Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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)