Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, May 29, 2009

ASP Opening at U Arkansas Little Rock

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Bowen School of Law

Assistant Dean for Academic Support and Student Services

The UALR Bowen School of Law is seeking an Assistant Dean for Academic Support and Student Services to plan, implement, manage and coordinate programs to help law students succeed in law school and on the bar examination. The ideal candidate will be an energetic and knowledgeable professional exhibiting a high degree of organizational skills, sensitivity and integrity.

The UALR Bowen School of Law, established in 1975, has approximately 440 full and part-time students and boasts innovative academic partnerships with UAMS, the Clinton School for Public Service, and the Boozman College of Public Health. The school’s alumni include federal and state judges, elected officials, business leaders, corporate counsel, partners of major law firms, and dedicated public servants. The school, located next to MacArthur Park, enjoys strong support from its students, alumni, and the legal community.

The Assistant Dean for Academic Support and Student Services reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A J.D. from an accredited law school is required. A teaching background and some experience in higher education is desirable but not necessary

The Bowen School of Law is part of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), a dynamic metropolitan university with a student population of over 11,000 full and part-time students. UALR puts its students, faculty and staff in close contact with the state=s most influential leaders in government, business, industry, medicine and information technology.

To apply, submit a letter of application (reference req#686), resume and references to: John DiPippa, Dean, Bowen School of Law, 1201 McMath Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202. Electronic submissions are preferred; e-mail with req#686 in the subject line or fax to 501.324.9433. Screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. For more information visit  or  

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and actively seeks the candidacy of minorities, women and persons with disabilities. Under Arkansas law, all applications are subject to disclosure. Persons hired must have proof of legal authority to work in the United States.

May 29, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Social Networking: The good, the bad, and the ugly

A bit of advice for new ASPers, and ASPers who don't like the web: as orientation nears, think about adding a session on the uses and abuses of social networking sites. Many ASPer's don't need this primer on social networking or why it should be addressed early in law students careers; I am writing it for those people who don't turn on their computer everyday. As ASPer's, we are often the people who address the odds and ends during orientation, and this is something that should be addressed at all law schools.  Facebook and Twitter are wonderful for keeping up with friends and family, and a great way to keep in touch with far-flung relatives and friends. If a student is pressed for time--and what law student isn't?--Facebook is a tool to keep parents updated on the status of their law student without spending hours on the phone. I use social networking myself; I am on Facebook. (Note to students and former students: I only "friend" my family and close personal friends. It's nothing personal; I keep my work life separate from my home life. Do you really want to know about my cousin's baby shower?)  This is the good of social networking. And it has other things about it that make it useful and fun; it's a great way to market yourself, as many professors use Facebook to announce professional speaking engagements, appearances, and new publications.

The bad of social networking: your online profile lives forever. Even if you erase offensive material, your page can be saved. Facebook users went into an uproar when the site announced that they owned the material on your profile, even if you deleted your profile.  While Facebook changed their policy, the legal reality is that they own the material posted while the policy was in place.  It doesn't take a computer wizard, only a little bit of computer savvy, to find material someone thought they deleted from their site. Twitter is also insidious; if someone is subscribed to your feed, tweets are saved along with all their other texts.  Cell phone companies will probably have access to tweets forever.  If you understand how the system works, it helps you warn students of the dangers of thoughtless social networking. Encourage them to erase questionable posts in their profile now, not when they think someone will be looking. Often, it's too late. 

The ugly: many of our new students have had access to social networking sites since the start of college, and colleges are just now warning students about appropriate online behavior.  How many 18 year olds know what they want to do when they grow up? Not many.  How many 18 year olds understand the ramifications of their actions? Too few. It is the very, very rare college student who understands that their screed on atheism under the quotations section of their Facebook page can torpedo any political ambitions, or the naked texts they sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend at another college can show up on their homepage after they are solo practitioners. "Sexting" is not like drunk-dialing; it lasts forever. Firms don't hire people who post pictures of themselves lying in vomit after a night of binge drinking.  We know too many law students engage in that behavior. We should be warning them that it's dangerous when they engage in that activity, but also dangerous when it is posted on the web. 

What to do? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If their online profile is not clean, orientation is the time to fix that.

-Remind students of the long-range consequences of their online profile. Give examples of the problems associated with thoughtless posts. Lost jobs, damaged reputations.

-Choose wisely when allowing someone to "friend" you. Yes, you can erase offensive posts from your wall and "uncheck" your name on a picture, but those posts still live forever in someone's memory.

-Look at the bigger picture: don't do anything you don't want your mom (or dad or little sibling) to see when they are surfing the web.  If you wouldn't want your baby sibling to see it, employers should not see it either.


May 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Search for Shortcuts

Research shows that doing one's own work creates deeper understanding of the material, greater retention, and better ability at applying the information.  However, one should always be encouraged to be efficient and effective in learning.  However, being efficient and effective is drastically different than taking shortcuts.

Misguided law students are always searching for shortcuts.  They think using canned briefs or someone else's class script or outline is the way to go.  However, shortcuts only short circuit real learning.

We all know that canned briefs may be wrong or take a different perspective on the case than the professor will.  In fact, I know of a law professor who has studied the canned briefs for the course and knows which ones are wrong or misleading  When a student is called on and begins to spout one of the canned briefs, the professor strings the student on and then declares at the end of the student's brilliant discourse that she used a canned brief which was incorrect. 

We would like to think that no professor's lectures would be so consistent as to be repeated word for word each year.  However, class scripts are prevalent at law schools.  No doubt there were handwritten versions before computers became vogue.  Class scripts can be wrong even though they are supposed to be absolute transcripts.  Class scripts will change when a professor chooses a new textbook, incorporates new cases or topics to reflect legal events, or decides to take a new approach.  Although students tell me they "update" the script when something new is said, I suspect they do not listen as carefully in class because they think they have it all.  Reading a script is not active learning compared to taking one's own notes.  Learning style differences may make the use of scripts even more troublesome for the student.

Students share outlines with one another as a pre-semester ritual.  Outlines from others share many of the same flaws as class scripts. Certain law school organizations are "must joins" because they have the best outline archives.  Technology has changed this ritual from dog-eared photocopies to downloads or CDs.  What amazes me is that students never ask questions to check out the product when they take an outline.  Students at every grade level in a class are generous with outlines.  After all, they do not want you to know their grades usually.  (One organization source told me they only accept outlines from "A" and "B" students.  But, last time I checked, the Registrar was not verifying those grades for anyone.  I personally know of many cases where students think that a fellow student is brilliant when the person is on probation or tell me how poorly that student did when she got a 3.0 or better.)  

However, I find it especially intriguing that there are internet databases that provide outlines to law students from every law school across the country.  First, why would you choose an outline from a database that you know nothing about?  Second, with outlines so available at every law school, why go outside your hallowed halls if you want to take a shortcut?  Third, why would you trust a database that is not even remotely connected to your school to be up to date?  I checked out the Texas Tech database for one site.  A number of outlines are for professors who have not taught at the law school for several years.  I am sorely tempted to ask my colleagues to rate the outlines for their courses and let me know the results. 

Mind you, I am not against a student comparing her brief, class notes, or outline to other sources.  I am not against students using study aids to supplement their own learning.  Where students get in trouble is when they expect others' efforts to substitute for their own in-depth processing and learning.  

Sadly, many students who use shortcuts never live up to their academic potential.  I know from my own law school career and practice that the students who have a reputation for always cutting corners in law school often have that reputation follow them into practice.  (Amy Jarmon)        

May 21, 2009 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Preparing for Law School, or for 2L Year

Amy's wonderful post on end-of-semester grades and probation students brings me to the next stage...preparing for law school if you have been admitted, or preparing for 2L year.  After the critical low-grades meetings are more-or-less over, ASP starts to see emails and receive telephone calls from newly admitted, soon-to-be JD students. We also start to see a trickle of emails from students who survived, and maybe thrived, their first-year, but want to improve.  The main piece of advice I have for both sets of students...enjoy the summer. The best thing you can do for yourself is relax, regroup, and repair. Preparation for the fall begins with taking care of yourself.  Critical things, like reading books for fun, playing and watching sports, and catching up with family, fall by the wayside during the school year. And these things are critical; they make you a fun, interesting person. I know law students won't hear me when I say that they best preparation for law school is to take care of yourself, so I will give you practical reasons to  enjoy the summer. For 2L's, fun reading and family events give you something to chat about with recruiters during OCI.  And yes, recruiters want to know you are a well-rounded person who will not only work hard, but be pleasant and interesting to work with during summer 2010.  For soon-to-be 1L's, these things give you something to talk about with classmates during orientation.  Future 1L's, you don't know how many times you will be asked what you did during the summer, what makes you interesting, or something you would like to share about yourself during orientation.  Law students, being competitive by nature, like to be interesting.  So be interesting and memorable by doing nothing but fun stuff for the whole summer; you will see shock, awe, and smiles from your classmates come fall.  And then you can continue your campaign of shock and awe by having the stamina to work your tail off all semester, because you repaired yourself over the summer. 

Fun reading reading is NOT the how-to-succeed books written by bitter former law students who write anonymously or under pseudonyms. The hay is in the barn, as they say, and angry missives telling you that law school is awful aren't going to help you.  Fun reading is Jennifer Weiner, Jane Austen, Mitch Albom, Scott Turow (yes, including  One L),and Harlan Coban.  If you must pick up a book for law school, pick up an encouraging one. Pick it up with this advice; you won't remember most of what they tell you to do by the start of school.  2L's, your brain is fried, so most advice will go in your eyes but not sink in. Unless you are on probation and there are some critical skills missing, you are best not reading about outlining, reading, or exam prep.  1L's, you are going to be bombarded with information, and it's best to give your brain breathing room, not crowd it with more advice. 

Am I being intentionally silly? Yes. Am I also telling the truth? Yes.  Academic success is more than just grades; it's a complete, healthy life before, during, and after the law school experience. (RCF)

May 20, 2009 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The ASP Version of Parental Pride

Now that most of our schools have finished graduation or hooding ceremonies, I am sure that all of us in ASP felt a certain amount of "parental pride" when we saw some students walk across the stage.  Each year, I find myself grinning ear to ear as I watch certain students receive their hoods and shake hands with the Dean.

When I don my regalia and sit on the stage with the faculty, I am always ready to celebrate with the graduates in general.  But I am especially proud of the graduates with whom I worked personally. 

Some graduates came in a few times to improve in a particular course or during a particular semester.  I was happy to help and glad to see their improvement.  I applaud their graduation. 

Other graduates struggled with personal, family or medical problems and spent time working with me regularly during the crises to stay focused as much as possible on their academics.  I was glad to be a source of support and encouragement.  I know that graduation has special meaning for them.

There are always some graduates who were on probation and continued to meet with me an extra semester after they got off probation, ending their careers with all As and Bs as we worked together to crack the code to law school study and exams.  I am especially proud of their continued hard work and achievements.

Some of the past probation students with whom I worked ended up in "the great middle" of their class.  They steadily improved against somewhat dismal initial grade points.  I am proud of their perseverance and steady climb to greater success.  

And, there are the Tutors and Teaching Assistants who have worked with our 1L students and our Summer Entry Program.  During their tenure, we discussed teaching and helping skills to add to their repetoire of strong academics.  I am always thankful for their service.

However they crossed my threshold, I always feel like a proud parent as I see ASP students finish this step in their journeys to becoming lawyers.  It is that sense of excitement for their accomplishments that keeps me looking forward to the next semester and the next hooding ceremony.  (Amy Jarmon)        

May 19, 2009 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Helping Probation Students Deal with Grades

Finals finished a week ago today.  Grades are due on Monday. 

I am beginning to get e-mails and queries from students who were on probation last semester.  It is as if they have had some relaxation but also just long enough to rehash exams.  They are now mentally preparing themselves.

Some are inquiring about meetings in preparation for attending summer school.  They are feeling confident that grades will allow them to continue.  They want to start working on their study habits for the short, intense summer classes.  They will often be juggling classes and part-time jobs.  The discussions with these students tend to focus on:

  • Discussion about the differences between regular semesters and summer sessions.
  • Discussion about progress in their study skills and honing improved skills to new levels while shoring up areas that are still weak.
  • A draft time management schedule for their planned courses and work hours.
  • If they ask, we discuss how the petition process ties into summer school start-up should their grades fail to meet all of the requirements.  (With no grades posted yet, I tend to allow them to ask.  We still have time for this discussion if needed as grades come in.) 

Some are making backup plans.  They are somewhat hopeful about grades, but are contacting me about possible alternatives.  The discussions with these students tend to focus on:

  • The petition process if their grades fail to meet all of the requirements.  They usually ask about the process immediately.  The time line for the process is often important to them.
  • Discussion of possible avenues other than law school: work, other graduate programs, later readmission, application to other law schools.
  • The reality that it will take a few days for all grades to be posted and that some grades may be late coming in because of professor illness or other extenuating circumstances.
  • Stress management tips as needed. 
  • A few of these students doubt that they will want to continue even if their grades turn out okay.  I encourage them to do what is best for them and remind them that law school is not a perfect match for everyone.    

Several different types of probation students will contact me once grades begin to post.  The context will vary with each situation.

Some will contact me with excitement over the postive changes they made and their first ever Bs - or even As.  What are fondly known as "Atta Boy! Atta Girl!" letters will be in the mail for them before too long as they surpass their probation requirements.  In these cases, I focus on:

  • Being enthusiastic in my celebration with them.
  • Talking about future honing of study habits to continue a sharp upward trend in their grade point averages.
  • Offering to work with them again on a regular basis to help them improve further when they take their next courses.

Some students will contact me with despair when not all of their grades measure up to their expectations even though they met the requirements.  Why?  They are personally disappointed because they just eked by the probation requirements or have not yet achieved anything higher than perhaps a C+.  For such students, the discussion focuses on:

  • The areas of improvement that they did have and what changes contributed to that improvement.
  • The fact that study habits improve over time and need to be honed each semester.
  • A game plan for ways they can improve in the future.
  • An offer to work with them again on a weekly basis to help them improve further when they take their next courses.

Some of the students who are despairing will have fallen below the requirements but have a right to petition because of extraordinary circumstances.  With these students, I will focus on:

  • Listening to their concerns and worries so that they are able to process some of the shock and sorrow.
  • Turning their attention to any options that they have and how to take action on those options.
  • Explaining what the requirements mean for the student's specific transcript and discussing the petition option(s) appropriate for that student.  Again, time lines are often important.
  • Explaining what categories of information must be included in the written petition.
  • Beginning the process of thinking about alternatives if a petition is unsuccessful.
  • Discussing stress management tips as needed. 
  • Referring them to other deans or offices as appropriate. 

And for those students whose grades are so far away from the requirements that petitioning is not realistic or impossible because of the rules, the discussion focuses on:

  • Listening to their concerns and worries so that they are able to process some of the shock and sorrow.
  • Turning their attention to any options that they have outside law school.
  • Helping them see their support network of family and friends and mentors who will be there for them.

    At the end of the day, I want each of these students to exit whatever level in the process feeling that someone listened, gave accurate information, and helped them through the process.  A student may have abysmal grades, no extraordinary circumstances, or no options left in regard to law school.  However, that student still deserves someone who listens with patience and courtesy.  (Amy Jarmon)     

  • May 15, 2009 in Advice, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Congratulations to students finished with exams

    Our exams ended last Friday.  By that time there were only a few students left taking elective course exams.  One of which was my European Union seminar.

    Our 1L students finished their last exam a few days earlier on the Tuesday.  Their tired and smiling faces (for the most part) reminded me of my own 1L year.  I still remember vividly that feeling of jubilation after my last 1L exam was completed.  It was almost too good to be true that I was a rising 2L.

    Each law school semester after that, I was pleased to have finished another set of exams.  However, the sense of accomplishment and the feeling of euphoria were never the same as the end of my 1L year.  I was closer to graduation (and ultimately the bar exam) each time, but the semesters and exams never seemed as long or as difficult after I had finished 1L year.

    Best wishes to all of our students as they finish their exams at our respective schools.  I hope that they will have good rising 2L and 3L summers whether they are working, in summer school, or relaxing.  I hope that the our graduates will have successful bar preparation and pass on their first attempts in July in whatever states they are sitting the exam.

    And now that hooding ceremony celebrations are over and the registrar's office has delivered my exam stack, I get to grade all those essay answers that my students wrote.  (Amy Jarmon)

    May 14, 2009 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    ASP position at FAMU


    Director, Academic Success and Bar Preparation

    QUALIFICATIONS: Juris Doctorate from an ABA-accredited law school, bar admission, demonstrated skill in legal research, writing and oral communication, and the ability to work collaboratively. Excellent academic background and sound organizational administrative and interpersonal skills and experience in academic support program or comparable work experience is required. PREFER: Preference will be given to applicants with ability design and administer an academic support program to enhance the learning and study skills of all law students. Individual in this position will implement, direct, and coordinate law school efforts to enhance overall academic performance.

    Application Information

    TITLE: Faculty Administrator (Director, Academic Success and Bar Preparation)
    POSITION NUMBER: 19339 (Faculty)
    LOCATION: College of Law (Orlando)
    SALARY: Negotiable
    FTE: 1.00
    CONTRACT PERIOD: 12 Months
    DEADLINE DATE: 05/21/09

    Postal Address:

    Human Resources
    Florida A&M University
    211 Foote-Hilyer Administration Center
    Tallahassee, FL 32307





    Online App. Form:


    Markita D. Cooper

    Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

    Florida A&M University College of Law

    201 Beggs Avenue

    Orlando, FL 32801

    May 13, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    ASP Director at UK


    University of Kentucky College of Law Academic Success and Legal Writing Specialist



                The University of Kentucky College of Law seeks an Academic Success Program Director who will be primarily responsible for implementing the Legal Education Access Program (LEAP), a program that includes a variety of efforts designed to encourage students from economically disadvantaged rural and urban communities to attend law school and ultimately return to their communities to encourage others to attend law school.  Part of LEAP includes the Ambassadors of the Law program in which students travel throughout Kentucky visiting colleges and high schools to enhance understanding about legal education possibilities.  Because LEAP includes an intense legal writing component for the ASP participants, the position includes responsibilities of an Assistant Director of Legal Writing and the various academic support efforts involved in that program. 

                The ASP Director will be responsible for program operation, development, and evaluation.  S/he will plan the schedule of classes and other events; coordinate participant recruitment, application and selection processes; select and oversee ASP student mentors; and ensure the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of all program records and databases.  The ASP Director will be responsible for program enhancement and development, including all programmatic assessment and revision, design and innovation initiatives, grant writing and other efforts to obtain additional resources for the program, its participants, and/or its activities.

    Minimum qualifications are Juris Doctor and four years of related experience and a current Bar license from any state that will allow you to practice law.

    To apply for job # SM526301, submit a UK Online Application at

    If you have any questions, contact HR/Employment, phone (859) 257-9555 press 2, or email Application deadline is May 25, 2009.

                Founded in 1865 as a land-grant institution adjacent to downtown Lexington, UK is nestled in the scenic heart of the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Recently ranked as one of the safest, most creative, and the brainiest cities in the nation, Lexington is an ideal location to experience the work-life balance that the University strives to provide to its employees. See for yourself what makes UK one great place to work.

    The University of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from minorities and women.

    May 12, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Teaching our students to be collegial

    Academic Support has crossovers into many other areas of legal education; one of the most fascinating to me is the crossover between ASP and balance in legal education.  The issues that impact ASP are often the same issues that arise because of the lack of balance in legal education; stress, depression, substance abuse.  Bullying is a problem in law school that exacerbates all of these things. In this economy, we can expect to see the sharp elbows and evil comments increase. This is an issue we need to keep an eye out for with our students because so many feel stigmatized by being a student who needs (or wants) additional support and assistance.  When there are sparse resources (or the perception of sparse resources), students can turn on each other as a way of getting ahead. I would love to say these tactics don't work, but sometimes they do work. When an otherwise qualified student doesn't bother to apply for a position because they have been told they are too stupid, based on their use of ASP resources, bullying has worked.  What is our role, as ASPer's, in helping our students see that this behavior only brings down the very profession they worked so hard to be a part of? The first step is modeling appropriate behavior.  ASP is one of the most welcoming, warm, wonderful communities I have had the privilege to be a part of, but that does not mean that they stress does not get the best of us sometimes. I know I have been guilty of the saying things I want to put back into my mouth, especially when I am in a high-stress, high pressure environment where bullying is the norm. The challenge is to rise above this, and remember that are students are always watching what we do and what we say.  They look to us to show them how to be professionals. And they are looking to us to show them how to behave when we are under stress.

    When you see bullying between students, take action. This behavior will perpetuate itself in the professional setting if it is not stopped.  Remember, sometimes this behavior works, and the bully gets what they want from harassing, belittling, or "freezing out" the classmates. It is our responsibility to show that this is not acceptable in our profession, even if it results in short-term gains. Sometimes students need to be reminded that their reputation in law school will carry to their professional careers.  It brings us all down when a law student or a lawyer embodies the greedy, mean-spirited lawyer of so many jokes and cartoons.

    I know many of us don't feel like we have the power to stop something that is pervasive in law school community. But if we can stop it in one small corner, it will make a difference. (RCF)

    Backlash: Women Bullying Women at Work
    Published: May 10, 2009
    It’s a taboo topic in the workplace sisterhood: Women who bully usually pick on other women.

    May 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    ASP Assistant Director Position at Vermont

    I am re-posting the information on the Vermont position per today's e-mail that came out.  (Amy Jarmon)

    The Assistant Director of Academic Success assists the Director by developing and executing classes, workshops and other initiatives to improve the academic skills of first year students as necessary to be successful in their legal studies.

    Duties and Responsibilities

    This position involves the following duties:

    Responsibility for all administrative duties associated with first year student programming, including but not limited to curriculum design and implementation of first year skills-based course to be offered annually.

    Design and implementation of workshop series and informational resources for all first year students.

    In conjunction with the director of ASP, the ASP Program Coordinator and the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, to assist with the research, coordination and implementation of approved reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, including the use of assistive technology.

    Provide individual counseling and tutoring for students with regard to study habits, skills, tools for improvement, time management, outlining, exam preparation, etc.

    Assist the Director in planning, implementing, and designing academic support programs for all students at VLS.

    Assist in design and implementation of pre-orientation and orientation activities for incoming students.

    In conjunction with the Director, work to increase awareness of ASP services including the development of a newsletter; provide support to doctrinal faculty in utilizing those services.

    In conjunction with the Director, coordinate activities of student mentors and assist in mentor selection, training and support.

    Education, Skills, and Experience

    Position Requirements/Qualifications:

    BA, JD, Licensed to practice law

    Training and/or Experience:
    Experience in higher education administration and/or teaching
    Experience in actual practice of law
    Training in learning theories
    Experience in multi-cultural setting and/or with diverse student body

    Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:
    Knowledge of legal theories
    Knowledge of legal analytical and writing skills
    Strong interpersonal communications skills
    Knowledge of ADA, FERPA

    If you are interested, please forward a resume, two writing samples and references to:

    Diane R Hayes

    Director, Human Resources

    Vermont Law School

    Chelsea Street

    South Royalton, VT 05068



    This position will remain open until filled.

    May 7, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    Why Academic Support?

    I am just warning readers upfront that this post is about me.  I will work in some stuff about the field of Academic Support in the end; but consider yourself warned:   I think this post is mainly personal.  Feel free to stop reading now and/or go directly to the end for the ASP angle. 

    Sometimes students ask me why I work in Academic Support.  I did have a (now, seemingly brief) career as a prosecutor in New York, I have taught first year legal writing and still do teach Advanced Legal Writing as well as an Intro. to U.S. Law class for our LL.M. program.  But something that happened to me just yesterday is probably the most illustrative of why I think I belong in Academic Support.  Yesterday, like every day, I took the Green line to work.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Boston subway system, the Green line moves hugely packed, sometimes horribly ventilated, and yet very small trolleys of people from West to East (and vice versa in the evening, or whenever the Red Sox are playing a home game).  I get off the train at a large station called Park Street.  Even though I was running late yesterday, I would say about a hundred fellow sardines-I mean commuters-got off the train with me and we streamed out into the plaza at the corner of Park and Tremont Streets.  I paid no attention to the guy who sells tourists t-shirts from a quaint looking pushcart on the plaza because I see him every day and I consider myself a local.  But yesterday he came right up to me, thrust a cell phone in my face and beseeched me to call 911 because his English wasn’t very good.  He pointed to a person leaning heavily over a bunch of newspaper boxes, shaking and clearly ill.  This young man had his cell phone in his hand and said that he had already called for an ambulance.  I asked him if he had a medical condition (as if I could have offered any better help if I knew that), he said no, he had been fine until about ten minutes before.  I ran back down into the subway station to see if there was anyone there who could help but could not find a soul who worked for the T.  Then I remembered that I had seen a Mounted Police Officer when I first come above-ground-surely I could find such a large horse quickly-and so I did.  The horse and his Boston Police Officer were across the street.  I ran across Tremont St (for those of you unfamiliar with Boston geography and/or drivers, you should know that this was really stupid of me) and asked the Officer to come and help this man. (I could spend some time telling you about how absolutely gigantic this horse was and what a silly city girl I am about large animals really close up, but I won’t-suffice it say I was almost silenced by the size of this animal).  He turned the horse around and trotted across the street to help.  As I walked towards my office, I saw the ambulance arriving.  My guess (and hope) is that this man was in the ER at Mass.General before I had hung up my jacket at work and home in one piece before I even set foot back on the train. 

    Yet, I had to wonder:  out of the hundred or so people walking in the same direction, why me?  But I wasn’t really surprised.  I often get asked for directions, (at least once a day-ask my husband) here in Boston, but also everywhere else I have ever lived or traveled.  I often get asked in languages I don’t speak to help people find places I have never visited.  I also take at least one picture a day of visiting tourists who trust me with their cameras.  I always thought it was because I look harmless (go ahead, take a minute and click on my blog profile), but now I think there is a better explanation.  Maybe, just maybe, I look like the kind of person who would help you if you needed help and maybe, and I really hope this is true, I am. 

    So that is why I work in Academic Support-and why I think all of us do-because we are willing to help and we don’t look like people who would steal your camera (even if no one would ever believe the size of the horse without a picture). (ezs)

    May 5, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Teaching Inspiration

    I have been absent from the blog for a bit as I moved to UConn. It's been a very busy time;  I am planning for a brand-new 2L ASP course at the law school for the fall, as well as planning an undergraduate course for entering freshman in the Honors Program introducing the fundamentals of law. I have not taught to undergrads in many years, and it took some brainstorming to come up with a "hook" that would get them excited about the course and about law.  I decided on "Controversial Issues at the Intersection of Sports and Law." I am not a sports fanatic, by any means, but I am at a sports-crazy school, and I know that is a way that students from across disciplines to see the applicability of the law in their lives.  As I was searching for ways teach the course, I settled on a case study approach.  Further brainstorming, and significant research, led me to topics that spanned most first-year law courses; home run baseballs and Property, Constitutional Law, double jeopardy, dual sovereignty and Michael Vick, beyond a reasonable doubt as a criminal standard, preponderance of the evidence as a civil standard and OJ Simpson. 

    What does this have to do with ASP? UConn has given me considerable latitude when planning my ASP course for 2L's, so I have also been brainstorming about different methods to teach that course.  Using doctrinal material to teach ASP is the way to go, but it is sometimes hard to find an area that covers enough areas of law to be useful to students. Remedies (thank you, Mike Schwartz), like Sports Law, is a great way to cover multiple areas of law. Case studies are a great way to reach students who may be turned off by their experience in law school. It can remind them that law is about real people and real problems. It can remind some of them why they are in law school.

    I also want to say thank you to the ASPer who wrote me last year about the case study method. I would like to give her a personal thank you for the idea, but I have lost the email (it was on the VLS account).  It really is a wonderful method of teaching law in a creative way; thank you for the suggestion! (RCF)

    May 5, 2009 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Warm Fuzzies Have Impact

    Academic Support Professionals work hard to provide excellent services to their students.  I always appreciate the students who take a few minutes to drop off cards, write e-mails, or just poke their heads in to say "thank you."  I also love seeing "ASP" alums out practicing to have the opportunity to rejoice with them over their latest professional and personal accomplishments.

    Periodically I ask some of the students who used the ASP services to write comments on how ASP has helped them to turn their academics around.  Most students are willing to write anonymous contributions to this "success stories" archives, though a few are happy to attach their names. 

    Why do I have students write their comments this way?  Here are a few of the reasons:

    • The comments can be used in publicity about the office.  We all know that students are more likely to "believe" other students than the administration or faculty about studying.

    • The comments can supplement the general statistics that I have on improved grade point averages.  The qualitative comments can be as powerful as the statistics.

    • The comments can be used for reports to my Dean and/or faculty committees regarding the ASP services.

    • The comments can be used in fund raising efforts to show donors what our law school is doing to assist students in their academic endeavors.

    As ASP professionals, we know the importance of our work - as do the students who work with us.  But, it is always useful to get the word out to others.  (Amy Jarmon)

    May 4, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)