Monday, March 3, 2014

The Variety in ASP

I am off to the Southwestern Consortium Workshop in a few days.  One of the things that I like most about ASP workshops and conferences is hearing from colleagues what they do at their schools under the ASP umbrella. 

I find it fascinating that there are so many great ways to accomplish our objectives.  Although programs have many commonalities, the best way to do it at a particular law school depends on philosophy, historical structures/events, student characteristics, academic standards, staffing levels, facilities, budget, ASP status, faculty interface, administrative support, and so much more.

Here are some of the ways that we differ while everyone is working toward the goals of retention and improving student skills and bar studier success:

  • Areas covered: academic success - bar preparation - legal writing - some combination
  • Staff size: one-person offices - under 5 people - 6 or more people
  • Appointments: administrative dean - 9/10/12-month staff - faculty on tenure track - non-tenure-track faculty - hybrids
  • Budgeting:  budget funded by a fee - defined budget process with discussion - defined budget process without discussion - ask and hope to receive per item
  • Facilities: director's office - director's office plus another secretary/library/teaching fellow space - dedicated office suite
  • Study aids library: publisher complementary copy arrangement - budgeted study aids library - donated used study aids - director's own collection - hybrids
  • Office equipment/files: dedicated workspace - shared space with others - in director's office - hybrids
  • Secretarial support - dedicated ASP secretarial support - shared secretarial support - work study or other student support
  • Duties of law student workers: teaching fellows/tutors who present doctrinal reviews and study skills - teaching fellows/tutors who present only study skills - research assistants to assist with assessment and statistics - hybrids
  • Faculty involvement: ASP across the curriculum - first-year faculty involved - upper-division faculty for required courses involved - as needed/asked basis with select faculty - little/no faculty involvement - hybrids
  • Summer course for invited "at risk" first-year students: length varies - number of students varies - criteria for admission vary - graded or pass/fail - conditional admission based on grade achieved or enrolled upon completion - required curriculum course or elective course segment - hybrids
  • Pre-orientation ASP: pre-orientation workshops/online tutorials for all first-year students on academic skills - pre-orientation workshops/online tutorials for invited first-year students on academic skills - required/suggested summer reading for first-year students - no pre-orientation
  • Orientation sessions: orientation sessions on academic skills presented by ASP - orientation sessions on academic skills presented by faculty - orientation sessions on academic skills presented by upper-division students - hybrids
  • Study groups for first-years: mandatory structured study groups for first-year students - voluntary structured study groups for first-year students - freelance study groups for first-year students - hybrids
  • Extended orientation: extended orientation sessions on academic skills - extended orientation sessions on non-academic topics - mandatory with consequences/"mandatory" without consequences/voluntary - hybrids
  • Courses: academic support course for first-year students - academic support course for upper-division students - bar preparation course - mandatory/voluntary - credit/non-credit - graded/pass or fail
  • Workshops: workshops for first-year students - workshops for upper-division students - no workshops - hybrids
  • Probation or "at risk defined by cum GPA" students: mandatory with consequences meetings/workshops/course - "mandatory" without consequences meetings/workshops/course - voluntary meetings/workshops/course - hybrids
  • Academic dismissal process: ASP has official role in the process - ASP has informal role in the process - no ASP role in the process
  • Academic advising: ASP has official role in the process - ASP has informal role in the process - no ASP role in the process
  • Other duties: adjunct professor - university committee work - law school committee work - advisor to student organization/competition team - pre-law advising - K to 12 pipeline outreach

There are many other facets of our work on which we have variations.  One of the joys of ASP work is that colleagues are willing to share their expertise, materials, and suggestions.  ASP'ers are a refreshing group of legally-trained folks because everyone is willing to learn from others and contribute positively to the dialogue.  I am looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio, Indianapolis, or at another workshop where we can exchange ideas.  (Amy Jarmon)   

 

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