Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Director of Diversity and Outreach Position at Roger Williams

Director of Diversity & Outreach at Roger Williams University School of Law

The Director of Diversity & Outreach (DDO) will oversee and monitor a comprehensive strategy to recruit, retain and assist the academic and professional development of diverse students within the School of Law.  The DDO will provide programmatic, personal, social and cultural support to diverse students and will organize programs throughout the academic year.  The DDO will also serve as a member of the Dean’s Senior Staff and oversee Study Abroad Programs at the School of Law.

Minimum qualifications include (1) a J. D. from an ABA accredited law school or a Masters degree with a minimum of three years experience in a law school or other academic setting; (2) strong understanding and commitment to diversity issues as the relate to students in a law school community; (3) strong interpersonal and counseling skills including the ability to communicate effectively with diverse students; and (4) strong organizational skills.  Experience in diversity programming in a university or law school setting is preferred.

To view a more detailed job description and to apply, Please visit the Roger Williams website at:




October 30, 2010 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Five stages of grading

Sarah Klaper at DePaul University School of Law shared the following link to the "not that kind of doctor blog" with the Legal Research and Writing Professor listserv.  As those of us who teach ASP courses, pre-law courses, or law school doctrinal courses move into grading season, I thought this link might be of interest.  I found myself saying "Been there, done that."  The blog posting can be found at: The five stages of grading.  (Amy Jarmon)

October 29, 2010 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mandy Carter is new ASP'er at Charlotte Law

Anthea des Etages, Director of Academic Success, announced on the listserv this summer that Amanda Carter had joined the Academic Success  staff at Charlotte Law.  The information below is from Anthea's listserv announcement.  Please welcome Amanda when you see her at a conference or workshop.  (Amy Jarmon)

I am very pleased to announce that Amanda Carter has joined the Academic Success team at Charlotte School of Law.  Mandy is from Shelby, North Carolina.  She attended University of North Carolina School of Law, where she was the Articles and Notes Editor of the First Amendment Law Review.  She also led the Client Counseling Team as a member of the Moot Court, trained as a Guardian Ad Litem and participated in a variety of pro bono projects before graduating in 2006. For the last four years, Mandy has practiced in the areas of real estate and trust and estates in NC.     

October 28, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Navigating the Milky Way

Recently I spent several days in the middle of the North Carolina mountains.  I was on a farm far from any city.  One night, we walked out into an open area away from the farmhouse lights and looked up into the evening sky.

There stretched above us in the sky were wide expanses of the Milky Way.  Millions of stars twinkled in the heavens.  Mixed in were bright stars and planets that beckoned with a brillance greater than their other shining companions.  They intertwined in patterns above our heads.

Now I once upon a time as a child learned the basic constellations.  However, I have forgotten most of my former star-gazing knowledge - and at its best, it was meagre.  So, as I looked up, I felt disoriented. 

Several scientists in the group began rattling off the constellations, planets, and stars.  They quickly pointed out the patterns in the sky.  They explained why certain bright points could or could not be planets.  They talked about different quadrants of the sky and why we could not see this or that constellation.  They conferred about how the array would shift by the next evening.  They excitedly discussed the finer points of a comet that coursed through a constellation right on schedule.

Perhaps if I could have stretched out on my back in the grass and stared at the same segment for a good while, I could have absorbed all they were telling us.  But, it went by too quickly for me.  There was too much to take in at once.  It was organized in a way that made sense to them, but which I couldn't fully follow because I didn't grasp all the basics that were second nature to them.  I felt like I was getting a bit lost in the discussion because everyone in the group was interrupting with questions at different levels of understanding from where I was.  I wished for a one-on-one tutorial so I could get up to speed.  And suddenly it was over, not to be repeated another night.

Some of our students must feel in their courses that they are viewing the Milky Way far too quickly with too little understanding in the midst of too many rapid-fire comments and questions.  I now remember how that feels.  (Amy Jarmon)


October 27, 2010 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome Alicia Jackson to FAMU College of Law

Jendayi Saada, Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation, at Florida A&M University College of Law announced on the ASP listserv this fall that Alicia Jackson had joined the FAMU ASP staff.  Jendayi's announcement is included in part below so that you will know more about Alicia.  Please welcome her to the ASP fold!  (Amy Jarmon)

Professor Alicia Jackson has joined our FAMU family, as the Coordinator for Academic Success & Bar Preparation. Professor Jackson comes to the FAMU College of Law from the Law Center at Nova Southeastern University where she served as a professor in the Critical Skills Program.  She was also a member of the faculty for the Criminal Justice Institute where she developed the criminal law course for the Ph.D. program.   She is the former Chair of an undergraduate criminal justice program and during her tenure developed and taught various courses, including, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Victimology, and Constitutional law.  She has extensive experience in both curriculum design and course development.  Her research and teaching interest include criminal law and procedure, juvenile delinquency, victimology and academic support programs in law schools.

Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson worked as an associate in a South Florida law firm, and subsequently opened her own practice.  She practiced law in the areas of wills, trusts and estates, personal injury, landlord-tenant and criminal law.  Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson served as the executive director of a juvenile diversionary program sponsored by the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Professor Jackson is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Florida Bar and previously served as a Florida State Supreme Court certified mediator.    She received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University and both a Master’s of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Grambling State University.

While she not new to ASP, Professor Jackson is a breath of fresh air here at FAMU!



October 26, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Welcome the Co-Directors at Michigan State

Michigan State law school has two new Co-Directors in Academic Support: Goldie Pritchard and Meghan Short.  Please welcome them.  They have kindly provided us with the additional information below so that you can get to know them and their program.  (Amy Jarmon)

Goldie Pritchard 
Goldie Pritchard

Meghan Short 
Meghan Short

In 2009, Michigan State University (MSU) College of Law launched a program designed to provide structured academic support to the entire law student population. This program was spearheaded by Goldie Pritchard who served as the interim director for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Academic Success Program was such a success that the administration retained Goldie as the Co-Director and hired a Co-Director to assist in further expanding the reach of the Academic Success Program in 2010.  Meghan Short, an alum of the Law College, is the newest addition to the Academic Success Program and has been with us since June 2010.

After graduating from MSU College of Law in 2004, Meghan moved to Chicago where she worked for a little over 5 1/2 years.  She was an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago Law Department for nearly 4 years before she moved to the Cook County Office of the Public Defender, where she practiced (as a P.D.) until she joined our office.  As a student, Meghan was a Teaching Assistant, a Research Assistant, on Law Review, and was a participant in the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute.

The Academic Success Program at MSU Law is a resource for students to utilize as they identify and strengthen their academic abilities during law school. Individual academic counseling, available to all students, allows ASP staff to provide targeted guidance and instruction to students as they cultivate and enhance the critical skills necessary for success in law school. MSU ASP also offers a series of study strategy and exam taking workshops for first year students.

This fall, the Academic Success Program is also beginning a "Pilot TA Program." In all first-year Civil Procedure and Torts classes, teaching assistants, under the training and guidance of ASP staff (as well as the course professors), will hold bi-weekly TA labs. These labs are designed to enhance and reinforce necessary law school skills within the context of the doctrinal material being covered in class. Asp also supports upper class students through various Bar preparation workshops.


October 25, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coping with brain cells that cry "Uncle"

A number of my students have expressed concern about their inability to focus by late afternoon because their brain cells are, to put it simply, exhausted.  They find they cannot learn one more rule, absorb one more concept, or read one more word.

At the same time, they feel pressured by the amount of daily work and the need to focus seriously on exam review.  As a result, their stress and anxiety levels are soaring because their flagging focus is contrasted with an increased need to use every minute well.  They feel guilty for taking a break in the afternoon instead of chugging on through their work.

Let's face it, law students expect the impossible from their brains.  They want maximum performance at every moment without considering the realities of mental "heavy lifting."  And, they want that maximum performance even if they are not taking care of themselves so that their brain cells are rested and nourished.

I suggest that my law students first evaluate whether their "care and feeding" regimens are sound. 

  • Are they getting a minimum of seven hours sleep a night with a regular sleep pattern (going to bed and getting up at the same time during the school week)?  If not, their brain cells are fatigued and will not learn or retain as much.  Tasks will also take longer when brain cells are tired.
  • Are they getting three nutritious meals a day?  If not, their brain cells do not have the nourishment for the mental tasks they are being asked to undertake.  Junk food and sugar- or caffiene-rich foods do not count as nutritious brain food.
  • Are they getting some physical exercise each week?  If not, they are not expending stress that can impede focus.  They are also not allowing physical exercise to increase their restful sleep to restore brain cells.
  • Are they interrupting their concentration with electronic distractions?  Today's students often constantly disrupt their concentration with cell phone calls, texting, IMing, and e-mailing.  Even a few minutes disruption can alter study results.  Self-discipline is needed to avoid being an electronic junkie.  Inbox storage capacities and voicemail were invented for a reason - dealing with the inflow of items when it is convenient after dealing with important tasks first. 

Once we have checked out the basics, I move on to some other possible suggestions to help them get over the afternoon slump in brain power.

  • Lack of focus may be the result of low blood sugar levels in the body.  A healthy snack (raisins, an apple, nuts, a granola bar) may give the boost needed to re-focus and get through the next class or assignment.  Snacking on candy bars or drinking colas or energy drinks will temporarily give a boost, but result in a later crash.
  • It is okay to take a break at the end of a long or difficult class day.  It is not uncommon to have a brain slump in the late afternoon.  This may be the perfect time to take a break for one or two hours to rejuvenate oneself before further study.  However, students need to make sound decisions about their breaks.
  • A workout break may be ideal because the student's exercise will defuse stress and promote better sleep later in the evening.  Even a brisk walk outside for 15-20 minutes may have a positive effect.
  • Running errands may be a useful break so that necessary tasks can be completed while getting a change from studying.
  • Combining an hour dinner with an hour of workout or errands may be a smart move.  Getting ones nutrition along with an entirely different task set can be reinvigorating.
  • Sitting down at the computer to answer e-mails, surf the Web, or check out Facebook may not be the ideal break.  These tasks tend to morph into expanded breaks - one hour becomes two hours.  Also, sitting in front of a computer screen can be innervating rather than rejuvenating.  If ones next study task is sitting in front of a computer screen working on an outline, the break period may actually increase the monotony of the follow-on study task.
  • Watching TV or playing computer games may have the same downsides as a computer break. 
  • A power nap of twenty minutes might be useful.  However, a two-hour nap is likely to disrupt that evening's sleep schedule and make one more groggy.  (If a student needs long naps every day, then it usually means that a regular sleep schedule is lacking.  If one gets seven or more hours per night during the same time period each night, the need for naps should disappear within two weeks.)

Students need to realize that the in-depth and critical thinking required when studying law willbe mentally exhausting at times.  An appropriate period of down time before going back to the next demanding task is not unreasonable.  Forcing oneself to continue studying when brain cells cannot absorb any more is counter-productive, frustrating, and stressful.  

Many students can improve focus with greater self-awareness and common sense solutions.  For students with severe, long-standing focus problems that do not respond to moderate changes in routine, there may other factors such as illness, anxiety disorders, learning disabilities, or ADHD interfering.  Obviously, these types of problems would need to be diagnosed and treated by appropraitely trained professionals.  (Amy Jarmon)   



October 23, 2010 in Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Report from the LSAC Regional Workshop: Building a Bar Program

The recent LSAC regional workshop, “Building a Bar Program” was filled with useful information regarding every aspect of law school bar preparation programs.  

The agenda included:

 Carlota Toledo’s virtual presentation via Skype: “Using Skype to Reach Out of State Bar Takers”

 Courtney Lee’s presentation: “Building a Continuum of Academic Support”

 My Bar Exam Related Work in Progress: "Legitimizing and Integrating Bar Preparation Programs"

Laurie Zimet’s presentation:  “Diversity in the Profession”

Twinette Johnson’s presentation: “An Introduction to Program Design: Convincing Your Faculty that a Program is Valuable and Viable”

Jennifer Carr’s presentation:  “The Voluntary Third Year Program”

Barbara McFarland’s presentation:  “The For-Credit Program”

Odessa Alm’s presentation:  “The Post Graduation Program”

Paula Manning’s presentation:  “Psychology and Stereotype Threat”

Lessons in a Box:

            Chris Ide-Don’s lesson on “Multiple Choice Exams” 

            Russell McClain’s lesson on “Performance Exams” 

            Dan Weddle’s lesson on “Essay Exam Writing"

Mary Lu Bilek’s presentation:  “Defining Success: Evaluating and Improving Your Program”

As you can see by the list of presenters, we were graced by a stellar group of ASP veterans.  The conference was useful for ASPers looking to add bar preparation elements to their academic support program, create a new bar support program or enhance a current bar support program at their school.  Although I gained many new insights from the presentations, the most important take away from the two day conference for me personally was the feeling of camaraderie, encouragement, collaboration and support that was apparent in every presentation, interaction and discussion.

Additionally, this conference provided me with my first opportunity to present.  I greatly benefited from the process of preparing my presentation and the constructive feedback I was given during my presentation.  Presenting a work in progress is an interesting and appealing endeavor.  The “work in progress” or article is not complete (or possibly even started), you may have some ideas stewing but do not have concrete conclusions per se, and you have endless possible directions that your article may take.  Essentially, this incredible flexibility allows you to safely go out on limb. 

Once I came to grips with the fact that my work in progress was still just a work in progress and not a polished finished product, I could focus on what I wanted to gain from my session.  New insights, a critique of my current ideas, comments on organization and structure, and suggestions for expansion or narrowing were a few of my goals.  Not only were those goals met, but a thoughtful discussion of my topic (Legitimizing and Integrating Bar Preparation Programs and Techniques into the Broader Law School Curriculum) ensued.  More importantly, with every raise of a hand or comment given, I felt overwhelming support for my article but really that support was for me. 

My initial nervousness faded as I fully engaged with a truly dynamic group of individuals.  As Mihaly Csiksezentmihalyi would characterize it, I was experiencing “flow”.  Not everyone agreed with my initial thoughts, many even played the role of devil ’s advocate by challenging my premise, ideas and research, but I remained focused and motivated in a strangely euphoric state.  Wow, it was fun!

I write this post not to exalt my article or draw attention to my presentation.  Instead, I write this post to encourage everyone to take advantage of such opportunities in the future.  When you see, “Call for Proposals”, in an email subject line, do not automatically hit the delete key.  If you are excited to present or publish but do not know where to start, simply ask!  Ask someone at your school that you respect, ask someone you admire that has presented or published a piece that has inspired you, ask through the ASP list serve, or ask me. 

There are increasingly more opportunities to advance your scholarly ideas or innovative teaching techniques.  Although many of us are too busy to even keep up with our daily work schedules, you should not let finding the time hold you back.  The benefits you reap from presenting, writing, or researching far out weigh the burden it may place on your schedule.  In addition, the support and encouragement is a great confidence boost.  Find your “flow” and go out on a limb, you won’t regret the experience.

Many thanks to LSAC, Kent Lollis, and the planning committee(Odessa Alm, Hillary Burgess, Paula Manning, and Russell McClain), for the Topical Conference and for giving me the opportunity to present my work in progress. 

(Lisa Young)

October 22, 2010 in Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stefanie Sidortsova Becomes Interim Director at Vermont

Please welcome Stefanie Sidortsova to the ASP community!  Stefanie has become the Interim Director of Academic Sucess Programs at Vermont Law School.  She has been the writing specialist at Vermont for the past two years.  During spring semester after the new Director arrives, she will continue to serve as the writing specialist and as an Assistant Professor for ASP.  You can find Stefanie's bio here: Stefanie Sidortsova.  (Amy Jarmon)

October 21, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Man's Best Friend as a Study Buddy

If anyone had suggested to me several years ago that I would tout dogs as study buddies, I would have laughed.  However, I have found that my students can use their furry friends to help them study in several ways.  Bear with me as these suggestions do have evidence of working for at least some of my dog owners and their pets.

Dogs are incredibly loyal and expressive companions.  These traits ideally suit them to be study buddies. 

Law students have to read and brief cases every day of their lives.  However, they will often learn and retain more if they recite out loud after these tasks.  Explaining a case helps the student prepare for in-class recitation and checks her understanding of the case - if you can correctly explain it then you really know it.

Of course, one could explain the case to an empty chair or a blank wall.  But behold ones furry friend.  By explaining the case to ones dog, a responsive audience is available.  A dog will smile at your voice, cock its head in attentiveness, and perhaps even bark or wag its tail to signify how brilliant you are.  In addition, your discourse with your dog will lull it into thinking that you are paying attention to it even when you really are not.  No more guilt about ignoring your pooch while you study.  Ah, a true symbiotic relationship!

Another example is that dogs often come over to check on their owners during long study periods.  Assuming that your animal is not actually asking to go outside, you can use this interaction to advantage as well.  Let your dog's visit amount to an accountability check. 

Pretend your pet is checking to see if you are focused on the task at hand, finished the case you were supposed to have read, or completed some other task that you should have finished.  If you are not on-task, then you need to admit it to your dog and get back to work.  After all, you do not want to embarrass yourself again about being a slacker on the next accountability visit.

Finally, dogs and humans need exercise as well as companionship.  Many law students learn by listening to the various audio series on law topics.  By listening to Contracts, Corporations, or some other course on your iPod while you jog or walk with your dog, you have accomplished two important tasks at once.  Voila, more symbiosis.

Oh, and for those of you who own furry felines instead, I can tell you from personal experience that the first reciting step does work with cats.  However, they are not inclined to look interested or give you any feedback regarding your brilliance.  The accountability step may work as long as they do not lie down on the book or paper that you are reading.  But most certainly, they will not tolerate companionable exercise.  (Amy Jarmon)




October 20, 2010 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Claudia Diamond Is New Director at University of Baltimore

Claudia Diamond joined the University of Baltimore staff as Director of Academic Support in mid-Spring.  Please welcome her to our professional community.  She provided the information below so that you can get to know her.  (Amy Jarmon)

Although our hyperlink function is not working, ou can read more about her on the University of Baltimore faculty page:

Ms. Diamond’s responsibilities include supporting the teaching and learning goals of the school by specifically designing and implementing strategies to assist student learning, including assisting students with preparation for the bar examination.  She participates in individual and group academic advising and monitoring of at risk students’ progress, teaches academic workshops and supports both full time and adjunct faculty.  She is responsible for hiring, training and supervising over 40 student mentors who provide structured academic support. She will occasionally teach classes and engage in research and publication. 

A 1995 magna cum laude graduate of the law school and winner of the Law Faculty Award, Ms. Diamond clerked for the Honorable John Eldridge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland and Chief Magistrate Judges Daniel Klein and Paul Grimm of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.   Her professional experience includes time as a litigation associate at Gordon, Feinblatt, Hoffman, & Hoffberger in Baltimore and as a prosecutor for a professional licensing board with the Attorney General’s Office of Maryland.   For a number of years, she has taught legal writing as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. She’s an avid long distance runner and is forming a running group at the law school; she is active in a number of local community groups and is on the board of her synagogue.  She’s the mom to one daughter, age 12. 


October 19, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome to Hillary Wandler at University of Montana

We would like to welcome Hillary Wandler to the academic support community!  Hillary kindly provided us with the information below.  Please say hello when you see her at a conference or workshop.  (Amy Jarmon)

Hillary Wadler has joined The University of Montana School of Law faculty as an Assistant Professor teaching legal writing and academic support.  She earned her law degree from The University of Montana in 2004, then clerked for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court, District of Montana before entering private practice in Missoula, Montana.  She has been the Legal Writing Fellow at The University of Montana School of Law since fall semester 2008.  She also represents veterans before the VA and U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

October 18, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's love got to do with it?

When I was in law school, I had a love affair with the study of law.  However, I had a love-hate relationship at times with law school itself.  Law school was daunting on occasion when juggled with two part-time jobs, student organization responsibilities, and financial concerns.   

I was lucky to attend a law school where the professors and deans really cared about their law students and their learning so the environment was more humane than many institutions during the 80's and 90's.  Their enthusiasm for the law and encouragement helped to keep things in perspective for me.  And if I started feeling sorry for myself, I plunged into some community service in my town to remind myself that my life was really good in comparison to the struggles many people faced on a daily basis.   

Sometimes law students will confide in me that they love studying the law and/or law school.  They often will end these declarations with "Don't tell anyone."  They are embarrassed to admit they can love something that is challenging, exasperating, exciting, and fulfilling when others seem to dislike the experience.  They fear that other law students will laugh at them or consider them strange.

Mind you these same law students will have bad weeks when they get a bit overwhelmed and lose confidence in their abilities.  But the underlying love affair with the law will get them through those times.  As long as they can keep focused on the bigger picture, they will prosper.

Some law students, however, are consistently miserable during law school.  Perhaps they are here because of a bad economy, parent expectations, or a misconception as to what law school and the legal profession entail.  In some cases, their self-esteem has been knocked hard as they get grades lower than any in their prior experience.  Often these students will tell me that they are going to stick it out because "they started it" or "they don't know what else to do" or "they will be failures if they leave." 

My heart aches for these students because it is so difficult to continue something in life that has become pure drudgery.  A few students are able to turn around the situation once they learn better study habits.  As they become less overwhelmed, they are able to capture the love of the law that they missed sight of before.  But for others, the misery goes unabated.

There are times when we learn more about ourselves and our goals in life from what does not work out than from what does.  Personally, I think we all deserve to love our life's work.  There is no shame in saying that a graduate program or a job is not a good match.  It takes courage to walk away when the love is gone from our work or study, but it can be the wiser choice. 

I wish that all of my students might have a love affair with the law.  I hope that they will have more "love days" than "hate days" during law school.  And if the law is not the best match, I hope they will have the courage to seek out the alternative path that will give them happiness in their work and lives.  And, I hope that they will come talk about their struggles.  As ASP'ers we can often serve best by listening.  (Amy Jarmon)     



October 5, 2010 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Starting a new semester

As we move past the beginning and approach the middle of the semester, we are trying new things and experimenting with new formats. We are learning what wroks, and what needs some tweaks. Some of us are teaching new classes, others are teaching the same classes in a new way.  This is my second year of teaching Remedies as an ASP course, and here are some of the new things I am trying. Some are going well, others need more tweaks in teh coming weeks:

1) My student's don't use a traditional casebook (until Mike Schwartz's comes out) so I send them their reading in chunks. I don't know how this will work. But my rationale for the change is that I can better tailor the reading to the movement of the class if I periodically review where we are and where we want to go throughout the semester rather than give them everything at once. I add questions and comments to the reading, and this way, I can tailor my questions and comments in the text to what the students are struggling with in the material.

2) I am definitely using handouts to go with my PowerPoints.  I know, I should have been doing this from the start. I would love to say my rationale was that I researched the science and saw that handouts scaffold the material learned in class, and therefore, make for better learning by students. That is 75% of my rationale. The other 25% has to do with attention in class. I really don't like giving away my PowerPoints because I believe it reduces the motivation to be alert and attentive in class. I teach at night, and I could be Robin Williams and students would still want to zone out.  If I create a handout the acts as a roadmap to where we are going, they can fill in the pertinent information. I am hoping this method also helps students start to see what they should be taking notes on in their other classes. If I give them a template, they will (hopefully) extrapolate what are the important headings to their other classes.

3) I am trying a slower movement through the material. I am trying to go one step deeper with the material, making deeper connections between the material and what students should be thinking. This is an ongoing metacognitive process for me. I am not only re-reading the material, but stopping myself to ask why? when I write notes on the case.


October 4, 2010 in Program Evaluation, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congratulations and welcome to ASP colleagues at Pace


Congratulations to Danielle Bifulci Focal (pictured above) who has been promoted from Associate Director of Academic Support at Pace School of Law to the Director position. Danielle has kindly provided us with a bio if you have not previously met her at conferences:

Danielle Bifulci Kocal first joined Pace Law School as an adjunct professor, when she taught the Advanced Analytical Skills course to third-year students preparing for the Bar Exam. She then became the Associate Director of the Academic Support Program, and was involved in all aspects of academic support at the law school. She is now thrilled to be the Director of the Academic Support Program, and to have the opportunity to use her experiences at Pace, both as a student and a Professor, to expand and improve the Academic Support Program. Danielle graduated magna cum laude from Pace Law School in 2006. Prior to joining the Academic Support Program at Pace, Danielle was an associate at the law office of Elizabeth Swire Falker, Esq., PC, where she practiced in the areas of reproductive and adoption law.

In addition, Pace has a new Associate Director of Academic Support in Elizabeth Corwin who previously was connected with Pace in other capacities. Again, we have obtained a bio to help you get acquainted with Elizabeth:

Elizabeth Corwin is the new Associate Director of Academic Support at Pace. Previously, she worked as a Staff Attorney representing victims of domestic violence in family courts at the Pace Women’s Justice Center and as an Associate in commercial litigation and government investigations at Day, Pitney LLP in Stamford, Connecticut. She has been an adjunct professor at Pace, co-teaching Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiating for the past several years. Elizabeth graduated magna cum laude from Pace Law School in 1999.

Please introduce yourselves when you see these Pace colleagues at a future workshop. (Amy Jarmon)




October 4, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Etiquette - times seem to have changed

Some days it strikes me how very different the world is for our current 20-something law students from the world where most of us have grown up, started working, and lived our professional and personal lives.  Although my concerns might reflect my age (and my more prevalent gray hairs), I think there are some basic life skills/habits that most ASP'ers over 30 grew up with that some of our students desperately need to acquire if they will succeed in the workplace. 

Here are some items that some members of this newer generation of students seem unfamiliar with from their past experiences:

  • One should come to an appointment or meeting with paper and a writing instrument (or electronic gizmo) for notes.
  • One should look at one's Outlook, planner, electronic calendar ap, or hand (for the ink on palm types) after noting an appointment so that one actually shows up for the appointment.
  • One should not text, take phone calls, or check e-mail during an appointment or meeting.
  • One should not talk to others in class while the professor is leading the class.
  • One should always be prepared for classes, meetings, appointments, etc.
  • One should e-mail or telephone ahead to cancel an appointment with a professor or administrator so that the opening can be given to another person.
  • One should e-mail or telephone a professor or administrator to apologize for missing an appointment because of a sudden emergency or oversleeping.
  • Standing appointment times mean just that - they are regular unless one asks to cancel or modify them.

Why do I bring this up?  Today I had three "no shows" as well as one timely cancellation.  I had other students who had wanted appointments today but could not match times on my calendar - those students could have used the "no show" times, however, if the spots had been properly cancelled.  (Amy Jarmon) 

October 2, 2010 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to Jeff Wyss, New Director at Pepperdine

This summer Selina Farrell, Assistant Professor of Law, announced on the ASP listserv that Jeff Wyss has joined the Pepperdine University School of Law as the new Director of the Academic Success Program.  Please welcome Jeff to the ASP community with your usual ASP friendliness and enthusiasm!  I have included here part of Selina's listserv announcement.  (Amy Jarmon)

Jeff graduated from Pepperdine in 2009, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to the law school.  Jeff most recently held the position of associate at Latham & Watkins in San Diego. I know Jeff will be an excellent leader for our academic support and bar prep programs, and the students will benefit greatly from his guidance and enthusiasm. 

October 1, 2010 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)