Saturday, May 10, 2008

Helping Students Edit Their Writing Effectively

Some of my colleagues at UMKC School of Law have created a "self-editing" device to help students with their writing.  Prof. Wanda Temm describes it below and asks for your help in improving it. (dbw)

Colleagues:

Like many of us, I have just emerged from another round of critiquing briefs.  I find one of the most frustrating things in critiquing papers is finding basic mistakes or just typos that the drafter should have caught with a basic proofread.   With over-reliance on spell-check and grammar-check, proofreading skills are not where they should be in many of our students. That's certainly not news to all of you.      

Frustrated that our pleas to "please proofread more carefully" go unnoticed, my colleagues and I seek to instill ownership of proofreading by requiring our students to complete a self-edit certification.  Our aim is to break proofreading down into concrete steps for our students.  The certification was originally designed by my colleagues, Professors Nancy Levit and Allen Rostron, for use with law review notes and comments.  I am now incorporating into the first year legal writing program and would like your help.

Our draft certification is now available on SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1130308.  Please take a look at let us know how we can improve this work in progress.

Looking forward to a few critiquing-free days,

Wanda M. Temm
Clinical Professor of Law
Director of Legal Writing
Director of Bar Services
University of Missouri-Kansas City
School of Law
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
816-235-5311
[email protected]

May 10, 2008 in Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wingspread Pipeline Conference

WINGSPREAD IX, University of Southern Maine, Portland, Maine, July 27-28 2008

Starting Sunday evening, Wingspread itself runs through Monday, followed by a law-themed strand for the full day on Tuesday and also the rest of the 15 th Annual Education & Law Conference (July 28-31).

Wingspread IX focuses on the role of career/theme, the relationships between LRE and diversity, plus the important roles of counseling & philanthropy. Specific sessions at Wingspread and in the following Ed & Law Conference sessions will include Wingspread for newcomers; law themed curricula and schools; multicultural education and resources; pipeline and admissions programs; curriculum lessons shared; student disability awareness; diversity and race neutrality; innovative law-themed programs; restroative justice models; why creativity in schools is so critical: thinking of MySpace, YouTube, etc. as positive learning environments; technology strand; the view from the Bench and the Bar. Presenters include several renowned law school faculty.

Contact

For Substantive Information Contact:
Professor Sarah E. Redfield

For Conference Information Contact:
Sherry Phillips, Assistant Director
Department of Conferences
(207) 780-5961
the Bench and the Bar.

May 9, 2008 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Job Opportunity at Pheonix?

Phoenix

School

of Law Assistant Director of Bar Prep

Phoenix School of Law, Arizona’s newest law school, seeks a creative and self-directed individual to serve as an Assistant Director of Bar Prep with our growing Academic Success team. Phoenix School of Law is a member of The InfiLaw System, a consortium of independent law schools committed to making legal education more responsive to the realities of new career dynamics. Its mission is to establish student-centered law schools in underserved markets that graduate students with practice-ready skills.

The Assistant Director of Bar Prep, under general supervision of the Assistant Dean of Student Academic Outcomes, will continue the development and implementation of a comprehensive bar prep program to lead the market in first-time bar passage.  Duties will include: teaching the Bar Strategies course; assisting students with completion of bar exam and character and fitness applications; facilitating Bar Prep and Academic Success workshops;  administering diagnostics; collecting and evaluating data;  implementing interventions; providing individualized counseling with focus on students in academic difficulties; assessing, evaluating and making recommendations for revisions to bar prep programming; researching, designing and implementing best practices; and other duties as assigned. 

The successful candidate will possess excellent communication skills, including verbal, written, presentation, and interpersonal; experience working with a diverse student body; knowledge of adult learning theory; ability to establish and maintain relationships with students, faculty, staff, and the community; assist in developing the culture of PhoenixLaw; and promote PhoenixLaw’s mission of service, practice-readiness, and student-centeredness.

The Assistant Director of Bar Prep is an administrative teaching position (non -faculty).

Education and experience requirements are:

Juris Doctor and prior teaching experience with intense student contact including demonstrated application of learning theory and variety of instructional strategies, assessments of student learning, and implementation of intervention strategies to a diverse student population.   Applicants must be a member in good standing of a state bar (with preference to members of the State Bar of Arizona).  Non-Arizona members must be willing to sit and pass the

Arizona

Bar exam at the next administration after hire.

Anticipated start date is July 15, 2008.  In addition to a competitive base salary, PhoenixLaw offers an exceptional benefits program, which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, short- and long-term disability, life insurance, two flexible spending accounts, and a generous 401(k) Plan. Send cover letter and resume as attachments via email to [email protected] or fax to 602-682-6993, Attn: Human Resources.  Applications should be submitted by June 1, 2008.  Qualified candidates will be invited for interviewing and presentation of a lesson.  Final candidates will also complete a Talent-Plus survey.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. (dbw)

May 8, 2008 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What's luck go to do, got to do with it?

With apologies to Tina Turner and anyone who does not appreciate the beauty of ‘80’s music. But really, what does luck have to do with exam taking? When I send my students off to take their exams, I feel like they want me to say good luck (or break a leg for the undergrad theater majors). But I don’t want to. Why?  Because after all the time and effort they have put into studying, I am not sure luck has much to do with it and I don’t want students to feel that their performance on the exams is out of their control.

I have a student who has been coming to see me everyday since classes have ended; she says that I am her study group. She has worked exceptionally hard at answering old exam questions under test conditions and we go over them everyday. We have discussed reading questions carefully, outlining before answering, issue spotting, completeness of answers and organization. We have not discussed rabbit’s feet, numerology, astrology or the idea of setting up an alter to the gods of Constitutional Law (whoever they may or may not be) in the exam room (not to mention that proctors tend to frown upon lit candles during a paper exam). Today is her Con. Law exam and as she left my office to do that last minute read through of her outline, she said, “wish me luck.” And I said no; she looked crestfallen, but then I explained my dilemma.

What is the right thing to say to my students before sending them to the lions, I mean into exams? “Go get ‘em tiger,” seems glib and condescending. “Show ‘em what you got,” is also glib with hints of stripper inappropriateness; and “Hrrr,” the pirate warrior cry seems just odd.

This is not to say that there cannot be any luck involved. I have been lucky every now and then on exams: like the time I had a friend contemplating a surrogate parenting arrangement in Massachusetts just prior to the bar. I did a bunch of research for her and lo and behold it was a question on the bar a few weeks later. It happens, but you cannot rely on that luck when you can’t possibly know it will happen until you are actually taking the exam. You need to be prepared for the questions you don’t happen to know the answers to already and that involves knowing the law and answering the questions so that the professor agrees that you do.

So, what I said to my student today was, “go show the professor what you know and organize it so he/she knows that you know it well.” And then I added, “I would say good luck, but you don’t need it because you have worked hard to know the material and you know how to take this exam.” While this is bit longer winded than a simple, “good luck,” I think it was a better way to prepare this student for the exam-by putting the power to ace it in her hands and not someone else’s. (ezs)

May 7, 2008 in Exams - Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Teachable Moments: The Passing of Mildred Loving

I am always looking for teachable moments; those times when "real life" intersects with law school teaching.  This morning, a student sent a link regarding the passing of Mildred Loving, whose challenge to Virginia's anti-miscegenation law led to the decision in Loving v. Virginia. The short article provides a great segue into a discussion of the impact of these laws on the lives of real people.

(RCF)

May 5, 2008 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)