Monday, November 17, 2008

Report from the NY-area ASP Directors Workshop

Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, was the New York-area Academic Support Directors Workshop, hosted by Brooklyn Law School. This is different from the conferences sponsored by the LSAC; this conference is the brainchild of Kris Franklin (NYLS) and Linda Feldman (Brooklyn Law); it is designed to get local ASP professionals together to present and chat about issues they have been experiencing.  This year's workshop was a great success, with schools from across the country represented. Everyone who attends the workshop is asked to present on a topic relating to a theme. This year's theme was "Working with Doctrinal Faculty."  I came away with great new material as well as some new ideas about what to add to my academic success program. 

I was the first presenter of the morning, with a discussion on using "the law". My comments were similar to the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. However, I received some great suggestions on how to add Civil Procedure to my repertoire.

The next presenters were Mary Ferrari and Gail Stern from Quinnipiac on integrating ASP principles into tax courses. This was fabulous discussion on respecting different learning styles in the classroom as a doctrinal teacher, and how to incorporate different processing styles into casebooks and classroom teaching.

Kris Franklin presented on a class project for her Torts section, where teams of students put together a graphic analysis of a Torts problem using graphic organizer software. Kris's students did a truly magical job on the assignment, and I (among others) encouraged Kris to encourage her students to post some of the results on the web so others can marvel at how bright and talented they are.

Hillary Burgess of Hofstra continued on the theme with a presentation on using flow chart activities in the 1L classroom. Hillary did a fabulous job of showing how flow charts can be used to help students create their own learning activities to support the material they are learning.

Heather Zuber blew us all away with a presentation on how she restructured the Western State 1L colloquium.  Heather put in an enormous amount of work to reshape and redesign the program to reflect the needs of current students, and enhance the learning experience of the upperclass TA's.  I think everyone was left wondering if Heather ever slept in this past year when she was done talking about all the changes she made to the program. 

Carmen Morales of Fordham presented on employing students from law review as tutors for 1L students. This is an area where people can have very strong opinions, and Carmen did a great job showing us how she made this program a success at Fordham.

Linda Cortez of U Baltimore presented on I (heart) IRAC (Where is the IRAC love?).  If you are a new ASP professional looking for ways to convince students that IRAC represents the essential elements in an exam, you should get in contact with Linda, ASAP.  Linda, as always,  did a fabulous job showing the different ways to present IRAC to students, which included models for different learning types. 

Catherine Coleman, a new member of our ASP community, did an outstanding job explaining USC's restricted enrollment policy, and their time line for preparing students for exams and the bar.  I am taking the idea of restricted enrollment back with me to my school; it creates a category for students who are not in danger of failing out of law school, but need additional supports to achieve their personal best.

Mary Lou Bilek and David Nadvorney of CUNY  demonstrated the idea of "rounds" as a pedagogical tool as well as a tool for faculty support. The idea of addressing student concerns in rounds, similar to what is seen in the medical school context, was a revelation. I believe we all were in agreement that this tool is something we need to spend more time exploring in later conferences. 

The last presentation of the day was by Micah Yarbrough of Widener-Wilmington on  the reporting requirement of 3-106.  I have actually sent a copy of Micah's PowerPoint to some of my ASP colleagues; it did a great job organizing the myriad new requirements we are all facing when reporting our bar pass rates to the ABA. His presentation also opened the door to a discussion on working together with other schools to get some clarity regarding interpretation of some provisions within 3-106. 

A hearty thank you and good job go out to Kris and Linda, who did a wonderful job getting us all together and providing a forum for us to discuss our issues and challenges in a supportive community. 

And I second a call made by Kris and Linda...we should be planning and organizing more of these forums throughout the country. This is was a great learning experience, and we all need more opportunities for professional development and support outside of the LSAC conferences. 

(RCF)

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