Friday, October 17, 2014
Please welcome Mary Ann Becker! Mary Ann is the Associate Director of Writing Programs and Academic Support at Loyola Unviersity Chicago School of Law. Thank you to Jennifer Brendel, the Director, for providing more information on Mary Ann:
Before joining Loyola’s faculty as the Associate Director of Writing Programs and Academic Support, Mary Ann Becker taught legal research and writing to first, second, and third year students at DePaul University College of Law for seven years. She had also acted as the interim assistant director of the legal writing program at DePaul and was a member of Board of Editors for The Second Draft. Before teaching, she worked as a litigation attorney in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in French language and literature and she earned her J.D. from DePaul University. Though new to academic support, she will be presenting an article she wrote at Duquesne’s December 6 conference, Teaching the Academically Underprepared Law Student, and she looks forward to meeting many of you soon!
Mary Ann's faculty profile can be found here: Mary Ann Becker. Please welcome her when you see her at a conference or workshop.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
There are several new books on the market for Academic Support Professionals and for law students. In a series of posts, I will review a few of those books and some of the tried and true ones that I often turn to when I am in need of some words of wisdom or professional guidance.
First, I am reviewing a book published last year by the American Bar Association, PASS THE BAR EXAM written by Professor Sara J. Berman. This book provides a step by step guide for individuals embarking on their journey to pass the bar examination. Not only does this book provide crucial details about the bar exam, it guides readers to understand who they are learners and thinkers. It offers interactive questions, quizzes, and exercises to increase thoughtful reflection and a deeper awareness of the motivational factors required for successful bar passage. One highlight for Professors and Academic Support Educators is that the Teacher’s Edition provides many useful tools that can be integrated into Bar Support Classes and Programs.
Professor Berman’s two decades of experience is illuminated in this text and the teacher’s manual. This resource can help make studying for the bar exam more manageable and less stressful. If you are thinking about starting a Bar Support Program at your law school, if you are a student seeking a framework for bar strategy and success, or a Professor who wants to integrate more bar support into your curriculum, this book is a great place to begin.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Mid October means time for mid-terms. In addition to preparing for the substance, you should also prepare for the exam experience. Here are a few tips for getting and staying focused during an exam.
- Before the exam begins: Sit calmly and do not think about anything or anyone else. Listen carefully to instructions. Do not worry about any other part of the exam. Focus solely on what is right in front of you. Take it one step at a time.
- When the exam begins: Look at the first question and take a second to remind yourself that you can do this. Start smoothly, work efficiently, and remain focused and calm.
- If you get stuck: Take a breath and take it one step at a time. (1) Identify the issue. This will help you regain your composure and lead you back to the process of thinking like a lawyer. (2) Look at the facts, starting with the nouns: identify parties and legal relationships. Then look at the verbs: what are the parties doing? Identify acts or omissions. Next, look at the adjectives and adverbs, dates and sequence of events. Your professor included them for a reason. Identify the connection to the nouns and verbs. (3) Develop a rule using legal terms like reasonable, intentional, foreseeable, exceeds the scope, etc. (4) Stay calm and continue to work through the question.
- After the exam is over:Put it behind you. You did the best you could and (over)thinking about perceived mistakes or perfection only leads to a false sense of performance. Don’t discuss it with your classmates. This is the cardinal rule of exams. Invariably someone will bring up an issue that you didn’t see (or vice versa) and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it and will convince yourself that you bombed the test. If someone asks you how you did, just respond with, “I did the best I could.”
Go into the mid-term ready to handle the substance, manage your time, and keep your cool. If you can do this, you will surely succeed. (KSK)
Friday, October 10, 2014
We have just passed the halfway point in our semester. Up until now, most students have been focused on daily survival and have not thought much about their exams. Now is the time for them to allot time for exam study as well as for daily class preparation.
Why become a two-task law student? Most semesters are 14-15 weeks long. To try to learn that amount of material closer to the end of the semester is a daunting task. By spreading exam study over a longer period, students gain several advantages:
- Deeper understanding of the material - how it works rather than just rote memory
- Greater retention - multiple reviews create long-term memory
- More practice question time - monitoring what one really knows and can apply
- More exam-taking experience - practice questions allow exam strategies to become auto-pilot rather than uncomfortable
There are several things that law students can do to take control over their exam study. First, they can compile their current knowledge about each course exam. That knowledge may come from the syllabus, the professor's comments in class, or other sources.
Categories of information might include: question formats, open- or closed-book, length of the exam, any topics excluded from the exam, a practice database provided by the professor, or suggested supplements. After indicating what they already know, they can determine what additional information they want to find out over the remainder of the semester.
Here is an example format that could be used for each course:
WHAT I KNOW ABOUT MY EXAMS
WHAT I NEED TO FIND OUT
Course #1: Torts
At least 3 long fact-pattern essay questions
At least 25 multiple-choice questions
Partially open book
Prof recommends CALI lessons
Practice essay questions on prof's course website
Prof will tell us more about any material not on the exam two weeks beforehand
No information yet on what partially open book means
Second, students can compile the list of topics and subtopics that require study for the exam. For courses in which they have the entire semester's syllabus, the list can be completed through the end of the semester. For courses in which they get the syllabus in chunks, the list can be completed through the current chunk and expanded in future weeks.
By completing this step, students are less likely to underestimate the amount of information that will be on the exam. By breaking the topics into subtopics, students can focus on learning small chunks when they have time instead of waiting to find huge blocks of time (as in "It will take me all weekend to learn negligence.")
Here is an example format that could be used for each course:
Course: ____Torts________ TOPICS AND SUBTOPICS ON EXAM
By looking carefully at their weekly schedules, they can often carve out pockets of time for exam review that they thought did not exist.
- Is their reading and briefing taking less time now for a particular course because they are more efficient?
- Are they sleeping in on the weekends when they could capture 1 or 2 hours of exam review time?
- Do they waste blocks of time on digital distractions such as email, Twitter, FaceBook, etc.?
- Can they spend 1 hour instead of 2 hours at the gym?
- Could they study until 7 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night rather than knocking off at 3 p.m.?
By making a schedule of those captured times, students are more likely to follow through on their exam review:
|DAY OF THE WEEK||EXAM REVIEW TIME AVAILABLE|
8:30 - 9:30 a.m.
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
8:30 - 10:00 p.m.
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.
3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Students gain more control when they garner information about their exams, list exactly what to study, and capture wasted time from their schedules for exam review. As they begin to see progress - even in small steps on their topic/subtopic list - they can gain confidence. As they highlight their progress on exam subtopics and keep to their time commitments for review, they will feel more positive about the upcoming end of classes and exam period. (Amy Jarmon)
|Taking Control:||1. Information|
|2. Content||3. Time|
Thursday, October 9, 2014
New York is considering the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination. That is one sentence I did not imagine that I would be writing in 2014. But, it is true. NY may be the 15th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam. The New York State Board of Law Examiners (SBLE) has recommended to the New York Court of Appeals that the current bar examination be replaced with the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) beginning with the July 2015 administration. This news made me wonder, “What are the benefits of the UBE and why would a state like New York want to adopt it?”
The Uniform Bar Examination (UBE) is prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) to test the knowledge and skills that every lawyer should be able to demonstrate prior to becoming licensed to practice law. It is comprised of six Multistate Essay Examination (MEE) essays, two Multistate Performance Test (MPT) tasks, and the Multistate Bar Examination(MBE). It is uniformly administered, graded, and scored by user jurisdictions and results in a portable score that can be used by applicants who seek admission in jurisdictions that accept UBE scores.
When a law school graduate takes the UBE, they can use their UBE score to apply to other UBE jurisdictions for bar licensure. The following jurisdictions have adopted the UBE: Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Colorado; Idaho; Minnesota; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Hampshire; North Dakota; Utah; Washington; and Wyoming. With New York possibly on board and other states considering it, the UBE is beginning to look more like a national exam.
Since many law students do not yet know where they would like to practice law, the portability of an applicant’s UBE score allows for more flexibility and mobility. Law graduates can take the UBE in any UBE jurisdiction and use their score to apply to as many UBE State Bar Associations as they would like. Instead of sitting for another bar exam, UBE licensed graduates can bypass a second test and apply directly for additional bar licenses with their UBE score.
However, other state specific requirements may also be required. For example, New York has proposed adding an additional New York specific one hour, 50 question, multiple choice test that would be given on the second day of the UBE. In order to practice in NY, an applicant would need to pass the UBE, with a score of 266, and score at least 60% on the state specific exam.
Avoiding a second bar exam is wise since bar exams are costly, excruciatingly difficult, and very time consuming. Taking the bar exam once is enough! The Uniform Bar Examination has many benefits- from portable scores, to multijurisdictional practice, to greater employment options. Having the UBE take a bite out of The Big Apple is a huge move in the right direction for this generation of law graduates.
If you would like to learn more about the Uniform Bar Examination, please visit The National Conference of Bar Examiners web-page at http://www.ncbex.org/about-ncbe-exams/ube/. If you would like to comment on New York’s proposal to adopt the UBE, you can e-mail your comments to: UniformBarExam@nycourts.gov or write to: Diane Bosse, Chair, New York State Board of Law Examiners, Corporate Plaza, Building 3, 254 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203-5195. Submissions will be accepted until November 7, 2014.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Savannah Law School has an exciting and challenging opportunity for an outgoing, organized and energetic person to serve as Director of Academic Achievement. The Director of Academic Achievement will facilitate the development of programs and workshops to assist students with their transition to law school, employ academic resource tools and exercises for skills assessment, and promote successful completion of the J. D. program. Teaching assignment includes all P.A.S.S (Professional and Academic Success Seminar) classes, the Advanced Analytical Methods course, and an Advanced Bar Skills course to prepare students to sit for the bar exam. A key responsibility will be to maintain an interactive web-based informational site, including the academic TWEN site. This position also assists the Vice Dean of the Campus with modifying existing academic program offerings to make them more accessible for students.
The ideal candidate will have a J.D. from an accredited institution and at least 3 years of successful experience in law teaching with a focus on legal writing and analysis. Preference will be given to candidates with law school academic support and bar preparation experience.
SLS is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, marital status, age, disability, color, or religious belief. Salary will be competitive based on experience. Interested candidates may submit their letter of interest, along with a current professional resume and the names of three references, to:
Savannah Law School
Attn: Rose Anne Nespica
516 Drayton Street
Savannah, Georgia 31401
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Assistant Director for Academic Achievement
California Western School of Law
Under the general direction of the Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement, the Assistant Director of Academic Achievement provides academic support to law students, particularly those at academic risk. The Assistant Director is primarily responsible for supervising the tutoring program, presenting skills workshops, and working with first-year students who are facing academic difficulty. The Assistant Director teaches the Academic Achievement Workshop for second-year students and assists alumni who are studying for the California bar exam.
Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school; successful passage of California Bar exam; at least one year of law teaching experience in an academic support or bar preparation program.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
Individual must be a self-starter, able to prioritize and complete multiple tasks of varying complexity and urgency in a timely and efficient manner. The individual must have a firm commitment to provide exemplary services in a demanding and challenging environment. The individual must demonstrate poise, tactfulness, diplomacy and professionalism when dealing with staff, faculty, students and outside constituents. Must demonstrate a passion for working with students and have a track record of developing robust relationships with students. Experience in course planning, classroom presentations, and one-on-one tutoring is a plus. Experience in learning theories and effective pedagogy, including formative and summative assessment a plus. Knowledge of California Civil Procedure a plus. Must have ability to speak effectively to groups.
Must be able to maintain confidentiality. Must understand confidentiality of student information in accordance with FERPA regulations as well as school policies, and other State and Federal laws. Must be creative and flexible in order to effectively manage student needs on an individual and group basis. Demonstrated ability and interest in working with a highly diverse student population are required.
October 24, 2014, or until filled
Ideally December 2014 to facilitate transition into the spring trimester
Send materials to:
E-mail: HR@cwsl.edu // ATTN: Rikki S. Ueda, Esq., Vice President of Human Resources
Monday, October 6, 2014
Recent studies show that reading is good for us and that reading in print is, well, even better.
To quote a recent, ahem – online publication – “reading in print helps with comprehension.”
So, what do these studies mean for law students? Law students might consider the following:
- In your Legal Research and Writing class, print out the sources, e.g., the cases and statutes, that are relevant to your assignments and that you will use to write those memos.
- Print out your notes and outlines – if you have typed them. Put these materials in binders and read them from the printed page – not on the screen.
- Reconsider using textbooks in e-book format and favor print books.
- Build in time to read for relaxation – a print book, short story, or magazine – of course.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning
Institute for Law Teaching and Learning
Spring Conference 2015
Saturday, February 28, 2015
The UCLA School of Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning (ILTL) are collaborating to present a one-day conference in Los Angeles on February 28, 2015. The conference theme is: “Engaging the Entire Class—Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning.”
Conference Structure: The conference will include an opening and closing led by ILTL Co-Directors and Consultants, and five workshop sessions. Each workshop session will be presented by a teacher featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do.
Conference Presenters: Workshop presenters include:
- Patti Alleva (University of North Dakota)
- Steve Friedland (Elon University)
- Steven Homer (University of New Mexico)
- Nancy Levit (University of Missouri – Kansas City)
- Hiroshi Motomura (UCLA)
By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas for enhancing participation and inclusion in law school classrooms to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.
BRIEF SUMMARY: Reporting to the Assistant Dean for Academic Support and collaborating with other faculty and staff, the Director of Bar Support assists students and graduates as they prepare for the bar exam, both as they progress through the College of Law and after they graduate. The Director develops, implements, and coordinates school-wide initiatives to improve bar passage, including credit-bearing courses and workshops, as needed.
EXAMPLES OF PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Implements, evaluates, and enhances existing bar-preparation services.
• Teaches in the College of Law’s U.S. Law & Procedure class, a four-credit course designed to support students’ bar preparation. Also supervises adjunct instructors and guests involved in the course.
• Improves and expands existing programs, including: providing a clearinghouse of bar preparation information; collaborating with commercial bar preparation companies to assist students with their bar preparation efforts; working with faculty to coordinate a mentor program to provide individual mentors to graduates preparing for the bar; tracking at-risk students’ preparation for the bar exam and performance on the exam; and providing resources for repeat bar exam takers.
• Helps individual students and graduates develop and execute customized study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.
• Creates individual student plans of study after one-on-one meetings with all 2L, 3L, and 4L students.
• Provides counseling and mentoring for students and graduates, starting in first semester 3L year.
• Provides advice on course selection for bar preparation purposes.
• Provides general assistance about bar application completion and character and fitness questions with the assistance of the Dean of Students.
• Meets regularly with students and graduates who are preparing for the bar exam, reviews sample bar exam essays, and provides analysis and feedback to help them improve their skills.
• Coordinates instruction and assessments for bar preparation course and provides feedback on student work product.
• Analyzes bar exam results (including statistical analysis) and provides regular reports concerning results.
• Provides bar-related information to faculty members regarding topics tested and recent bar exam questions in the faculty member’s area of teaching. Encourages and supports faculty development with respect to the bar exam.
• Develops web page, social media, and other communications describing bar support program and services.
• Stays abreast of bar exam developments in Florida and nationally and evaluates new developments in the delivery of bar support by law schools.
• Regularly attends and develops relationships at regional and national bar support conferences, with efforts to develop a leadership role.
• Secondarily participates in efforts to support all students’ law school success.
• Performs other duties as assigned.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Please welcome Charles "Chuck" Splawn as Academic and Bar Support Skills Instructor at Elon University School of Law. Chuck began his position in March 2014. Here is some background information from Antonette Barilla, Director of Academic and Bar Support/Assistant Professor at Elon, to help you get to know him:
Charles Splawn was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in North Carolina. He is married to his lovely wife Allison, 29 years and counting. He is a graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law and his law career included general private practice, litigation management as in-house counsel for an insurance company, and corporate law involving mergers & acquisitions.
In 2001 he fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a teacher by joining the faculty of the Legal Studies Department at Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC), in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He was selected Professor of the Year at HGTC in May 2006 and served as President of Faculty Assembly at HGTC for the 2007-2008 Academic Year. He is very excited to begin the next phase of his career by returning to the law school environment generally and by becoming part of the Elon Law family specifically.
Please make Chuck feel welcomed when you see him at a conference or workshop!
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Picture this: Your new suit is pressed and ready, your parents have arrived from out of town, and your celebratory dinner reservation has been made. Then, you get a call; one you could have never imagined receiving. You thought you passed the bar exam (because you were on the pass list); but, the State Bar Commission tells you during that fateful phone call that there was an error. (Insert menacing music here.) Unfortunately, they deliver the news that there was a clerical error and that you actually did not pass the bar exam. What??? How could this happen?
This is exactly what happened in Nebraska this week when three almost attorneys were called 24 hours before being sworn in and told that they fell just a few points short of passing the bar exam even though they were initially told that they had passed. One phone call changed their life. While I often remind students that this is just an exam, it is an exam that consumes extensive amounts of time, money, and willpower. It is not an exam that anyone (other than a select few) wants to take over and over.
Mistakes happen. However, with high stakes testing such as the bar exam, shouldn't there be more stringent standards in place so that mistakes of this magnitude do not occur? If our society relies on the bar exam to determine a lawyer's competency to practice law, are we not also allowed to require those who administer the bar exam to be competent? With news such as this from Nebraska, we may need to start asking, who polices the gatekeepers?
Lisa Bove Young
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Multitasking is a way of life for those who’ve grown up in the digital era. You might be talking face-to-face with a friend but you are also texting or checking social media. Even those of us who grew up “b.c.” (before computers) now consider multitasking an essential skill. Why simply drive somewhere when you can drive and talk to someone on the phone? We are busy. We need to multitask. We are good at it. Well, we might not be as good as we think. Research shows that when people do several things at once, they do all of them worse than those who focus on one thing at a time. Multitaskers take longer to complete tasks, make more mistakes, and remember less. In addition, research into multitasking while learning shows that learners have gaps in knowledge, more shallow understanding of the material, and more difficulty transferring the learning to new contexts.
For many, multitasking has become such the norm that you don’t even think about it, you just do it. That’s the problem—you don’t think. However, take a minute to consider why you multitask. Is there an actual need for it? No. You do it because technology has made it possible, because you want to, because meetings/classes are boring, because you don’t want to wait. This is not to say that you shouldn’t watch tv while getting dressed in the morning. But do think twice before multitasking while preparing for and during class. You don’t need to check social media while reading cases. You don’t have to check fantasy football stats during class discussion. Although switching between these tasks may only add a time cost of less than a second, this adds up as you do it over and over again. Class requires focus and multitasking distracts your brain from fully engaging with the material.
The next time you go to class, put the phone on silent and put it away, turn off the internet or shut your lap top. Then focus on the professor and what is going on in the class. The first few minutes will be tough because your brain isn’t used to focusing on one task at a time. However, it won’t take long before your brain realizes it only has to do one thing. You will concentrate more deeply and learn so much more than your classmates who are busy tweeting how bored they are, checking fantasy football stats, and not picking up the exam tip the professor just gave. (KSK)
This idea for this post came from Sara Sampson, OSU Moritz College of Law’s Assistant Dean for Information Services. She made a short presentation on this topic at orientation and was so kind to share her notes and research. Thank you!
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A good piece of advice from academic support professionals and law professors for students taking law school exams is to begin with the “call of the question.” Who is calling, and what do they want?
The call of the question is the question part of the essay exam. This sounds like nonsense. Why not just read the question from start to finish? The reason to read the call of the question first is to have a road map of where you are asked to go when reading the fact pattern. The call of the question can generally be found at the bottom of the essay. One example of a call of the question is, “Discuss the potential causes of action against Defendant and his defenses.” This is an open ended or “issue spotting” type question. Another style is an “issue spotted” question like, “You are the prosecutor in this case. Can Joe be convicted of burglary under the statute?” This question is asking you to analyze only one issue, that is burglary from the viewpoint of the prosecutor. By reading the call of the question first you will be able to narrow the issues to those the professor wants you to address, thus improving your performance. (Bonnie Stepleton)
Monday, September 29, 2014
Time management and doctrinal classes can be challenging enough. However, when Legal Research and Writing assignments are thrown into the mix, your schedule can get even more challenging.
First, create a weekly schedule as a way to effectively manage your time. Start by penciling in your classes; then add work hours, if any, and regular appointments. Next block out study times for each class (4-5 hours for every hour that you are in class). Remember to add breaks -- every now and then. Do not try to study for hours on end -- without breaks of, say 10-15 minutes, after 60-90 minutes of study.
Next, look at your Legal Research and Writing Syllabus- note the deadlines for major writing assignments and work backward from those deadlines. When will you complete your draft? When will you outline the assignment? When will you finish the bulk of the required research? Add these tasks to your weekly schedule to maximize the likelihood that you will not be doing the bulk of the work the day before the assignment is due. Try to leave time to print out your draft and set it aside for a while (24 hours is a good goal) -- before your final proofread and edit.
If you stray from your weekly schedule once or twice, do not discard the schedule. Instead, try to get back on the schedule. Last - but not least - remember to include time for exercise and enjoyment.
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Job Posting - Director of Bar Preparation and Support at NCCU School of Law
North Carolina Central University School of Law is in the process of hiring a director of bar preparation and support. Information about the position is below. Please forward this e-mail to anyone who might be interested, All inquiries should be sent to Professor Kia Vernon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law seeks applications for the position of Director of Bar Preparation and Support. The successful candidate will be appointed to a 12-month, full-time, non-tenure track, renewable contract position. NCCU is a historically Black university located in Durham, North Carolina. The University offers traditional undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences and select pre-professional, professional and graduate programs. The School of Law has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for its affordability and its clinical programs. More information about NCCU School of Law is available at http://law.nccu.edu/.
The School of Law’s mission has long been to provide an education and a voice to the underserved. As a school of opportunity, NCCU School of Law works to maximize the potential of students who often come from populations that are underrepresented in the legal field. For those reasons, we look forward to welcoming applications from those who are particularly eager to work with our diverse and unique student body.
Duties and Responsibilities:
The duties of the Director of Bar Preparation and Support include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing, evaluating and enhancing the School of Law’s current bar preparation program, including, but not limited to organizing the summer and winter programs, reviewing written submissions from students and offering feedback.
- Expanding existing programs by providing a clearinghouse of bar preparation materials, collaborating with commercial bar preparation companies to assist students with their bar preparation efforts, coordinating a mentor program to provide assistance to graduates preparing for the bar, tracking at-risk students’ preparation for the bar exam and providing resources for repeat bar takers.
- Researching and developing innovative programs which incorporate research and statistical information to increase bar passage rates.
- Working with individual students to develop and execute customized study plans and strategies for passing the bar exam.
- Providing individual and group feedback and strategies to enhance writing and analytical skills.
- Mentoring and counseling students and graduates from first year through post bar exam.
- Teaching sections of the School of Law’s bar preparation courses.
- Providing supplementary bar preparation workshops.
- Tracking the results of the School of Law’s bar examination applicants.
- Partnering with the School of Law’s Academic Support Unit and serving as an ex officio member of the School of Law’s Bar Enhancement and Retention Committee and the School of Law’s Academic Outcomes Committee to identify and aid students who may be at an increased risk for unsuccessful performance.
- Providing a resource and information database for faculty who seek to incorporate bar examination material into their doctrinal teachings and research.
- Collaborating with the faculty and administration at the School of Law to develop and implement new components of the bar preparation program.
- A juris doctor degree from an ABA accredited institution.
- A member in good standing with a state bar, preferably the North Carolina State Bar.
- An outstanding law school academic record.
- One year experience working with bar preparation programs that would suggest fitness to provide creative direction in a burgeoning and developing program.
- Experience in course development and delivery.
- Bar support work at a law school.
- Proven success in raising bar pass rate at a law school.
- Experience working with the North Carolina bar exam.
- Previous experience directing a bar exam program either in a law school or for a commercial provider.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:
- Excellent interpersonal, organization, analytical and public speaking skills.
- Ability to develop and manage higher educational programs.
- Knowledge of academic programs pertaining to law school students.
- Knowledge of and ability to perform research and statistical analysis.
- Ability to work independently and be a self-starter with demonstrated initiative.
- Able to relate to students, faculty, University personnel, and external constituents.
- Ability to follow through.
In addition to the North Carolina State Application, please submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, student evaluations (2 most recent years, if applicable), and three professional reference letters to Professor Kia Vernon (email@example.com). Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and continue until the position is filled. Successful completion of a criminal background check is required for final candidates. NCCU is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to providing career opportunities to all people, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. The North Carolina State Application can be found on the NCCU website (https://jobs.nccu.edu/applicants/jsp/shared/frameset/Frameset.jsp?time=1411594165194).
Job Description: Director of Academic Excellence
West Virginia University College of law invites applications for the position of Director of the Academic Excellence Center (http://law.wvu.edu/academics/academic-excellence-center). The Academic Excellence Center seeks to enhance the academic performance of law students and to help them thrive at every stage of their law school career and beyond. The Director of the Center works closely with students and faculty to achieve this goal, supporting its mission through a variety of activities, including the Fall & Spring Study Session Programs; one-on-one student counseling; Academic Excellence Fridays (open academic skills workshops); a for-credit bar preparation course for 3Ls; an immersive summer law institute for undergraduates thinking about law school; and a variety of other activities designed to strengthen analytical and test-taking skills.
Qualified applicants should have an outstanding academic record in law school; legal practice experience; teaching experience or superb potential for teaching effectively. The applicant should also be an admitted member of the bar of any state and have a demonstrated ability to establish and maintain a positive working relationship with entities outside the law school, including the State Board of Law Examiners and commercial bar preparation vendors. A degree in education or counseling and experience in working with a wide variety of students, including those with learning disabilities and mental health issues, is an advantage, but not required. In addition, a deep interest in current research about how adults learn best would be ideal.
This is a full-time, ten-month position with the opportunity to rise through the ranks of Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor, and Teaching Professor. The Director of Academic Excellence will be a full-time faculty member entitled to vote and participate in faculty governance in all matters except promotion and tenure decisions regarding faculty members on the tenure track. This is an exciting time to join the WVU College of Law, which is in the final phase of an extensive renovation that will include a prominent Academic Services Center that features the Office of Academic Excellence. The College of Law recognizes that the Center is an essential resource for helping each student reach his or her maximum potential, and the work of the Academic Excellence Director is highly valued.
WVU Law is committed to building a multicultural and inclusive work force that includes diversity in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, military service, disabilities, social background, and experience. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. WVU Law has established a place among the nation’s leading public law schools. WVU Law was recently ranked 15th best in the country in public interest law; 16th best-value law school in preLaw Magazine; and in the top 100 (rank 83) by U.S. News and World Report. WVU Law also received the excellence in Pro Bono Award from Super Lawyer Magazine in 2012 for its outstanding clinical law program. Our core values include excellence in scholarship, teaching and service, close student/faculty interaction, diversity and inclusivity, respectful/professional behavior, community, and justice. Founded in 1878, and member of the Association of American Law schools (1914) and accredited by the American Bar Association (1924), WVU Law is the sole law school serving West Virginia, but attracts many students from other states and countries. WVU Law is located in Morgantown, a vibrant university community ranked one of the top small cities in the country. Faculty and students enjoy the convenience of a small city combined with the cultural opportunities of a metropolitan area. West Virginia’s beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities are easily accessible from Morgantown, as are the cities of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Baltimore, and Washington, DC. Please address letters to Appointments Committee Co-Chair Robert Bastress c/o Toni Sebree, West Virginia University College of Law, P.O. Box 6130, Morgantown, WV 26506-6130.
Friday, September 26, 2014
I really enjoy my students. It is a privilege to help them reach their academic potential. With new strategies, encouragement, and regular support many of the students who were struggling can make a major turn-around. When they stop by or email me to tell me about the high grade on a midterm, a positive critique on a paper, their first B grades in law school, and other triumphs, I share their joy.
Each student is unique in the combination of learning styles, personal and academic challenges, course difficulties, and more. Although there are strategies that work for most students, those strategies may not be a match with others.
I discuss with my students that the materials that I give them will pull together strategies that have worked for many students - strategies that are based on memory and learning theory as well as other research. I explain the reasons for the strategies and their relevance to grades, future bar passage, and ultimately to practice. I also encourage them that if the strategies do not work for them as individuals that we need to explore what strategies will work for them. We can work as a team to modify approaches or brainstorm new approaches that will work.
Most students are eager to become more successful learners. They readily become part of the team to improve their academics. They want to learn more deeply, to improve their skills, and to improve their later performance on the bar exam and in practice. The meetings become a dialogue seeking the strategies that work best for them as individuals. We discuss, tweak, and brainstorm together.
One challenge to a team effort is that some students are resistant to any change in their study habits even when their grades indicate that their past strategies have not been successful. Change is frightening when the consequence of not making grades is dismissal from law school. Change is stressful when they are struggling with the first bad grades in a lifetime and silently question whether other law students are smarter. Change is very uncomfortable when old habits feel so safe in comparison to new techniques.
With these students, I discuss strategies that will move their studies closer to success within their limited comfort with change. As they see positive results with small steps, they are often willing to try additional small changes. Unfortunately, because they limit the number and range of strategies, they often also limit their academic improvement compared to other students who are open to change.
Another challenge to a team effort is that some students are not invested in their academics to a level that allows them to live up to their true academic potential. For a few, the reality is that responsibilities and circumstances outside of law school limit their time for studying. Examples of these aspects would be care for elderly parents, serious medical illness in the family, personal illness, or financial problems. For other students, the extra hours that law school requires to get high grades does not seem worth the effort. They are content with studying enough hours to keep their grades above the academic standards but not more than that amount.
With these students, I work together to get more results from the time invested. Where time is being consumed by study methods that get little oomph, it can be boosted by more effective strategies. Often undergraduate study methods can be modified for law study to get more traction. These students can still improve some - though again the reality is that their improvement is likely to be less than students who have more hours to invest in effective study.
Throughout the process, I try to encourage students, to read between the lines as to what is going on with them, and to be supportive. Each student has to make a decision as to what strategies are feasible to implement within the personal framework of that student. The individual's parameters will determine the student's overall success in academics. I can be a guide and a partner in the process. The student has to make the final choices as to time and effort. I have to respect their choices even when I recognize that they will not meet their full academic potential. (Amy Jarmon)
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The following web sites and applications have been suggested by law students to help other law students:
- Flashcard Machine: website and app that allow the making of flashcards, random sort, and temporary removal from the deck (flashcardmachine.com)
- Quizlet: website and apps for flashcards, fill-in-the-blank, and essay questions; can share with others (quizlet.com)
- SelfControl: Mac app for blocking websites, e-mail, and internet for set time period (selfcontrolapp.com)
- Chrome Nanny: a Google Chrome extension to block time-wasting websites
- Facebook Nanny: another Google Chrome extension to block your Facebook access unless you have a notifications
- Blotter: app for Mac users for desktop time management schedule
If you have apps and websites that are your favorites, please send me an e-mail with the heading "Apps and Websites" at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I may share them with our readers. (Amy Jarmon)