Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Faculty interface for non-faculty ASP'ers

Each law school has a different "fit" for the ASP staff member within its community.  Some of us are contract administrators for 9, 10, or 12 months.  Some of us are tenure-track faculty.  Some of us have multiple hats: doctrinal teaching or legal research and writing plus ASP or bar prep.

At the law schools where ASP'ers are not full faculty members, they sometimes can feel a bit "out of the loop" from the faculty - especially if their offices are in isolated locations or their schedules do not bring them into contact with faculty on a regular basis.  ASP'ers should not be shy, however, about becoming integral members of the law school community.  

Here are some tips for having more involvement with faculty and getting more exposure for your ASP program:

  • Give every faculty member a general flyer on your ASP services for students.  Make it a handy reference sheet so that they can tell students more about the types of services that you offer and the topics that you cover.  
  • Give every faculty member information regarding dates/topics for your workshops or other events that you are holding for students each semester.  Again, it gives them a handy reference when they are talking with students. 
  • Give every faculty member a small stack of your business cards so that they can hand them out to students.  A student is more likely to e-mail for an appointment if the address is right in front of her.
  • Give every faculty member a flyer on how you may be able to help them.  Include services such as consultation on a specific student's learning problems, solving typical student learning problems for their course material, developing visuals in the classroom, understanding how learning styles affect the classroom dynamics, in-class workshops on particular study skills, etc.  Your own expertise will guide what services you might be able to offer professors.
  • Ask a new faculty member to lunch to tell her more about your office and ask how you may be able to help her settle in to your law school/city. 
  • Attend faculty functions that may not relate to your duties directly but allow you to have more time with faculty.  Show your interest in what they do: in-service talks on faculty research, coffee klatch time, lunches to honor faculty publications, dinners for faculty awards.  The more faculty see you as part of the overall law school community, the more you will be seen as a colleague rather than a satellite function of the law school.
  • Attend faculty meetings if you are allowed to do so.  You will learn a great deal about your law school, faculty concerns, and faculty colleagues' personalities.  Know the etiquette for your school, however.  Speak only if that is allowed.  Vote only if you have that privilege.
  • Volunteer to be ex officio on faculty committees as appropriate.  For example, your expertise might be helpful on a faculty subcommittee considering a for-credit bar prep course.
  • Announce your presentations and publications within your school's newsletter or news website as appropriate.  Your colleagues will be interested in your contributions to the law school's reputation regionally and nationally.
  • Offer to teach a course outside ASP in a specialty area that you have if your law school will allow that option.  If your practice expertise was in entertainment law or admiralty law, your law school might welcome an elective course in that area.  Make sure that you will have the time to juggle teaching with your ASP duties before you offer though!

I have always been fortunate to have good faculty colleagues to work with at each law school.  But, I have to remind myself to make the time to keep up those relationships.  We all get so busy that it is easy to become isolated in ASP and "not get out much" as a result.  (Amy Jarmon)


  

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