Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Herbert N. Ramy

I first saw the name Herbert N. Ramy on the cover of a book, Succeeding in Law School. In my early years of Academic Support, I attempted to build an arsenal of resources I could recommend to students and I also wanted to ensure that I was well aware of all resources available.  Herb's book was one of the books I collected. I formally met Herb a little later at a conference and had a brief conversation with him. Please see the information below to learn a little bit about him (Goldie Pritchard).

  Photo  Professor Ramy

Q: Please indicate your full name, title, and institution of employment.

Herbert N. Ramy

Professor and Director of Academic Support

Suffolk University Law School (SULS)

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I created the ASP Program at SULS back in the summer of 1999. At the time, my school provided little in the way of ASP services, and relied on its LRW faculty to fill the gap. I was already an LRW Professor at SULS, and the Deans of the law school asked me to create and run a new ASP Department. Candidly, I accepted the offer because it meant a promotion, a raise, and a bit more job security. Little did I realize that I was accepting a position that would form the foundation for the rest of my academic career.

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?

Without question, the most enjoyable aspect of my work is working one-on-one with my students. Over time, it seems that ASP departments have evolved to the point where classroom work – 1L skills sessions and bar prep – dominate our day. While some of my teaching happens in the classroom, I love being able to tailor my approach to the needs of each individual student. Through these individual meetings, I learn things about my students that I would never otherwise know. These individual meetings give me a front row seat regarding each student’s progress, which allows me to make small adjustments to my teaching based on that student’s actual needs.

My greatest challenge is providing assistance to students who have the drive to succeed but not necessarily the aptitude for legal work. Due to the recent dip in law school applications, this has occurred a bit more often over the past few years. The important thing from my perspective is to avoid pre-conceived judgments. I remind myself that law school success is not the same thing as success in the profession. Similarly, students do not need to be on law review in order to meet their professional goals. On occasion, I must have difficult conversations with a student about withdrawing from law school. Thankfully, those conversations will continue to happen infrequently so long as the student and the teacher do everything they can to ensure success.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

I just hope that I made some small difference in the professional lives of the students with whom I had the pleasure of working. One of my most treasured possessions is a file folder stuffed with “thank you” notes from the past 19+ years in ASP. These notes are more valuable to me than any professional award or accolade I could ever receive.

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or midcareer ASPers or law students?

It is too easy to get caught up in the numbers related to our work – incoming LSAT score, 1L GPA, school’s bar passage rate. One-on-one work reminds me that our students are far more than their admission’s applications or law school transcript. Statistics may tell me that a student with a specific LSAT score has X % chance of failing the bar exam, but they can never tell me how the student sitting in front of me will perform. Treat every student like an individual, not a statistic, and I guarantee that you’ll be reading about some of doing great things in the legal profession.

 Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

At its core, ASP work is about “doing”, and Confucius said it best – “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.” Show your students how to do the work, make them do the work, and give them feedback about what went right and wrong – great things are bound to follow.

May 16, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Linda Feldman

You may consider this entry and future ones “self-serving” but please stay tuned. When my ASP mentor left the profession, I thought it might be a splendid idea to highlight a few “veteran ASPers” while they are still active in the profession. After conversations with a few colleagues, I decided to start highlighting a few individuals I view as “veteran ASPers.” I encountered these highly experienced individuals at certain points of my ASP journey which began almost ten years ago. Each contributed to my success by helping me in small or significant ways and shared their wisdom, experience, and advice. Here are links to all who were featured last year: Rodney Fong, Barbara McFarlandLouis Schulze, Jr.Amy Jarmon, and  Jendayi Saada. This initial project has evolved to highlight some individuals I have never met or interacted with but whom others find inspirational. I deemed it expedient to streamline the questions rather than ask them anything and everything I could have possibly wanted to know. It is impossible to highlight everyone so I am starting with a select few, Linda Feldman being the first this year.

I was first introduced to Linda Feldman by my ASP mentor at the very first Association of American Law Schools (AALS) annual meeting I attended. She was friendly and welcoming to this fairly new (a year and half in) ASPer. Kind words accompanied by a pleasant and welcoming smile were priceless. I always appreciate her insight, perspective, and contributions. Also, she is always so enthusiastic! Please learn more about her below. (Goldie Pritchard)

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(Linda Feldman is pictured here, center with sign) 

Q: Please indicate your full name, title, and institution of employment.

Linda B. Feldman

Associate Professor and Director, Academic Success Program

Brooklyn Law School

Brooklyn New York

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

This May marks my 30th year in academic support. Teaching has always been my passion. Before law school I taught middle school social studies. After graduation the then Dean of Brooklyn Law School asked me to develop a program for non-traditional entering students who faced challenges adapting to and excelling in the law school environment. I agreed to create a program which, in those years had no name. I was so lucky that soon thereafter I met Paula Lustbader and Laurie Zimet at the conference in Boulder and learned that what I was “creating” already existed and was called academic support.

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?

I enjoy all aspects of helping students achieve whatever level of success they set for themselves. I value the one-on-one time with a student which allows me to get to know the student more personally and fashion an approach to learning for that particular student. But I am also exhilarated by teaching a large group of 1Ls. Each has its place.

My greatest challenge has been to provide support for an entering class of over 300 students. I have never overcome that challenge. It is the end of my last semester of law school teaching, and I’m still trying to figure out how to meet that challenge.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

An interesting question since I am retiring in July. I hope my legacy will be the continuation of the summer Legal Process class which provided a supportive welcoming environment for students who might have otherwise have struggled unnecessarily. I also hope the collaboration between doctrinal faculty and ASP will continue to support all law students at BLS.

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or midcareer ASPers or law students?

Don’t go it alone. Reach out to ASPers in your region and across the country. There is no more generous, creative, talented group of professionals than in the ASP community.

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

I saw a quote in a Montessori preschool classroom once that has become my guide: “If a child cannot learn the way we teach, we must teach the way that child learns.” This is as true for a law student as it is for a pre-schooler.

May 9, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeKirsha Trychta has received another Top Ten Award from Texas Bar Today for her third post in her Good Litigating is Good Teaching series. The post in case you missed reading it is linked here. The post also includes links to the first two parts in the series. Congratulations! (Amy Jarmon)

May 6, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 5, 2018

What is AccessLex Institute?

There has been a good bit of buzz about AccessLex, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. AccessLex has been mentioned in some postings on the listserv in the past months. Kirsha Trychta recently posted on the Blog about her takeaways from the AccessLex bar exam research forum; the link to her post is here.

You may remember Sara J. Berman, the Director of Programs for Academic and Bar Success at the Center for Legal Education Excellence at AccessLex Institute. Sara wrote the book published by the ABA, Pass the Bar Exam. Sara was part of the ASP/bar law school community for a number of years having worked at Nova Southeastern and at Whittier. She started her position at AccessLex this spring and is working hard to bring to the forefront issues that concern the ASP/bar profession.

The URL for the AccessLexCenter for Legal Education Excellence is https://www.accesslex.org/accesslex-center-legal-education-excellence.

There is a new Bar Success Research Grant Program accepting letters of inquiry May 1-31, 2018: https://www.accesslex.org/bar-success-grant-program. See the website or the May 1st posting to the ASP listserv for more information.

And there has even been a recent job posting for an academic and bar success research analyst at AccessLex: https://accesslexinstitute-openhire.silkroad.com/epostings/index.cfm?fuseaction=app.jobInfo&version=1&jobid=76.

There seem to be a number of potential resources for the ASP/bar profession that AccessLex can provide. (Amy Jarmon)

May 5, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Am I Still A Baby ASP’er?

As my students transition into exam study mode and I start to close out all of the activities of this academic year, I have started to reflect on my accomplishments and goals. Reflection of this depth does not happen very often but I have a present awareness as I prepare for my series highlighting veteran members of our Academic Support (ASP) community. Last May, I sent a number of individuals who I consider veterans (10 years or more doing ASP work) a list of questions to guide what I wanted to know about them. I did provide some flexibility but most answered all of the questions. As I approach the ten-year mark as an academic support professional and about the thirteenth year if we count law school and graduate school, I am even more curious about what everyone has to share.

I never understood what people meant when they would say they looked up and ten years had flown by. Now I do because it is happening to me. I believe that this is a great time to reflect on where I am, whether it is what I envisioned for myself, what things are working well, what things are not working so well, and where I see myself in the years to come. It is a great time to have new or modified aspirations. This is certainly something everyone should consider whether a few months into ASP work or several years in. I have decided to borrow from my student affairs and career services colleagues, specifically what they tell students to consider as they try to navigate a professional career. It is unlikely that I will share all of my personal reflections but I will list some of the questions they tell students to consider but I will also list some of the questions I would ask students in my past life as a diversity and academic advising professional.

A. Self-Assessment

• What do I need from my career? (what role it plays in my life)

• What makes me feel truly fulfilled? (how do I measure success)

• What do I know about myself that helps me make good career decisions?

• What is important to me based on my personal values and beliefs?

• What do I know about my personality and style?

B. Skills Assessment

         • What skills, experiences, and knowledge have I acquired?

• What skills, experiences, and knowledge would I like to acquire?

• What responsibilities do I have/have I had?

• What have I achieved?

• What are my strengths?

• What have been the highlights of my career and life to date?

C. Set Goals & Plan

• Are my talents being used and developed? If not, look for opportunities that allow you to use or develop the talents you have.

• Identify and exploit opportunities that address gaps in knowledge, ability, and growth.

• Select worthwhile but realistic goals.

• Consider steps you need to follow to accomplish my goals.

• Be flexible.

• Consider what will keep me motivated to achieve my goals.

I am certain that there are more sophisticated assessments and questions available but this is somewhere to start and verbalizing or writing these things down can be powerful. Also, if you have a person who helped you along the way as an ASP professional and who you trust, use them as a sounding board.  Moreover, if you know of an ASP veteran that you would like to see spotlighted, please email me their name and school and I might be able to highlight them. (Goldie Pritchard)

April 25, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 13, 2018

A New Top Ten Award

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge
Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta for being awarded a Top Ten Blog Post from Texas Bar Today for her first post in a series on Good Litigating is Good Teaching. You can read her introduction post here in case you missed it this week: Good Litigating is Good Teaching - Introduction.

April 13, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Congratulations to Kirsha Trychta

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_June2016
Texas Bar Today
has recognized Kirsha Trychta's post on January 23rd as a Top 10 Post. Here is the link to her post in case you missed it: Proving You Are Ready to Go from the Exam Room to the Courtroom.

February 3, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Welcome Our New Contributing Editor

Foster

Please welcome Steven Foster, Director of Academic Achievement and Instructor of Law (Oklahoma City University School of Law) as a Contributing Editor for the Law School Academic Support Blog. Many of you will recognize Steven from his involvement with SWCASP and AASE.

His law school's website provides a faculty profile for him:

"Professor Foster joined the law school in December 2008. His specialty is preparing students to take the bar exam, including skill building for both the essay and multiple choice sections. Professor Foster also manages the Academic Achievement department. Academic Achievement provides programs throughout students’ tenure to improve success in the classroom, on the bar exam, and in each students’ profession. The first year includes Foundational Skills Workshops, Student Led Reviews and individual tutoring. Academic Achievement’s offerings transition to bar preparation by the third year. Professor Foster offers the Conquer the Bar lecture series, which discusses all the subjects on the Multistate Bar Exam. He also teaches Advanced Bar Studies focusing on developing specific skills necessary to achieve passing scores on bar exam essay questions. Students are permitted to take Advanced Bar Studies in his/her last semester. 

Prior to joining the law school, Professor Foster was an associate at Fenton, Fenton, Smith, Reneau, and Moon where he practiced insurance defense. His main focus was products liability, but he defended numerous other tort actions. Professor Foster graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University School of Law where he received CALI Excellence for the Future Awards for the top grade in 17 classes; won 1st place overall team, 2nd place brief, and 3rd place individual oralist at the National Native American Law Student moot court competition; obtained the Judge Dwain Box Memorial Award for Outstanding Appellate Advocate; was awarded the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Medal of Excellence; and received the School of Law’s Outstanding Graduate Award for Most Likely to Succeed."

Steven will begin posting on the Blog this week. We look forward to his sharing insights on ASP and bar prep with us! (Amy Jarmon)

January 28, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Section on Academic Support at the AALS 2018 Conference

“Equal Access to Justice: Supporting Law Students from Diverse Backgrounds from Admission through the Bar Exam” was the title of the Section on Academic Support program at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) 2018 Annual Meeting. The line-up included five presenters and was moderated by Jamie A. Kleppetsch who also served as chair of the programming committee. The program highlighted available support mechanisms for law students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds from admissions through passing the bar exam. The papers from this program will be published in the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class.

Russell A. McClain presented on the history of academic support and proposed a way forward that brings academic support back, in part, to a focus on improving minority performance.

Renee Nicole Allen and DeShun Harris emphasized promoting social justice by combating implicit bias. The general assumption is that Millennials are a colorblind generation but they are equally susceptible to biases and microaggressions so how do we help them?

Jeffrey Minneti discussed how we diversify the legal profession through commitment to access admissions and support of these students as they prepare for and sit for the bar exam.

Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer described success with an on-line academic support class aimed at fostering learning, overall academic improvement, and removing sigma associated with receiving assistance.

The presenters all had interesting tidbits that can help us all support our diverse students from the beginning of their law school career and through their preparation for the bar exam.

The ASP program committee this year included chair Jamie A Kleppetsch, Danielle Bifulci Kocal, Robert Coulthard, Marsha Griggs, Goldie Pritchard, Natalie Rodriguez, Stacie Rucker, and Laurie Zimet. (Goldie Pritchard)

January 17, 2018 in Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs, Diversity Issues, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Top 10 Award for Goldie Pritchard

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge

Congratulations to Goldie Pritchard for winning another Texas Bar Today Top Ten badge! She was recognized for her post on November 1st entitled Everyone Passed the Bar Exam But Me. You can find the post here if you missed reading it. (Amy Jarmon)

November 10, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Congratulations to Goldie Pritchard

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge

Congratulations to our Contributing Editor, Goldie Pritchard, for being awarding a Top Ten Blog Posts badge from Texas Bar Today for her post on October 11th entitled MPRE Frenzy. The post can be found here in case you missed it.

October 22, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lots of Top 10 Awards from the Summer

Our Contributing Editors were recognized by Texas Bar Today for a number of Top 10 Awards this summer. You may have missed these posts while you were on vacation, so I want to list them here so you can read any that you did not see. Take a few minutes to catch up on some excellent posts from the editorial staff:

Goldie Pritchard received Top 10 recognition for the following posts: 

A Game Plan: Last Minute Bar Preparation (7/12/17)

Survivor Advice: Words from Successful Bar Takers  (7/19/17)

We Made the Right Decision (8/23/17)

What the “Support” in Academic Support Program Could Stand For (8/30/17)

Scott Johns received Top 10 recognition for the following posts:

Turning Bad News Into Great Opportunities: Helping Repeaters Become “Fresh Start” Bar Passers
(5/18/17)

Winning Bar Exam Answers: Writing for Points or Writing to Impress?
(6/15/17)

O.J. Salinas received Top 10 recognition for the following post:

Being Different Doesn’t Mean Being Irrelevant

(8/7/17)

Congratulations to our Contributing Editors for their recognition from Texas Bar Today! (Amy Jarmon)

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadge

 

September 24, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 26, 2017

OJ Salinas' First Post!

Hello pic

Hello, everyone. I am excited to join the Law School Academic Support Blog as a Contributing Editor! I have enjoyed keeping up with the Blog entries over the years, and I look forward to adding my take to this wonderful ASP resource.

We work in a diverse profession, and we carry many responsibilities. I hope to use the Blog as an opportunity for us to share our insight and experiences. If there are any particular topics or ideas you would like for me to explore in the Blog, feel free to email me at osalinas@email.unc.edu. You can also Tweet me @ojsalinas (#lawschoolASP).

I have had the pleasure of meeting many of you at our various ASP conferences. If our ASP paths have not crossed yet, I hope they do soon! (OJ Salinas)

June 26, 2017 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Miscellany, News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Welcome to Two New Contributing Editors!

It is with great pleasure that I welcome two new Contributing Editors to the Law School Academic Support Blog. Please join me in congratulating them on their editorial positions. They will begin posting next week, and all of us can look forward to their contributions and insights over the coming weeks.

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Oscar J. "O.J." Salinas, Clinical Associate Professor of Law Academic Excellence Program at University of North Carolina School of Law.

His faculty profile is here.

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Kirsha Trychta, Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Academic Excellence, at West Virginia University College of Law.

Her faculty profile is here.

I am also delighted that Goldie Pritchard (Michigan State) and Scott Johns (Denver) will be continuing as Contributing Editors for another year. Their posts have informed and inspired us all - not to mention garnered several Top Ten Blog Posts Awards.

We bid farewell to Alex Ruskell (South Carolina) as a Contributing Editor and thank him for his multiple-year service to the Blog with his witty posts and cartoons. We wish him the best as he leaves our editorial staff.

If you are a regular reader, sit back with a cup of coffee and read the Blog each morning. If you are new to the Blog, I hope you will become a regular visitor to the site and consider subscribing. (Amy Jarmon)

June 24, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Scott Johns Has Another Winning Post

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeScott Johns has been recognized for his June 15th post on winning bar exam answers by Texas Bar Today. You can read his post that made the Top 10 here: Winning Bar Exam Answers: Writing for Points or Writing to Impress?. Congratulations, Scott!

June 22, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Congratulations to Scott Johns - another top ten award

TexasBarTodayTopTenBadgeCongratulations to Scott Johns for his top ten award from Texas Bar Today for his June 1st post on bar review learning. His post can be found here.

June 13, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Jendayi D. Saada

Thank you for reading the May Veteran ASP Spotlight series! There are a few pending requests so you might see a few more spotlights but the Veteran ASP Spotlight will officially return next year. If you have beloved Veteran ASPers who were not featured this year, then kindly send me their names. A heartfelt thank you to all of the ASP Veterans who shared experiences and wisdom! My hope is that ASPers are reminded of why they do this work and re-energized for bar season and the new academic year. Please note that other members of the ASP community will also be featured here in the near future.

Today’s featured spotlight is Jendayi Saada. I met Jendayi at my first ever National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) Academic Support Conference when I was three months into the start of my ASP career. We both coincidentally sign-up for the same restaurant and our group walked, talked, and laughed that night. At that conference, I also met several other colleagues but Jendayi and I both realized that we had ties to Michigan. Jendayi has a wealth of knowledge, is always open to learn, and is deeply committed to the success of the students she works with. To reiterate what I have said before, when I grow up, I want to be as amazing as she is (Goldie Pritchard).

Saada Profile-1419

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment. 

Jendayi D. Saada

Assistant Dean of Academic and Bar Readiness and Assistant Professor

La Verne College of Law

 

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I began in ASP in 2004 as an instructor at Nova Southeastern University. As an instructor, I helped create a multiyear academic support and a post-graduation bar preparation program. Since 2009 I have developed ASP and Bar Preparation programs at three additional law schools in Florida, Arizona, and California. My teaching areas have included both skills and doctrine.

I have always had a passion for teaching and have taught in various fields for about 34 years. I fell into legal education because I was moving from Michigan to Florida. I had closed my law practice to chase the sun. I was just looking for a job until I could pass the FL Bar Exam and go back to practicing. I was hired at Nova and that was that.

 

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?

The aspect of ASP I like the most is working with students to help them realize their dreams of becoming an attorney. I especially enjoy working with those students who, due to their race, ethnicity, disability, gender, first generation status, etc., question whether the dream is possible for them, and watching the transformation that occurs when they succeed.

My greatest challenge by far is the stubborn refusal of the faculties and administrators in legal education, to recognize the value that academic support and the professionals who are committed to student success.

 

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

Students’ metamorphosis into amazing lawyers 

 

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

Let your moral compass be your guide and your passion, the engine that drives you to your destination. Don’t stop for hitchhikers!

 

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

Keep learning, pushing, growing.

May 31, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Amy L. Jarmon

Amy Jarmon is among other things, Editor of the Law School Academic Support Blog. I cannot recall the circumstances surrounding my first encounter with Amy but she is a staple of the ASP community. I have seen her at practically every ASP conference I have attended and often see her name associated with various ASP committees and programs. I have enjoyed serving on committees with her and appreciate the wealth of knowledge she has to offer. I am thankful for her willingness to help whenever I have a question or reach out for assistance or advice. I am also grateful to her for my opportunity to join the Law School Academic Support Blog family. I am a little unconventional with my posts but she has put up with me all year long. I am glad to showcase Amy because she was not featured in the highlight of the Law School Academic Support Blog editors. Finally, it is coincidental that she is spotlighted the week of the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) annual conference in Texas. She has been spotted at the AASE conference so you can meet her in person. (Goldie Pritchard)

AmyJ

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment. 

Amy L. Jarmon

Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs and Lecturer

Texas Tech University School of Law

 

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

My initial interest in ASP work came from two sources. First, my previous career was in student affairs with undergraduates where I worked for many years in a bridge position between academic affairs and student affairs. Second, my Ed.D. and J.D. degrees with my teaching and law practice experiences allowed me to fit naturally into helping law students succeed academically and prepare for practice.     

I have been involved in ASP work at law schools for over 15 years. Thirteen of those years have been here at Texas Tech; previously I was at University of Akron School of Law.

 

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?

I most enjoy working one-on-one with students. It is a joy to help students improve their study strategies and life skills and to see them reach their true academic potential in law school.

Greatest challenge: Many students want to do well in law school, but come into this environment with weaknesses in critical reading, thinking, and writing and in efficient, effective study strategies. Many prior educational experiences only asked them to memorize information rather than to grapple with understanding or applying that information.

Overcoming the challenge: Flexibility within a plan is important. I start with assessment and then use a repertoire of strategies to address succeeding in law school while gaining life skills for legal practice. Although I know the strategies that work for most law students, I always keep an open mind. I modify, discard, and brainstorm with each individual student to find out what works for that person. I regularly learn new “mental connections,” strategies, resources, and more as I work with students; those new ideas or techniques become tools to help future students. 

 

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

For students: I want my legacy to be that I cared about students individually and was there to encourage and support them. I believe in their personal worth whether or not they flourish in law school or ultimately decide to practice law after graduation.

For colleagues: I want my legacy to be that I was a colleague who shared my knowledge and experiences freely to better the ASP profession and to support colleagues.

 

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

New ASP’ers: Reach out to others in the ASP profession for assistance. Unlike some professions, this one thrives on sharing ideas, materials, and advice. ASP’ers have a tradition of giving a hand-up to newcomers. Also, remember that you cannot implement everything overnight. Decide a small number of priorities to tackle first, and then shamelessly ask others for Power Points, syllabi, handouts, and more.

Mid-career ASP’ers: Beware of burnout! Most ASP’ers are “givers” and easily become over-involved, over-utilized by their law schools, and overtime-prone. If you are not careful, you will be overwhelmed. Remember to pace yourself, to say “no” or “not now” sometimes, and to set aside time away from the office to relax and revive.

Law students: Realize there are a zillion strategies that your ASP professional can show you for conquering law school. It is okay if you do not know how to do something, feel overwhelmed at times, or are unsure how to fix things. The important thing is that you commit to learning how to improve and ask for assistance early and often.  

 

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

During my ASP career, I have been blessed with many opportunities. However, during challenges, I depend on my faith to get me through those dark times. I always remind myself that the most important words of praise to hear at some future date are: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

 

May 24, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Louis Schulze, Jr

Louis should be excited because he is featured here twice in two weeks (once for his scholarship here and now)! I first met Louis at one of the conferences I attended early on in my ASP career. He led a discussion surrounding an article he had written and at the time, was seeking feedback. The discussion included comments and questions about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). I also had an opportunity to work with Louis briefly during my tenure as chair of the programming committee for the Academic Support Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Louis was reliable, kind, and very helpful. I seem to always remember positive words and feedback sent in my direction from anyone far and near, and Louis is one of those whose feedback was very kind and therefore remembered (Goldie Pritchard).

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment.

Louis Schulze

Assistant Dean and Professor of Academic Support

Florida International University College of Law

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I’ve been in the academic support field for about ten years, starting at New England Law | Boston for seven years and a bit over three years here at FIU Law. I started teaching in the legal writing field and found myself wanting to do more for students who underperformed. It frustrated me that many of these students weren’t struggling due to a lack of diligence or intelligence but because they had less training in critical thinking or effective learning skills. Because that lack of training seemed correlated with socio-economic status, I was particularly motivated to do what I could to help level the playing field to promote students’ success.

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?

Anyone who has seen me teach knows that I act like a fool in the classroom. I try to bring an energy that connotes genuine enthusiasm for the material. (This isn’t in any way fabricated; I’m a complete law nerd. If they sold trading cards of SCOTUS justices, I’d be one of those people who gets the whole set, including COA, etc.)

I try to keep things fairly light in the classroom and then all of a sudden get really intense, pushing the students to do more and give better answers. Because the levity precedes the intensity, students seem more comfortable when I push them harder – they know it’s coming from the right place.

Also, personally and professionally, I get immense joy from fostering students’ success. My favorite time of year is when grades come out and I hear from my students who got through the first year despite incredible odds. It’s always an awkward moment for my colleagues in my corridor when I start bellowing the chorus of “We Are the Champions” at the top of my lungs because I heard that a student made it above a 2.00 or passed the bar. But, because being in ASP means being half professor, half coach, we have the best of both worlds and, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), the best job in the legal academy.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

That I made it through my whole career without anyone noticing that I’m a completely unqualified rube. (Ooops).

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), one can serve students best by maintaining a balance between being emotionally invested in their success while at the same time remaining objective. Having a professor demonstrate a genuine personal investment in a student’s success can actually have a far more powerful impact on that student than I ever realized. On the other hand, for some students the best advice might be an austere and somewhat shocking message that is both difficult to give and difficult to receive. Academic support professors need to be empowered to give both types of advice based upon the needs of the particular student. If a law school does not provide that sort of empowerment, the academic support will be less effective.

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

Bart

May 17, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Barbara McFarland

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).

Barb

(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.

May 10, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)