June 17, 2011
Bar prep position at Chapman University
Chapman University seeks applications for the position of Assistant/Associate Professor of Bar Preparation.
Chapman University, located in the heart of Orange County, California, offers traditional undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences and select pre-professional and graduate programs. With the university ranked in the top tier of western universities and the law school ranked number 104 in the Top Schools category by U.S. News and World Report, Chapman has gained substantial recognition with its commitment to excellence through research and innovative teaching. More information about the Chapman University School of Law is available at http://www.chapman.edu/law.
Candidates must be admitted to the California Bar and have significant teaching experience. We also prefer some degree of legal practice experience.
The Assistant/Associate Professor of Bar Preparation will be responsible for designing, coordinating and teaching courses that will prepare law students for a successful bar examination performance. This individual will be expected to devote considerable energy to helping graduates prepare for the bar examination, including, but not limited to, directing the law school’s summer supplemental bar exam program, meeting with students in groups and individually to respond to questions related to the bar exam, assisting students with their moral character applications, motivating students to devote the efforts required to be successful on the bar exam, and administering and critiquing mock bar multiple choice, essay, and performance test exams. The successful candidate will have a full-time, non-tenure track faculty appointment at the Assistant Professor or Associate Professor level, depending on his or her experience and qualifications.
Final candidates will be required to undergo a background check.
Please send letters of interest to:
Professor Celestine Richards McConville
Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee
Chapman University School of Law
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
June 15, 2011
Mixed emotions upon the end of 1L year
Do you vividly remember how you felt after your last exam for 1L year? After your grades for 1L year came out and you knew you had passed? After you put "2L" on some form or application for the first time?
Even though it has been a number of years since those events occurred in my life, I still remember exactly how I felt. Current rising 2L's will often talk with me about their mixed emotions at the end of their 1L journey.
There is the exhilaration of knowing that 1L year is finally over. For most students, the fall semester dragged out while spring semester flew by.
There is euphoria knowing that a well-deserved summer break is in front of you. Sleep, movies, long workouts, family, friends - a potpourri of forgotten pleasures awaits you.
There are pride and awe realizing that one not only survived, but developed analytical and writing skills that were unknown or untapped just ten months earlier. And, one can now speak a foreign language known only to attorneys and law students.
There is sadness that you will not be in every class over the next two years with the close friends you made in your section. Your terrific study group is now dismantled - probably forever.
There is relief that certain students in your section will no longer be in every class with you over the next two years.
There is the uncertainty of juggling academics, part-time work, student organization responsibilities, and personal responsibilities during the upcoming 2L year. Do they really "work you to death" now that they are done "scaring you to death" during first year?
There is the excitement of going into upper-division classes in summer school, working at one's first legal summer job, or beginning an internship or externship in the legal field.
There is the realization that, good or bad, there will never be another 1L year when it was all new, exciting, a bit frightening, and an adventure.
There is the amazing opportunity to put into place new strategies and techniques to become more efficient and effective at studying.
Congratulations to all of you who are rising 2L students! Enjoy your summers. Come back in August refreshed and ready for new challenges and advanced skill use in your learning. (Amy Jarmon)
June 14, 2011
The "one size fits all" flaw
ASP'ers know from their daily discussions with law students that there is a great deal of diversity within a student body. Law schools as entities, however, sometimes ignore that law students are unique from one another more than they have ever been before in legal education.
- Some law students come to us straight out of undergraduate school. Some law students worked for years before undergraduate school. Some law students worked for years after undergraduate school. Some law students have graduate/professional degrees already.
- Some law students are single parents. Some law students are married. Some law students are married with children. Spouses may be working or stay-at-home. Some law students are responsible for the care of parents, grandparents, or siblings.
- Some law students are 20-something. Some are 30-something. Some are 40-something. And some are much older.
- Law students are visual learners, verbal learners, aural learners, oral learners, kinesthetic learners, tactile learners, or any combination of these styles.
- Law students are global thinkers, intuitive thinkers, sequential thinkers, sensing thinkers, and pairs of these processing styles.
- Some law students have learning disabilities, ADHD, visual impairments, mobility impairments, or other characteristics that result in their having accommodations.
- Some law students are battling chronic illness, financial problems, family problems, or personal problems.
- Some law students want to practice. Some want to be law librarians. Some want to go into business. Some have no idea what type of law career they want.
- Some law students have English as a second language. Some law students have weak writing backgrounds. Some law students are deficient in math skills.
In short there is NO one size fits all for law students. Yet, so many types of decisions track what has been done in the past rather than consciously considering today's student body characteristics. Diversity in students can affect a myriad of areas including:
- orientation schedules
- class schedules
- tutoring times
- make-up class schedules
- review sessions for exams
- teaching methods
- testing methods
- support services
- emergency loan programs
- school-sponsored insurance
- curricular options.
(By the way, do not assume that one type of law school automatically does a better job on these decisions than another type. All law schools could do better on decision-making with diversity in mind - some may be farther ahead in this type of input, but none is perfect.)
So, why is it that well-meaning law schools sometimes make decisions that ignore the differences? In this day and age, I doubt that it is because of a lack of knowledge regarding all the different aspects of diversity. Instead, I think the decisions occur because of:
- budget cuts ("if it is across the board, everyone suffers equally" or "we never provided that support service before"),
- lack of planning ("we need to move now on this idea" or "we can worry about that later"),
- insensitivity ("it has always been that way" or "there are not a lot of students with that problem"), or
- lack of information from students telling us when there is a procedure or policy adversely affecting students ("five of us had child-care problems and couldn't attend that make-up class" or "international students run into extreme health care cost problems because the school insurance plan is not required").
Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that law schools need to change everything just because some students desire things to be different. I am saying that we need to consider whether there are characteristics of our students that we are missing when we make decisions. We can then at least weigh possible implications for learning and success and determine whether there is an appropriate modification that would work better than the way we had planned/always done it.
After-the-fact information from several students, for example, has made me re-think how I will schedule make-up classes next year. I want to try some new delivery methods to reach more students with scheduling conflicts. Several expertise areas are ones that I need to investigate to be more helpful to my students with disabilities. And I want to find ways to integrate my students' prior experiences in Europe into my EU course. (Amy Jarmon)
June 13, 2011
Positive Psychology and Law Students
Corie Rosen of ASU-Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law recently published in article in the McGeorge Law Review on positive psychology and law students. Corie's work is a good reminder for all of us that self-efficacy is important for law students as learners and as future professionals.
1) Feedback should be temporary and specific.
Avoid making comments on students papers (and to students directly) that are permenent or pervasive. This is a hard thing to do, especially when you are frustrated. Setbacks are temporary. One bad grade or semester does not mean the student cannot succeed in law school.
2) Students need to know they have some control in their lives.
Law school can infantilize students. During their first year, they cannot choose their classes, their section, or their schedule. If you cannot let them make a decision, then explain to them why they can't make the decision. If them control where you can.
3) Encourage connection and roots in the community and in the law school.
Law school can disconnect students from their traditional support systems. Try to reorient them by letting them know where they can seek help if they need it. Help foster close relationships with peers by encouraging study groups and teaching them how to work in a study group. Show them the community outside the law school walls and help them remember the relevance of what they are learning to the outside world.