February 5, 2009
Position Opening at Vermont Law School
DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC SUCCESS PROGRAM
The Director of the Academic Success Program designs, implements, and oversees the academic support program at Vermont Law School. The Director will assist all students, including those in the J.D. program, the M.E.L.P. program and the L.L.M. program to succeed in their legal studies.
The Director is responsible for:
• designing and implementing strategies to assist all students, particularly high risk students, students in academic difficulty, and those for whom English is a second language;
• designing and implementing the academic component of the orientation programs;
• implementing, in consultation with the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, 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;
• providing individual tutoring and counseling as well as leading group study sessions and teaching workshops;
• designing and implementing strategies to assist students with preparation for the bar examination including working with members of the administration and faculty to evaluation 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 academic success program staff, including the Assistant Director, Program Coordinator and Student Mentors, and managing the general operations of the department including the budget, short and long-term goals and strategies, coordination of offerings within the department and with other departments on campus, and establishing and monitoring department metrics;
The Director will assess the existing academic success program and recommend additions and modifications to the program. The Director may have other responsibilities as assigned from time to time by the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
The Director reports to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and works closely with other constituencies within the law school, particularly the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity, the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, the Director of Legal Writing & Research Program, the writing tutor, members of the faculty, and student organizations. The Director will typically hold a non-tenure track appointment as Assistant Professor of Law.
The position of Director of Academic Success Program requires knowledge of legal theory as well as analytic, writing and other skills necessary to succeed in law school. Applicants must have a J.D. degree, strong law school credentials, and excellent interpersonal skills. Preference will be given for experience in academic support, law school teaching, administration, disability accommodation, multi-cultural issues, and English as a second language.
Vermont Law School is an independent law school located in a historic New England village. It offers the J.D., L.L.M. in Environmental Law and Master of Studies in Environmental Law & Policy degrees. Vermont Law School emphasizes public interest law, environmental law and experiential learning. Vermont Law School has a student body of about 600 and a full-time faculty of 45.
Applicants should send a resume, references (at least 3) and a writing sample to:
Director, Human Resources
Vermont Law School
PO Box 96, Chelsea Street
South Royalton, VT 05068
February 4, 2009
Second Semester Exhaustion
If there is one complaint I hear everyday, it is second-semester exhaustion amongst 1L's.
It doesn't matter where they fell on the curve at their school, or where they are ranked, second semester exhaustion happens across the spectrum. Students who did well are scared that they can't keep up their grades and any drop in their GPA will reflect on them poorly during summer OCI; students who did not do well are exhausted because they worked very hard during the fall, and they are demoralized by their performance; and students in the middle of the curve are still mystified by the process and don't know what they can do to bring up their grades. 1L's spend their very brief (sometimes just two-week) break between fall and spring semester rushing through the holidays and fretting over their grades, so they don't really get a chance to unwind and regroup. The start of the semester at the same time grades are coming out packs another punch to 1L's; they don't have a chance to digest and evaluate their performance because they are already overwhelmed with the work they need to complete. To add to the stress, many law schools have a more rigorous second-semester legal writing course that requires 15 credit hours worth of work for a 3 credit class, and are looking for jobs for the summer. When you think about all that 1L's are trying to carry during the start of the semester, it's really not a surprise they are exhausted and many feel unmotivated.
I try to reassure the students that they will be fine, that it is okay to feel less excited and more tired during the second semester than they felt during the first. As long as they are doing the reading, briefing and outlining, as well as turning in their legal writing assignments on time, they will be fine. I only start to worry when the exhaustion overwhelms them and the basic law school necessities (reading, studying) start to slide. Those students need immediate intervention; it's very difficult to catch back up once a student falls behind.
But most students do stick to the minimum, and start to feel better by spring break. They have had a chance to regroup and digest their grades, and they feel they are on more solid ground. (RCF)