Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do teachers grade more harshly when they use red pens?

Some interesting science to least one presenter at every ASP conference mentions that students feel that red pen makes it look as if the paper is "bleeding" negative comments. A new spin: teachers actually grade more harshly when using red pen.  Another reason why green, pink, purple might be better bets when giving student feedback. 

(I realize this link doesn't look like it fits with my does.)

And a link to the full study is here:

The pen is mightier than the word: Object priming of evaluative standards

by Rutchick, Slepian, and Ferris


April 21, 2010 in Advice, Current Affairs, Exams - Studying, News, Reading, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Congrats to our friends at Franklin Pierce, merger with UNH

It looks like New England will have another public law school in a few years. Franklin Pierce announced they will become affiliated with the University of New Hampshire, leading to a full merger over the next few years. This is wonderful news for students looking at affordable law schools in the Northeast. UNH Law will become the 3rd accredited public law school in New England, with a 4th closely following, when UMass Law opens and gets accreditation.

Congrats to Sunny Mulligan and Alice Briggs, FPLC's amazing ASP team, as the school transitions to UNH Law School.


March 17, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Report From AALS-ASP Section

It was another successful year at AALS. Here are some of the highlights of our section and the section program:

1) The section program featured:

    Barbara McFarland (NKU), Sophie Sparrow (Franklin Pierce), and on team-based learning   

    Susan Keller (Western State) and Hillary Burgess (Hofstra) on peer feedback

    Pavel Wonsowicz (UCLA) on engaging students in class*

    Tanya Washington (Georgia State) on using bar questions in doctrinal classes

    *Please see the Chronicle of Higher Education piece on Pavel's presentation

2) New Section Board:

    Chair: Robin Boyle (St. Johns)

    Chair Elect: Michael Hunter Schwartz (Washburn)

    Secretary: Paula Manning (Whittier)

    Treasurer: Rebecca Flanagan (UConn)

    Executive Board: Jeff Minetti (Stetson), LaRasz Moody (Villanova), Emily Randon (UC-Davis)

        Herb Ramy (Suffolk)

3) New Section Committees:

    The section added these new committees:

    Exploratory Committee on a Mid-Year AALS Meeting for ASP

    Poster Committee

4) Hillary Burgess and Corie Rosen (editors) distributed copies of the newest edition of The Learning Curve, the AALS ASP section newsletter. Please look in your inboxes for electronic distribution of the newsletter in the near future.


January 14, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Sad Farewell: Charles Whitebread

It is with a sad heart I heard this morning that Charles Whitebread of USC Law passed away recently. Although he was a doctrinal professor, he was dear to the hearts of many of us in ASP; his book The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance is excellent, and anyone who has taken Bar/Bri will never forget his worderful, humerous take on Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law. He was one of the few people who could add levity to normally dry bar material.

Charles Whitebread, we will miss you.


September 24, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Do they teach writing in college? Should they?

Okay, seems like a simple proposition. It has a significant impact on us, especially those in ASP and Legal Writing, that deal with writing everyday. I have yet to attend a conference where someone, either at lunch, or in a formal program, decries student's inability to write. Their inability to write is often conflated with an inability to be logical or formulate a coherent analysis of an issue.  To me, that is a different, albeit equally challenging, problem. Another problem that is conflated with the inability to write is the idea that this is a part of a generational war; "back in the day, when I was a student..." everyone was a great writer on and so forth.  Maybe, maybe not. Do students lack the ability to write? My completely anecdotal, unscientific polling would suggest that yes, most of us believe many of our students don't know how to write when they get to law school, and it's not a skill we should have to teach while teaching doctrinal material. (I believe Legal Writing is doctrinal and skills-based, and I am framing the argument from that perspective). 

There is an argument that writing, or composition, in it's purest form, is not taught in college. At the undergrad level, writing is taught in "writing-intensive" courses that focus on content, not style, grammar, or clarity.

Stanley Fish from the New York Times (and a fellow law professor) wrote a wonderful piece on the problem of writing instruction at the college level. The piece discusses other problems of a political nature, but it provides a thought-provoking argument about the lack of writing instruction at the undergraduate level. Should we, as part of the legal academy, make certain writing skills, or composition, classes a requirement for admission to law school? Should we be a part of this discussion? If we complain enough and feel this brings down the level of our instruction, do we have a duty to insist that students come to law school knowing basic composition? I admit, I never had a composition class in college--I tested out of them--and I feel my writing reflects my lack of instruction in the area. I don't have any answers to these questions, just lots of thoughts. (RCF)

August 27, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcome Valerie Nation to ASP

Valerie accepted the position of Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.   

Her education includes a Juris Doctor with honors received from the Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in May 2008, and two undergraduate degrees (magna cum laude) in Criminal Justice and Professional and Technical Writing received from the Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock in December 2003.

Valerie's professional experience includes 16 years in the legal field, including 15 years as a paralegal and 1 year as an attorney primarily in the area of commercial litigation, bankruptcy, collection, and employment discrimination. I have been heavily involved in alumni activities and recruitment at Bowen. 

Let's welcome Valerie to our ASP community! (RCF)

July 31, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)