Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, September 21, 2007

Scholarship Funds for Wingspread VIII P20 Pipeline Conference

There are Texas scholarship funds available for Texas law school team members that do not have other funding to attend the conference.  If you have a Texas law school team with the public/private schools or with colleges that works on a pipeline program, you may qualify for the scholarship funds.  The Texas Bar Foundation has provided a generous $20,000 grant to fund Texas teams.  There are also some limited funds available for California teams and teams from other states.  First come, first served for scholarships! 

Information on the conference is given below including the link to the web site.  If you want more information specifically about any possible scholarship eligibility for your team, contact Dr. Amy L. Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs, Texas Tech University School of Law at

The Wingspread 8 Conference information can be found on the web site for Texas Wesleyan School of Law.  Just click on the conference link on the home page for the law school.  The conference general announcement is included below:

Wingspread VIII, Fort Worth, TX
Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
October 4, 5, 6, 2007

$125, which includes all meals beginning with dinner on Thursday evening through lunch on Saturday.

Starting Thursday evening, ending Saturday after lunch
PLUS Saturday meeting with medical and dental school team

About Wingspread: Wingspread is the collaborative national organization for professional school involvement in pipeline initiatives, an informal consortium with distinctive appeal, strengths, and impressive loyalty among its participants. It offers a highly placed and visible constituent base for national policy leadership and success in conceptually framing and drawing attention to the issues around diversity and the law community and the need for systemic and systematic change; enhancing the intellectual presence of law schools and their sister professional schools in the field of pipeline issues as participants, conveners, and collaborators; emphasizing, inspiring, and creating teams to work along the educational pipeline in site-specific projects; and assuring that lessons learned are lessons shared.

Wingspread involves a group of over 40 law-schools working with teams that includes P-20 educators, the bench, and the bar, all committed to working collaboratively across the educational continuum to improve the participation, persistence, and success of diverse students in high school and college. The goal of the group is to enhance these students’ aspirations and capacity to move into positions in the legal profession and in the leadership of the nation.

The 8th meeting of the group is focused on team-building and on action plans for collaborative improvement in outreach along the pipeline. The meeting also brings the law pipeline group together with their colleagues in medicine and dentistry. Specific sessions will include Wingspread for Newcomers; Law-Themed Curricula and Schools including both elementary and law magnet programs; Perspectives from our Sister Professions; Prelaw Programs; and the View from the Bench and the Bar. And, of course, Texas barbecue!  (Amy Jarmon)

September 21, 2007 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hustle and Bustle

Each week seems to fly by faster than the one before it.  I keep thinking that the semester will hit a nice routine.  However, study skills workshops have now joined student appointments, walk-ins, special projects, class sessions, and meetings on my calendar.  It is times like these that I remind myself that ASP professionals also need to use stress busters.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Increase your number of hours of sleep each night by one to wake up more refreshed.
  • Go out to eat lunch occasionally so that you get a break rather than eating hurriedly at your desk.
  • On the days that you pack a lunch, close your door so that you can have some undisturbed down time without questions and walk-ins (and indigestion!).
  • Take the stairs to give yourself a bit of exercise during the day.
  • Walk to a meeting on main campus instead of driving for some exercise as well.
  • Mark off project time on your calendar during each week so that you can have uninterrupted time to focus.
  • Break your "to do" list into smaller steps so that you have a greater sense of accomplishment crossing off stages of a larger project.
  • Do a few relaxation exercises throughout the day to ease your computer posture.
  • Remind yourself at the end of a day of three ways that you helped make a difference for your students.
  • Read some inspirational sayings or scriptures each day to promote a positive outlook.
  • Talk to five students in the student lounge and encourage them - you will feel better for it.
  • Limit the number of hours you will stay late or the work you will take home so that you have more time for yourself and your family.
  • Make a crock pot your best friend for your nutritional freedom from "what's for dinner" decisions.
  • Pick an empty day on your calendar in two weeks time to keep clear from appointments and treat yourself to a vacation day (even if you will just sleep late and stay at home).
  • Attend a conference with your wonderful ASP colleagues to get renewed and supported in your work.
  • Telephone someone who will be happy to hear from you and will not ask you for anything at all.

Ahhhh...I feel better already.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 19, 2007 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Using Minute Papers to Assess Student Understanding Mid-Semester

By Hillary Burgess, Adjunct Professor, Rutgers School of Law

Law students often complain that the only way they know whether or not they understand the material is by their final grade.  Similarly, as faculty, we face frustration that “we know we discussed this topic ad nauseam,” so why didn’t the students get it right on the exam? 

When I first started teaching, I used “minute papers” to get feedback from students throughout the semester.  In class, I distribute a handout that has 3-5 questions on it.  The questions were sometimes topical (explain such and such a concept that we learned last time), meta-topical (explain what you still don’t understand about such and such a topic), or administrative (what about the lectures is/is not working for you).  I give the students 3-5 minutes to write the papers.  I’ve found this method allows me to evaluate how well I’ve taught the ideas we’ve discussed as well as what the students like and don’t like about the means to get there and the means of evaluation.

While minute papers don’t provide direct feedback to the class, I do summarize the results for the students, which gives students feedback relative to the rest of the class.  Summarizing the results lets students who are not getting key concepts become aware that they are one of a few.  I always welcome these students to my office hours (or since I’m currently an adjunct, to email or call me) for additional guidance.  I’ve found those students tend to feel supported whether or not they take me up on the invitation.  I’ve also found that summarizing the results can reduce the impact that one disgruntled student can have by letting him or her know indirectly (provided its true) that most of the students are excited about whatever that student is disgruntled about.  If many students are disgruntled about a particular aspect of the course, I can address the issue directly and explain its pedagogical soundness or, more likely, come up with an alternate pedagogically sound solution.   

I used these papers more when I was starting out as an adjunct because I wanted to make sure that what I thought was good teaching was actually reaching the students.  In my undergraduate courses, I have to admit, I give so many tests and papers (usually one or the other every other week) and have so much one-on-one contact with students, that students give and receive all the feedback they want. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have small enough classes that I’ve been able to continue my undergraduate school’s philosophy that “every class is a writing class, regardless of the topic” in both my undergraduate and law school classes.  However, in my law class, I’ve found that students become used to the “no work until finals week,” and despite that they complain that they don’t get feedback mid-semester, some of them will complain about mid-semester assignments!  Minute papers might be the best solution to this dichotomous problem – it allows me to communicate with each student while taking very little of their time (and gives me less to grade). 

In any case, I wanted to share (and remind) you about this idea as I recently reminded myself about it.  I welcome comments and feedback.

September 17, 2007 in Guest Column | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)