September 12, 2008
Unexpected and recurrent challenges
It's been a hectic, wonderful start to the school year here at VLS. Our students have had a brisk start, with many 1L's anxious to start their outlines and get rolling on preparing for exams. I have also had a brisk start. The new year means there are unexpected challenges that you could not predict or prepare for, as well as recurring challenges that require review and consideration. My recurrent challenge for this year has been scheduling. I need to find time to read, write, and renew my commitment to doing everything I can for my profession, but this often takes a back seat to student concerns. Student concerns, especially the unexpected ones that pop up without warning signs, are the core of my job, but they can also overwhelm even experienced ASPers. I started my year with a commitment to having office hours and taking student drop-ins on a critical or emergency basis. That plan went out the window early in the semester. I am now back to taking students drop-ins when they drop-in, which is neither efficient for me or helpful for students who need to learn better calendaring habits. Part of the problem lies in student expectations, part of the problem lies in faculty expectation, and a lot of the problem lies in my ability to bend the rules for just one student, who becomes 10-20 students by the end of the week. Scheduling is a recurrent problem, and one that needs a new tack in order to fit in all my responsibilities.
Unexpected challenges also come up at the start of the school year. This year we are challenged to find notetakers for students with disabilities. Normally, this is an easy task--students get paid to do something they need to do anyway! But this year we have struggled to find notetakers in a handful of classes. I have made personal appeals, emailed students, and appeared in classes, to no avail this far. I have confidence we will find the assistance we need, but this is an unexpected challenge that I have not encountered before.
Even those of us with a few year sunder our belt encounter these challenges, not just ASPer's new to the profession. (RCF)
September 10, 2008
Welcome to new and visiting ASP'ers at New England School of Law
We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth Bloom as the new Assistant Director of the Academic Excellence Program at New England School of Law. Elizabeth's background includes teaching experience in legal writing on a full-time basis at Northeastern as well as during her legal education at Georgetown Law. Elizabeth also has litigation experience. The accompanying photo of Elizabeth graces her faculty profile on the NESL web pages. You can read Elizabeth's complete faculty profile on the NESL web pages at Professor Elizabeth Bloom
As we have mentioned before on these postings, ASP professionals are happy to assist new members of our profession. Our doors (and e-mails and telephones) are open to you if we can provide any assistance as you settle in to your new position, Elizabeth. Please make Elizabeth welcome when you meet her at a future workshop or conference!
We are also happy to announce that our well-known colleague, Robert Coulthard, has moved to Boston as a Visiting Assistant Professor at New England School of Law. Many of us know Robert from his previous work with bar preparation at Oklahoma City University Law School and University of Missouri-Kansas City. The photo of Robert is from his NESL faculty profile. You can read Robert's faculty profile on the NESL web pages at Professor Robert Coulthard. We shall all look forward to seeing you more at East Coast venues for ASP workshops and conferences, Robert! (Posted by Amy Jarmon on behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog Editors.)
September 9, 2008
New Director at University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
We are delighted to welcome Christie I. Floyd as the new Director of Academic Support at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, located in Louisville, Kentucky. Christie joined the administration at Brandeis School of Law this summer and will be a wonderful addition to the academic support profession. Christie is pictured to the left. Make sure that you greet her at the next ASP workshop or law school conference that you both attend!
ASP professionals are very big-hearted, Christie. Let any of us know if there is any way that we can help you in your new endeavors.
Christie kindly provided us with some biographical information so that you could find out some more about her:
Christie is a 2001 graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and while there, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Brandeis Law Journal. Her Student Note, "Admissibility of Prior Acts Evidence in Sexual Assault and Child Molestation Cases in Kentucky: A Proposed Solution That Recognizes Cultural Context," 38 Brandeis L.J. 133, was published in 1999. She was named Oustanding Graduate of 2001 by the National Women Lawyers' Association.
Since 2001 and prior to joining U of L, Christie practiced as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney and Deputy Division Chief of the Commonwealth Attorney's Office Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Unit. In that capapcity, she also served on the Kentucky Sex Offender Risk Assessment Advisory board and Kentucky Sex Offender Management Task Force. Christie was instrumental in founding Kentucky's first child advocacy center in 1991 and has participated in numerous groups targeting legislative and policy changes in areas of domestic violence and child abuse. She has also played a significant role in training new prosecutors and police officers.
As the new Director of Academic Support, Christie Floyd hopes to broaden and enrich the level of academic support afforded students at the Univeristy of Louisville. (Posted by Amy Jarmon on behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog Editors.)
September 8, 2008
Questions to ask ourselves
I need to ask myself a series of questions this week "to take the pulse" of my office. Hopefully, It will help me double-check what has been accomplished as well as what still needs to be done to improve the academic success program. I find it is so easy to become focused on putting out fires during the first month of school that some essentials get delayed or overlooked if I do not pause to reflect on my checklist.
- Have I met all of the new faculty so that they know who I am and about my program?
- Have I met all of the new administrative staff so that they know who I am and about my program?
- Have I sent all faculty a list of the student workshop topics on academic success and dates for this semester?
- Has every student received a list of the workshop topics and dates as well?
- Have I drafted weekly listserv reminders for students that include focused reasons why the week's workshop topic might be of help?
- Have I updated my workshop packet materials and sent them to our photocopy shop?
- Have I met with all probation students and begun weekly appointments?
- Have I communicated with the Associate Dean of Academics about the status of probation student appointments?
- Have all of the administrative tasks for the 1L tutoring program been completed so that it is running smoothly?
- Have I sorted and finalized files of materials from Tutor training with suggestions for changes for the spring semester?
- Are there additional books that need to be ordered for the study aids library with the beginning of the new budget year - multiple copies for an existing book or new series?
- Have I remembered to include student suggestions for study aids in my ordering plan?
- Have I developed possible topics for my weekly study tips e-mails to students - and begun the series?
- Have I found time to circulate through the student lounge and cafeteria so that I can visit with returning law students and meet new law students?
- Have I developed enough training materials for my office work study students?
- Have I worked with our high school pipeline faculty on implementing on-going programs and initiating new programs for the semester?
- Am I up to date on university or community projects related to my office?
- Have I provided myself with professional development activities that will keep me motivated and updated?
- Have I written down new ideas for future semesters so that I shall not forget them?
- Have I sorted and finalized files of materials from our Summer Entry Program with suggestions for changes for next year?
- Have I reviewed the intranet and law school academic success web content recently for necessary updates?
There are still items to be completed on this list. However, by capturing them on paper, I feel more secure that tasks will not fall through the cracks. Of course, as for most of us, this list will be evolving as I remember more tasks or think of new projects. (Amy Jarmon)