Friday, October 1, 2010
This summer Selina Farrell, Assistant Professor of Law, announced on the ASP listserv that Jeff Wyss has joined the Pepperdine University School of Law as the new Director of the Academic Success Program. Please welcome Jeff to the ASP community with your usual ASP friendliness and enthusiasm! I have included here part of Selina's listserv announcement. (Amy Jarmon)
Jeff graduated from Pepperdine in 2009, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to the law school. Jeff most recently held the position of associate at Latham & Watkins in San Diego. I know Jeff will be an excellent leader for our academic support and bar prep programs, and the students will benefit greatly from his guidance and enthusiasm.
Jeff graduated from Pepperdine in 2009, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to the law school. Jeff most recently held the position of associate at Latham & Watkins in San Diego. I know Jeff will be an excellent leader for our academic support and bar prep programs, and the students will benefit greatly from his guidance and enthusiasm.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This summer Jeffrey Minnetti, Director of Academic Success and Associate Professor of Legal Skills, announced on the ASP listserv that Tishia Dunham had joined the Stetson School of Law academic success program as the Director of Bar Preparation Services and an Assistant Professor of Legal Skills. We would like to welcome Tishia to the ASP community! Hopefully many of you will get a chance to meet her at LSAC and other regional workshops. (Amy Jarmon)
Included here is part of Jeffrey's announcement on the listserv:
Prior to joining the Stetson faculty, Professor Dunham practiced law for seven years in the areas of employment law, commercial and business litigation and real property with an emphasis on community associations. Professor Dunham also served as a bar exam grader for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners for five years before joining Stetson. Professor Dunham’s experience as a bar exam grader has given her unique insight into the specific skills students must master to pass the Florida Bar Examination. Professor Dunham has used this insight to help repeat takers pass the bar exam.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
We want to welcome Gabriela Ryan at Southwestern to the ASP community.
Paul Bateman alerted us through the listserv this summer that Gabriela was joining the academic support staff. Here is part of the text of his e-mail introducing her:
Gabriela has been appointed Associate Professor of Law and Director of Southwestern's Academic Support and Bar Exam Related Programming. Gabriela is assuming my former position as Director of Academic Support, as well as taking on responsibilities for bar exam support.
Gabriela comes to Southwestern from the University of Southern California Law School, where she most recently served as Assistant Dean and Dean of Students, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Welcome to Jeremiah Ho who has joined ASP at Washburn.
Michael Hunter Schwartz alerted us through the listserv this summer to the arrival of Jeremiah Ho at Washburn University School of Law's program. A modified version of Michael's listserv announcement is included here:
Jeremiah Ho has joined Washburn's academic success program, Ex-L at Washburn Law, as the inaugural Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL) Academic Success Fellow. Jeremiah is not new to academic support (he previously taught in Whittier's academic support program). As an ILTL Fellow, Jeremiah will:
1. Design and implement an expanded version of Washburn's Ex-L bar pass program
2. Assess at least one aspect of Ex-L
3. Author a law review article on the teaching and learning subject of his choice (on which he will receive extensive feedback from one or both of the ILTL co-directors)
4. Co-teach a doctrinal course with one of the ILTL co-directors
5. Receive regular and in-depth feedback on all aspects of his work with Ex-L
6. Assist with all other aspects of Ex-L
7. Receive training on all aspects of academic success work, including: program design, teaching, program assessment, professional development, and counseling.
The fellowship is designed as a one-year experience, but it may be extended to a second year by mutual agreement of the fellow and Washburn.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Please welcome Leslie Eanes to the ASP community.
Anthea M. des Etages alerted us this summer to Leslie's arrival in ASP work at Charlotte School of Law. Anthea's listserv post included the following background on Leslie:
Leslie originally hails from Martinsville, Virginia, and more recently from Atlanta, Georgia. She attended Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law, where she participated in Mercer’s Habeas Project clinic and acted as the Student Writing Editor for the Mercer Law Review before graduating in the top 5% of her class. Before relocating to Charlotte and joining the CharlotteLaw as our newest Academic Success Counselor, Leslie practiced labor and employment law in Atlanta and volunteered as a guardian ad litem in Fulton County Juvenile Court.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Prior to joining ASP, Chris was an Associate at the Law Firm of Solomon M. Musyimi in Houston where he prepared pretrial motions and wrote appellate briefs. He has: a B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Nairobi Kenya; a Master of Arts in Anthropology and Master of Public Health in Community Health Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst; a J.D. from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University; and a LL.M. in Health Law from the University of Houston Law Centre.
Please make a point of getting to know Chris when you see him at the next conference or workshop!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
During July, I requested news on new folks in ASP at law schools so that we could introduce them on the Blog to the entire ASP community. I am repeating the item now that we are nearing the start of school in case some folks did not see it earlier. (Amy Jarmon)
It is the time of year when we begin collecting short profiles, pictures, and web links for folks who are joining ASP work for the first time or who have moved to different ASP positions over the summer.
If someone new has joined your ASP staff since May 1st or if you have moved to a different school or position, please send us a one paragraph blurb (title, duties, law degree, work experience, awards, hobbies, etc.) as well as a link to your law school's faculty/administrator profile on the web. If that profile does not include a picture, please also send us a picture of the person as an e-mail attachment.
We will begin a series of Academic Support Spotlight postings after the new academic year begins so that all of us in ASP can meet the new members of our community and congratulate our current colleagues on their job moves. Our community is so friendly that it will give folks a "heads up" so that they can watch for new colleagues at conferences and workshops.
If you would like us to do a spotlight posting on you or someone new to your ASP staff, please send the requested information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to everyone new! Congrats to all of you who have re-located this summer! I look forward to hearing from you.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Alas, it is conference season. I know many ASPer's are just getting back from Elon Law School and LSAC's conference on counseling. I wish I could have joined everyone, but sadly, I am still in a travel freeze. After 5 years, and countless conferences, here are some tips for making the most of the experience:
1) Be social, even if you are an introvert
Yes, sadly, ASP can be sort of clique-y. It's not intentional; many of us have known each other for many years, and some of us worked together for years before we switched schools, moved, etc. However, it is worth remembering that 90% of us where the uncool kids in school growing up (we were way too smart) so we welcome everyone as adults. We are not mean girls (and boys), I promise. Say hi. If you are shy and uncomfortable, let us know. Most of us were uncomfortable at our first conferences as well. The only way to get the advice and help you want is to break into the cliques and start talking to people. Really, we are like a congregation of kindergarten teachers once you know us.
2) Be a joiner, even if you are not a joiner.
You need exposure. To get exposure for your program, school, etc, you need to join things. AALS, LSAC, Institute for Law School Teaching and Learning, Humanizing Legal Education. When you are at those conferences, be a joiner. Go to the (sometimes stupid and quirky) social functions. Join subcommittees. When you join things, be social and let people get to know you and what is great about your program. The legal academy is a tiny place, so everyone knows someone at your school. This is instrumental for your career. You never know when you may need a phone call placed on your behalf to your boss/dean, letting her/him know what a great job you are doing. the only way to for that to happen is to be social, and be a joiner.
3) Ask questions
We tell our students there are no stupid questions, and then we are afraid to ask questions as conferences for fear of sounding stupid. As someone who has presented a ton, I don't think I have ever heard a stupid question. We completely understand that people new to the profession need to ask basic questions. We want to help. Conferences are places where you should be asking questions.
4) Toot your own horn. No one else will.
While being social, be sure to mention your accomplishments. If you feel like you don't have any accomplishments, then just tell people what you are doing. No one else is going to let others know the great things you are doing at your school. ASPer's are the modest, non-competitive ones in the legal academy, which is self-defeating at times.
5) If you are would like to present at a conference in the future, tell somebody
The powers-that-be (that change from year to year, conference to conference) don't know if you would like to present unless you let people know. ASP is unlike other areas of the legal academy, in that you don't necessarily have to write a paper in order to present something that you are doing. While we are a many-talented group, I haven't encountered any mind readers among ASPer's as of yet.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
We would like to welcome two new Contributing Editors for the Law School Academic Support Blog: Paul Bateman and Lisa Young. As Contributing Editors, they will be posting at least once a month to share their insights with our readers. Several additional Contributing Editors will be joining us over the coming months.
Paul Bateman is Director of Academic Support and Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Skills at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California. A picture and biography can be found at Paul Bateman Profile. Paul has served on the AALS Executive Committee for the Academic Support Section as well as Chair for the Section. He has also been active as a speaker and committee member for LSAC. In addition to his expertise in academic support and legal analysis, writing and skills, Paul is involved in integrating academic support concepts and skills into the doctrinal classroom. You can view the web pages for Paul's ASP program at Academic Support Program at Southwestern.
Lisa Young is the Director of the Bar Exam Skills Lab at Seattle University School of Law in Seattle, Washington. A picture and biography can be found at Lisa Young Profile. She has been working with students for nine years on bar preparation matters for both the Washington and Oregon bar examinations. You can view the web page for Lisa's bar studies program at Bar Exam Program at Seattle U.
We are delighted to have Paul and Lisa join the editorial staff for the Blog. All of us will look forward to and benefit from their future postings. Welcome!
Friday, December 11, 2009
On behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog, I would like to welcome Joel Chanvisanuruk to our community. Please be on the lookout for Joel at upcoming conferences and workshops so that you can welcome him personally to ASP. Joel provided the short bio below so that you can get to know him better. (Amy Jarmon)
Joel Chanvisanuruk the new Director of Academic Success Programs at the Universiry of Cincinnati College of Law. In this role, he presents workshops and works individually with law students to help them adapt to law school curriculum, prepare for exams and improve their academic performance in order to achieve their full academic potential as a law student. Joel also oversees the Pre-Prep Program (3P) that helps 3L law students gear up for the bar examination. Prior to joining the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Joel was the Associate Director of Career Planning and Professional Development at Washington & Lee University School of Law. Before entering the field of law student services, Joel served as a U.S. Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) litigating employment matters for the United States Forest Service and the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. Joel obtained a Master of Public Affairs in Public Management and Comparative International Affairs from Indiana University, Bloomington and a B.A. in Philosophy from Bradford College. Prior to law school, he served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Sosnowiec, Poland.
Joel is a certified administrator of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Joel also currently serves as Chair of the National Association or Law Placement’s (NALP) GLBT Section.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
We would also like to welcome Jeremiah Ho as a new academic support professional at Whittier Law School in California. Please make him welcome to our group. He provided the information below so that you can get to know him. (Amy Jarmon)
Jeremiah's faculty biography can be found at Whittier Faculty Biographies.
I just started this August as an Assistant Professor of Academic Support at Whittier Law School and will be working with Dean Paula Manning. I obtained my J.D. from Whittier Law in 2008 and worked briefly as an associate atorney in employment defense in Long Beach, California. Prior to law school, I taught literature and writing at the junior high/high school level and I enjoyed teaching so much that I wanted to blend the satisfaction of instructing students with my enjoyment of legal thinking. I am hopeful that my appointment at Whittier Law School will bring this combination to fruition.
Now that we are all back and settled in to our routines, I would like to introduce you to Kimberly Ballard. Kimberly is the new Director of Academic Success at Brandeis School of Law. Kimberly has sent us the following information so that you can get to know her. (Amy Jarmon)
Ms. Ballard joined the Law School in 2009, after having served as a litigation associate in the law firm of Stites & Harbison, PLLC. As a member of that firm's torts and insurance service group, Ms. Ballard represented product manufacturers in mass tort litigation and physicians and hospitals in medical malpractice litigation.
As a law student, Ms. Ballard competed on the championship team for the Intrastate Mock Trial Competition, placed first in the Pirtle-Washer oral advocacy competition, served on the Student Bar Association and Moot Court and Professional Skills Board and was Notes Editor for the Brandeis Law Journal.
In her spare time, Ms. Ballard volunteers for Golden Retriever Resuce and Adoption of Needy Dogs (GRRAND), enjoys playing golf and tennis, and is an avid University of Louisville basketball fan. Ms. Ballard also coaches the Law School's mock trial teams for the Americn College of Trial Lawyers National Trial Competition.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, was the New York-area Academic Support Directors Workshop, hosted by Brooklyn Law School. This is different from the conferences sponsored by the LSAC; this conference is the brainchild of Kris Franklin (NYLS) and Linda Feldman (Brooklyn Law); it is designed to get local ASP professionals together to present and chat about issues they have been experiencing. This year's workshop was a great success, with schools from across the country represented. Everyone who attends the workshop is asked to present on a topic relating to a theme. This year's theme was "Working with Doctrinal Faculty." I came away with great new material as well as some new ideas about what to add to my academic success program.
I was the first presenter of the morning, with a discussion on using "the law". My comments were similar to the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. However, I received some great suggestions on how to add Civil Procedure to my repertoire.
The next presenters were Mary Ferrari and Gail Stern from Quinnipiac on integrating ASP principles into tax courses. This was fabulous discussion on respecting different learning styles in the classroom as a doctrinal teacher, and how to incorporate different processing styles into casebooks and classroom teaching.
Kris Franklin presented on a class project for her Torts section, where teams of students put together a graphic analysis of a Torts problem using graphic organizer software. Kris's students did a truly magical job on the assignment, and I (among others) encouraged Kris to encourage her students to post some of the results on the web so others can marvel at how bright and talented they are.
Hillary Burgess of Hofstra continued on the theme with a presentation on using flow chart activities in the 1L classroom. Hillary did a fabulous job of showing how flow charts can be used to help students create their own learning activities to support the material they are learning.
Heather Zuber blew us all away with a presentation on how she restructured the Western State 1L colloquium. Heather put in an enormous amount of work to reshape and redesign the program to reflect the needs of current students, and enhance the learning experience of the upperclass TA's. I think everyone was left wondering if Heather ever slept in this past year when she was done talking about all the changes she made to the program.
Carmen Morales of Fordham presented on employing students from law review as tutors for 1L students. This is an area where people can have very strong opinions, and Carmen did a great job showing us how she made this program a success at Fordham.
Linda Cortez of U Baltimore presented on I (heart) IRAC (Where is the IRAC love?). If you are a new ASP professional looking for ways to convince students that IRAC represents the essential elements in an exam, you should get in contact with Linda, ASAP. Linda, as always, did a fabulous job showing the different ways to present IRAC to students, which included models for different learning types.
Catherine Coleman, a new member of our ASP community, did an outstanding job explaining USC's restricted enrollment policy, and their time line for preparing students for exams and the bar. I am taking the idea of restricted enrollment back with me to my school; it creates a category for students who are not in danger of failing out of law school, but need additional supports to achieve their personal best.
Mary Lou Bilek and David Nadvorney of CUNY demonstrated the idea of "rounds" as a pedagogical tool as well as a tool for faculty support. The idea of addressing student concerns in rounds, similar to what is seen in the medical school context, was a revelation. I believe we all were in agreement that this tool is something we need to spend more time exploring in later conferences.
The last presentation of the day was by Micah Yarbrough of Widener-Wilmington on the reporting requirement of 3-106. I have actually sent a copy of Micah's PowerPoint to some of my ASP colleagues; it did a great job organizing the myriad new requirements we are all facing when reporting our bar pass rates to the ABA. His presentation also opened the door to a discussion on working together with other schools to get some clarity regarding interpretation of some provisions within 3-106.
A hearty thank you and good job go out to Kris and Linda, who did a wonderful job getting us all together and providing a forum for us to discuss our issues and challenges in a supportive community.
And I second a call made by Kris and Linda...we should be planning and organizing more of these forums throughout the country. This is was a great learning experience, and we all need more opportunities for professional development and support outside of the LSAC conferences.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
We are delighted to welcome Katherine Silver Kelly as the Interim Director of Academic Success Programs at the University of Akron School of Law. Your new colleagues in ASP will be more than happy to assist you in any way that we can as you settle in to your new position. Everyone please introduce yourselves to Katherine when you see her ASP workshops.
Unfortunately, Katherine's photo has not been added to the U of Akron web site yet. Katherine provided us with some background information:
Katherine is an alumna of Berea College in Kentucky where she earned a B.A. in History, the University of Kentucky where she earned a M.A. in Social Science Education, and Converse College in South Carolina where she earned a certification in Special Education. She earned her J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law in 2006 where she served as vice president of the Moot Court Honor Society and was a two-time member of the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Moot Court Team. She also served as an ASP tutor, was the student member of the faculty curriculum committee, and was SBA vice-president.
After graduating with honors from law school, Katherine worked at the Summit County Court of common Pleas as a Judicial Attorney. Prior to attending law school, Katherine was a high school teacher for several years. She taught economics, government and world history at several schools in Houston, Texas. She also served as an instructor for the Texas Education Association Teacher Cerification Program for special education certification and coached swimming.
Katherine is excited to be back at the University of Akron and about being Interim Director of ASP as it is the perfect blend of teaching and law. You can link to her office web site at: University of Akron Academic Success Programs. (Posted by Amy L. Jarmon on behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog Editors)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth Bloom as the new Assistant Director of the Academic Excellence Program at New England School of Law. Elizabeth's background includes teaching experience in legal writing on a full-time basis at Northeastern as well as during her legal education at Georgetown Law. Elizabeth also has litigation experience. The accompanying photo of Elizabeth graces her faculty profile on the NESL web pages. You can read Elizabeth's complete faculty profile on the NESL web pages at Professor Elizabeth Bloom
As we have mentioned before on these postings, ASP professionals are happy to assist new members of our profession. Our doors (and e-mails and telephones) are open to you if we can provide any assistance as you settle in to your new position, Elizabeth. Please make Elizabeth welcome when you meet her at a future workshop or conference!
We are also happy to announce that our well-known colleague, Robert Coulthard, has moved to Boston as a Visiting Assistant Professor at New England School of Law. Many of us know Robert from his previous work with bar preparation at Oklahoma City University Law School and University of Missouri-Kansas City. The photo of Robert is from his NESL faculty profile. You can read Robert's faculty profile on the NESL web pages at Professor Robert Coulthard. We shall all look forward to seeing you more at East Coast venues for ASP workshops and conferences, Robert! (Posted by Amy Jarmon on behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog Editors.)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We are delighted to welcome Christie I. Floyd as the new Director of Academic Support at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, located in Louisville, Kentucky. Christie joined the administration at Brandeis School of Law this summer and will be a wonderful addition to the academic support profession. Christie is pictured to the left. Make sure that you greet her at the next ASP workshop or law school conference that you both attend!
ASP professionals are very big-hearted, Christie. Let any of us know if there is any way that we can help you in your new endeavors.
Christie kindly provided us with some biographical information so that you could find out some more about her:
Christie is a 2001 graduate of the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and while there, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Brandeis Law Journal. Her Student Note, "Admissibility of Prior Acts Evidence in Sexual Assault and Child Molestation Cases in Kentucky: A Proposed Solution That Recognizes Cultural Context," 38 Brandeis L.J. 133, was published in 1999. She was named Oustanding Graduate of 2001 by the National Women Lawyers' Association.
Since 2001 and prior to joining U of L, Christie practiced as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney and Deputy Division Chief of the Commonwealth Attorney's Office Domestic Violence/Child Abuse Unit. In that capapcity, she also served on the Kentucky Sex Offender Risk Assessment Advisory board and Kentucky Sex Offender Management Task Force. Christie was instrumental in founding Kentucky's first child advocacy center in 1991 and has participated in numerous groups targeting legislative and policy changes in areas of domestic violence and child abuse. She has also played a significant role in training new prosecutors and police officers.
As the new Director of Academic Support, Christie Floyd hopes to broaden and enrich the level of academic support afforded students at the Univeristy of Louisville. (Posted by Amy Jarmon on behalf of the Law School Academic Support Blog Editors.)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Have you joined the ASP law school community over the summer? Or, do you have a new member of staff who did join recently?
We would like to introduce new members of the ASP profession who have joined us since May. I invite you to send me a three-paragraph introduction on the new ASP'er. I'll edit (if needed) and post it on the blog so that others can get to know our new colleague. If you can provide a link to your law school's web site that includes a picture of and/or a faculty bio for the person, feel free to include the link in the information. You can send the materials to me at email@example.com. (Amy Jarmon)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I would like to welcome Jill Hudson to the ASP group as she begins her job at Phoenix School of Law. She has provided the information below so that we can get to know her. Unfortunately, she is not yet added to her law school's website for us to link to a photograph so that you will recognize her face at the next ASP event. (Amy Jarmon)
Jill Hudson is the Assistant Director of Bar Prep at Phoenix School of Law. She is an alumna of the University of Arizona, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Business Economics). In 1998, Jill earned a Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law in Virginia, where she served on the Moot Court Board and competed on the National Moot Court Team. She also contributed to her law school as the Executive Secretary and Executive President of the Student Bar Association.
Immediately following law school and passing the AZ bar exam, Jill served as a Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted adult felony and misdemeanor crimes. Prior to joining Phoenix School of Law, Jill was an adjunct professor for Northern Arizona University’s Distance Learning program (an accelerated bachelor degree program for law enforcement officers), Western International University (undergraduate and graduate level classes), and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (both as an adjunct and instructor for their Law Enforcement Training Academy).
Jill’s true passion is teaching and encouraging students, and she is excited to blend this passion with her experience and education for the benefit of the Phoenix School of Law students.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I just returned from the AALS Workshop for New Law Prof. Overall, the conference was a success. I learned a great deal, digesting some especially good advice on scholarship and course planning. But I was struck, throughout the conference, by the almost complete lack of ASP professionals in attendance. The absolutely wonderful LSAC New ASP Prof workshop was just a few weeks ago, so I know there are 50+ new ASP prof's. While attendance at the very recent LSAC New ASP Prof workshop may explain some of the absence, it does not explain why I did not see any familiar faces at the AALS workshop.
The dearth of ASP prof's at the AALS workshop concerns me deeply for many reasons. The first reason has to do with our status in the legal academy, or our lack of status in the legal academy. Too often we are seen as lesser professionals, beneath "substantive" or "doctrinal" professors, more like support staff with J.D.'s. The lack of respect accorded our profession is compounded when we are left out of workshops and conferences that teach young professionals how to research and publish. Without knowledge of how to produce scholarship, AS may be forever doomed to second-class citizenship. More disconcerting is the genuine need for more scholarship in the areas where AS is focused; how to foster achievement in disadvantaged students, how help students pass the bar exam, how to teach so students learn, and how to reform legal education so we produce a better bench and bar. But AS professionals are not attending workshops and conferences that teach them how to produce meaningful, important scholarship.
Why aren't we attending these conferences and workshops for new law prof's? Part of the reason we are not afforded respect is the belief what we do is easy. "Easy" fields are less likely to get funding to advance skills or scholarship. But the facts point in the opposite direction; what we do is anything but easy. If helping students pass the bar was such an easy task, why aren't "doctrinal" professors successfully teaching students to pass the bar in their substantive classes? Bar prep, bar planning, and bar courses for credit are some of the most rigorous and difficult classes to teach when they are successful. Not only does a successful bar course require rock-solid knowledge of at least six bar-tested subjects, but a firm knowledge of test-taking skills, and includes a very heavy load of exam grading and feedback. Those of us who don't work with 3L's and bar takers have a similarly heavy load. We work with the students many professors give up on, students deemed unable to handle the rigors of law school. Over and over, these students succeed when given the opportunity to learn and practice skills their peers either know intuitively or learned in (better) secondary schools. In an average week during an academic semester, I grade and give feedback on approximately 20-40 essay exams. I am looking for signs that my students may have learning disabilities, mental or emotional challenges, financial problems, or family concerns that are keeping them from achieving their best. And I am keeping up with the substantive coursework in their doctrinal classes so I can prepare practice exams that accurately mirror what they have covered in class. I am preparing workshops for the entire 1L class in exam and life skills. Yet, in so many places, this is "easy" work that doesn't merit scholarship or funds to travel to conference and workshops like "substantive" faculty.
Maybe some of the reasons we are not attending these workshops and conferences is feeling like we don't belong and we are self-segregating out of conferences were we feel marginalized. The focus at AALS was on doctrinal courses, but there was plenty of cross-over to AS topics. True, the small-group breakout sessions were labeled by doctrinal subject and I was relegated to the "speciality" category, but I still had a place at the workshop. One of our own AS folk, Kris Knapland of Pepperdine, gave a wonderful presentation on learning theory. But we will never get an "ASP" breakout session if we are not attending the New Prof Workshop. We are a part of AALS, and we belong there. We need the same (and more) skills and training as new doctrinal professors, on how to navigate administrative and budget concerns, how to maintain a work-life balance, how to network, and how to have challenging conversations in the classroom or the office.
My call to all new AS professionals is this: advocate for yourself. Push for the training you need to succeed. Put critical conferences and workshops on your agenda when you talk to your supervisors. Pursue meaningful scholarship, even if you are not tenure-track. Scholarship is important to the field, important to your development as a professional, and important as we seek to improve legal education for all students.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
First things second.
Spotlight time. Presenting ... ALEX RUSKELL. Alex took over leadership of the Academic Success effort at Roger Williams University School of law this academic year. From all reports, he's doing a super job!
Before this year, Alex served as the Director of the Academic Support Program at Southern New England School of Law, and before that, Associate Director of the Legal Writing Center at the University of Iowa College of Law. In his earlier life, he litigated in Boston, focusing on securities and corporate non-competition agreements. He has also served as General Counsel for a mid-size publishing company, Associate for a large oil and gas firm, and as an Assistant in the Texas Attorney General’s Office of Environmental Crimes.
His academic background is varied — and thus well-suited to academic support! He holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an A.L.M. in English from Harvard University, a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in English from Washington and Lee University.
Before practicing law, he taught in a Russian orphanage and counted otters for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Both of these resulted in several articles, printed in The Tampa Tribune and many other publications.
Alex frequently presents at writing conferences and symposiums across the country, most recently at the 2006 AWP Conference in Austin, Texas, where he sat on a panel questioning the continuing vitality of the American novel.
Now, how does this tie in with "sharing"? Alex gave me permission to post his latest exam-answering advice to the RWU SOL students. It's terrific. Here goes . . .