Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Our Skills 4: Working with Faculty Colleagues

Whatever our position status in our law school, we work regularly with the faculty to help our students succeed.  The relationship can be a "two-way street" if we consider both 1) how faculty can help us in our work with students and 2) how we can help faculty in their work with students.  Sometimes, we focus only on the first of these relationships and forget the second.

Faculty members can help us more if they know about the specific ways that we work with students.  Faculty members can also help us more if they know what assistance they can provide.  So, our relationship becomes part publicity and part solicitation!

There are a number of ways that we can provide faculty members with more information on how we can help students: 

  1. Send an e-mail to all faculty members each year explaining the services ASP offers to students: the population served; the workshops or classes provided; the individual assistance offered; any assessments provided; library facilities; or other services.
  2. Add a page to the Faculty Handbook and/or the Advisor's Handbook regarding ASP services.
  3. Provide faculty with the ASP workshop schedule for students.
  4. Provide faculty for 1L students with the schedule for tutoring, supplemental study groups, mentoring, etc..
  5. Schedule meetings with new faculty to introduce yourself and explain in more depth how ASP can help students.
  6. Provide faculty with the opportunity to get copies of study tip e-mails that you send your students throughout the semester.
  7. Make announcements at faculty meetings during the semester about particular programs, concerns, or other items that they need to know.
  8. Develop a brochure that outlines the ASP services and give copies to faculty as a reminder as well as a handout for students to facilitate referrals.

There are a number of ways in which we can ask faculty for assistance so that we can do our jobs better:

  1. Meet with individual faculty members for required courses to find out more about their courses and exams: what are common problems that students have in the course; what study tips would they give for their course; what are their study tips for their exam; what are the most common "point losers" on their exams.
  2. Meet with 1L faculty to learn their impressions of the new class and any concerns that they have about the skill levels.
  3. Ask faculty whether they would be willing to write hypotheticals with answer keys for you to use in your skills workshops with students. (They may have archives of old ones you can have without their having to produce something new.)
  4. Ask a faculty member if you can see the exam, answer key, and student's exam answers for the past semester when you are working with a student who did poorly in that class and needs exam-writing help.
  5. Ask 1L faculty members to talk about their teaching and exam styles at a training session for your tutors, study group leaders, or mentors.
  6. Ask 1L faculty members to be part of a panel on exam-taking skills for a workshop with the 1L students.
  7. Ask faculty members for required courses to recommend study aids that they particularly favor for their courses (you may want to purchase them for your own ASP library).

Now, to the second relationship of what you can do to assist faculty members:

  1. Encourage faculty members to refer students who have problems with study skills and/or life skills (time management, stress management, etc.) after the faculty member has worked with the student on the substantive material.
  2. Offer to meet with the faculty member's 1L class section to discuss reading and briefing cases, note-taking, outlining, exam-writing techniques or other study or life skills.
  3. Be available to faculty for consulting on using learning styles in classroom teaching, test construction review, or other specialty areas in which you may have training.
  4. Offer to assist with training on study skills and learning styles for teaching assistants, tutors, or other upper-division students who work with faculty in "teaching" functions.
  5. Offer to meet with students whose performance was poor on mid-term exams in addition to the time that the faculty member and/or tutor is working with the students.
  6. Offer to consult with a faculty member who is concerned about a student's performance or other indicators that the student is struggling.

Our faculty colleagues are valuable resources for us.  And, we are equally valuable resources for them.  (Amy Jarmon)

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