Monday, September 28, 2009

Director of ASP Position at University of Baltimore School of Law

Director of Academic Success Program

The Director of the Academic Success Program (Director) performs a variety of functions in the University of Baltimore School of Law’s Office of Academic Affairs to support the teaching and learning goals of the school. The Director will have a 12 month administrative appointment. The Director will divide his/her time between the administrative duties in the academic support program and teaching 1-2 classes per year in the J.D. program at the School of Law.  Depending upon experience, the appointment may be at the Associate or Assistant Dean level.

Responsibilities include:

  • designing and implementing strategies to assist student learning, particularly high risk students;
  • participating in individual and group academic advising for J.D. students;

designing and implementing strategies to assist students with preparation for the bar examination including working with members of the administration and faculty to evaluate curriculum and academic standards to maximize bar passage;

  • along with other members of the administration, evaluating and creating reports on statistical data regarding students’ academic performance, course enrollment, entrance scores and bar passage results;
  • hiring, training and supervising  student mentors  who provide academic support;
  • support full time and adjunct faculty in developing as teachers;
  • assisting in designing and implementing the academic component of the orientation programs;
  • overseeing the institution’s policies for providing reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities to ensure compliance with the ADA and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The Director may have other responsibilities as assigned from time to time by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

The Director reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and works closely with other constituencies within the law school, particularly the Director of Academic Services, the Coordinator of Academic Operations, the Directors of the Legal Writing Program, student mentors, members of the faculty, and student organizations.

Applicants must have a J.D. degree and strong academic credentials. The successful candidate must be able to work both collaboratively and independently and must have a creative approach to problem solving, with strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills, and demonstrated success in collaborating within all levels of an institution. Preference will be given for experience in academic support, law school administration, law school teaching, and scholarship in the area of learning theory and academic support.

Positions will remain open until filled but applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to receive full consideration.  In keeping with its commitment to a diverse faculty, the law school welcomes applications from all qualified candidates and encourages women and minorities to apply.   Contact Elizabeth J. Samuels, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, The University of Baltimore School of Law, 1420 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-5779, esamuels@ubalt.edu.

September 28, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Faculty Academic Support/Legal Writing Position at UNC-Chapel Hill

Faculty Position Announcement

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Law invites applications for a full-time faculty position beginning Fall 2010 in the area of Academic Support/Legal Writing. Beginning and experienced teachers will be considered. Scholarship in areas related to legal education and/or research and writing pedagogy is strongly encouraged, as is leadership in state and national professional associations. The successful candidate will receive a twelve-month, non-tenure-track clinical faculty appointment subject to long-term contract renewal. Candidates should have outstanding academic records, as well as experience and demonstrated excellence in teaching, leadership, administrative skills, and legal research and writing. Membership in the North Carolina State Bar, or the ability to attain membership by the Fall of 2010, is preferred.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applications may be sent to Ms. Alice Girod by email at agirod@email.unc.edu or by mail to Ms. Alice Girod, UNC-CH School of Law, 160 Ridge Road, Campus Box #3380, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380. Applications should include: a cover letter, a current curricum vitae, and contact information for 4 references. Confidential inquiries are welcome. Such inquiriers may be made to Professor Charles E. Daye, Faculty Appointments Committee Chair - by mail: UNC School of Law, 160 Ridge Road, Campus Box #3380, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380; - by phone: 919-962-7004 or by email: cday@email.unc.edu or to Professor Ruth Ann McKinney, Assistant Dean for Legal Writing & Academic Success, at ramckinn@email.unc.edu. For more information about the UNC-CH School of Law, please visit our website: www.law.unc.edu .

September 25, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

When it all becomes too much...make the tough choices

This is not about the stress and anxiety students are feeling, but the stress and anxiety we feel at the start of the school year. 5 weeks into the year, and many of us feel as beat-up as our students.  But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if you light the candle (mixed metaphor, but I think it works).

Most ASPer's run themselves ragged at the start of the school year; orientation, new-student workshops, bar prep workshops, one-on-one's with nervous students. On top of these demands, many of us are also teaching classes of some sort.  At the start of the semester, you think..."Okay, it will get better in a few weeks. I just have to hold out for a few weeks, and it will slow down." However, it rarely slows down. After the start of the semester, mid-term prep starts. Then mid-term crisis. Finals prep is right after you finish with midterm crisis.  Throughout, ASPer's are grading and giving feedback, writing practice questions, serving as a resource to other faculty, attending committee and faculty meetings, returning (voluminous amounts) of email, and some have additional publishing and presentation requirements for contract renewal or tenure considerations.  And if you are a new ASPer, everything just takes a longer amount of time to get finished, because you are on such a steep learning curve. To be in your first or second year of the profession, don't expect to work as fast or get as much done as someone in the fourth, fifth, or sixth year.

Lesson: It won't slow down until summer, unless you are involved in bar prep, and it never slows down.

ASPer's tend not to be of the personality type that takes time for themselves. We are the givers. We certainly don't do it for the money (in fact, many of us took pay cuts to be ASPer's). We do it for the satisfaction of helping people. But there is a never-ending supply of people to help. Recognizing this fact is part of the solution. During law school, a wise, wise ASPer told me that all of us got to law school because we ate our spinach before the chocolate cake, but in law school, there is a never-ending supply of spinach, and it's possible to never reach the chocolate cake. You just need to make a choice to stop eating the spinach and reward yourself with the chocolate cake. There may be spinach left on your plate, but you need to choose the chocolate cake.

Right now, you need to start making tough choices, choices that replenish you emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. No one will make these choices for you. Of course there is more to do, there always is more to do, but some of it just won't get done. You won't please all people. Doing more than you are capable of handling can make you a poor role model for our students, who need to see effective work-life balance. No, students won't be thrilled when you tell them you are taking a day off from meetings to focus on professional development, but they will learn much more from a refreshed, happier, teacher than a burnt-out, angry, exhausted one. You may not get support from your faculty and staff; some may resent that you are taking a break during the semester (many don't realize that you worked through the summer). ASP has a high burn-out rate because so many of us don't make the tough choices soon enough. We wait until we finish our first year, then we want to wait until after contract renewal, then after we succeed teaching our first doctrinal class, publishing for the first time, so on and so forth. Very few administrators will tell you to take a time out to focus on your own needs; their top concern is the needs of the school and the needs of the students. You need to explain that you are placing the needs of the school and the students first when you take time off, because you will come back giving 100% everyday, instead of 50% (or 30%) most days.

If you feel like you need permission, I am giving you permission. I am not your boss, your partner, a family member, or a colleague (to most of you). I am a concerned person who has been there, and done that. (RCF)

September 25, 2009 in Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Sad Farewell: Charles Whitebread

It is with a sad heart I heard this morning that Charles Whitebread of USC Law passed away recently. Although he was a doctrinal professor, he was dear to the hearts of many of us in ASP; his book The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance is excellent, and anyone who has taken Bar/Bri will never forget his worderful, humerous take on Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law. He was one of the few people who could add levity to normally dry bar material.

Charles Whitebread, we will miss you.

(RCF)

September 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The uncomfortable road to gaining competence

It is the heartbreaking time of the semester for some of my 1L students.  Until now they have been telling themselves that "everything is new" and "just work a little harder" to assuage their feelings of being overwhelmed.  But now, it is Week 5; they are still feeling inept.  The hardest part is that they look around and see other students settled into the routine and apparently doing well.

What is holding some students back from "getting it" when others seem to be so at ease?  Unfortunately, there is no one answer.  I cannot offer a "magic bullet" to students who are struggling.  However, I can explore several topics with them to look for potential causes and suggest possible solutions.  For most students, working on some or all of the following areas will help them get re-oriented and start to have success:

  • Reading:  Active reading provides far greater benefits than "doing time" over the pages.  Some students have had undergraduate professors who lectured on everything they needed to know so they would skim read the textbook.  For law school, they need to read critically and process before class.  If law students do not have access to an ASP professional to help with their critical reading skills, they can turn to Ruth Ann McKinney's book, Reading Like a Lawyer
  • Briefing:  Students who skip briefing entirely are unlikely to gain depth of understanding.  Students who overbrief by including everything become lost in the details and are inefficient with their time.  Students who depend on canned briefs will not learn the skills they need for reading critically and briefing.  Students need to balance the essentials with the details in their briefs.  They need to use their briefs to help synthesize cases.
  • Outlines:  Undergraduate students may have merely regurgitated lectured material for A grades on exams.  Multiple tests with no comprehensive final exam encouraged them to use a "cram and forget" cycle of studying.  Outlines in law school allow students to cope with massive amounts of material and one final exam.  By condensing their briefs and class notes into a master document with the essentials for applying the law to new fact situations, outlines focus on the bigger picture with enough depth for accurate analysis. 
  • Review strategies:  Many law students do not realize that review each week is crucial in law school because of the amount of material to condense, consolidate, and learn with depth so that long-term memory is cultivated.  Reading outlines cover to cover each week keeps all the material fresh.  Intensely reviewing sub-topics or a topic as if the exam were next week allows the student to gain depth of understanding of specific material.  Undertaking memory drills helps to transfer precise rule statements, definitions of elements, or methodologies into long-term memory.  Completing practice questions for material that has been intensely reviewed previously allows the student to see what she really did understand and to practice exam-taking strategies. 
  • Analysis of fact patterns:  Some law students do not understand that legal analysis is very structured.  Opinion is not equivalent to legal reasoning.  Kowing the gist of the law is not enough.  A conclusion without sufficient analysis is inadequate.  Practice questions allow students to apply IRAC (or whatever structure the professor prefers) until they become adept at it.
  • Analysis of multiple-choice questions: Law school multiple-choice questions usually look for the "best" answer.  Careful analysis of each answer choice is needed rather than picking by gut.  Again practice questions allow students to apply strategies and analyze any patterns in wrong choices.     
  • Time management:  National statistics tell us that most college students study per week less than half the hours that law students can expect to study.  For some law students, a substantial increase in study time will increase their understanding.  A structured time managment routine will allow them to get all of the necessary study tasks done each week: reading, briefing, reviewing before class, reviewing class notes, outlining, writing memos/papers, and reviewing for exams. 
  • Procrastination:  Procrastination is a common problem for law students.  Their procrastination may have had little impact previously because the workload was "doable" and the competition was not intense.  Procrastinating students often have motivational problems.  Breaking tasks into small steps and creating rewards for completing tasks are just two possible strategies. 
  • Learning styles: Law students may not understand how to use their absorption learning styles to advantage and how to compensate for their shadow styles.  In addition, they may not realize that all four processing styles (global, intuitive, sequential, and sensing) are needed for competent legal analysis.  Each student has two processing styles that are preferences and two that need to be cultivated.  A variety of strategies can assist learners to use both their preferences and non-preferences well. 

When all of the standard techniques and strategies to help students result in little improvement, one may need to consider whether an undiagnosed learning disability exists.  A few 1L students each year are confronted with problems because they can no longer compensate for undiagnosed ADHD/learning disabilities in their academics.  Unfortunately, only testing can resolve whether or not a student has learning disabilities/ADHD.  One should not jump to the conclusion that every student having difficulties in law school has a learning disability, but in some cases it might be worthwhile for the student to be tested.  (Amy Jarmon)     

September 23, 2009 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balancing academics and extracurricular activities

We have recently had our student organization fair for 1L students.  Board of Barristers is ending advanced competitions and is about to start its 1L competition soon.  Our daily announcements are full of organization meetings with interesting speakers.  Elections for class officers and student bar positions ended.  Pro bono activities have been announced as well.

Most law students were very active in a variety of organizations during college.  Many of them held multiple leadership positions concurrently.  They received academic accolades throughout their busy social and service schedules.  And on top, many of them also held down part-time or even full-time jobs.

The natural tendency for law students is to get involved.  They have been "doers" all of their lives.  High school graduates get into the colleges of their choice by being student leaders with solid academics.  College graduates get into the law schools of their choice by being student leaders with solid academics.  The resumes of our nation's law students are truly impressive.  Orientation speakers regularly extol their entering classes with statistics that they are the brightest group of 1Ls that law school has ever had.

It is not surprising that many law students plunge into the opportunities for leadership and service full-heartedly.  If they are married students, they often have a string of community activities added to their law school choices: assistant coach for a child's team; Sunday School teacher; Scout leader; and more. 

Despite warnings during orientation sessions that law school will be different than past educational experiences, it is hard for many law students to think that the warning applies to them.  Surely, it applies to other people who came with lesser grade point averages or fewer involvements.

When I talk with students in January who are unhappy with their grade point averages (whether or not they are actually on probation), I always ask them about involvements outside their academics.  Many of them list a multitude of commitments.  It is readily apparent that they were overextended in outside commitments and took their focus off their academics.  For 1L students, it is understandable that they do not realize the balance that they need to keep.  However, it is often upper-division students who make the same mistake.

I do not believe that law students need to be monks who never participate in anything outside the hallowed halls of the law library.  In fact, I often meet students who did nothing but study 24/7 but still did poorly in their academics.  So, having no outside interests also seems to result in less than desirable grades. 

The variable that makes the difference, I believe, is having a balance between academics and life outside the law school.  Students need to be involved in other pursuits than their grade point averages.  Students need to have outlets that are totally unrelated to academics.  However, they need to use moderation until they get into the swing with law school study strategies.

Here are some suggestions for law students to find the balance that will make them better people as well as better students:

  • Choose at least one student organization for which you have a real interest or passion.  Attend the meetings and social events regularly.  Not only will you meet others with similar interests, but you will have an outlet from studying.
  • Defer taking on any committee chairperson or officer positions until you have completed the first semester of law school and received your grades.  If your grades are below or near to the academic probation mark, defer such extra commitments until your grade point average has improved.
  • Once your grades are "safe," take on a committee or officer assignment about which you are excited and which will add to your enjoyment of law school.  If the tasks seem like drudgery, decline and volunteer to help in some other way.
  • Learn to delegate.  A good leader is able to let others help with the work and does not hoard tasks thinking s/he is the only one who can do them well.  Let your fellow members have the joy of serving and the opportunity of learning new skills.
  • Consider choosing at least one service opportunity in the community each semester.  By helping others, you will be grateful for the privilege of being in law school instead of bemoaning your miserable fate as a law student.
  • Remember that family is important.  You need to be there for family events and emergencies: your mother's heart surgery, your little sister's confirmation, your grandmother's 90th birthday party.  Plan your studying ahead when possible so that you can be with your family without jeopardizing your grades.
  • Realize your strengths and weaknesses.  Determine how much you can do and still reach your goals for law school.  Each person has a different capacity for balancing activities.  Make the choices that are right for you.  For one law student, it will be one major organizational position.  For another law student, it will be pro bono work rather than leadership positions.  For another, it will be family commitments.
  • Learn to study efficiently and effectively.  There are a multitude of study strategies that not only help you use your time more wisely but also help you get better results for your time.   

Law students who learn the skill of balancing their lives during law school will have better skills for balancing their lives in practice.  Isolation is not a positive choice.  Burn out is also not a positive choice.  My wish for every law student (and practitioner) is to have a balanced life with room for family, friends, fun, service, love, and work.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 22, 2009 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Widening one's audience in academic support

Some ASP professionals have very defined populations under their institutions' goals for academic support.  They may work with "at risk" students or probation students or 1L students.  Other ASP professionals provide services to all law students.

A defined population helps the ASP professional target a smaller number of students; ideally this will mean more individualized attention for those students.  A wide audience helps the ASP professional reach students who actually need assistance even though they fall outside any pre-determined "net" that would be cast by a law school.

When offering services to all law students, the ASP professional must find ways to reach the widest audience efficiently and effectively.  The more varied the approaches, the more likely that the maximum number of students will be helped.  Group workshops and individual appointments can be very effective.  However, here are some thoughts on additionial ways to reach students who may not come to workshops or request appointments:

  • Have handouts and packet materials on study and life skills available for take away.  Students can easily obtain materials without face-to-face contact.  Wall pockets or spinner racks are especially useful for distribution.
  • Publish study tips through the law school media.  Tips columns can be written regularly for the law school newsletter.  Or they can be sent by e-mail on a regular basis to all law students.  Alternatively, they can be posted on a law school intranet/internet sites.
  • Prepare podcasts on specific study topics that can be posted on the law school intranet/internet sites.
  • Have the AV department record any group workshops presented and prepare DVD copies.  The copies can be made available for check-out through the academic support office or the law library.
  • Register for a TWEN site for ASP.  The site will provide a variety of ways to interact with students: posted handouts, discussion groups, podcasts, and other means.
  • Pair with student organizations to present workshops on topics of interest to their members. 
  • Offer to present topics in 1L classes such as reading and briefing cases, graphic organizers, or exam taking.
  • Periodically provide students with e-mailed links to outside resources on academic success: the Law School Academic Success Project, other law school ASP sites, practice exams at law schools, web sites on stress managament.
  • Alert students to your university's main campus programs dealing with stress management, test anxiety, depression, or other topics.  Programs are often sponsored by the Student Health Services, Counseling Center, or Recreation Center that can benefit law students, but would be overlooked by them.

Students appreciate access to information to improve their study strategies and life balance.  They often will benefit from ASP outreach when they would not consider attending a structured event.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 21, 2009 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Better briefing

The last few weeks have been busy with helping 1L students become more efficient and effective in briefing their cases.  In working with them, I have noted a number of common mistakes.  Here are some tips for avoiding those common mistakes:

  • Think about the pattern of your professor's typical class.  What questions does your professor usually ask about the cases?  In reading and briefing the cases, use these questions as a guide.
  • As you read the case, write margin notes condensing the points for the "natural chunks" within the case: fact paragraphs, procedural history, paragraphs on one precedent, a concurrence, a dissent, or other chunks.  These margin notes help you focus on the importance of each chunk as you read.
  • At the end of reading, spend time analyzing the case as a whole before you write your brief.  Take all of the margin notes for the chunks within the case and put them together.  Why did you ultimately need to read the case?  How do the chunks fit together to explain the overall case? 
  • Most professors use hypotheticals with changed facts to get students to think about applying the law in situtations that are different from the case.  If your professor does so, then spend some time thinking about how variations of the facts would change the outcome.  Include your thoughts at the end of your brief.  
  • Your margin notes and highlights can supplement your briefs when the professor calls on you.  Include in your brief the essentials, not everything in the case.  Refer back to the margin notes or highlights if you need more detail.   
  • Synthesize cases on the same sub-topic after you read them.  Why did you have to read each case?  How are the cases in the series similar or different?  How does each case fit into the sub-topic and larger topic?  Include the synthesis insights in your brief. 
  • Use bullet points, numbered lists, abbreviations, and symbols to save time in writing your briefs.  Use phrases instead of sentences when possible.  Avoid including long quotes from the case in your briefs. 
  • Remember that briefs are usually for your eyes only.  Therefore, brief in a method that is most useful to you.  You may need to vary your briefing for different professors' classes.
  • Recognize that your professor may have a different slant on a case than the casebook editor, a study aid, or editoral notes from a case reporter.  If you have a pattern of missing your professor's perspective, ask your professor for some guidance.
  • Use canned briefs only to check your own briefs.  You need to learn the legal analysis skills yourself rather than depend on a canned brief.  Canned briefs can be wrong, may not cover all of the points in the case, or may miss your professor's view of the case.

Law students become adept at legal analysis through completing briefs for their cases.  Too many law students are tempted to stop briefing because it is a time-consuming task.  Instead, they should strive to become more efficient and effective at briefing their cases.  Now is the time to learn the skills because lawyers in practice must read and brief cases expertly.  (Amy Jarmon)     

September 17, 2009 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Position in Legal Skills and Bar Prep at Stetson Law

Assistant Professor of Legal Skills and

Director, Bar Preparation Services

Stetson University College of Law is a leader in skills training. It strives to help students develop their full potential, both inside and outside the classroom. It has a dynamic and evolving Academic Success Program that offers group and individual instruction. We seek a passionate, talented individual to join us in a newly created faculty position devoted primarily to upper-level academic success, with an emphasis on bar exam services.

The successful candidate will work to enhance and coordinate various bar-preparation efforts, evaluate existing programs, and potentially develop new programs and initiatives. Current efforts include internally designed programs, commercially sponsored programs, and individual tutoring. Our colleague will also play a leading role in developing the Student Performance Study, a longitudinal study that collects and analyzes variables associated with bar passage.

The individual selected will likely teach at least one course per semester; although the course package is flexible, the school has a need for a professor willing and able to teach topics tested on the Florida portion of the bar examination, such as State Constitutional Law, Florida Civil and Criminal Procedure, and Florida Torts.

As needed, the individual selected may also be asked to assist with first-year academic support programs, work with students on academic probation, work with international LL.M. students — particularly those who plan to sit for a bar examination in the U.S. — and assist with other aspects of Stetson’s Academic Success Program. The successful candidate will work closely with the Director of Academic Success, the Associate Dean of Academics, and other members of the faculty and senior staff.

The individual would be expected to work with day and evening students on Stetson’s beautiful campuses in Gulfport/St. Petersburg and downtown Tampa.

Candidates must hold a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, be licensed and in good standing to practice law, and have or be willing to obtain a Florida Bar license within one year of hire. Although prior experience with bar exam instruction or high-stakes testing is not required, it is a plus. Previous practice experience and teaching experience — especially in the area of academic support — are strongly desired. Experience with counseling, outcomes assessment, statistics, English as a Second Language, and/or disability services would be highly valued. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills are required.

This position is a full-time faculty position on the programmatic tenure track. The position requires an interest in teaching, scholarship, and service to the College of Law. Title and advance standing on the programmatic tenure track may be negotiated based on past full-time teaching experience at an ABA-accredited law school.

If you are interested in applying, please submit a current curriculum vitae, a professional writing sample, and the names and contact information for at least three professional references to Professor Roberta Kemp Flowers, Co-Chair, Appointments Committee, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, FL 33707; flowers@law.stetson.edu. We are interested in interviewing candidates at the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference in November. We will consider and interview candidates on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Resume review will begin immediately.

September 10, 2009 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Resources - Did you know?

Since there are a number of ASP folks who have joined us over the summer and after the LSAC-St. Louis national workshop, I wanted to point out several resources that may be useful to new professionals.

The ASP listserv is available to those who are employed at law schools and working in ASP or bar prep work.  Membership allows you to receive listserv postings as well as post queries to the listserv.  To join the listserv complete the following steps (it may take more than one try):

  • Email the following address with content as indicated below in the next two steps: listproc@chicagokent.kentlaw.edu
  • In the subject line type: subscribe ASP-L

  • In the body of the message, type your information: Full name, Title, and Law School

  • If this format does not work after several attempts, instead include (your full name, title, and law school) after the subscribe message in the subject line to see if that will work.

The new Law School Academic Success Project web site is available at www.lawschoolasp.org.  The web site includes podcasts and other resources.The site has both ASP Professional and Administrator pages for which you must register as a law school employee to gain access.  Click on any of the headings in the left column to be taken to the registration/log-on page.  (The Student pages are open to everyone without registration.) 

The ASP Wiki is available to ASP professionals employed at law schools.  The instructions for registration are found on: http://prof.hillaryburgess.com/ASP/dokuwiki/doku.php.

The Assocaition of American Law Schools (AALS) Academic Support Section web site is located at: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/profiles/glesnerfines/asp/asp.htm.  Past copies of The Learning Curve are available on the site.  The Learning Curve will begin publication again this year.

In addition, ASPers are very friendly and helpful people.  If you are new to ASP work consider contacting your colleagues at other schools with questions as you settle in to your new position.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 10, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So many tasks, so little time

In mid-May I always feel as though a long summer is stretched out before me with infinite possibilities.  My list of essential projects is quite long.  But, I always have another list of other projects that I want to complete but never am able to during the academic semesters.  Then there is the list of "wishes" - the exciting ideas that I hope to implement in any leftover time.

And each year I notice it is suddenly September; I wonder what happened to the summer.  The essential projects are all crossed off my list.  A number of the other projects were also completed.  But my wish list received less attention than I had hoped.  A few of those items are in place, but many are wishes to be implemented at a future time.

Many of the "lost" hours have been spent well in one-on-one conferences with students.  Some of the "lost" hours have been spent in planning meetings to implement new programs or tweak already existing programs.  A few hours were truly lost in unnecessary bureaucracy or waiting on others. 

I count each of the student conferences as worthy of my time.  After all, the students are the reason I am here.  And, without the meetings, I would be unable to implement and tweak programs that benefit my students.

So, I start my new "wish" list to include the ideas that most likely will wait until semester break or next summer.  I begin a new "essential projects" list for the things that come with the territory of a fall semester.  I begin a new "other projects" list for the next level of projects waiting to be completed in between the essentials.

I add my fervent wish for more hours in a day to do it all.  And then I settle for doing the best I can with the hours I have each day.  Such is the life of a typical and very human ASP professional.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 9, 2009 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Welcome to Jeremiah Ho at Whittier Law School

We would also like to welcome Jeremiah Ho as a new academic support professional at Whittier Law School in California.  Please make him welcome to our group.  He provided the information below so that you can get to know him.  (Amy Jarmon)

Bio-jho Jeremiah's faculty biography can be found at Whittier Faculty Biographies.

I just started this August as an Assistant Professor of Academic Support at Whittier Law School and will be working with Dean Paula Manning.  I obtained my J.D. from Whittier Law in 2008 and worked briefly as an associate atorney in employment defense in Long Beach, California.  Prior to law school, I taught literature and writing at the junior high/high school level and I enjoyed teaching so much that I wanted to blend the satisfaction of instructing students with my enjoyment of legal thinking.  I am hopeful that my appointment at Whittier Law School will bring this combination to fruition. 

September 8, 2009 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Welcome to Kimberly Ballard University of Louisville Brandeis Director

Now that we are all back and settled in to our routines, I would like to introduce you to Kimberly Ballard.  Kimberly is the new Director of Academic Success at Brandeis School of Law.  Kimberly has sent us the following information so that you can get to know her. (Amy Jarmon)

Media.25 Ms. Ballard is a 2004 magna cum laude graduate of the Brandeis School of Law.  She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Louisville.

Ms. Ballard joined the Law School in 2009, after having served as a litigation associate in the law firm of Stites & Harbison, PLLC.  As a member of that firm's torts and insurance service group, Ms. Ballard represented product manufacturers in mass tort litigation and physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice litigation.

As a law student, Ms. Ballard competed on the championship team for the Intrastate Mock Trial Competition, placed first in the Pirtle-Washer oral advocacy competition, served on the Student Bar Association and Moot Court and Professional Skills Board and was Notes Editor for the Brandeis Law Journal.

In her spare time, Ms. Ballard volunteers for Golden Retriever Resuce and Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND), enjoys playing golf and tennis, and is an avid University of Louisville basketball fan.  Ms. Ballard also coaches the Law School's mock trial teams for the Americn College of Trial Lawyers National Trial Competition.

September 8, 2009 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When Professors Say Dude: Millennial Aren’t the Only New Kid on the Block

When Professors Say Dude:  Millennial Aren’t the Only New Kid on the Block

by Hillary Burgess

Experts like Tracy McGaugh and James Dimitri have provided us with great information about how the Millennial generation is quite different from past generations of students and how we can adjust our teaching to allow them to better serve them as they enter our discourse community and professional community.  I have so much respect for Tracy, James, and others who are thinking critically about how to best reach and teach our students.  I have to wonder, though, if the struggles we are facing are not just that the students are different, but that we, the professors, are different, too. 

This thought first occurred to me when I walked out of class and saw a very old Volvo in the faculty parking lot.  I remarked out loud to myself, “Dude, check it out!”  I then became quite self-conscious.

Had anyone heard my remark?  What would the Boomer profs think of me saying, “Dude?”  Would they forever banish me to the status of Sean Penn’s girlfriend at Ridgemont High?  (Which would be anything other than "totally rad.")  What would my Millennial students think of me saying “Dude?”  Am I that old lady who thinks she’s so cool, but really is the antithesis of cool?  (Actually, I really am the antithesis of cool.)  Then, I realized that GenX is in that awkward ‘tween phase.

 

After running through a number of “like totally bogus” off-limits expressions that I would “like totally like” never “like ever”

use again and musical references that I would have to banish (Hey Mickey, the Bangles, and anything New Kids on the Block) no matter "what a pity," I began thinking about how the culture shock that the legal academy is experiencing might not just be about the students.  It might be about the professors, too. 

In the past decade, the generation Xers have come of age enough that we are now teaching in law schools in significant numbers.  In a culture where the Boomers started teaching over forty years ago and even the youngest Boomers have been teaching for twenty years, Xers have become the new kids on the block, at least in the professor world.  Could the changes we perceive in our students result, at least in part, from the way Xers and Boomers teach differently (generationally generically speaking, of course)?  Are our cultural expectations about how students “should” behave so different that our students are trying to navigate a rather schizophrenic system of rules where what is good in Professor Xer’s class is not tolerated in Professor Boomer’s class (and vice verse)?  While this type of experience is good training for succeeding in the practice of law, when we talk about the culture shock that is hitting the legal academy, should we also include ourselves?

I leave it to the experts in generational studies to theorize about and answer the questions I raise here.  Moving forward, I’d love to see our discussions about how we can best serve our current generation of students expand from the perspective of how different the students are to the perspective of how different we all are now that Xers have left the role of students to join Boomers as professors.  Especially as a 'tweener, I'm hoping that we all avoid the us v. them mentality as we explore these groundbreaking pedagogical ideas about how to better serve this generation of students.


 

September 3, 2009 in Guest Column | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)