Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Job Opening at Elon School of Law

Director of Academic Support & Bar Preparation 

General Purpose of Position

The Director will support the overall academic mission of the law school by developing and implementing an academic support program that encourages a high level of academic performance for all students. The Director will work with the assistant dean of student affairs, in addition to the faculty and other departments, to design a comprehensive academic support program for all students. The director will have the ability to think creatively and critically to design and implement programs that are responsive to the school’s goals. In addition, the director is also responsible for maintaining statistical data and providing reports to faculty and administration regarding the academic support program, as well as bar passage.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

• The Director will design and implement an academic support curriculum, including workshops and programs. The curriculum will include an emphasis on developing analytical skills, writing skills, time management skills, and other skills that will assist law students in achieving a high level of academic performance for all first year students.

• The Director will identify students from the second and third year class for inclusion in additional academic support programs and develop strategies to effectively communicate with students about the benefits of participating in the program.

• The Director will be responsible for assessing the academic support program and making periodic reports to the administration and faculty on the program’s progress and outcomes.

• The Director will design and coordinate 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.

• The Director will be responsible for leading the design and implementation of a bar preparation program. This will include counseling students regarding bar admissions protocols, as well as identifying 3L students that are “at risk” for failing the bar and implementing a program for bar preparation.

• The Director will assist in analyzing bar exam results and developing programs to address weaknesses in student bar performance.

• Responsibilities may include teaching or assisting in the bar prep courses currently offered based on previous experience.

 Posting available:


September 13, 2012 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Part I: The power of accountability as an ASP'er

Accountability can help all of us stay on track with the tasks we need to accomplish.  When we know we are answering to someone else, we are more likely to work consistently on meeting an obligation.  A real deadline keeps us focused. 

The problem, I find, is when the project has no deadline or no one is expecting to see the finished product or no one else is invested in the project.  If the task is merely something that I want to do as opposed to something that I need to do, the accountability seems missing.  It is much easier to procrastinate, to pay attention to things right in front of me, and to delay the task.  For me, these tasks become orphan tasks that are disconnected from the remainder of my work.

When I discover an orphaned task, the first thing I determine is whether I still think the task is one that should be completed:

  • I remind myself of the objective/goal that I had when I originally decided the task should be added to my project list. 
  • If the objective/goal is still valid, I use that to as an incentive.  In looking at my other projects, I determine where the orphaned task should be in priority.  
  • If a task is no longer important or no longer possible, I decide to let it go.  Timing, budget, my energy level, or a resolved problem may all be factored in when I release the orphaned task.

When I realize that I have a task orphan that is valid but I still keep putting it on the back burner, I try to find ways to make myself accountable.  Which strategy I choose will depend a great deal on the particular task, but here are some things that I try:

  • I break the larger task into small steps that are then assigned to time blocks on my calendar during the next two weeks so that my calendar holds me accountable to get started..
  • I discuss the task with a colleague so that someone else now knows that it is on my agenda.
  • Once I make some progress, I talk to a colleague about my progress and what I want to accomplish next.
  • I set a deadline date for showing the results to a colleague - or several deadline dates if I am going to have stages for completion.

Most tasks I can stay motivated and work on consistently.  However, I know that orphan tasks are a different breed.  By recognizing my need for accountability, I am able to get unstuck and complete the task that has been stranded on the corner of my desk for far too long.  (Amy Jarmon) 

September 12, 2012 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Some tips for course design, for new ASPer's

If you are new to ASP, and you are designing your first ASP course, here are some helpful hints to keep in mind.

1) It's okay if you are still working on your course AFTER the semester has started.This will allow you to be responsive to your students needs as you get to know them as a class. It's okay to rework your syllabus if things don't move as fast as you think they will when you first started planning. It's okay to have AH! HA! moments that change your thinking about the class.

2) Try to balance the workload. My course starts with more reading, and ends with more writing. It took me two years to figure out that students cannot have an even amount of reading throughout the semester, because they need to do much more writing towards the end of the semester. If I want to see their best work, you need to balance their workload.

3) Don't (just) rely on the teacher's guide and law books for help. When designing an ASP class, look to education resources as well as law teaching resources. Read "What Best College Teachers Do" by Ken Bain, and look for books on instructional design.

4) You don't need to do what everyone else is doing. Just because you were taught using certain techniques, does not mean they will work for your class. DON'T follow the leader; you don't get extra points if you can be the best ape of someone else's technique. It's uncomfortable to try something new, but it is the only way to becoming a better teacher.


September 11, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Welcome Amy Envall to ASP

Please welcome Amy Envall as Director of Academic Success at  Barry University School of Law.  Amy joined the academic support community last December, so she has a spring semester and summer under her belt.  We did not get a chance to introduce her earlier and wanted you to meet her.

Amy shared the following information with us so that you can get to know her:

"After serving as a Judicial Staff Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, as an Assistant County Attorney for Osceola County, Florida, and as General Counsel for the Osceola County Clerk of Court, I am very happy to be at my law school alma mater working with law students.  My undergraduate degree is in education, and I taught for six years – during my last year of teaching, I started law school part time.  After practicing law for almost eight years, joining the Barry University School of Law administrative team was a perfect match because I could use both my education degree and my law degree.  My legal interest lies in governmental law and legislation.  My personal interests include community service, where I sit on many non-profit boards and am active with the Boy Scouts of America and Special Olympics."

Please introduce yourselves to Amy when you see her at a workshop or conference.  We are delighted to have her as part of ASP.  (Amy Jarmon)


September 10, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)