January 14, 2012
Fighting for our students
I was at AALS last week. In my seven years in the academic success community, I have never experienced anything quite like last week's conference. There were two messages coming from AALS, and both messages are important for everyone in legal education: law school is too expensive, and law schools are not doing enough to increase diversity. I will discuss both messages, and the implications for ASP, in turn.
1) Law school is too expensive.
I listened to more than one speaker claim that "services"--one speaker singled out ASP--are the cause of tuition hikes. At the vast majority of schools, there is only one person in ASP (and maybe not even full-time). To isolate ASP as the cause of tuition increases is disingenuous at best, and deceitful at worst. We are paid a fraction of the salary of one tenured faculty member, but most of us work long hours to help our students succeed.
Attacking ASP and other service providers is easy; few of us have tenure, even fewer have voting rights, many of us are at-will employees, and therefore, it's difficult for us to defend our roles without threatening our employment. Staying quiet is easy, but ultimately, self-defeating. If we don't start defending what we do, and our cost-effectiveness, we will be easy to cut. Kudos to Herb Ramy who addressed this at his presentation at AALS--we keep students in school, and we earn our keep. Threatening ASP means more students will fail out of law school and fewer students will be paying tuition.
There is still the problem of escalating law school tuition at a time when our students are finding it hard to find jobs. Whether we like it or not, that is our problem, too. None of us have control over law school tuition hikes, but we do have the power to help our students. I have always considered a part of my job to help my students find jobs. Every year I meet with students who want to know how to work in education. I consider it a part of my duty as a member of a law school to brainstorm employment options with my students, write recommendations, and call in favors, when I can, to help students find employment. I don't pretend to be in career services, but if I know someone who is looking for an academic counselor, I will pass along the resume of one of my students. This is a lesson I learned at my alma mater, where it was not uncommon for professors to help students with their job search.
2) Law schools are not doing enough to increase diversity.
Attacking ASP while lamenting the lack of diversity in the law makes no sense. ASP was born out of efforts to diversify the legal profession and help all students, regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status, succeed in law school and as lawyers. Many of us are in ASP because we are committed to the success of underrepresented populations. At our core, ASP is about helping the neediest students, students who have no "family money" to rely on once they get out of law school, students who may be the first in their family to graduate from high school--let alone professional school, students who may be supporting their family while in law school.
This is about fighting for our students. It's about helping the neediest students make it through law school, after they have acquired debt to finance their first semester or year of law school. It's about making law school a safe, healthy place for all students, of all backgrounds. It's about making diversity a priority. We need to fight for ASP because it is about helping students, not ourselves. We have a duty to our students, to help them achieve their personal best and to help them find their place in the profession. Helping our students means we need to start speaking up for ourselves. The time to wish for an economic miracle has passed; we need to get fired up for our students and for ourselves. (RCF)
October 11, 2011
Oscar Salinas joins UNC Law
Oscar "O.J." Salinas is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He teaches Research, Reasoning, Writing, and Advocacy and assists with the law school's academic success programs. O.J. is an honors graduate from the University of Dayton School of Law and has a Master's in Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio ("UTSA"). Prior to joining UNC, O.J. taught undergraduate Learning Communities academic support courses at UTSA. He also taught criminal justice courses and a graduate level seminar that focused on legal reasoning and oral advocacy at UTSA.
Please welcome O.J. to the academic support community when you meet him at a workshop! His faculty page with additional informatioin on the UNC Law web site can be found here: O.J. Salinas Faculty Profile.
October 06, 2011
Welcome to Antonia Miceli at Saint Louis
Antonia Miceli has joined Saint Louis University School of Law as the Director of Bar Exam Preparation. She is a member of the California, Missouri, Illinois, and District of Columbia bars. A McGeorge Law School graduate, Antonia practiced and held two federal clerkships before beginning ASP work. To learn more about Antonia go to her faculty profile on the SLU web pages: Antonia Miceli Profile.
Welcome to the ASP community!
October 05, 2011
Welcome a new trio of ASP'ers to Loyola Law in LA
Susan Smith Bakhshian is the Director of Bar Programs & Academic Success and Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where she has taught since 1997. She currently teaches Bar Exam Writing, Law & Process: Privacy Torts (an academic success class), Remedies, and California Civil Procedure, but she also has 17 years of experience teaching Legal Writing, Legal Drafting, and Professional Responsibility. As a 1991 alum of Loyola’s evening program, she is particularly interested helping working students succeed in law school and on the bar exam. Susan's facultly profile on the Loyola web pages can be found here: Susan Bakhshian Faculty Profile.
Anne E. Wells is the Assistant Director of Academic Success and Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. A graduate of Loyola, she currently teaches Professional Responsibility, Law & Process: Privacy Torts, Legal Drafting, and Bankruptcy, and has taught Legal Writing. She began teaching at Loyola as an adjunct in 2007 and joined the faculty full time in 2009. She brings a wealth of law firm practice experience to the position, having practiced extensively in the areas of bankruptcy, reorganization, and commercial law following her graduation from Loyola in 1991. Anne's faculty profile on the law school web pages can be found at: Anne Wells Faculty Profile.
Jessica Levinson is a Visiting Associate Clinical Professor at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. She teaches Law & Process: Privacy Torts, and Money, Politics, and the Supreme Court. She was previously the Director of Political Reform at the Center for Governmental Studies, where her work focused on election laws and political reform issues, and an adjunct professor at Loyola. After graduating from Loyola in 2005, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable James V. Selna, and an associate at the law firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. More information about Jessica can be found in her faculty profile here: Jessica Levinson Faculty Profile.
Please welcome our new colleagues at Loyola in LA!
October 04, 2011
Macey Edmondson joins the Ole Miss School of Law
Macey Edmondson is the Acting Dean for Student Affairs at The University of Mississippi School of Law. She received her J.D. in 2001 from The University of Mississippi School of Law and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Leadership and Higher Education program. Edmondson oversees orientation, graduation, students with disabilities, and student organizations.
We are delighted to have Macey join the ASP community!
October 03, 2011
Welcome Kathleen Dombrow to Whittier Law
Kathleen Dombrow is a new Graduate Fellow in Academic Support at Whittier. She received her J.D. degree cum laude from Chapman University School of Law. While at Chapman Law, she served as a Dean’s Fellow for Legal Research and Writing. She then entered private practice focusing on Family Law. More information on Kathleen can be found on the Whittier web pages here: Kathleen Dombrow Profile.
Please welcome Kathleen to ASP work when you see her at an ASP event!
September 30, 2011
Welcome Heather Gutterud to Whittier Law
Heather Gutterud has joined the Whittier Law School Academic Support Program as an Academic Support Program Fellow after graduating from Whittier Law School magna cum laude in the spring. While a student at Whittier, Ms. Gutterud served as a teaching assistant for several classes and was Associate Editor of Law Review. More information about Heather can be found on Whittier web pages here: Heather Gutterud Profile.
When you see Heather at a workshop, please give her a heart-felt ASP welcome!
September 29, 2011
Welcome to Halle Hara at Capital University
Halle Hara has joined Capital University School of Law as Professor and Director of Academic Success Protocol. She comes to ASP work after more than 13 years of practice experience and extensive legal writing and publication experience. You can find more information about Halle on the Capital University web site: Halle Hara Faculty Profile. Please welcome Halle to ASP work!
September 01, 2011
Newcomers to ASP work - let us introduce you
It is the time of year for us to include spotlight postings on the blog to introduce all of the new folks who have joined ASP in recent months. To do a spotlight, we need a small picture, a brief bio, and a link to your faculty profile if you have one on your law school's web pages. If your faculty profile includes a photograph, we may be able to use that one instead of your sending an additional photo file. We are also happy to post information if you have switched law schools but stayed in ASP work. Send your information to Amy Jarmon at email@example.com. Welcome to ASP!
June 13, 2011
Positive Psychology and Law Students
Corie Rosen of ASU-Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law recently published in article in the McGeorge Law Review on positive psychology and law students. Corie's work is a good reminder for all of us that self-efficacy is important for law students as learners and as future professionals.
1) Feedback should be temporary and specific.
Avoid making comments on students papers (and to students directly) that are permenent or pervasive. This is a hard thing to do, especially when you are frustrated. Setbacks are temporary. One bad grade or semester does not mean the student cannot succeed in law school.
2) Students need to know they have some control in their lives.
Law school can infantilize students. During their first year, they cannot choose their classes, their section, or their schedule. If you cannot let them make a decision, then explain to them why they can't make the decision. If them control where you can.
3) Encourage connection and roots in the community and in the law school.
Law school can disconnect students from their traditional support systems. Try to reorient them by letting them know where they can seek help if they need it. Help foster close relationships with peers by encouraging study groups and teaching them how to work in a study group. Show them the community outside the law school walls and help them remember the relevance of what they are learning to the outside world.
February 21, 2011
A metaphor for the role of ASP in student success
I have written posts in the past about students as consumers. I have very strong feelings on the topic, because I believethat viewing students as consumers dis-incentivizes students to achieve their personal best. However, it can be difficult to explain to students who see themselves as consumers what they should expect from ASP. I think this metaphor may be helpful.*
Home Depot and Lowe's hardware sell do-it-yourself kits for various small projects, such as bird feeders, picture frames, and shelves. They are designed to be parent-child projects, and the degree of complexity involved in the finished product depends on the skill and effort of the builders.
Education is much like one of these do-it-yourself projects. The boxes advertise a very basic project. The kit includes all the pieces necessary to build the project in it's most basic form. If built as designed, the product should function exactly as it is advertised. Similarly, law schools give students all the basic pieces to complete a law degree. Some students will use the pieces as a starting point, and build something magnificent, far exceeding what is advertised on the box. These students are using their own ingenuity, creativity, and talent to demonstrate their own potential. They write notes for law review, join mock trial and appellate advocacy teams, they take on big projects in clinics, and they work to know their professors and peers. Other students will not take the time to read the directions, fail to follow directions, or rush the project because they don't like it. Their project will not be as advertised on the box, because the box does not promise them a well-built project without their own hard work. They can't bring the product back to the store because they don't like the finished product; it is not the store or the manufacturer's fault they did not do what they needed to do. These are the students who fail to show up for orientation or spend orientation playing on a cell phone, the students who are smarter than ASP, and feel that outlining isn't "their style" of preparing for exams. But the trickiest consumers are those that genuinely give 100% of their effort to building the project, and just can not figure out how to get from disassembled pieces to a finished product. This is why most manufacturers have consumer help lines. Academic Success is the consumer help line of law schools. The help-line specialists are masters at building the product, but it requires the continued effort of the consumer to learn how to build the project. If the consumer gets frustrated and hangs up the phone, the help-line specialist can not be blamed for problems with the finished product. Nor can a consumer expect that a help-line specialist is in charge of magic fairies who can come out and finish the project for them because they are struggling. No where on the box does it say that the manufacturer is responsible for the finishing the project for the consumer.
Education, like a do-it-yourself project, is great because you can build something that fits your individual needs, and you decide the complexity of the finished product. Its flexibility is what makes it great, but it also makes it difficult. Students who believe that they are consumers and ASP is there to fix their problems for them are confused about their role.
This metaphor is incomplete in many ways, because ASP encompasses many more things than just helping struggling students. I still disagree with characterizing students as consumers, but I know that some students will see themselves as consumers, and it is helpful to have a metaphor to help them see what we can and cannot do for them. (RCF)
*I apologize if this is a metaphor that has been used by someone else. I have read hundreds of law review articles in the last few months, and I may have accidently picked it up from an article. However, the idea came to me when I watched my brother-in-law and 3 year old nephew put together a do-it-yourself picture frame. My nephew thought the pieces for the frame should be used to build a construction crane. It was not what the manufacturer promised on the box, but it made my nephew very happy. I saw the help-line number on the box, and thought, wow, I bet no one has called them and asked about how to use a picture frame kit to build a construction crane. Which got me thinking about the role of help lines, and ASP.
January 17, 2011
ASP Section at AALS
There will be additional posts on AALS, but this is a brief overview of the program and the new AALS ASP section officers (Congrats to my co-editor, Dr. Amy Jarmon!)
The program, co-sponsored by Student Services and Balance in Legal Education sections, was a huge success with great turnout. It was a packed house, with every seat filled.
The program started with a brief memorial to Prof. Bruce Winick, who passed away this year. Prof. Winick was a giant in the legal academy, therapeutic justice, and the humanizing legal education movement. He will be deeply missed.
The first panel was Deborah Rhode, Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado, and Nancy Levit, discussing the current state of emotional well-being for law students. The statistics were sobering, but it was wonderful to hear so many folks so concerned about the happiness and well-being of law students and actually working to do something about the challenges to law students and recent grads.
The next panel was Paula Manning, Corie Rosen, Russell McClain, Rebecca Flanagan (me), joined after by Andrew Faltin. Paula et al got the program rocking with a song and dance (no joke) on how optimism, feedback, and programming can enhance law student well-bring. Andrew closed the section with information on how to use student self-evaluatuations to create happier law students.
The last panel, Laurie Zimet and Paula Lustbader, showed the audience how to get to know their students in"3D". Laurie and Paula provided some excellent tools to help professors get past their pre-conceived ideas about their students and help see them for who they are, not just a face in a seat. We closed out the day with Larry Krieger, the guru of law student balance and happiness, discussing his latest research on autonomy support and student success.
At the close of the program, the ASP business meeting announced the section officers for the 2011-2012 year:
Chair: Michael Hunter Schwartz
Chair Elect: Paula Manning
Immediate Past Chair: Robin Boyle
Secretary: Rebecca Flanagan
Treasurer: Herb Ramy
LaRasz Moody, Emily Scivoletto, Louis Schulz, and Dr. Amy Jarmon
January 09, 2011
Are you a new law school ASP'er or know one at your law school?
Each semester we try to do "Academic Support Spotlight" postings to welcome folks who have joined the ASP community since our last round of postings. Although I know we have already posted about a few new folks who joined law schools in November or December, I suspect that other new faces that have been arriving the last few weeks and will continue to do so into February.
If you have joined us in ASP work at a law school (or know someone who has) and have not yet been featured here on the blog, please send a picture (or link to your picture on your law school web site) and a short biography to Amy Jarmon at the e-mail given in the left-hand co-editor information.
Welcome to ASP work! I look forward to hearing from you. (Amy Jarmon)
December 20, 2010
Welcome to the new Director at Cleveland Marshall
Welcome to Mary Jane McGinty who is the new Director of Bar Preparation and Academic Support at Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Mary Jane provided the information below so that you can get to know her. Please welcome her to the ASP community when you see her at a conference or workshop. (Amy Jarmon)
Mary Jane McGinty is the new Director of Bar Preparation and Academic Support at Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Mary Jane graduated, magna cum laude, from C|M|LAW and has a BSN and MSN in Nursing. Since her law school graduation, she has been in private practice and worked in legal publishing. She has been a legal writing instructor there for many years—teaching in the first year program and most recently as an adjunct teaching third semester legal writing courses. She has also worked with Gary Williams in C|M|LAW’s Ohio Bar Exam Strategies and Tactics (OBEST) course.
December 17, 2010
Welcome to a new Director at Vermont Law
We would like to welcome Matt Carluzzo at Vermont Law School to the ASP community. I had the good fortune of meeting Matt at the NECASP workshop in Concord, New Hampshire at the beginning of the month. Matt has provided the background information below to help us get to know him. I hope that all of you will send him warm greetings as he joins us. (Amy Jarmon)
Professor Matthew Carluzzo joined the Vermont Law School faculty in 2010. He is the director of the Academic Success Program, where he designs and instructs courses that teach students the skills necessary to succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in their future legal practice.
Professor Carluzzo earned an AB degree in Religion from Dartmouth College in 1997 and a JD degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2003. Upon graduation from law school, he joined the litigation practice group at the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter, where his practice comprised of large-scale civil and appellate products liability litigation. He later joined Gilbert LLP, also in Washington, DC, where he specialized in corporate insurance law. In 2006, Professor Carluzzo joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program, where he worked with Middlebury College’s Alliance for Civic Engagement to lessen the causes and effects of poverty in rural Vermont. From 2007 to 2008, Professor Carluzzo served as the Dean of Cook Commons at Middlebury, a role in which he served as a primary resource to help students achieve success in their academic and personal lives.
November 16, 2010
Returning member to the FAMU Academic Success and Bar Prep Team
Jendayi Saada, Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation, at Florida A & M University School of Law recently posted to the ASP listserv that Keith Neyland has re-joined their staff. We would like to welcome Keith back to ASP. Please be on the lookout for him at conferences and workshops. (Amy Jarmon)
Below is an excerpt from Jendayi's listserv posting:
Professor Keith Neyland has a strong background as a labor attorney. He initially came to FAMU as the Coordinator of Academic Success, then crossed over to the Legal Methods Department where he taught various workshops and counseled students with writing issues. We were able to convince Keith to return to his roots as a member of the ASBP team. Given Keith’s enthusiastic desire to work with students in skills development and bar preparation, his choice was not difficult. The ASBP Department and the students at FAMU are indeed fortunate to have Keith as a valuable team member as we continue our mission of increased student performance and ultimately, higher bar passage rates.
October 28, 2010
Mandy Carter is new ASP'er at Charlotte Law
Anthea des Etages, Director of Academic Success, announced on the listserv this summer that Amanda Carter had joined the Academic Success staff at Charlotte Law. The information below is from Anthea's listserv announcement. Please welcome Amanda when you see her at a conference or workshop. (Amy Jarmon)
I am very pleased to announce that Amanda Carter has joined the Academic Success team at Charlotte School of Law. Mandy is from Shelby, North Carolina. She attended University of North Carolina School of Law, where she was the Articles and Notes Editor of the First Amendment Law Review. She also led the Client Counseling Team as a member of the Moot Court, trained as a Guardian Ad Litem and participated in a variety of pro bono projects before graduating in 2006. For the last four years, Mandy has practiced in the areas of real estate and trust and estates in NC.
October 26, 2010
Welcome Alicia Jackson to FAMU College of Law
Jendayi Saada, Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation, at Florida A&M University College of Law announced on the ASP listserv this fall that Alicia Jackson had joined the FAMU ASP staff. Jendayi's announcement is included in part below so that you will know more about Alicia. Please welcome her to the ASP fold! (Amy Jarmon)
Professor Alicia Jackson has joined our FAMU family, as the Coordinator for Academic Success & Bar Preparation. Professor Jackson comes to the FAMU College of Law from the Law Center at Nova Southeastern University where she served as a professor in the Critical Skills Program. She was also a member of the faculty for the Criminal Justice Institute where she developed the criminal law course for the Ph.D. program. She is the former Chair of an undergraduate criminal justice program and during her tenure developed and taught various courses, including, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Victimology, and Constitutional law. She has extensive experience in both curriculum design and course development. Her research and teaching interest include criminal law and procedure, juvenile delinquency, victimology and academic support programs in law schools.
Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson worked as an associate in a South Florida law firm, and subsequently opened her own practice. She practiced law in the areas of wills, trusts and estates, personal injury, landlord-tenant and criminal law. Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson served as the executive director of a juvenile diversionary program sponsored by the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Professor Jackson is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Florida Bar and previously served as a Florida State Supreme Court certified mediator. She received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University and both a Master’s of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Grambling State University. While she not new to ASP, Professor Jackson is a breath of fresh air here at FAMU!
Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson worked as an associate in a South Florida law firm, and subsequently opened her own practice. She practiced law in the areas of wills, trusts and estates, personal injury, landlord-tenant and criminal law. Prior to teaching, Professor Jackson served as the executive director of a juvenile diversionary program sponsored by the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Professor Jackson is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and the Florida Bar and previously served as a Florida State Supreme Court certified mediator. She received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University and both a Master’s of Public Administration and Bachelor of Science degrees from Grambling State University.
While she not new to ASP, Professor Jackson is a breath of fresh air here at FAMU!
October 25, 2010
Welcome the Co-Directors at Michigan State
Michigan State law school has two new Co-Directors in Academic Support: Goldie Pritchard and Meghan Short. Please welcome them. They have kindly provided us with the additional information below so that you can get to know them and their program. (Amy Jarmon)
In 2009, Michigan State University (MSU) College of Law launched a program designed to provide structured academic support to the entire law student population. This program was spearheaded by Goldie Pritchard who served as the interim director for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Academic Success Program was such a success that the administration retained Goldie as the Co-Director and hired a Co-Director to assist in further expanding the reach of the Academic Success Program in 2010. Meghan Short, an alum of the Law College, is the newest addition to the Academic Success Program and has been with us since June 2010.
After graduating from MSU College of Law in 2004, Meghan moved to Chicago where she worked for a little over 5 1/2 years. She was an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago Law Department for nearly 4 years before she moved to the Cook County Office of the Public Defender, where she practiced (as a P.D.) until she joined our office. As a student, Meghan was a Teaching Assistant, a Research Assistant, on Law Review, and was a participant in the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute.
The Academic Success Program at MSU Law is a resource for students to utilize as they identify and strengthen their academic abilities during law school. Individual academic counseling, available to all students, allows ASP staff to provide targeted guidance and instruction to students as they cultivate and enhance the critical skills necessary for success in law school. MSU ASP also offers a series of study strategy and exam taking workshops for first year students.
This fall, the Academic Success Program is also beginning a "Pilot TA Program." In all first-year Civil Procedure and Torts classes, teaching assistants, under the training and guidance of ASP staff (as well as the course professors), will hold bi-weekly TA labs. These labs are designed to enhance and reinforce necessary law school skills within the context of the doctrinal material being covered in class. Asp also supports upper class students through various Bar preparation workshops.
October 21, 2010
Stefanie Sidortsova Becomes Interim Director at Vermont
Please welcome Stefanie Sidortsova to the ASP community! Stefanie has become the Interim Director of Academic Sucess Programs at Vermont Law School. She has been the writing specialist at Vermont for the past two years. During spring semester after the new Director arrives, she will continue to serve as the writing specialist and as an Assistant Professor for ASP. You can find Stefanie's bio here: Stefanie Sidortsova. (Amy Jarmon)