Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, January 14, 2008

AALS Academic Support Section Business Meeting Minutes

For those unable to attend this year's business meeting for the AALS Section on Academic Support, we have posted below the minutes of the meeting.

Academic Support Section

Minutes – Business Meeting – January 3, 2008

The meeting was called to order by Section Chair Nancy Soonpaa at 6:35 P.M..

1) Election of Officers

The slate of officers and board members was presented by Linda Feldman on behalf of the Nominating Committee.  The slate was as follows:


Chairperson-Elect: Pavel Wonsowicz (UNLV)

Secretary: Ellen Suni (UMKC)

Treasurer: Kristin Holmquist (UCLA)

All officers serve one (1) year terms.                  

Members of the Executive Committee:

Board C (Term Expires 2010):  Jeff Minetti (Stetson)

Board D (Term Expires 2010):  Vinita Bali (Santa Clara)

There were no nominations from the floor and the slate passed by voice vote.

2) Program Committee

Robin Boyle announced the Program for the Section and indicated that we need members for the Program Committee.  Robin was thanked for her work.

3) Proposal for Creation of Bar Pass Committee

Robert Coulthardt suggested that the Section create a Bar Pass Committee. Concerns were expressed that Academic Support should not be viewed as responsible for bar pass; that is the responsibility of the Law School as a whole.  After much discussion of that and other issues, it was proposed that the Bar Pass Committee be created to a) serve as a liaison for the Section with schools, the ABA and others interested in and knowledgeable about bar support, b) keep track of rule changes and notify Section members of relevant proposals, and c) perhaps eventually assist in the development of best practices for law schools regarding bar pass support.  By voice vote, the Committee was created with the charge stated above.

4) Website

Pavel Wonsowicz reported that he had had discussions with Barbara Glesner Fines regarding her website, which she does individually and not as a formal part of the Section.  Pavel indicated that Barb is willing to allow the Section to take over ownership and upkeep of the site.  He proposed creation of a website committee.  After much discussion of the website and related issues (both during this portion and later in the meeting), it was agreed that we needed a broader committee to address information and communication issues that might also include the blog, wiki and listserv.  By consensus, it was agreed to create an Information and Communications Committee to address these issues.

5) Achievement Award

A draft of the proposed award was distributed.  There was much discussion regarding the effect the award might have on collegiality within the Section, which is one of its most important assets.  Discussion ensued regarding whether this is really a “lifetime achievement award” or could be an award for a significant accomplishment by an individual or group.  After a full airing of the issues, it was decided by consensus that an Award Committee will be created to revise the proposed award to meet the particular academic support community concerns and make sure a new proposal also is acceptable to the AALS.  The revised award can then be considered for adoption at next year’s meeting.

6) Nominating Committee

There was discussion regarding whether the nominating committee needed to have different membership, since it had not changed in some time.  It was agreed that we should add new members but also retain continuity.  A call to the membership for nominations to the Nominating Committee will go out from the Chair.  I was also suggested and agreed that opportunities for service on other committees will also be included in the notice to the membership.  Anyone interested in serving on a committee who has not already indicated a desire to do so should let in-coming Chair Kris Franklin know.

7) Announcements

Linda Feldman announced that reservations had been made for dinner on Thursday and lunch on Friday for anyone who wanted to attend.  Sign-up sheets were circulated.

8) Sourcebook and Directory

Questions were raised regarding the status of these projects.  Members feel a need both for an updated sourcebook that will include best practices and models for different type programs as well as for detailed and current information on who is working in academic support, including their position titles, roles and responsibilities, status and salary.  It was reported that LSAC was working on these projects.  The status of the sourcebook is unknown, but Pavel reported that a new committee for data collection (directory) had just been created.

Discussion of these issues led to discussion of LSAC’s role in academic support.  Members of the Section were extremely thankful to Kent Lollis and LSAC for their support of academic support, including the surveys, materials and conferences.  That being the case, however, it was noted that getting this material together is really the responsibility of the community.  But it was then noted that there is really no one body that is able to do the heavy lifting, since the Section has a greater role in outreach to the faculty generally and has limited resources.  We have no body similar to the LWI or ALWD, and this may be a problem.  Although no consensus was reached on this issue, it is clear that it needs further discussion in the future.

It was suggested that Pavel work with LSAC to see if the information Section members feel they need can be incorporated into the survey, and it was suggested that a lot of input is needed to make sure the survey will accurately collect usable data.

9) Regionals

A question was raised regarding the Regionals, when they might be and how one gets involved.  It was reported that the Chairs have not yet been designated.  It was also noted that the process for getting involved is a fairly open one.  The first step is to let Kent Lollis know of your interest.  In the past, there have been open calls for proposals to host the regionals, and the chairs are usually people who have hosted or been involved in running the workshops in the past.

As the conclusion of the meeting neared, there was strong sentiment expressed that the meeting had been very productive, and Nancy was thanked for her good work in setting up and running the business meeting.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Ellen Y. Suni


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