8226 conference rate code "LSAC, #G00022-04."

The list of speakers included on the program is below.

Michael Hunter Schwartz, Washburn University School of Law: Best Practices for integrating academic support into the first-year curriculum, influencing faculty, and designing introductory programs. Followed by working groups on each topic led by Michael Hunter Schwartz, David Nadvorney, CUNY School of Law, and Amy L. Jarmon, Texas Tech University School of Law

Martha M. Peters, Iowa University School of Law: Best Practices for moving forward in academic support: assessment of accomplishments and focus on the future

Ellen L. Swain, Vermont Law School: Best Practices for working with law students with learning disabilities and ADHD

Vernellia Randall, University of Dayton School of Law: Best Practices for assuring academic achievement and bar passage for Black, Hispanic and other law students of color or why a good academic support program is not enough

Dennis Honabach, Dean at Northern Kentucky University School of Law, and Walter Huffman, Dean at Texas Tech School of Law: Best Practices for workling with deans on budgeting and administration

Amy L. Jarmon, Texas Tech University School of Law: Best Practices along the P-20 Pipeline to Increase Diversity

Vinita Bali, Santa Clara University School of Law: Best Practices for designing and supervising upper-division students as structured study-group leaders and tutors

Rory Bahadur, St. Thomas University School of Law: Best Practices for evaluation of academic support programs

Robert Coulthard, Oklahoma City University School of Law, and Everett Chambers, Texas Wesleyan School of Law: Best Practices for credit and non-credit bar prep programs to maximize bar passage

Nancy Soonpaa, Texas Tech University School of Law: Best Practices for developing a working knowledge of learning theory in academic support programs

Newcomers Breafast Roundtable: Moderator: Nancy Soonpaa, Texas Tech University School of Law with the Planning Committe Members in attendance

Remember that Saturday night is West Texas hospitality at the National Ranching Heritage Center with barbeque (brisket, chicken, and sausage with all the fixings) and Lone Prairie playing Country & Western swing and fiddle music.

The web pages for additional information can be found at LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop.

October 27, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Study Gangs?

I recently was at the receiving end of law school gossip which, while it was hearsay, was still fairly juicy. Evidently, at an event where many law students congregated (did I mention the open bar?); a fist fight broke out between two former study group mates who are now second year students. A number of “satellite” fights also broke out around this major fight, but that information (to take this space analogy too far) was far too nebulous to report here. The student informer described it as, “study group gone bad.”

I can see how this might happen. Certainly there can be bad blood among members of a study group once the grades come in. I have had many students who are in academic distress tell me that they were the “professor” of their study group, only to have the worst performance on their exams of the entire group. “How did I do the worst when I was explaining it all for them?” they ask me. And my answer is this: exam taking and studying are skills; unfortunately, they are two different skills.

Sometimes, the person who seems to have the keenest grasp of the material is the person who struggles on the exam because while they have understood the material well enough to pass it on to others, they have not worked on mastering the skills of exam writing (or taking). About a year ago, I wrote a blog entry on the difference between legal writing and exam writing (feel free to look at it again or for the first time….). I think I need to expand these thoughts to include the idea that studying (and doing your reading for class, etc.) is different than exam taking as well.

There are, of course, many variables. The expert studier may not perform well under pressure. Or, the expert outliner may not be flexible enough (again under pressure) to recognize old issues in new clothes: that is, issues arising using slightly different language than the professor used in class or was used in the casebook. The “professor” of the study group may be unskilled at prioritizing the issues in an exam answer and give each equal weight where that treatment is clearly not merited and can lead to a major time crunch on the exam. Finally, the perfectionist study group member may become panicked on the exam because, given the time constraints, perfection is impossible.

How do we prevent” study group gone bad”? The same way we get to Carnegie Hall. (Take the A, B, C, D, or 1 trains to Columbus Circle; the N, Q, R, or W to 57St./Seventh Avenue, or the E to Seventh Avenue. Don’t even get me started on the buses…). Really, the answer is practice, practice, practice. My very esteemed colleague, Professor Ramy has a great chapter in his book on this (Succeeding in Law School, Chapter X, also note the acknowledgements, pg. xiii, lines 2-3), on why study groups may not be the best strategy for studying.

The bottom line is this: to be ready for exams you need both a substantive and procedural approach (a little Civil Procedure review here): you need to be very familiar with the substance of the course as well as the procedure for taking the exam. A study group may help with the first skill, but students need to do practice exams (or hypos), under exam conditions and alone to really be prepared. Here’s a starting hypothetical for your students, “what tort(s) did the former study mates potentially commit against each other?”  Don’t forget the defenses. (ezs)

October 25, 2006 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

ADD, ADHD, and the Law School Experience

A reader suggested to me today that this blog devote some discussion to the difficulties faced by law students with ADHD.  I think the suggestion is a good one.  Let me begin, at least, with a recommended article.  Professor Robin A. Boyle recently published "Law Students with Attention Deficit Disorder:  How to Reach Them, How to Teach Them," 39 J. Marshall L. R. 349 (2006).

Among other things, the article gives a helpful overview of empirical research concerning ADD and ADHD, as well as the implications of that research for law school pedagogy.  Included in those implications are twenty-five insightful, practical suggestions for more effectively addressing the needs of law students with ADD and ADHD. (dbw)

October 24, 2006 in Disability Matters, Learning Styles, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop

The call for presenters and additional topics has been issued.  We are encouraging academic support professionals at all career levels to apply for being presenters/panel members.  The list of current topics and information on applying to be a presenter are also on the web site.  Please apply to be a presenter by e-mail or fax by midnight (extended from 5:00 p.m.) on Thursday, October 19th and provide the information indicated in the web site details. We are asking for a limited amount of information, so you still have time to apply today!

The workshop is being hosted by Texas Tech University School of Law on November 10 - 11, 2006.  You do not need to be from the region to attend the workshop or to be a presenter.  See the web site for details at LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop.

Main speakers at the meals for the workshop have now been selected.  See the web site for additional details on the topics.  The main speakers are:

  1. Michael Hunter Schwartz, Washburn University School of Law, will speak on Best Practices for Integrating Academic Support into the First-Year Curriculum, Influencing Faculty, and Designing Introductory Programs.
  2. Ellen L. Swain, Vermont School of Law, will speak on Best Practices for Working with Law Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD.
  3. Martha M. Peters, Iowa School of Law, will speak on Best Practices for Moving Forward in Academic Support: Assessment of Accomplishments and Focus on the Future.

The costs for registration and lodging are very reasonable.  The on-line registration fee of $50 covers lunch and dinner on Friday, meals on Saturday, and a resource binder.  Rooms cost $65 to $105 per night depending on whether you have a double, king, queen suite or king suite.  Details on lodging and flights are on the web site.

If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs, at amy.jarmon@ttu.edu or (806) 742-3990, ext. 294. (alj) 

October 18, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Working with students one-on-one

After working in this field for several years, I know there is no one perfect model for academic support programs (“ASP”). Some of us focus on the bar exam, while others emphasize working with minority students. Some programs select students for participation based on academic predictors like LSAT score and college GPA, while others run completely open programs that seek to assist any student who wants the help, while still other programs work with students based on their academic performance in law school. Further, there are variations on every type of program I just mentioned. Even further, some programs operate like an ASP buffet and work with students who fall into more than one of the above categories.

Whom we work with is a complicated decision and one that rarely rests solely in our discretion. Deans, members of the faculty, trustees, and administrators can all have a say in who our programs serve. Once the decision has been made regarding whom we serve, however, we usually have a great deal of say in how we choose to work with our students. One of the toughest decisions we have to make is whether we work with our students individually or in a classroom setting. 

Personally, I lean towards one-on-one work with students whenever possible. First, it diminishes the issue of stigma that can be generated when working in a group setting. We all know how difficult it can be to get the right students into our programs, and if I can diminish the possibility of stigma through a more anonymous process then it’s worth it.

In addition, one-on-one sessions can help combat the fact that law school can be a very impersonal experience for our students. For many of our students, classes with one hundred or more students are the norm. Because of these numbers, students typically receive relatively little in the way of individualized attention or feedback. Importantly, feedback is a two way street. The more I understand about each of my students, the more I can tailor our work together to meet their needs. Also, meeting with students individually can send the important message that the school does care about how well each student performs. 

Individual meetings also give students the opportunity to discuss their unique problems. Even if the story is not that unique to us, giving students an opportunity to discuss their problems can be an important step in moving forward. If we don’t give them a chance to tell their stories, then anger and resentment can be a real impediment to moving forward academically.

Of course, group meetings are often necessary for practical reasons. For example, we often face the same issues of class size that our colleagues teaching first-year classes deal with. Eventually, if you are asked to work with a large enough number of students, you will end up working with them as a group.

I am not suggesting that working in groups is a necessary evil, although it can be. In fact, small group work can be an excellent way of instilling confidence in our students. Through small group sessions, students learn that they and their peers can answer complicated legal problems. Eventually, this can lead to our students becoming their own best teachers. 

I’m sure that I’ve left out other arguments in favor of students working in small groups, but does anyone have good reasons for teaching in large groups? If resources were not an issue, would any of us teach to classes with over 50 students?

Just curious . . . (hnr)

October 16, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 13, 2006

LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop Call for Presenters and Other Updates

Check out the LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop web site for new information on the November 10 - 11, 2006 events at Texas Tech University School of Law.  Web site updates include an expanded agenda with information on the main speakers and topics, the call for concurrent session presenters, and a call for additional topic suggestions.  The deadline for application to be a concurrent session presenter is 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 19th - see the web site for all the details.

Do not forget to register for the workshop on-line at the web site.  The registration cost is $50 which includes meals (Friday lunch and dinner and Saturday light breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  You do not want to miss Saturday night's West Texas barbeque and entertainment at the National Ranching Heritage Center.  Flight and lodging information are also available on the web site.

The web site for registration and to answer all of your questions for the LSAC Southwest Regional Academic Assistance Training Workshop is LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop.  If you still have questions after visiting the web site, contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs, Texas Tech University School of Law at amy.jarmon@ttu.edu or 806.742.3990, ext. 294. 

   

October 13, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Motivational CPR

The time of the semester has come when I spend time on "motivational CPR" with my students. Students have been coming by and discussing their doldrums, lack of enthusiasm, boredom with the routine, burn out, and general lethargy. They often ask whether they are the only ones suffering this malaise or whether the lack of motivation is more pervasive. It seems to console them that the discussion is not new to me.

Although the lack of motivation is genuine and to be expected at this point in the semester, I encourage students to explore ways that they can combat their general malaise. In addition, I suggest that students be sensitive to whether the lack of motivation is more than temporary. If malaise has turned into depression or serious physical symptoms, I encourage them to visit the counseling center and student health services for consultations. I often suggest the following techniques to combat a general lack of motivation.

Mix up study time to make it more interesting.  Instead of 5 hours of reading, break the reading into shorter blocks with a mix of practice questions, recitation, or flashcards acting as diversions to the monotony of reading.

Do practice questions on the material to challenge whether one can apply the concepts instead of just reading about them. It is too easy to read and memorize and not spend time on application.

Do the most difficult or unpleasant tasks first in the day so that the tasks will not "hang over" one all day and cause avoidance. Do the second most difficult task next and so forth.

Break up tasks into small chunks (example: 7 units of 5 pages rather than 35 pages).  It is much easier to motivate oneself for a small task. Reading just one case or doing just one problem seems possible even when unmotivated.

Take small 5- to 10-minute breaks frequently to focus more effectively.  Spending time over the pages without concentration is counter-productive. Memory organizes and stores information during the break without our being conscious of that ongoing work.

Take a movie break if focus is completely gone. A comedy or animated movie cheers the viewer and adds laughter as good medicine. It is hard to worry about law school in a darkened theater.

Use longer meal breaks to give oneself a release from the grind. Many students have succumbed to the 10-minute microwaved meal at the kitchen counter routine which allows them less relaxation time (and often less nuitrition).

Surround oneself with fellow law students who are motivated rather than with others who have lost their motivation. Beware of the whiners, moaners, and groaners in your classes and give them wide berth.

Ask a spouse, parent, friend, classmate, tutor, pastor, or other person in one's life to give pep talks when needed – by phone if not in person. (As academic success professionals, we often provide this service to our students.)

Post a sheet of paper listing the motivational reasons for coming to law school on the back of the front door of one's apartment.  Read it every day before leaving for classes.

Plan small rewards for small tasks that have been completed.  Make the rewards fun: a run with the dog; a game of catch with a child; a telephone call to a favorite person.

Plan large rewards for large tasks that have been completed.  Make the rewards fun rather than expensive: a legal movie from the law school DVD collection; a free play, concert, or lecture on campus; Frisbee with a group of friends.

Each night before going to bed, read inspirational quotes.  Post inspirational quotes in each room at home.  Carry a page of quotes for quick reference in a notebook that goes to school each day.

In addition to eating three planned meals a day, eat energy snacks to boost blood sugar during the day: raisins; an apple; trail mix; a granola bar. Non-caffeine and non-processed-sugar energy helps fight the doldrums.

Exercise at least 30 minutes three times a week to lower stress and increase energy. The exercise does not have to include fitness machines or exercise classes. Just walking around the campus will energize one.

Get enough sleep! A minimum of 7 hours is needed according to new research. Life and studying always look less onerous with a good night’s sleep. (alj)

October 12, 2006 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

LSAC Southwest Regional On-Line Registration

The on-line registration link is now available for the LSAC Southwest Regional Academic Assistance Training Workshop.  The workshop is being held at Texas Tech University School of Law on November 10 - 11, 2006.  The link to the workshop web site is at LSAC Southwest Regional Workshop.  Registrants will need to make their own flight and hotel reservations.  See the web site for hotel and airline information as well as other details on the workshop.  (alj)

October 10, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LSAC Southwest Regional Web Site

The LSAC Southwest Regional Academic Assistance Training Workshop will be held at Texas Tech University School of Law on November 10 - 11, 2006.  The meetings will begin on Friday, November 10th at 12:30 p.m. and continue all day on Saturday, November 11th.  A $50 non-refundable registration fee will be charged.  Registrants will make their own room and flight reservations and pay for the same.  Blocks of rooms have been reserved at two hotels near the TTU campus.

A web site is now available with information about the workshop details: airlines, hotels, meals, tentative agenda, etc.  On-line registration and details on the call for presenters will be available on the web pages by the end of this week.  An update will be posted on this Blog and on the ASP listserv when on-line registration becomes "live" and presenter information becomes available on the web site.  The web pages for the workshop can be found at LSAC Southwest Regional.  (alj)

October 10, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 9, 2006

Dealing with Test Anxiety: Now Is the Time to Start

As midterm exams come around, you may be hearing from students who struggle with moderate or severe test anxiety.  One of the key antidotes to test anxiety is, of course, thorough preparation; so students must begin to reduce the power of fear by confronting it with semester-long preparation. 

Some students, however, prepare very well and still find themselves hamstrung by panic during their exams.  Those students need to do more than study well; they need some strategies for reducing that panic, and they need to start putting many of those strategies into effect long before exams begin.  Below is a link that contains some techniques your students can begin to employ now as well as some they can use during their exams to control the fear that can sometimes debilitate even the most prepared student. (dbw)

http://ub-counseling.buffalo.edu/stresstestanxiety.shtml

October 9, 2006 in Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 6, 2006

Workshop in New York

Kris Franklin has asked me to post an announcement of what looks to be a great workshop coming up.  Below is the announcement. (dbw)

The New York Area workshop, originally scheduled for the second weekend in November, has been moved to November 17th. We were not aware of the LSAC southwest regional ASP conference when we chose dates for our NY area workshop, so, to avoid that conflict we have rescheduled our meeting. 

Almost everyone who responded to our initial e-mail was excited about a two-day event, but were unable to agree on which two days of the week were best.  So instead, we will do an intensive full day workshop on Friday, November 17, at Brooklyn Law School.

The morning session will be focused on our own professional development.  Each of us should be prepared to explain to the group some project that we are beginning to, or would like to, undertake.  The projects described can be anything that would help us grow in our jobs, which might mean ideas for writing, teaching, building new programs, and so on.  We will offer feedback and assistance to each presenter in turn. 

The agenda for the afternoon session is open.  We ask that each participant lead a short discussion (about 20 minutes or so) on a topic of your choosing.  Examples of things that people have done in the past that were very helpful include: sharing specific exercises that have worked well with students; explaining what they have learned about working with students with learning disabilities; asking for collaborative brainstorming from the group about a particular problem they want to tackle with their students or in their schools.  We are not asking that people be masters of what they talk about, only that each of us share our thoughts, questions and expertise in a structured way.

If you have read carefully you’ll have figured out by now that we are actually asking those who come to present twice.  We hope that everyone will take us up on that, but we won’t be rigid about it – if you would prefer to present in only one of the sessions, that’s fine, too.

We plan to start the morning workshop early (breakfast will be provided!), break for lunch (that too!) and work through the afternoon.  We hope everyone will also be able to join us at a local restaurant for dinner. 

For people outside the immediate NY area, this will likely mean at least an overnight stay on Thursday and perhaps Friday as well.  This is a small gathering rather than a formal conference, so we are not charging for attendance and will not be able to arrange hotels, etc.  But if you want recommendations for local hotels let us know, and if you would like to come but think that your travel budget might not cover a hotel for a one-day workshop, Kris can probably have one or two people stay at her house.  Just ask.

If you plan to attend, please e-mail Kris Franklin at kfranklin@nyls.edu or Linda Feldman at Linda.feldman@brooklaw.edu and let us know what topic(s) you would like to discuss.  We will circulate a full agenda in a few weeks.  If there are short materials that you would like us to circulate to workshop participants before the event, please send it by Tuesday, November 7.

            We hope this sounds interesting to you and that you’ll be able to join us on the 17th.

October 6, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Are We Counselors?

 As I move into my tenth year of teaching in the law school setting, I have begun to wonder whether I have become more of a counselor than a traditional teacher. I’m not suggesting that one is necessarily preferable to the other; I’m just wondering how I should describe my job when others ask me what I do for a living. Am I alone in having the following (or similar) exchange with new acquaintances?

“So, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m teacher.”

“That’s great. What do you teach high school? Grade school?”

“Actually, I’m a law school professor.” (I usually puff my chest out a bit at this point).

“That’s great . . . so what do you teach?”

This is where I usually get stuck. I can say that I run an Academic Excellence Program, which will generate a quizzical look from my new, and quickly becoming confused, acquaintance. I know that I help first year students transition into law school. I know that I also work with students who are in academic difficulty. Digging a little deeper, I teach skills like outlining, legal synthesis, and bedrock concepts like legal analysis. Some of this teaching takes place in the classroom, but I spend a great deal of time meeting with students to discuss these concepts, and others, on a one-on-one basis. This is where I get stuck again.

 Typically, students will schedule a meeting to discuss their outlines or to review an answer to an exercise that I have posted. Regardless of the proposed reason for our meeting, many students have other issues on their mind that require attention. What are they?

I’m having trouble sleeping

I just got into a fight with my significant other

I don’t have time to spend with my family

I’m the dumbest person in my class

I’m no longer sure that I want to be a lawyer

The list goes on and on, however, these issues have one thing in common. They have little to do with academics, which brings me back to where I started. Am I a counselor? Maybe many of you don’t deal with these issues when students raise them, but I feel that I have to. My students have academic problems that must be dealt with, but their personal issues are a part of the problem as well. In fact, dealing strictly with academic issues strikes me as a waste of time when I know that the personal problems, at the very least, contribute to the student’s academic difficulty.

I don’t have any specific training as a counselor, but I am a good listener. Thankfully, a good listener - who discreetly moves a box of tissues within reach when the need arises – seems to be what most of my students need. I rarely have to offer very much in the way of advice, except to say that there feelings or problems are normal and can be dealt with. On occasion, I do have to give more specific advice about managing one’s time more efficiently, or the need to take part in non-law school related activities, or to be sure to get enough sleep. I feel like I’m on pretty safe ground with these recommendations as they sound like the kind of advice my mother would have given me! 

In the end, I guess it doesn’t make any difference whether counseling has become part of my job description. As for explaining what I do to new acquaintances . . . maybe I’ll just say that I teach contracts. (hnr)

October 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do we need a PTO in Law School?

I don’t know if this is a phenomenon that you are experiencing in your Academic Support Program, but every Professor in our program has received some communication from a student’s parent and/or other older relative this academic year. One of my colleagues heard from the uncle of a student asking if our office provided private tutoring or could recommend a tutor. Another colleague was asked to report the progress of a student on academic probation to a parent. I was sent an e-mail from an anxious parent yesterday morning asking if I could recommend any techniques for more efficient reading since this parent’s child was having a hard time.

I find this troubling. And not just because I consider myself the only maternal influence a law student should need, but because it seems to go hand in hand with a general sense that although our student body is getting chronologically older, they are getting academically younger.

In the hip new lingo (that I had to look up on the internet because I am neither hip nor new), these parents are called “helicopter parents.” (See, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helicopter_parent). Although these parents are most often found at the undergraduate level, it appears that their children have graduated and come to law school.

According to some of the literature on this "helicoptering" thing, the blame falls squarely on the cell phone which is evidently the wireless equivalent of an umbilical cord (now, wouldn’t childbirth be easier if we could all go wireless? But I digress).  I imagine E-mail and IM share the guilt here too. Does it all start with the daycares that now have fulltime webcams? Will we be forced to do that in law school too?

What worries me most about this trend is that students who do not take full responsibility for themselves are, I find, least capable of removing themselves from academic difficulty. Students who do not recognize that their grades are the result of their behavior will not seek to change their behavior. Instead, they will blame others: “my professor hates me,” or, ”the exam wasn’t fair.” I think this small, purely anecdotal, epidemic of parental involvement is a symptom of more of this to come.

In the end, no matter how much they wish to assist their children, parents who intervene on their behalf at the law school level will find that their efforts will instead hinder their child’s success. But, I suppose the Bar Examiners should start expecting the calls….. (ezs)

October 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Workshop Update

LSAC SOUTHWEST REGIONAL ACADEMIC ASSISTANCE WORKSHOP AT TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW NOVEMBER 10 - 11, 2006

MORE INFORMATION ON THE WORKSHOP

When is it: Friday, November 10th (starting at 12:30 p.m.) and Saturday, November 11th (all day)

Where is it: Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas

What is the topic: Best Practices in Academic Support

Who should attend: Anyone who is concerned about best practices in our field - and who is not! You do not have to be from the Southwest region to attend. Maximum number who may attend: 70.

Can you tell me more about being a presenter or topics as a participant: A wide range of sub-topics is under consideration. More information for potential presenters and participants will be available next week. In addition to several large group panel or speaker presentations, there will be opportunities for concurrent small group workshops.

How much will this cost me: The registration fee is expected to be $50 and will include lunch and dinner on Friday and a light breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday. All materials for the workshop will also be included in the registration fee. Registrants will pay for their own travel and lodging.

How do I get to Lubbock: The closest airport is Lubbock International Airport (LBB) 20 minutes northeast of Texas Tech University School of Law. Southwest, American, and Continental airlines have flights that connect through Dallas, Houston, and other cities.

Where will I stay: A block of rooms has been reserved at two hotels near the campus for the nights of Thursday, November 9th through Saturday, November 11th. You must reserve your room before October 31st to receive the workshop rate. You may reserve rooms by contacting the following hotels:

Hawthorne Suites: (806) 765-8900; queen rooms are $85 per night and king rooms are $105 per night; the conference rate code is "LSAC"

Lubbock Inn: (800) 545-8226; rooms with 2 double beds or king rooms are available for $65; the conference rate code is "LSAC, #G00022-04"

Why should I stay through Saturday night: Because you are going to be treated to real West Texas hospitality with a barbecue dinner at the National Ranching Heritage Center. If you want an excuse to wear your jeans, cowboy (or cowgirl) boots, and Stetson, this is it! Entertainment is in the works! So, y'all stay for the night and have a real good time.

What if I am eager and cannot wait to register: Hold on, Pardner. Reserve your room and your flight now. On-line registration for the conference should be fenced off on our web pages next week. More information will also be on the ASP listserv and ASP Blog next week.

Who is the ranch foreman for this workshop: Dr. Amy L. Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs, Texas Tech University School of Law, (806) 742-3990, ext. 294, amy.jarmon@ttu.edu.

As Roy Rogers used to say, "Happy trails to you, until we meet again."

October 4, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Workshop Opportunity

LSAC REGIONAL ACADEMIC ASSISTANCE TRAINING WORKSHOP TO BE HELD NOVEMBER 10 - 11, 2006 AT TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW

More details will be available shortly on the final program topic, attendance at the workshop, and solicitation of presenters. Please mark the event on your calendar now if you may want to attend. As soon as more information is available, it will be posted on this Blog site and on the ASP listserv.

Texas Tech University School of Law will host the workshop. Texas Tech University is located in Lubbock, Texas in the Panhandle South Plains.

October 3, 2006 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 2, 2006

When Little Ideas Become Traditions

Having a study aids library that is open to all law students at whatever level in the three years is useful.  The advantages are that students who cannot afford personal copies of the study aids are grateful, students who might otherwise never venture into my office appear happily on my doorstep, and students who would make uninformed choices about study aids ask for advice.  I have many good conversations with students about study problems as we peruse the shelves for volumes that might help them.

 

Once I had this regular contact with so many different students each day, I became more in tune with the moods of students during the semester.  What happened next started as a gesture of goodwill.  I just wanted to cheer up the tired, stressed, and worried masses of law students who came to my study aids library in days prior to and during exams.  I started small and soon ended up with a tradition that grew to gigantic proportions.  The tradition spread from exam period to every period.  I had accidentally found a common denominator for the consumers and purveyors of legal education.

          

What am I talking about?  It is green, fifteen and one-half inches high, and twelve inches in diameter.  It is “The Candy Bucket.”  Initially, when my study aids library was new and relatively undiscovered, the candy would last for many weeks.  I now have to re-fill it about every three weeks.  Not that it is entirely empty in three weeks, but the tradition of The Candy Bucket has spawned certain rules of procedure that are as cherished as its contents.

 

First, The Candy Bucket must always contain a wide variety of wrapped candy - only one or two types would be frowned upon by all.  Second, one is allowed to "dig for gold" looking for personal favorites - no embarrassment necessary.  Third, there is no limit on the number of visits per day or the number of pieces at a time - adult self-discipline is assumed.  Fourth, students are allowed to report when their favorites are no longer within the mix of candy - subtle hints are rare.  Fifth, faculty, staff, children of anyone, and student workers share The Candy Bucket access with my law students - even our Admissions Office tours stop by (to discuss my program, of course) with many visitors departing with a sweet or two.

 

The Candy Bucket was one of the best ideas I ever had.  Faculty stop by to chat as they look for their favorites.  Many students confide their worries and triumphs as they look for their personal version of gold.  I have discussed the fine points of briefing or time management or outlining around The Candy Bucket on many occasions.  After a chat over candy, students who would not have thought to make an appointment often sign up for time with me to work on problem areas in their studies.  And, nothing can compare to the joy on a law student's face when a Laffy Taffy or a box of Nerds is plucked from the layers of candy just when all such treasures seemed to be taken by prior gold diggers.

 

Should you decide to embark on a candy tradition for your law students, I have several suggestions.  This generation of law students has a passion for candies that I never knew even existed.  I suggest Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Sweet Tarts, StarBursts, sour apple bubble gum, and Bottle Caps as starters.  Faculty and staff seem to like toffees, caramels, Mary Janes, and Bit O' Honey.  Get a membership at Sam's Club, CostCo, or your local equivalent.  Salt Water Taffy is not popular in Texas - how was an Easterner supposed to know.  Do not make your candy run in 105-degree weather no matter how empty the bucket is.  And, as your tradition grows in popularity, I suggest you add a line to your budget unless you think that the IRS will consider your candy donation as a deductible charitable expense.  (alj)                  

October 2, 2006 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)