Friday, May 28, 2010

Academic Success Position at PhoenixLaw

Academic Success Counselor

Phoenix School of Law (PhoenixLaw) seeks applications for an experienced Academic Success Counselor.

The school is a member of The InfiLaw System, a consortium of independent law schools committed to making legal education more responsive to the realities of new career dynamics. Its mission is to establish student-centered, American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in underserved markets that graduate students with practice-ready skills, and achieve true diversity programs aimed at student academic and career success.

The Academic Success Counselor engages in pro active measures to minimize academic attrition and foster high bar pass through academic counseling and programming targeting skills of self regulated learning.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:

1.     Provides individualized counseling, with focus on students in academic difficulties; 

2.     Reviews incoming academic records; maintains running records on students receiving services.

3.     Administers diagnostics; collects and evaluates data; develops individualized learning plans; implements interventions.

4.     Assists in co-teaching, evaluating and revising 1L Cohort and workshops.

5.     Assists Director of Academic Success in assessing, evaluating and making recommendations for revisions to ASP programming.

6.     Catalogues and creates practice exams.

7.     Assists with the coordination of New Student Orientation.

8.     Provide guidance, feedback and supervision to the Academic Success Counselor.

9.     Establish and maintain professional attitude and good rapport with students, employees, community members and vendors.

10.  Will be privileged to confidential information and must maintain confidentiality of information at all times.

11.  Support and be a part of the Phoenix School of Law mission, vision and values.

12.  Other job related duties as assigned.


Qualifications:

Experience

1.     Prior experience with academic support, and/or teaching experience.

2.     Knowledge of adult learning theory.

Computer Skills

  1. Intermediate to advanced level of experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Publisher and PowerPoint.

 Communication Skills

  1. Ability to read, interpret and analyze more complex documents such as legal documents, financial reports and technical/scientific manuals.  Ability to create more complex reports, speeches, manuals and professional documents.  Ability to effectively communicate and present to managers, advisory board, etc.

Math Skills

  1. Ability to calculate figures such as percentages and ratios.  Ability to draw and interpret bar graphs.  Ability to apply mathematical concepts such as percentages, ratios and fractions to practical situations.  Ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide in all units of measure using whole numbers, common fractions and decimals.

Reasoning Ability

  1. Ability to collect data, establish facts, draw valid conclusions to resolve complex situations with no assistance.  Capable of dealing with abstract or concrete variables and to interpret a variety of technical instructions with little or no assistance.
  2. Must be very detail oriented and accurate.
  3. Must display tact, discretion and judgment.


Education:

  1. Juris Doctor degree required.

Salary is commensurate with experience. PhoenixLaw offers a full benefits package. For more information about Phoenix School of Law, please visit www.Phoenixlaw.edu.

If helping others and working in a dynamic workplace is what you feel passionate about and you are looking for a new challenge and a chance to put your experience to work in an innovative environment – Phoenix School of Law may be the place for you.

Please send a resume, the names of three references (including addresses and phone numbers) to hr@Phoenixlaw.edu or via mail to:

Phoenix School of Law
Human Resources
4041 N. Central Avenue, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85012

Phoenix School of Law is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Civil Rights Act Title VII of 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Phoenix School of Law does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or age in employment or in any of its educational programs or in the provisions of benefits and services to students.

The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is not an exhaustive list of the duties performed by this position. Additional duties are performed by the individuals currently holding this position and additional duties may be assigned.

May 28, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Orientation Highs and Lows

Orientation started here at UConn last week. This is a wonderful time of the year when I get to meet my incoming freshman and help them start their college careers on the right foot.  It's a refreshing change of pace to work with excited, happy kids looking forward to the next stage of their life.  This is also an incredibly busy time of year; at least two days a week I meet with more than 30 students a day to go over their courses and career plans if they are pre-law.  Here are some of the things I have learned from orientation over the past two years. 

The Highs:

The excitement and enthusiasm for the future of 18 year olds can cheer up anyone.  They are not the jaded, cynical teenagers we see on TV. They see the world for all the amazing potential it holds. 

18 year olds can't wait to be adults and have the privileges we often feel are burdens.  It reminds you of all the great things that go along with responsibility. 

This is the chance for an ASPer to help pre-law students choose classes that will help them succeed in law school. Classes that stress critical thinking, analytical writing, and use of primary sources provide a great foundation for law school. 

The Lows:

Parents, please let your children choose their own path. Nothing is more heartbreaking than working with an 18 year old who already looks defeated because their parents have decided they will be happy if they become a lawyer (doctor, investment banker, engineer). A colleague spent more than an hour with one student who could not choose one elective; it was the only class his parents did not pre-choose for him. He was overwhelmed by all the classes he wished he could take, but couldn't. 

Rateyourprofessor.com. It's insidious. (Disclosure: I am ranked, at two different schools, and I am well-ranked. I still hate it.)  It is not monitored, and it's the worst possible way to choose professors. It breaks my heart to see kids choosing classes based on who is the easiest grader, rather than the classes where they will learn the most.

You have to watch people make mistakes, and you can't stop them. We see a lot of this in ASP. It happens at the pre-law stage just as much.  From choosing "easy" classes instead of great learning opportunities, poor lifestyle choices, to ignoring enrichment opportunities, it's hard to watch people make mistakes. And it's hard for their professors not to tell them they are making mistakes.

While I am specifically referring to freshman orientation here, all these lessons are true for law students just beginning their journey as well. We should take the time to appreciate the learning opportunities that come from a fresh perspective on life.

(RCF) 

May 27, 2010 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 24, 2010

U of San Diego Position for Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

Position Opening: Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

University of San Diego School of Law

All applications must be entered through the Human Resources website at USD.  You may find the website here: 

http://www.sandiego.edu/administration/businessadmin/humanresources/jobop

portunities/

The Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, also known as the Dean of Students, provides strategic leadership for law school programs and services that foster the academic success and professional development of students enrolled in the J.D. program.  Key responsibilities of this position include: serving as a liaison for students with faculty and administration; advising and supporting students in their academic development; developing and implementing law school policies and procedures; developing and implementing events and programs designed to enrich law students in their professional development; and overseeing student organizations. The Assistant Dean reports to the Senior Assistant Dean for Administration and works in a collaborative relationship with other offices within the law school and campus, the faculty, and the legal community. In addition, the Assistant Dean has a “dotted line” reporting relationship to the Associate Dean.  This position requires occasional attendance at on and off campus events during and outside normal business hours. Some travel may be required.

SUPERVISION RECEIVED:

Minimal.  Works under the general supervision of the Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Administration.

SUPERVISION EXERCISED:

Director of the Academic Support Program

Assistant Director, J.D. Student Affairs

Executive Assistant, J.D. Student Affairs

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

The responsibilities described here are representative of those that must be met by the employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

 Manage the Academic Program for J.D. Students (40%)

Ensure the delivery of quality academic advising and support services for new, continuing and visiting students. Ensure compliance with the law school’s Academic Rules for all students. Review student petitions for waivers to the Academic Rules in consultation with the Associate Dean or his/her designee.

Guarantee that all J.D. students receive appropriate academic advising and assistance, particularly those students experiencing academic and/or personal difficulties. Coordinate the academic appeals and disqualification process.

Supervise the program of study for students on probation or under academic supervision. Evaluate J.D. student requests for credit transfers allowed under current rules or procedures, such as visits away, non-USD study abroad, transfer credit, and non-law course credit. Advise the Associate Dean on curricular needs and participate in the scheduling process. Oversee Honor  Court proceedings as needed.

Offer Resources for Professional and Personal Development (25%)

In collaboration with other law school offices, design and execute new and continuing extracurricular and academic programs to support J.D. students in their professional development. Serve as the law school’s official approving bar certification, moral character, and practical training for law students.   Represent the law school at state and local bar meetings and functions.  Serve as the law school’s liaison with commercial bar preparation providers and oversee the delivery of supplementary programs. Work with the University’s Wellness program to ensure that students have access to healthcare, counseling, and other support services offered by the University. Serve as the law school’s liaison with the University for students facing non-academic  disciplinary action.

Direct Student Events and Support for Organizations (20%)

Supervise the delivery of a comprehensive and substantive orientation program for new students (1Ls and transfers) and visitors. Direct law school  commencement and related activities in collaboration with other offices within the law school and the university. Oversee the promotion and execution of regular student support events such as the Dean’s Mixer.  Develop written policies and procedures to support the Student Bar Association (SBA) and student organizations in the scheduling, promotion, execution, and funding for events and programs.

Perform Administrative Duties (15%):

Hire, train, supervise, and evaluate two administrative employees and one staff employee. Establish departmental administrative policies and procedures that are internally consistent and integrated with other law school offices such as admissions, financial aid, graduate programs records, career services, and alumni relations. Effectively manage assigned budgets and costs. Attend regular and ad hoc law school meetings and serve on committees. Represent the law school on standing and ad hoc University committees. Participate in regional and national peer meetings and discussions, keeping up to date on latest trends and practices in student affairs and academic support. Perform other duties or tasks as assigned

QUALIFICATIONS:

·         J.D. from an ABA accredited law school required. 

·         Minimum of five years professional experience required.  Some experience working within legal education, higher education, and /or professional development within law is strongly preferred.

·         Ability to work with students experiencing academic and/or personal difficulties is critical.

·         Ability to work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to respond to student needs is required.

·         Demonstrated ability to prioritize workload, take initiative in managing projects and develop and keep to time lines with minimal supervision.

·         Proven skills in written and oral communication.

·         Experience in training and supervising professional and support staff preferred.

·         Minimum of intermediate skills in Word, Excel, and MS Outlook.

·         Demonstrated basic-intermediate skills in working with database systems; experience with student record and registration databases such as Banner a plus.

·         Must be available to work occasionally on early mornings, evenings and weekends.       

May 24, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Take home exams, open book exams, and other variations

Most of us remember the days when law school exams came in one shape and size: 100% of the grade; closed book, one day/time in one classroom, handwritten in blue books, and all essay. 

Today, however, the shapes and sizes vary greatly. 

  • More exams are variations on open book: code/rule book only; own outline only; one sheet of paper; everything but a live human being. 
  • More exams are take home or variably scheduled: take home with several days to complete; take home with a set number of hours to complete; option to take the exam for a set number of hours on one of several days; self-scheduled exams; time and location accommodations for disabled students.  
  • Formats run the gamut: multiple choice; essay; short answer; true-false; court or practice documents; some mixture of these.  
  • More professors now have a percentage of the grade for participation, presentations, papers, exercises, or other assignments. 
  • And the blue book has been supplanted in part or entirely by the use of computers.

Are the changes in the law school exam positive or negative?  It depends.

Open book:  Proponents comment that open book exams are more realistic to what practice will be like.  Attorneys will have their sources or notes in front of them as they write legal memoranda, consider strategies for client cases, and address juries or judges.  Many argue that it is sensible for there to be code or rule books available rather than students having to memorize lengthy sections.  Some also point to the fact that a lawyer being able to find the law is far more important than a spouting rule robot. 

On the negative side, however, some express concern that open book exams encourage students to gloss the law and not really know it at any depth.  If only working memory is used instead of long-term memory, they will have no recollection of the basic law later when they get to bar review and practice.  Others are concerned that open book exams do not really assess learning unless the professor has carefully designed application questions rather than pure information questions. 

Open book exams cause some traps for students, especially unsuspecting 1L's.  Students recount stories of not studying as thoroughly because they could "look it up during the exam" and then finding there was not enough time to do so.  They also talk about time management problems because they felt compelled to look up everything to be certain even though they knew the answers.  Other students remark on their wasting inordinate amounts of time before the exam tabbing books for what turned out to be non-essentials.  

Variable schedules:  Proponents argue that more flexible scheduling can allow the professor to test students in differing formats than the one place/time exam with a strict time limit.  For example, the professor might ask for a memo, brief, court document, or client letter as the answer format.  In addition, proponents argue that answers are better analyzed, more organized, and better written when multiple-day take-home scheduling is used.  

Certainly allowing disabled students to take exams with extra time as an accommodation is an important improvement in exam procedures - as is letting them have quiet rooms, readers, or scribes.  Logistics need to be carefully worked out, of course. 

Letting students choose which of several designated days to take an exam at the law school with a set time limit on the day also seems sensible.  By picking up the exam and returning it to a proctor under time-stamped or clocked conditions allows for fairness with flexibility.  This improvement takes some of the difficulty out of exam schedules for the upper-division student who would have more exams in a series of days than a classmate.  It lets a student decide when she feels ready to take the exam. 

The time-limited take-home exam (for example, complete within 4 hours after the exam is opened) is manageable.  The greatest risk here is that the student will be tempted to break the honor code and actually spend longer than allowed. 

Personally, I worry about take-home exams that run over multiple days.  First, they often do not consider the accommodations for disabled students; a take home exam that is given for 4 days means that the student with double time has to plan 8 days to work on it.  Second, professors often give take-home exams that stretch far beyond the designated exam day for the course, thus encroaching on the intended study days in the schedule for the next exam (especially where 1L students are concerned).  Third, students are faced with the reality that many other students will use the maximum possible hours to take the exam and they fear they must do the same to compete.  Fourth, professors who tell students that they only need 4 hours to take the exam over the 4 days are usually woefully incorrect about how long the exam will take the average student.  If the professor truly thinks it is a 4-hour exam then she should limit the time for taking it or give it at the regularly scheduled time.

Self-scheduled exams have an appeal for students so that they be autonomous in deciding what day and time to take each exam for each course.  I have experience with this system at a small liberal arts college.  However, it can be a logistical nightmare as the student body and course enrollments increase.  And it depends on a strong honor code system to work.

Format changes:  No doubt some flexibility away from all fact-pattern essay exams is a plus because different course material may lend itself to different question formats.  When I give exams, I mix formats for different kinds of assessment. 

In jurisdictions where the MPRE will be required, professional responsibility multiple-choice questions may make perfect sense.  Some faculty will argue that multiple-choice should be used for MBE subjects as well.  But what about the state bar essay questions?  What about the performance exams given in various states?  Do they require us to rethink our testing formats as well?  Where is the balance between "testing to the bar exam" and assessment for law students?

I think we need to be careful to make the decisions on sound assessment reasons rather than devotion to the bar, hunches, or our convenience for grading.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Writing good multiple-choice questions is not easy.  Training may be necessary for us to avoid poorly crafted questions.  After all, most faculty do not begin their careers with test construction expertise. 
  • The styles of multiple-choice questions used by faculty are all over the map.  They often look nothing like MBE or MPRE questions.  If the justification is to prepare students for these bar exams, then the questions need to mirror the bar formats.  Otherwise, the questions should be tailored to the course material and assessment issues.   
  • Professors who have honed their multiple-choice questions over several years tend to guard their question pools (once found to be valid and reliable) so they do not need to write new questions.  However, because each professor tends to write her own style of questions, students are blindsided if the professor does not release at least some practice questions for students beforehand.
  • Without someone in academic affairs monitoring the formats used by faculty, it is all too possible that a section of the 1L class may end up with no essay exams at all.  And, I have talked to 2L and 3L students who have found the same because of the mix of courses in a semester.  That unforeseen result suggests that we believe that there was no merit in the fact-pattern essay.  Do we really want our students to have limited essay experience?
  • Word limits and page limits can arguably assist students in more concise exam answers.  However, we need to be careful that these limits represent what a student can write concisely as opposed to what a professor who has expertise can write concisely.  And we want to make sure that these limits are appropriate to the assessment goals for our questions and not just convenient for grading.

I am lucky because my elective courses have relatively low enrollment caps.  I still give comprehensive essay and short-answer exams that require my students to write a great deal.  Because I do two reads of each exam (one for initial scoring and one for consistency with scoring on all papers), I create some burdens for myself.  I understand the temptation that would exist to change the format if I had large classes of students.  However, I hope if that day comes that I will weigh new assessment formats carefully and not lean toward my own needs for simplicity or convenience. 

Multiple grades for a course:  Many students tell me that they appreciate classes that do not have 100% of their grade dependent on the final exam.  However, they often tell me that it frustrates them when professors give them details for those extra projects or presentations near the end of the semester (usually referring to the last 2-3 weeks).  In some cases, professors cannot give out information earlier because the project cannot be completed before certain material is covered in class or themes emerge.  In other cases, however, it would certainly help well-organized students to be able to plan their work over multiple weeks when they have several courses with projects.

Participation grades trouble some students because they are not "talkers."  In my seminars, I designate part of the grade for participation (usually no more than 20%) because I want a seminar to have discussion and not turn into a lecture course.  In addition to the usual class discussion, I provide students with opportunities to discuss websites for current items in the news so they can plan their comments ahead of time.  Another option could be electronic discussion boards.  Throughout the semester, I caution students to remember their participation points and not to "forfeit" them.

Computers and blue books:  A few years ago, students would sometimes express concerns to me that their typing skills were not fast and accurate enough to use the computer for an exam.  I do not hear that concern very often any more.  Now I find that students admit that they do not have the cursive penmanship background to handwrite an exam.  As professors, we tend to take that skill for granted.  There have always been law students with legibility problems, but today it is far more a problem of actually not having used the longhand method since they were children.  Some tell me they were never taught cursive in their entire lives and can only print!  (There has been an interesting discussion on the legal writing listserv recently about this very issue.)

Typed exams certainly are faster to read.  Having had several bosses with terrible handwriting over the years, I am never phased by student blue books because I can decipher almost anything.  As a result, I do not think that my own students missed getting points because of handwriting.  However, I can see that it could be an issue.  And, if they are printing rather than using longhand on an exam, it is likely to be slower than typing.

There seem to always be a few students whose computers crash and who end up having to complete the exam by hand.  The stress and anxiety are usually huge.  And for most of them, they have no idea what they were typing before the mishap!  Those who use scrap paper to organize answers before typing are less fazed by these problems because they can quickly get re-oriented.        

The variations used today really do result in the "it depends" response.  Assessment comes with a myriad of decisions to make.  The quest for balance needs to be carefully thought through by each professor for each course.  (Amy Jarmon)     

   

May 22, 2010 in Exams - Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference - Register by 6/4/10

The following is an announcement posted on several listservs by Michael Hunter Schwartz at Washburn:

 

The deadline for registering for the 2010 Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference, “Teaching Law Practice Across the Curriculum,” is June 4.  The conference is June 17 and 18 with an optional teaching lab on the 16.  Here’s a link to information about the conference-- http://lawteaching.org/conferences/2010/, and here’s a link to the registration form-- http://lawteaching.org/conferences/2010/registration/

May 21, 2010 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Director of ASP: Pace Law School

Academic Support Director

For more than 100 years Pace University has been preparing students to become leaders in their fields by providing an education that combines exceptional academics with professional experience and the New York

advantage. Pace has campuses in New York Cityand WestchesterCounty. A private metropolitan university, Pace enrolls nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School Education, Scho of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. 

Pace University School of Law, located in White Plains, NY,

seeks applicants for the position of Director of Academic Support Program to begin July 1, 2010. This position presents a wonderful opportunity become a member of a vibrant and supportive law school community that embraces innovation and advancement. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

The successful candidate will report to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and will be responsible for the design, implementation and management of all aspects of Pace's well established Academic Support Program including: teaching second and third year Advanced Analytical Skills courses and first year skills workshops; participating in first and second year orientation programs; providing individual writing assistance and counseling; developing and implementing improved Bar Exam passage efforts; performing academic support and related data collection and analysis; writing reports to faculty and administration; and developing new services to enhance our students' academic performance.

Minimum requirements are a J.D from an ABA accredited law school; 10 years relevant experience preferred; law firm or similar legal practice experience; excellent writing and speaking skills; membership in at least one state bar and a genuine desire to work closely with students and faculty. Prior academic support experience, teaching experience (e.g., legal writing, Dean's Scholars or equivalent), membership on law review or moot court and counseling skills are preferred.  

We offer the resources of a private, nationally-ranked university, tuition waivers for family members and an attractive benefits and compensation package. Please visit careers.pace.edu and select Staff Positions to view this opportunity by its job title or Posting Number 0600746.

Pace University is an Equal Employment and Affirmative Action Employer, M/F/H/V, committed to ensuring a diverse learning and working environment.  Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

May 19, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

It was all worth it

Each year around April 1st, I seem to hit a wall.  My energy starts to run out.  I inevitably succumb to a spring cold.  My appointment calendar goes from packed to overflow with early evening appointments to fit everyone in who needs a session.  On top comes a round of deadlines.  My students start to talk about survival, and I begin to feel that I know what they mean.

Just in time the two weeks of exams arrive.  My calendar becomes mostly quiet except for appointments for students requiring pep talks and reassurance following panic attacks.  I work on projects, interview students for various student positions, monitor the hiring of Tutors, and try to sort out the piles that have built for 12 months on my credenza.  I also begin to process the year and list the accomplishments.

However, what really makes me take notice that all the hard work was worthwhile is the stream of students stopping by to chat.  They want to share how their exams went.  We reflect together on their academic and personal growth during the year.  They come to say thank you for the hours we spent working on study skills.  They bring me cards and notes.  Some come to share good news - a clerkship, an engagement, a journal position for fall.  Others come to say goodbye before graduation.  

It may sound corny, but at this time of year more than any other I realize that many of my students are like family.  I know their hopes and dreams.  I know their struggles and obstacles.  They have voiced their fears and worries.  We have celebrated their triumphs.  I have spoken hard truths to them.  I have voiced encouragement.  I have offered a quiet place to cry.

The value of ASP work goes beyond a salary or office budget or other monetary price tag.  It goes beyond low probation rates or high bar passage rates.  Those things are important, but do not measure alone the value of ASP.  Our jobs are value-added because much of what we do each day is not measured by dollars and cents.  The support we offer our students is beyond measure.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to be a blessing to others.  And those others are a blessing to me.  (Amy Jarmon)     

     

May 19, 2010 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Academic Support Director Position at Pace University

Academic Support Director

For more than 100 years Pace University has been preparing students to become leaders in their fields by providing an education that combines exceptional academics with professional experience and the New York advantage. Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County. A private metropolitan university, Pace enrolls nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

Pace University School of Law, located in White Plains, NY, seeks applicants for the position of Director of Academic Support Program to begin July 1, 2010. This position presents a wonderful opportunity become a member of a vibrant and supportive law school community that embraces innovation and advancement. Compensation is commensurate with experience.

The successful candidate will report to the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and will be responsible for the design, implementation and management of all aspects of Pace's well established Academic Support Program including: teaching second and third year Advanced Analytical Skills courses and first year skills workshops; participating in first and second year orientation programs; providing individual writing assistance and counseling; developing and implementing improved Bar Exam passage efforts; performing academic support and related data collection and analysis; writing reports to faculty and administration; and developing new services to enhance our students' academic performance.

Minimum requirements are a J.D from an ABA accredited law school; 10 years relevant experience preferred; law firm or similar legal practice experience; excellent writing and speaking skills; membership in at least one state bar and a genuine desire to work closely with students and faculty. Prior academic support experience, teaching experience (e.g., legal writing, Dean's Scholars or equivalent), membership on law review or moot court and counseling skills are preferred.  

We offer the resources of a private, nationally-ranked university, tuition waivers for family members and an attractive benefits and compensation package. Please visit careers.pace.edu and select Staff Positions to view this opportunity by its job title or Posting Number 0600746.

Pace University is an Equal Employment and Affirmative Action Employer, M/F/H/V, committed to ensuring a diverse learning and working environment. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

May 19, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Director of ASP: Pepperdine Law School

Director of Academic Success Program

Pepperdine University School of Law

Pepperdine University School of Law seeks applicants for the position of Director of the law school’s Academic Success Program, to begin August 1, 2010.  The School of Law is committed to student achievement, and the Director will be primarily responsible for developing, leading, coordinating, and implementing programs that support the School of Law’s goals of improving students’ law school academic success and success on the bar exam.  

Minimum requirements include a J.D. degree and admission to the practice of law.  Ideal candidates will have experience working in a higher education setting in the areas of teaching, academic assistance, academic counseling, or similar administrative, teaching, or practice experience.  The successful candidate also must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of constituents within the diverse law school community, including students served by the Academic Success Program (“ASP”), student teaching fellows who work within ASP, faculty members, and the law school administration.

The successful candidate will report to the Associate Deans for Academics and Student Life and will closely supervise the ASP student teaching fellows. 

The Director’s specific duties will include, among others:

·         Working with faculty and administrative staff to support the academic support efforts at the law school

·         Hiring individual student teaching fellows to serve in each of the first-year courses

·         Conducting orientation and training programs for the student teaching fellows at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters

·         Conducting an orientation to ASP for, and introducing the case briefing method to, first-year students during first-year orientation

·         Coordinating and conducting fall and spring semester ASP workshops for first-year students on topics such as effective note-taking, outlining, multiple choice, and essay exam preparation, etc.

·         Coordinating and supervising the fall and spring semester student teaching fellow-led review sessions and office hours

·         Teaching the spring semester Supplemental Torts course for academically at-risk first-year students

·         Teaching (or co-teaching) the spring semester Bar Exam Workshop course for third-year students

·         Coordinating, teaching, or co-teaching winter and summer bar preparation workshops

·         Holding regular office hours and individual counseling sessions, and developing individualized remediation and referral programs, for law students in need of academic support services and alumni in need of bar preparation services

·         Gathering student and professor feedback regarding ASP offerings, including feedback on student teaching fellows

·         Gathering, compiling, and reporting statistical data regarding student participation in, and impact on student performance of, the various ASP offerings

·         Assisting the law school’s diversity recruiting and retention efforts

·         Maintaining a library of academic support and bar preparation books and materials for use by students and alumni

·         Managing the ASP web pages on the law school’s website

·         Participating in the greater academic support and bar preparation professional community in order to stay apprised of best practices through regular attendance at conferences, participation in relevant listservs and blogs, and study of relevant books and other resources

Compensation is commensurate with experience.  This position is a 12 month contract position, with the possibility of renewal.

Applicants should email a statement of interest, in the form of a cover letter, and resume to Jim Gash, Associate Dean for Student Life, at jim.gash@pepperdine.edu.  Any questions also should be directed to Dean Gash.

May 18, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Quashing Unrealistic Expectations

End of semester conferences provide a good opportunity to have the much needed one-on-one communication with my bar skills students.  Since class sizes are large, 40- 60 students per section, individual contact is hard to achieve regularly.  Conferences give students the opportunity to ask the questions they were hesitant to ask during class and provide the chance for me to counsel, applaud and guide them as they move onto their graduation and bar review.

 

Typically, these conferences run the gamut.  We discuss their performance in class and their essay writing on their simulated bar essays.  But more importantly, I try to gauge their anxiety regarding the bar exam as compared to when they started the class.  At the beginning of the semester, I require all students to fill out a questionnaire that I use to create a student profile and assess where they are and what work is ahead of me.  To fully grasp their progress at the end of the semester, I review their personal questionnaires along with their final writing assignments before our conference. 

 

Although brief, 15-30 minutes, the conferences are a great way for me to personally reach out to those students who need it most and give individualized attention to all of my students.  These conferences also give me great insight into the mind of an almost grad.  This spring I realized that quashing unrealistic expectations regarding what their summer will look like is also a necessary part of my conference time with these budding grads.

 

Startlingly I have heard the phrase, “Studying for the bar this summer is just a nine to five gig, right?”  I was shocked to hear this the first time!  To my surprise, I soon realized that dozens of students were under the same impression, bar review would actually take up less time than their law school studies.  Who is spreading such a rumor?  Who has greatly misrepresented the time commitment required for bar review? 

 

My job, however difficult, is to quash this unrealistic expectation and set them on the path to success.  Attending bar review lectures, memorizing the law and taking practice tests are fundamental to bar exam success but are all quite time consuming.  Therefore, equally important, if not more so, is time management. 

 

Most law school students have a solid grasp of time management strategies.  As 3L’s, they have lived through first year sleep deprivation and Socratic hide the ball, being worked to death in their second year, and juggling multiple deadlines with their reading and work schedules during their third year.  Ironically, however, after all three years, some of them still do not know how to productively use their time.

 

Efficiency and concerted effort is key to success on the bar exam.  Attending daily lectures, synthesizing countless rules into manageable outlines or other memory devices and frequently taking numerous practice exams can only be achieved if a student knows how to effectively stay on task and easily move between each of them.  Interruptions and procrastination will certainly occur.  However, the successful bar review student will know how to overcome these classic distractions. 

 

Since I play a part in their success on the bar exam, I first quash their unrealistic time expectations and then give them helpful tips to make it through this grueling period. 

  • Tip #1: Wake Up!  Bar prep will take over your life for the summer!  It is rarely, if ever, only a nine to five gig; in actuality, it takes at least 10-12 hours out of your day.  I also advise them to use their time judiciously.  Factoring in breaks, family and/or work commitments and exercise is essential.
  • Tip #2:  Manage Your Time!  Calendar and micromanage all of the pieces of your review at the beginning of the summer before bar prep starts.  By planning carefully, students will likely cover all of the requisite material, not leaving multiple subjects to cram into insufficient time right before the exam.  Doing this advance planning will allow them to possess a semblance of control and sanity.  Lastly, when considering time management, I ask them to think not only about what they need to study, but how they will study and where they will study.  Choosing the right time and study location can make a considerable difference in their productivity.  
  • Tip #3 Self Regulate and Reflect  Students know themselves best.  Guide them to reflect on what has worked for them while studying for closed book law school exams and what has not been as successful.  Remind them that if something is not working during bar review, they should seek help (from their bar review provider or ASP) and to feel self confident enough to change their study plan accordingly.  They should be empowered by this process not fraught with worry.  Being flexible and proactive yields positive results.   

Coupling the jolting and daunting news of losing their summer to endless hours of studying for the bar, with concrete strategies to conquer the exam, will hopefully soften the blow.  Selfishly, it may also limit the amount of students knocking at your door around the second week of July needing to be rescued from the mountain of work that accumulated as a result of their lack of time management.  If we plan ahead, so can they…we just need to lead the way.

 

(Lisa Young)

May 7, 2010 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ADHD in adults (in law school)

I thought this was interesting, especially as so many of us are preparing students for finals.

"I see adults with ADHD who are in medical and law school or running companies, and at some point, they hit a ceiling. Their coping mechanisms aren't effective anymore," says Peter Jaksa, a clinical psychologist who works with ADHD patients in Chicago.

Many people in law school are incredibly smart, and managed to succeed in college (and sometimes a prior career) because their intelligence overcame their inability to focus or concentrate.  No matter how naturally smart someone is, reading cases and fact patterns requires prolonged focus and concentration, which is why many students "hit the wall" when they get to law school.  

However, it's sometimes very difficult to get a sense of what the real issue is with a student. I don't know any MD ASPer's, but most of us aren't qualified to make any sort of diagnosis, only suggest testing by a specialist. Students who don't like law school, who find the cases boring and work monotonous, can have similar "symptoms" as students with undiagnosed ADHD.  It's not our place to diagnose students, just give them their options and suggest testing.  ASPer's should not feel like they have to have an answer for every student issue.  Sometimes what we are seeing is more than an academic issue, and has a medical cause. (RCF)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304620304575165902933059076.html?KEYWORDS=ADHD

May 5, 2010 in Advice, Disability Matters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)