Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I was introduced to Barbara McFarland at my very first Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, several years ago. Barbara was very kind and welcoming to this new ASP professional. Also, she offered much assistance when I sought best practices and other materials for a new course for students who are considered “at risk” after the first semester of law school. I modified and used some components of the materials she shared which ideally complemented the course I teach. Barbara is very humble in sharing her accomplishments and contributions to academic support so I would urge you to read her biography on her law school website (Goldie Pritchard).
(Barbara McFarland is pictured here, far right)
Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment.
Barbara B. McFarland
Director of the Office of Student Success Initiatives & Assistant Professor
Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law
Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.
I started doing academic support work 20 years ago (or maybe more) as an overload while teaching legal research and writing at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. I came to Chase in 2006 to continue that combination of positions, but in 2007 the Dean moved me into a full-time position in academic support. A year or two later, he added bar support to my duties.
Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most? What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?
While I am fairly proficient at programming for students from the top to the bottom of the class, the thing I think I do best is to convince students that they CAN do the work in law school, pass the bar exam, and competently practice law. The biggest challenge in being a one-person office responsible for as many as 500 students in the building is finding time to accomplish the important tasks that keep getting bumped back behind the urgent tasks. I have NOT overcome that challenge, unfortunately.
Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?
My former students are my legacy, especially the ones that might not have graduated from law school or passed the bar without some support and guidance.
Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?
If one student per year sends an email or stops by to tell you thank you for what you do, hang on to that positive message; it will get you through another academic year!
Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?
While I do not believe that everyone admitted to law school will or should succeed, I do believe that we—the law schools—owe every admitted student the opportunity to do his or her best work.