Monday, May 13, 2013

Salute to Vernellia Randall

Vernellia Randall, a professor at University of Dayton, is one of the well-known names in ASP work.  She was among the leaders at the forefront of academic support work when the profession gained traction at law schools.  Vernellia is retiring this year after a distinguished career as a professor and ASP advocate.  Although a prolific writer in a number of doctrinal areas, her most recent publication on legal teaching that many ASP'ers have read is Planning for Effective Legal Instsruction: A Workbook (Carolina Academic Press, 2011).

Thank you, Vernellia, for your passion for helping students achieve success.  Your work in ASP was instrumental for many of us in our own careers.  Best wishes for your retirement.  (Amy Jarmon)

 

May 13, 2013 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Update from the NY ASP Workshop (Myra Orlen)

A huge thank you to Myra Orlen, who wrote this summary of events for the blog.

The 2013 NY Academic Support Workshop was held on Thursday, April 2013, at Brooklyn Law School.  Thanks – once again -- to Linda Feldman and Kris Franklin for organizing and convening a totally successful event.   This workshop consistently convenes a dynamic group of presenters in a supportive setting in which everyone participates and comes away inspired.  This year’s event was no exception. 

Morning Sessions:

David Nadvorney, of CUNY School of Law, began the day with a presentation entitled “Teaching Students Legal Reading.”  David demonstrated methods of working with students on law school reading that I will use with my students.  He stressed that the best method of delivering ASP is across the curriculum, i.e. in a doctrinal context. David shared materials from his close case reading workshops.  In these workshops, he teaches students to recognize rhetorical devises that will enhance their comprehension.

Next Shane Dizon, of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hosfstra University, gave a presentation entitled “Professional Advisory: Explicit Content! Make Labeling Mandatory.”  Shane’s presentation focused on the importance of students’ ability to spot issues on exam questions.  Shane led us in an exercise; with scissors and preprinted labels in hand– we marked  up a constitutional law essay question.  The labels corresponded to the issues that the professor wanted students to identify on the exam question and will ideally come from the students’ course outlines.  This exercise teaches close reading and can serve as an intermediate step between the professor’s memo on the exam and the students’ understanding of the exam question. 

Robin Boyle, of St. Johns University School of Law, addressed critical reading skills and placed those skills in the exam context.  She noted that our legal writing colleagues are noticing that students are evincing increased difficulty in critical reading this year.  Robin shared her experience in working with students on exam taking skills – with a focus on critical reading.

Zelma Rios, of Cardozo School of Law, shared her idea of having students annotate portions of briefs: the question presented and the statement of the case.  In doing so, students focus on language structure, word choice, and tone.  Students then meet in groups to discuss their annotations.  This exercise affords students the opportunity to see cases in context.  The cases are the continuation of the story presented in the brief.  When asked how to use this exercise in the ASP context, Zelma had a ready answer; she distributed the briefs copies of the Palsgraf briefs.  As one person noted, this exercise allows students to see themselves as lawyers from day one.  

Afternoon Sessions:

Jeremiah Ho, of the U. Mass. School of Law - Dartmouth and Rebecca Flanagan, currently of the U. Conn. Law school and soon to be at the U. Mass. School of Law- Dartmouth,  explained how to use Jerome Bruner’s Spiral Curriculum in 1L Contracts.  Using the process that Rebecca described in her April 12, 2031 entry to this blog, she and Jeremiah demonstrated how the Spiral Curriculum can be used in Contracts to teach the mirror image rule. 

Angela Baker, of Rutgers Law School, presented on the development of summer pre-law programs for law students.  She told us about the development and implementation of Rutgers’ program which brought diverse, rising sophomores to Rutgers for a four-week program. The program was an intense mixture of classes, speakers, and field trips aimed at encouraging participants to consider law school.

Kris Franklin, of the New York Law School, led us in an exciting game of TabooTM Law.  The objective of the TabooTM is to get your teammates to guess a word, without using a set of words that are listed on the card as “taboo.”  After providing a demonstration, Kris distributed Civil Procedure cards that her students made.   In making the cards, students knew which words to put on the cards to “screw” their classmates. The game illustrated that law school can be fun and that one need not be afraid of the law.  To give good clues, students use legally descriptive terms.  Thus, the students learn to explain and, thereby understand the terms.

Ann Forlino, of the U. Mass. School of Law – Dartmouth, spoke about the necessary relationship between ASP and Disability Services.  Through the discussion that Ann led, we learned of some of the different ways that these two areas are treated in law schools. 

Last – but certainly not least – Elizabeth Corwin of Pace Law School spoke on her experiences working with at-risk 2Ls.  In her presentation Elizabeth described the course that she teaches to at-risk students: Overview of Legal Analysis.  The course is designed to enhance students’ exam taking skills.  Elizabeth noticed that her students had problems with logical thinking and introduced us to a series of videos that explain concepts in logic:

http://io9.com/5888322/critical-thinking-explained-in-six-kid+friendly-animations

(Myra Orlen, WNE Law via RCF)

April 19, 2013 in Academic Support Spotlight, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Congratulations to Rebecca Flanagan

Thank you to Jeremiah Ho for alerting us through the listserv about Rebecca Flanagan's receiving the Honors Teacher of the Year award at the University of Conncecticut.  The award selection is on the recommendation of students and faculty. 

We have all benefited from Rebecca's insights on teaching throughout the years.  It is well-deserved that she is being recognized by her university for her excellence.  Congratulations! 

 

April 18, 2013 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Moves and Changes

This summer, I will be moving from UConn and UConn Law School to UMass-Dartmouth School of Law, where I will become tenure-track faculty. The move also means I will be shifting back to ASP full-time. As much as I love UConn (and more on that below), I could not turn down the opportunity to work with Dean Mary Lu Bilek, who was a pioneer in ASP at CUNY before becoming dean at UMass. I found the faculty at UMass to be incredibly supportive and genuinely excited to be at the law school, and I was encouraged by the mission of the law school, to provide an affordable option for students seeking to work in public service.

It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave UConn. Not only do I love my job and my students, but I am alum of the school (both my BA and MA are from UConn). I have had amazing opportunities here that I would not have had anywhere else. My experience working with undergraduates has been invaluable. My experience has changed how I view ASP and the types of supports needed by students. I now see the essentiality of ASP-undergrad partnerships, and the growing need for ASP to move outside of the legal academy. To truly understand the challenges facing our incoming students, we need a better understanding of where they are coming from. It's no longer adequate to recall personal memories of our pre-law days, and superimpose our challenges on our students.These students are "digital natives" who are not afraid of the rapid pace of technological change--it's all they have ever known. These are students scarred by the Great Recession, which has shaped their worldview. Their undergraduate experience has shown them that education is not the ticket to security and stability. Incoming students are savvy and informed in ways that were unthinkable just four or five years ago; "buy-in" to the law school pedagogy will require us to prove ourselves and our value to students. ASP should not be afraid to embrace this new generation of law students and their challenge to our curriculum. These students will force us to up our game, to become better, more effective teachers and scholars. Personally, that is a challenge I embrace and encourage. While we work with students to become the best version of themselves, they will force us to better versions of ourselves.

It is bittersweet for me to be moving on from UConn. I love my job, I love my students, and the colleagues I have here will become lifelong friends.  But in this time of uncertainty and change in the legal academy, I am very excited to become to a part of a law school that is embracing the "new normal" and challenges ahead of us. (Rebecca Flanagan) 

 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDIT: 3:44 pm

This is a fantastic post by William Henderson from over at Legal Whiteboard. It dovetails on my message about students and growth.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwhiteboard/2013/04/question-authority-law-students-have-an-important-role-to-play-in-the-future-of-legal-education.html

 

 

April 5, 2013 in About This Blog, Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Congratulations to Michael Hunter Schwartz: One of our own is a dean!

While we don't usually highlight the comings and goings of law school administration here at the ASP blog (Faculty Lounge covers that realm) I thought it was important that we recognize University of Arkansas-Little Rock for hiring Michael Hunter Schwartz as their new dean. Most of us know Mike from his work in ASP, but for those who haven't met Mike, he is one of the most prolific, generous, gifted people in ASP. His book Expert Learning for Law Students is a classic in academic support, and his more recent book with Denise Riebbi, Pass the Bar!, is a classic-in-the-making.

I am thrilled for Mike, and for UALR, but I also think his appointment signifies something important for our field: one of our own has made it to the top. This is a wonderful thing for our students, who will benefit from a renewed focus on student-centered teaching in the academy.

Mike is not the only ASPer in a deanship; it is important to note that Mary Lu Bilek at UMass Law also has deep roots in our field. Mary Lu came on board at UMass this past year. Let's celebrate these milestones, and congratulate our newest deans!

(RCF)

January 17, 2013 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why I Work in ASP - Part V

Emily

Emily L. Scivoletto, Assistant Dean for JD Student Affairs at University of San Diego School of Law, has been involved in ASP work for eight years.  She shares the following about why she works in our professional niche:   

"I work in ASP to provide direct support to our world’s future leaders.  I truly believe there is no greater calling than the law and no better job than preparing students to be ethical, kind, smart, compassionate and hard-working advocates.  I also learn so much about myself through this work."

Thank you, Emily, for your dedication to the success of law students.  As colleagues, we also learn so much from one another.  Your contributions to ASP are greatly appreciated.  (Amy Jarmon)

November 25, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why I Work in ASP - Part IV

Jeremiah_ho

Jeremiah Ho, Assistant Professor of Law, has worked in academic support for three years.  He is currently at UMass Dartmouth and shares why he is in ASP work:

"I work in academic support because when I was in law school, I had great ASP professors who cared about students, and without their help and dedication, I would not have excelled so early.  Now I get to teach as well and try to do right by them."

Jeremiah is known for incorporating ASP principles in the classroom.  We have been so glad to have you as an ASP colleague.    

November 14, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why I Work in ASP - Part III

Hramy

Herb Ramy, Professor of Academic Support, at Suffolk University School of Law is in his fourteenth year working with law students.  Many of you know Herb from his excellent book, Succeeding in Law School.  Herb shares the reasons why he loves working in ASP:

"Working as an ASP Professor, while challenging, is extremely rewarding.  There are many barriers to success in law school, and I derive a great deal of satisfaction from helping students see those barriers and overcome them.  Each year students come experiencing fear and doubt as to whether they can make it in law school, and I get to watch as they hit their stride and slowly grow more confident in their newfound abilities.  Three or four years later I get to watch them walk across the stage at graduation.  How many people have jobs where they get to make this kind of difference in people’s lives?"

Thank you, Herb, for being an inspiration to many of us in ASP and to your students! 

November 11, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Why I Work in ASP - Part II

1335801704

Grace Wigal, Teaching Professor and Director of Academic Excellence Program, at West Virginia University College of Law has been working in academic support for 20 years.  She responded to our request for ASP'ers to comment on why they work in academic support.  Grace writes: 

"I work in academic support because it is challenging and rewarding.  Most students in law school will benefit from support services at some point in their law school career, thus, the work that we do allows us to make a difference in many, many lives!"

Thank you, Grace, for being so devoted to helping law students succeed.  We are all grateful to have you as a colleague!

Please join your colleagues in sharing why you work in academic support.  Send the following information to me (e-mail in left-hand column): number of months/years in ASP work; link to your faculty profile on your law school web pages and/or a small jpeg photo; your title; your reason for working in ASP in 50 words or less.  (Amy Jarmon)    

November 9, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I Work in ASP - Part I

LeeCourtney

Courtney Lee, Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills and Director of Academic Success, at McGeorge has responded to our request that ASP'ers share why they work in ASP. 

Courtney has worked for 4.5 years in academic success and writes:

"Working in ASP allows me to help people much more directly than I could if I worked in a firm.  Then I get to watch them go forth and help others!  Some come from unimaginable hardship, and there is nothing better than watching them rise, shine, and pay it forward." 

Thank you for your insight into ASP work, Courtney.  We are so fortunate to have you involved in the ASP profession and helping law students at McGeorge.

Join us and share why you work in ASP.  Send the information requested in our earlier 10/31 post to Amy Jarmon, Co-Editor (e-mail link in the left-hand column of the blog page). 

 

November 1, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let Us Introduce You

Calling all new ASP staff members and ASP job changers

Are you a new academic support professional?  Have you been an ASP'er for some time but have switched schools?  Did you get promoted within ASP this past summer?  Please let us know your news!

We would like to do an academic support spotlight posting to introduce you if you are new.  If you have switched schools or were promoted, we would like to use the same postings to update colleagues on your new position.

For us to include you in a spotlight posting, just send me the following information:
  • If new: One paragraph that can be posted with information on your position, law school, and you (education, past work experience, and interests).
  • If job changing or promotion: Similar but with a focus on your new position and duties and where you moved from/title you held before.
  • Everyone: A link to your law school's faculty profile on the website if one exists for you.
  • Everyone: A link to your picture on your law school's website if one exists.  (If not, you can send a small jpeg file.)

We welcome all of you who are new to the profession!  Congratulations to those of you who have switched jobs or received promotions!  We look forward to spotlighting you later this month.  (Amy Jarmon)

October 26, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Welcome Seth Aitken to ASP

Seth_Aitken (2)

We are happy to introduce our readers to Seth Aitken who has started working at U Mass - Dartmouth.  Please make sure you greet him when you see him at a workshop or conference.  Jeremiah Ho, Assistant Professor, has provided the information below so that you will know more about Seth.  (Amy Jarmon)

Seth Aitken currently works as an instructor on staff in the Academic Resources & Writing Center at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) School of Law - Dartmouth under the supervision of Director Anne Walsh Folino. He is new to ASP after serving for nearly three years as an assistant district attorney in Bristol County (Massachusetts). Seth first felt drawn to legal education during his time as a prosecutor, presenting cases and trying to explain essential legal concepts to juries at trial. Later he began training and mentoring new assistant district attorneys working with them to develop strong trial skills and principled, thoughtful approaches to prosecuting crimes.Seth earned his J.D. from Roger Williams University School of Law after serving for eight years as an Army officer in the Corps of Engineers, and four years working with students and student groups at Brown University in the Office of Alumni Relations and the Swearer Center for Public Service. He is very excited to be working with law students at UMass.

 

October 23, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Welcome Rebecca Nickell to ASP

Please join us in welcoming Rebecca Nickell as the new Student Success Coordinator at Concordia University School of Law.  I have included below part of the press release from her law school as a way for you to get to know her.  Next time you are at a conference or workshop, please introduce yourselves to Rebecca.  (Amy Jarmon)

"Concordia University School of Law Associate Dean of Academics Greg Sergienko is pleased to announce the selection of Rebecca Nickell as Student Success Coordinator. “We're very pleased to have Rebecca joining the team,” Associate Dean Sergienko said. “She had a stellar record in law school herself, and her wealth of experience in the area of student success will help our students and faculty succeed in our learning and teaching.”

Prior to her appointment at Concordia Law, Nickell was in a similar role at Phoenix School of Law in Phoenix, Ariz., where she was instrumental in the success of students. Nickell was responsible for developing curriculum and teaching a 3‐credit hour course focused on the essential skills required for the Uniform Bar Exam. In addition, she mentored and counseled graduates navigating the bar preparation period. She also fulfilled the role of academic counselor and taught a non‐credit class on developing study skills and mastering the law school exam.

Nickell received her B.S. in chemical engineering and petroleum refining, from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. In 2010, she earned her J.D. from Phoenix School of Law. During her legal studies, Nickell ranked second in her class and aided the Phoenix Law Review as a board member and technical editor.

Preceding law school, Nickell worked as an engineer at both Speedfam‐IPEC and ST Microelectronics, where she was received patents as a co‐inventor on processes related to semi‐conductor manufacturing methods."

October 15, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Director at University of South Carolina

Alex Ruskell has recently moved to the University of South Carolina to become the law school's Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation.  Since USC has not previously had a program, Alex is building a program from the ground up. 

He writes that the law students are great and he has had over 100 students at all of his workshops and an equal number of appointments already this semester.  What a great start, Alex!  Enjoy your new position at USC!  (Amy Jarmon)

October 10, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | 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)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Calling all new ASP staff members and ASP job changers

Are you a new academic support professional?  Have you been an ASP'er for some time but have switched schools?  Did you get promoted within ASP this summer?  Please let us know your news!

We would like to do an academic support spotlight posting to introduce you if you are new.  If you have switched schools or were promoted, we would like to use the same postings to update colleagues on your new position.

For us to include you in a spotlight posting, just send me the following information:
  • If new: One paragraph that can be posted with information on your position, law school, and you (education, past work experience, and interests).
  • If job changing or promotion: Similar but with a focus on your new position and duties and where you moved from/title you held before.
  • Everyone: A link to your law school's faculty profile on the website if one exists for you.
  • Everyone: A link to your picture on your law school's website if one exists.  (If not, you can send a small jpeg file.)

We welcome all of you who are new to the profession!  Congratulations to those of you who have switched jobs or received promotions!  We look forward to spotlighting you later this month.  (Amy Jarmon)

September 4, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Let us introduce you if you are new to ASP work

Summer is the traditional time when new professionals in ASP start their jobs.  If you are a newcomwer to the academic success profession, please get in touch with me so that we can introduce you to everyone with an Academic Support Spotlight posting.  If you would like an introduction spotlight, just send me the following information:

  • One paragraph that can be posted with information on your position, law school, and you (education, past work experience, and interests).
  • A link to your law school's faculty profile on the website if one exists for you.
  • A link to your picture on your law school's website if one exists.  (If not, you can send a small jpeg file.)

Welcome to ASP!  We usually do spotlight postings throughout late August, September,and early October.  So, if you need some extra time for your law school to complete your faculty profile or picture posting, just get in touch when you are ready.  (Amy Jarmon)

July 26, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Welcome Dan Weddle as Co-Editor

Rebecca and I are delighted to announce that Dan Weddle, Director of Academic Support at University of Missouri - Kansas City, is joining us as a Co-Editor for the Law School Academic Support Blog. 

Dan previously served as a Co-Editor with Dennis Tonsing and later with me before he decided to take a break for several years.  He has been involved in research and writing about bullying and other educational issues during his hiatus from the blog. 

We know that all of our readers will benefit from his insights.  Welcome back, Dan!  (Amy Jarmon)  

June 18, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 4, 2012

ASP and prospective law students

An interesting issue was discussed on the ASP listserv recently. Carlota Toledo of Indiana-McKinney School of Law brought up the issue of declining law school enrollment and the impact this will have on ASP. I work with undergrads and in law school ASP; this issue is not  an abstraction for me. I spend part of my day, everyday, working with undergraduates who are exploring legal education as a post-graduate option. As I have previously discussed, this is not something we can afford to ignore. Law school deans have already spoken out about the rising cost of running a law school, as well as the challenges of providing increasing levels of services to students. Because ASP professionals are more vulnerable to budget cuts due to less job security, this is an issue that all of us should be discussing and addressing in conferences. We cannot afford to stick out heads in the sand, or hope that it will be somebody else's problem.

Personally, I can attest to the significant drop-off in interest in law school among students with high LSAT's and UGPA's. These students have paid attention to the news, they read the blogs, and they have other options besides law school. An unprecedented number of them have told me they are changing their plans and either not going to law school at all, or they are taking a wait-and-see approach, where they explore other options (Teach for America, Peace Corp, internships abroad) until a legal education guarantees a substantial return on investment. My strong-but-not elite students are taking a different approach; they are only considering law schools that discount tuition by half or more. Many of them are willing to walk away from the idea of being a lawyer if it means more than 40 or 50k in debt from law school loans. These students are still going to law school in significant numbers, but they will not be generating much, if any, revenue for law schools.

Why is this relevant to ASP? The only group of students who are not reconsidering their plans to go to law school are the ones who have no other options. I have seen no decline in interest in law school among students with mediocre to poor UGPAs and LSATs. They cannot get a job in this economy, and many of them have substantial undergraduate loan debt that they cannot pay after graduation. A handful of these students will do very well in law school, because the reason for their lackluster academic performance thus far was due to events outside of their control (death in the family, health issues that have been resolved). The majority of these students are going to struggle in law school. Their sub-par academic performance was due to a sub-par work ethic and a lack of maturity. These students are going straight from undergrad to law school, without the time to grow into themselves and gain the maturity and insight that is necessary to compete in law school. ASP is going to be a lifeline for these students. They are the students most likely to reject help until they are in crisis, and they will be the most reluctant to accept that they need remedial support because they did not learn essential skills in college. ASP needs to plan for the arrival of these students and develop strategies for working with these students.

We are facing the unprecedented convergence of twin challenges: a decline in enrollment and accompanying decline in revenue, and an increased need for our services. (RCF)

May 4, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Disruptive" Legal Education of the Future

It seems like the news focusing on legal education is rarely positive. It's not much better at the undergrad level, where very good books (Academically Adrift, Higher Education? Crisis on Campus) from well-respected researchers are focusing on the problems at the BA/BS level. Criticism of undergraduate education and legal education share some common themes: there are not enough jobs for graduates, graduates have no marketable skills, and what is taught is disconnected from what graduates need to know. At the law school level, ASP and LW focus on skills acquisition, and should be at the center of efforts to reform legal education.  While ASP and LW scholars have come up with some great ideas for reforming legal education, we have not really discussed "disruptive" ideas that change the very concept of legal education. Undergraduate researchers have done a lot more thinking about wholesale change in the academy. Most of the changes and ideas are not going to be embraced in entirety, but they they can spur innovation that can lead positive changes to help students and graduates become more successful after they leave us.

One of the most fascinating ideas coming from the undergraduate reform movement centers around using mentors and doing away with the idea of traditional courses with a sage-on-the-stage professor. This type of university would blur the lines between professional and liberal arts education, and do away with disciplinary silos that exist only in the academy. With the growth of open access education or MOOC's, sage-on-the-stage teaching can be done economically over the web, as was done at Stanford when Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig taught an artificial intelligence course to over 100,000 students. Instead of traditional courses, students would work with mentors who could help guide their course selection and college experience. With a small peer group and a mentor, students could work together to solve real-world problems, using the knowledge they gain from MOOC's. Students gain skills when working with real-world problems in a safe, contained learning environment, and mentors can help guide students socially, intellectually, and professionally.

There are certainly challenges to implementing such large-scale changes to the current model of undergraduate education. It is wonderful that researchers and academics are looking to disrupt the current model--something that is not happening at the law school level. I am not dismissing some of the ideas that have come out of the legal academy that promise to improve legal education; there are some great ideas out there (see Robert Rhee and Bradley Borden's "The Law School Firm").  But legal education has had few truly "disruptive" thinkers. Disruptive thinking is scary and promises change, and law schools are notoriously risk-averse and conservative. Instead of fearing change, ASPer's can get out in front of it; think about how our skills can be used in novel and unconventional ways to solve the problems facing law schools. It means we may need to re-boot our thinking, and consider brand-new ways of delivering services.

Here are some things ASPer's can think about:

1) Law firms major complaint is that law school graduates are not practice-ready. Can ASP work with legal employers to teach skills to graduates? Law schools can start making guarantees to law firms: hire our grads, and if they don't have the skills, we will provide them to graduates for free, at the firm. This type of deal with law firms would benefit all parties: law firms would be acquiring less risk when hiring, law schools could get work with law firms so more students are employed, and law students could feel more secure about their employment options.

2) Shift students into "pods" that work on a real-world problem. Instead of a 3-hour exam at the end of the semester, each pod would be responsible for an entire portfolio that addresses the problem. Students would need to address the problem from the perspective of their core courses; they should be able to produce memos that discuss the contract implications of the problem, the constitutional challenges, and possible conflicts with property laws (zoning implications, etc.). ASPer's could play myriad roles; they can be the overall supervisor of a pod, they could float through each pod throughout the semester to check their progress, or they would be the resource for pods that were struggling. An additional benefit would be that ASP would not need to isolate struggling students; the ASPer could work with the entire pod to reinforce skills.

ASPer's need to start thinking about ways to leverage their skills and knowledge for a different type of legal education. If we don't act as change agents, we risk being lost in the changes. No one is going to speak for us but ourselves; we cannot rely on others to find a place for ASP. The fantastic thing about ASP is that we are collaborative, creative, and flexible. Let's use those skills to help address the problems in legal education from new and novel directions. Let's provide the ideas that "disrupt" legal education for the benefit of our students and the profession. (RCF)

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/could-many-universities-follow-borders-bookstores-into-oblivion/35711?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/imagining-the-future-of-the-university/39021

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/education/moocs-large-courses-open-to-all-topple-campus-walls.html?pagewanted=all

April 1, 2012 in Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)