March 9, 2012
Reminders for those looking for ASP positions
Amy and I have run a number of posts on looking for work in ASP. Here are some updates and reminders.
1) Search the older posts from this blog. Rather than restate my advice, I will tell you where to find it.
2) Don't rely on the ASP listserv or this blog. Some schools only post to their internal website; be sure to check out HR websites. And check higheredjobs.com as well; it is another place ASP jobs can show up.
3) Try to figure out what schools are really looking for when they post an ASP position. I am seeing some (great!) changes in ASP job notices, with a shift towards practical legal skills training as a part of ASP. What is ASP at one school is not ASP at another school. Be sure you understand what they are looking for in an applicant before you apply.
4) It has been said before, but it is worth repeating: please don't apply to ASP positions because you hope to "back door" into doctrinal teaching. It is not a good a idea for you (you will wind up frustrated) or your students (who will know you are not in the job for them, but for advancement to another position). (RCF)
March 8, 2012
The Spring Break Dilemma: Surfing/Skiing or Studying
It is time for law school spring breaks. This is our pre-break week; it is obvious that most of our students are already mentally away from the law school. The few focused students are the ones with a mid-term exam, paper deadline, or other assignment due date. My "no shows" for appointments and cancellations always increase during this week; they simply forget days and times.
Last week and this week have been consistently filled with appointments to plan the balance between study and play during their nine days away. Most of them cannot afford to take the entire time off because exams are 6 weeks away when they come back. Yet they do need to have some relaxation so that they return refreshed.
Here are some points that we cover in our discussions:
- What are all of the due dates that they have during the week before break and the week after break? We schedule the work required to meet any deadlines before they leave town. We list the other deadlines for consideration as we plan their study tasks while gone.
- What is their status on reading/briefing and outlining for each course? We prioritize any catching up that is needed. If possible, they complete that step before they leave. If not, they schedule it for the first study days during break.
- What is their status on any papers that must be completed for each course by the end of the semester? We look at these long-term research/writing projects to determine what steps remain. We look at any interim deadlines still outstanding for outlines, drafts, or other stages. Many students plan to do major work on these papers over the break.
- How much exam review have they already started for each course? We prioritize where they need the most work, next most work, etc.
- How many practice questions have they been able to complete already for each course? Again, we prioritize.
- What are their travel plans? We look at travel dates, mode of transportation, locations, and possibilities for studying. Listening to audio CD's is popular for students driving. Reviewing outlines or flashcards is popular with students flying. Other tasks on non-travel days will depend on their specific plans for the break.
- What portions of any day do they think they can study? Each day has three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. Most students try to study at least two of those parts on the days when they can realistically do so. We consider when they can study and when they want to be with family/friends. Non-skiers study while the others are on the slopes. Students at home may study while their parents are at work or before the rest of the family gets up or after others go to bed. We also note any days that will not realistically include studying because of family plans.
- What tasks do they want to assign tentatively to each study block? Some students like to spend the day on one course. Other students like to divide their time among two or three courses. Some students want to mix up the tasks for one course: intense exam review, practice questions, making flashcards, or other tasks. Paper or assignment tasks also fill in slots.
- What tasks do they want to list for any unexpected smaller blocks of study time that emerge? By listing a few tasks that might work for extra time that is found, they will not waste those times. Examples of such tasks are reading through an outline for a course, working with flashcards, or doing practice questions.
- When will they complete their reading for the first class days on their return? Sometimes students forget to schedule when they will read and brief for the Monday after Spring Break. If they can get reading done for Tuesday classes as well, the beginning of classes will be less difficult for them.
We lay out the spring break schedule on a monthly calendar template so that they have a schedule to take with them. By having a plan, they are more likely to accomplish their goals. Within the plan they can move tasks to different days/times as they wish. (Amy Jarmon)
March 7, 2012
Using Windfall Time Effectively
It is easy to assume that we can accomplish nothing important in small chunks of time. It is human nature to waste time increments that are under an hour, and especially under 30 minutes. We feel we acquire permission automatically to take breaks, chat with friends, mindlessly surf the web, or complete any other leisurely task in such time blocks.
However, if one seriously follows this line of thought, it is very easy to waste enormous amounts of valuable time within a day. There are many tasks that can be completed in small amounts of time. It does not matter whether the windfall time occurs because a reading assignment was shorter than expected, class let out early, a ride showed up late, or there was merely a break between two scheduled classes. For students, using those chunks of time can be critical as exams approach.
Think about it. If you capture 1/2 hour per day for small study tasks for 7 days, you have found 3 1/2 extra study hours during the week. If you capture 3 slots during the same day of 20 minutes that can be rearranged to end up consolidated together, you have an extra hour to study rather than taking 3 study breaks at separate times.
Here are some study tasks you can do in blocks of time under 30 minutes:
- Review the day's class notes for a course to fill in gaps, re-organize, and condense them as a pre-outlining step.
- Write down a list of questions that you need to ask a professor.
- Make several flashcards for a course.
- Quiz yourself from your flashcard deck.
- Complete 2 or 3 multiple-choice practice questions and read the answer explanations.
- Complete 3 or 4 CALI questions on a topic.
- Write out several rules or element definitions multiple times to help you memorize them.
- Talk with a classmate about a case or concept you did not understand.
- Make up hypothetical fact spin-offs to consider how a case rule would apply in another scenario.
- Stop by a professor's office to ask questions about the material.
- Edit several paragraphs of a paper.
- Add a subtopic to your outline.
- Review a subtopic in your outline.
- Sketch a preliminary flowchart or other visual to finish later.
- Make a "to do" list of tasks for the next day.
Please realize that I am not saying you should never take a break when you have windfall time. (Walking around outside or running a quick errand may be productive use of time rather than a study task.) Instead I am saying that you want to decide carefully how you will use small blocks of time. Do not just assume that you cannot accomplish something productive because you "only have a few minutes." (Amy Jarmon)
March 6, 2012
Florida A&M (Orlando) Academic Success and Bar Prep Position
INSTRUCTOR, Academic Success and Bar Preparation
The Academic Success and Bar Preparation Program Instructor is responsible for assisting the Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation in designing, coordinating and administering an academic support program to enhance the learning and study skills of all law students at the FAMU College of Law. Also to assist in enhancing the overall academic performance, especially in regards to bar exam preparation, performance and quality of law practice.
Teach and design critical skills courses to ensure that students possess academic skills necessary for law school success and the passage of the multistate bar examination and state bar examinations. Work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Monitor bar passage rate and compile bar passage reports for internal and accrediting purposes. Consult with students regarding options for bar exam preparation and assist students with the completion of the bar application. Monitor and track students’ academic progress. Conduct assessments and meetings for students on academic probation and academic alert. Maintain information and compile reports for required meetings with students. Assist the Director in the maintenance of all ASBP records with attention to student confidentiality and privacy. Work with students and graduates planning to take a bar exam to help them design a study plan that recognizes their individual learning style and abilities. Perform all other duties assigned by the Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation.
Applicant should submit the following: (1) Cover letter that explains suitability for position, (2) a FAMU employment application (go to www.famu.edu), (3) a current curriculum vitae, (4) the names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of three professional references, and (5) unofficial copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Applications will be received until the deadline date and should be sent to:
Mrs. Carrie M. Gavin, Equal Opportunity Programs
Florida A&M University
674 Gamble Street
Tallahassee, FL 32307
LSU-Director of ASP and Bar Prep
Director of Academic Success & Bar Preparation
The LSU Law Center is a top 100 ranked law school located on the main campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school draws its students from Louisiana and throughout the United States and has a strong tradition of academic excellence dating from its founding more than a century ago. LSU Law is the only law school in the United States at which all graduates receive a dual degree that reflects the mixed civil and common law tradition of Louisiana and the preparation of LSU Law students for practice or service in the global, national, and state arenas.
The Director will support the mission and vision of the law school by monitoring student learning outcomes, academic performance, and academic success activities; working with students individually and in group settings to teach and enhance the analytical, writing, and other academic and related skills necessary for law-school and professional success; managing all bar preparation and evaluation activities; and participating in other activities related to student success and retention. The Director will have the opportunity to play a major role in designing, developing, implementing, and managing an academic success and bar preparation program reflecting the best practices in the field. In so doing, he or she will be expected to rely on both innovative and established practices in academic success. The Director will be expected to both work collaboratively with the faculty and administration of the Law Center and exercise initiative and judgment in the creation of new programming, drawing on both past experience and careful analysis of the Law School’s particular needs. Specifically, the Director will be charged with:
- Designing, developing, implementing, and conducting academic-success workshops and programs, including instruction for refining students’ analytical, learning, and time management skills, as well as guidance in case briefing, note taking, outlining, exam preparation and exam taking;
- Identifying students for possible inclusion in the Law Center’s academic success programs and communicating with students who could benefit from academic success services; tracking and evaluating the academic progress of those students being served; and evaluating and prioritizing student requests and referrals for tutoring;
- Providing individual and small-group educational counseling and tutoring to students in need of academic support, including assisting students with basic writing and analytical skills through regular written diagnostic and corrective feedback;
- Working in coordination with the faculty and administration to design, coordinate, implement, evaluate, and improve the academic success program;
- Coordinating and supervising an effective, high-quality peer tutoring or student teaching fellow program, including designing appropriate student-led sessions and recruiting, training, supervising, and evaluating the participating upper class students;
- Designing and coordinating a program of academic advising for all students, including counseling on academic policies, upper class course selection, the intersection of academic and career planning, and related personal and academic development issues;
- Assisting in the collection and evaluation of data to help assess the effectiveness of the academic success program; reporting on all programs and services; and critically evaluating all available programs and initiatives to assist in determining which should be continued or expanded and which should be discontinued or modified;
- Assisting in developing and overseeing a budget for academic success and success programs;
- Participating in the greater academic success 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;
- Assisting in implementing and teaching programs of academic success related to bar-exam preparation;
- Analyzing bar exam results and providing regular reports concerning results;
- Providing bar-related information to faculty members regarding topics tested and recent bar exam questions in the faculty member’s area of teaching; and
- Other duties related to academic support, success, retention and bar preparation as assigned by the Chancellor.
The successful candidate must demonstrate a commitment to and understanding of academic success in legal education and have the requisite knowledge to design and implement legal academic success and bar preparation programs. The successful candidate will –
- Be able to work with multiple, diverse constituencies, including students, faculty and administration;
- Have superior verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills as well as either demonstrated or potential teaching skills;
- Have the ability to encourage self-improvement by students from diverse backgrounds by counseling and critiquing in a professional, rigorous, respectful, and supportive environment;
- Think imaginatively, critically, and collaboratively about how to improve and measure law student academic development;
- Have an understanding of and strong interest in developments in legal pedagogy in order to assist in designing, implementing, and managing programs that will promote law student academic development;
- Have a strong commitment to student confidentiality and privacy;
- Possess excellent organizational skills and a strong attention to detail;
- Effectively manage multiple priorities and related deadlines; and
- Have a commitment to maintaining and enhancing the academic strength and cultural diversity of the Law Center community
- A strong academic record that demonstrates potential for leading a successful law school academic support and success program;
- A J.D. or equivalent degree from an ABA-approved law school, with admission to a state bar in the United States;
- Four years of relevant experience, with a focus on legal analysis and writing (including a combination of public or private law practice, judicial clerkship, teaching or academic success delivery experience in an ABA-approved law school, or providing writing instruction in a law firm or an ABA-approved law school); and
- Demonstrated understanding of legal education (which may include experience in teaching legal writing and analysis, academic success, other law school teaching or law school administration).
- Experience in an ABA-approved law school’s academic success program; and
- Additional experience or an advanced degree in psychology, counseling or secondary or post-secondary education.
Interested applicants should provide a cover letter, resume, and three references to www.lsusystemcareers.lsu.edu . The Law Center will begin reviewing applications on March 21, 2012 and the position will remain open until filled. Inquiries may be directed to Vice Chancellor Christopher Pietruszkiewicz at 225-578-8491 or email@example.com.