Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 20, 2017

AASE Elections - Voting Open until 5 p.m. May 23

The ballot is now open for the election of the AASE Board positions for the 2017-2018 year.  The open positions are: President-Elect, Vice President Diversity, Secretary, and Treasurer. 

Please go to the Membership page of the AASE website and follow the Election link which can be found here:  http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/membership.html.  You must be an AASE member to vote. If you are unsure whether you are an AASE member, please contact us at aasemembership@gmail.com.  You may only vote once for each open position.  Voting will be open until 5 pm on May 23, 2017 (the first day of the AASE National Conference). 

The election committee (Betsy Six, Pavel Wonsowicz, and myself – the members of the Executive Board who are not eligible to run for an office) will count the ballots and announce the winners during the AASE Conference.  The new officers will transition during the Closing Session of the conference.  Below is a list of the candidates for each open position:

President-Elect:

  • Russell McClain

Vice President Diversity:

  • Rana Boujaoude
  • DeShun Harris

Secretary:

  • Rana Boujaoude
  • Jeff Minneti

Treasurer:

  • Marsha Griggs
  • Kandace Kukas
  • Jeff Minneti

May 20, 2017 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

University of San Francisco One-Year Position

Position

Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of Law+Plus and Bar+Plus

Job Requirements

A qualified candidate must have (1) a J.D. degree with strong law school credentials, (2) be admitted to The State Bar of California, and (3) at least two years of academic support and bar preparation experience, either as an instructor or tutor.  

The candidate must be experienced in counseling and working with students individually, in a small group setting, and in the classroom.  Experience in assessing student academic progress and implementing individually tailored measures to improve student performance is required.  The candidate must be able to work creatively, efficiently, and collaboratively with a team of faculty, staff, student teaching assistants, and student organizations. The candidate must have a commitment to working with students from diverse backgrounds and knowledge of how learning styles, multicultural factors, and non-cognitive factors affect learning. Knowledge of law-school curriculum development, specifics of the California bar exam, and statistical-analysis techniques are a plus. 

Job Responsibilities

The Assistant Director will work closely with the Director and other members of the Law+Plus and Bar+Plus faculty to:

  • Teach and develop (a) the first-year workshop curriculum, which includes coordinating integrated exercises with first-year faculty and the Academic Support Program, (b) the bar-preparation curriculum, which includes coordinating USF’s summer program with faculty, bar review companies, and other departments on campus, and (c) two academic sessions for orientation, which includes coordinating with the Office of Student Affairs;
  • Provide individual counseling to (a) first-year and second-year students struggling academically, and (b) upper-division students preparing for the bar-exam; and
  • Complete various projects, such as managing the TWEN page, data collection and analysis, and marketing tasks.

The Assistant Director will also have the opportunity to teach unit-credit classes in the Law+Plus and Bar+Plus programs, such as Legal Analysis or Logic for Lawyers.  The focuses of these classes include, but are not limited to, improving a student’s analysis, study strategies, and essay and MBE techniques.

Special Instructions

This is a one year, full-time, non-tenure track, 12-month contract position with benefits. Salary is dependent on qualifications. Interviews will begin next week and continue until the position is filled. If you have questions, please contact Interim Director, Christina Chong, atcschong@usfca.edu.

How to Apply

Please send your resume, cover letter, three references, and any teaching evaluations to Associate Dean, Susan Freiwald, freiwald@usfca.edu, and CC Christina Chong,cschong@usfca.edu

May 19, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Turning Bad News Into Great Opportunites: Helping Repeaters Become "Fresh Start" Bar Passers

It's that time of year.  In the midst of many celebrations over bar passage, let's be frank.  There are many that are not celebrating.  Their names were not on the list of bar exam passers.  It's especially rough this time of year because it's also graduation season.  And, for some, it's not the first time that they've found themselves in this situation; it's a repeat of the last time around.

For aspiring attorneys that did not pass the bar exam, most don't know where to turn.  Often embarrassed, many with significant debt loads, most feel abandoned by their schools, their friends, and their colleagues.  All alone.  

I'm not expert in helping with turnarounds. But, I'd like to offer a few tips that have seemed to be quite helpful in helping repeaters change history to become "fresh start" bar passers.  

First, as academic support professionals, reach out to each one.  Make yourself available on their terms.  Let them know that you care.  Let them know that you are mighty proud of them, success or not.  Support them, one and all.

Second, give them breathing room, lot's of time and space to grieve.  Don't push them into diving back into the books.  Don't lecture them.  Rather, assure them that they don't need to get cranking on their studies.  Help them to be kind to themselves.  It's not a matter of just hitting the books again, and this time, doubly-hard.  Instead, they need to take time out to just be themselves.

Third, when they are ready, set up a "one-with-one."  Notice: I did not call it a "one-to-one".  Rather, set up an appointment or meeting in a place of their choosing at a time that works for them in which you sit side by side, on the same side of the table or desk or cafe.  They are not bar exam failures; they are real law school graduates.  They earned their parchments. So, listen to them as colleagues on the same side of doing battle on the bar exam.  Let them talk and express themselves as they'd like. Hear them out.  How are they feeling?  What went right?  What's their passion?  What saddens their hearts?  

Finally, whey they are ready, make a copy of one of the essay problems that didn't go so well.  Better yet, make two copies, one for each of you!  That's because you are on the same team.  Set aside 15 or 20 minutes and just ask them to mark up the question, brainstorm what they are thinking, and jot down the issues that they see.  But...and this is important...tell them that you don't expect them to remember any law at all. Period.  And, you do the same.  Exactly the same.  Don't peek at an answer key or even their answer. Instead, try your hand too; wrestle with the same question that they are wrestling with.  

Then, come back together to listen, ponder, and share what you both see as the plot of the essay question, the issues raised by the storylines, and the potential rules that might be in play.  Once you've done all this prep work together, now, look at their answer.  This is important, just look.  Ask them what do they see? What do they observe? What went great for them? Where might they improve?  In short, let them see that they have "inside information" about themselves based on their own personal bar exam experience and answers that they can capitalize to their advantage.  Most often in the midst of working together, graduates tell me that they realize that they knew plenty of law to pass the bar exam.  In fact, most are amazed at how well they memorized the law.  And, that's great news because it means that they don't need to redo the bar review lectures at all.  They know plenty of law.  That frees up lots of time during the bar prep season to instead concentrate on just two active learning tasks.  

First, they should daily work through loads of practice problems (essays and MBE questions).  Every one that they can get their hands on.  

Second, they should keep a daily "journal" of the issues and rules that they missed when working over problems (to include tips about the analysis of those rules).  

Just two steps.  That's it.  There's no magic.  But, in not redoing the lectures, they will find that they have plenty of time to concentrate on what is really important - learning by doing through active reflective daily practice.  Countless times, it's through this process of a "one-with-one" meeting that we have seen repeaters turn themselves into "fresh start" bar passers.  Now, that's something to celebrate!  (Scott Johns).

 

May 18, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Louis Schulze, Jr

Louis should be excited because he is featured here twice in two weeks (once for his scholarship here and now)! I first met Louis at one of the conferences I attended early on in my ASP career. He led a discussion surrounding an article he had written and at the time, was seeking feedback. The discussion included comments and questions about the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). I also had an opportunity to work with Louis briefly during my tenure as chair of the programming committee for the Academic Support Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). Louis was reliable, kind, and very helpful. I seem to always remember positive words and feedback sent in my direction from anyone far and near, and Louis is one of those whose feedback was very kind and therefore remembered (Goldie Pritchard).

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment.

Louis Schulze

Assistant Dean and Professor of Academic Support

Florida International University College of Law

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I’ve been in the academic support field for about ten years, starting at New England Law | Boston for seven years and a bit over three years here at FIU Law. I started teaching in the legal writing field and found myself wanting to do more for students who underperformed. It frustrated me that many of these students weren’t struggling due to a lack of diligence or intelligence but because they had less training in critical thinking or effective learning skills. Because that lack of training seemed correlated with socio-economic status, I was particularly motivated to do what I could to help level the playing field to promote students’ success.

Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most? What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?

Anyone who has seen me teach knows that I act like a fool in the classroom. I try to bring an energy that connotes genuine enthusiasm for the material. (This isn’t in any way fabricated; I’m a complete law nerd. If they sold trading cards of SCOTUS justices, I’d be one of those people who gets the whole set, including COA, etc.)

I try to keep things fairly light in the classroom and then all of a sudden get really intense, pushing the students to do more and give better answers. Because the levity precedes the intensity, students seem more comfortable when I push them harder – they know it’s coming from the right place.

Also, personally and professionally, I get immense joy from fostering students’ success. My favorite time of year is when grades come out and I hear from my students who got through the first year despite incredible odds. It’s always an awkward moment for my colleagues in my corridor when I start bellowing the chorus of “We Are the Champions” at the top of my lungs because I heard that a student made it above a 2.00 or passed the bar. But, because being in ASP means being half professor, half coach, we have the best of both worlds and, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), the best job in the legal academy.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

That I made it through my whole career without anyone noticing that I’m a completely unqualified rube. (Ooops).

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

IMHO (In My Humble Opinion), one can serve students best by maintaining a balance between being emotionally invested in their success while at the same time remaining objective. Having a professor demonstrate a genuine personal investment in a student’s success can actually have a far more powerful impact on that student than I ever realized. On the other hand, for some students the best advice might be an austere and somewhat shocking message that is both difficult to give and difficult to receive. Academic support professors need to be empowered to give both types of advice based upon the needs of the particular student. If a law school does not provide that sort of empowerment, the academic support will be less effective.

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

Bart

May 17, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Instructor for Bar Exam Prep Position at New England Law

Instructor for Bar Examination Preparation

New England Law | Boston, recognized by National Jurist for being among the top 20 law schools for bar preparation in the country that add “the most value to their students when it comes to the bar exam,” is seeking someone to assist the director of Bar Examination Preparation in teaching, administering, and counseling within the program. The position will report directly to the Director of Bar Examination Preparation Services in support of the program’s core initiatives. The person hired for the position will also perform other functions essential to promoting student success on the bar examination and to furthering the success and growth of the institution.  

Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Assist in preparing, presenting, teaching and administering bar support courses, workshops, and additional programming.  Specifically, the person hired for the position will be responsible for teaching sections of the Fall Applied Legal Reasoning Course and teaching or co-teaching parts of the Spring Advanced Legal Analysis course, and other programs as needed.
  • Assist in planning events related to bar support, including the Fall Diagnostic Exam and Review session offered to 3L and 4LE students, and MBE, MPT and MEE Workshops.
  • Assist in reviewing and grading student work, providing formative assessment throughout all stages of bar exam preparation.
  • Assist in the administration of all bar support programs, including coordination with bar preparation companies, room scheduling, preparation of program materials, and other administrative duties as needed.
  • Collect and maintain performance data necessary to assess programming (e.g., Summer PMBR results, Diagnostic Exam Performance data, etc.).
  • Assist in maintaining a database of released bar examination MBE, MPT, and MEE questions.

 Qualifications:

  • Enthusiasm for working with students
  • JD from an ABA accredited law school, recent graduation desirable
  • Successful completion of at least one state bar examination
  • A record of academic success
  • Superior oral and written communication skills
  • The ability to work collaboratively with faculty, administrators, and a diverse population of students
  • The ability to manage multiple competing priorities and meet firm deadlines
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills
  • Prior experience working with students with disabilities preferred
  • Prior experience working for a law school bar passage program; prior teaching experience, including in law school; advanced degree in education theory (or related discipline), or one or more years of experience in student counseling, legal writing and analysis, writing performance tests, such as the MPT, or remedial teaching preferred

This is a full time, one year visiting position starting in August 2017 at a salary commensurate with qualifications and experience. To apply, please submit cover letter and resume (including salary history/requirements) and writing sample to resume@nesl.edu

New England Law | Boston, an equal opportunity employer, values diversity and is committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment as defined by federal and state law and as consistent with ABA and AALS policies.

May 16, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Academic Support Position at Berkeley Law

Berkeley Law is seeking an Academic Coordinator. The Academic Coordinator will assist and collaborate with the Director of Academic Support at Berkeley Law. The Academic Coordinator will train tutors within the Academic Support Program, help standardize the curriculum, offer one-on-one tutoring sessions, and coordinate study sessions and educational workshops for students, thereby expanding our capacity to help students while providing increased attention to those most in need of academic support. 

The position is anticipated to begin July 1, 2017. The position is 75% time with benefits. For details on the position, including required qualifications and application materials, and information about how to apply, please visit https://aprecruit.berkeley.edu/apply/JPF01380

This position is open until filled. If you have questions about the position, please contact academicpositions@law.berkeley.edu

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct.

May 16, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Effects of Social Media

The Chronicle on Higher Education recently posted an article looking at the professionalization of social media, especially Facebook, and the effect on students' outlets to be themselves: Instagrim.

May 15, 2017 in Miscellany, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The BBC Looks at Mindfulness

An article on the BBC website this past week gave an every day look at mindfulness: The Japanese skill copied by the world.

May 14, 2017 in Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Article on Raising Bar Passage by Louis Schulze

Faculty-page-shulze-louis
Louis N. Schulze, Jr. at Florida International has a new article: Using Science to Build Better Learners: One School's Successful Efforts to Raise Its Bar Passage Rates in an Era of Decline. The abstract is below, and the link to the article on SSRN is here:  SSRN link.

What measures can law schools take to improve student performance and bar passage? The answer is not what you think.

Recent developments in the science of learning show that most law students learn wrong. In fact, ineffective methods of learning pervade all levels of education. We now know that widely accepted learning and study strategies that were once considered gospel are actually deeply flawed. Yet we still embrace and propagate those myths.

Meanwhile, bar passage rates and law student performance are plummeting. Everyone in legal education is asking “what can we do?” But, “what can we do?” is the wrong question. The right question is to ask how students can capitalize on the science of learning to be more effective learners.

In this essay, I discuss principles from the science of learning that law schools and students should embrace. In the context of the methods we have implemented at Florida International University College of Law, which had the highest bar passage rate in Florida for three consecutive exams, I detail the project of transforming the learning of law away from the ineffective methods of yore and towards effective strategies that can make a difference on student performance and bar passage.

And it all has to do with science, not lore.

May 13, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Part II: Learning & Justice: An Academic Achievement Necessity!

In a previous blog, I wrote about the question of justice, namely, that learning the law without learning to think about what is the right thing to do is, in short, to be learning aimlessly, to be learning without sprit, to be selling our students short.  It is an empty vain experience.  What Does Justice Have to Do with Learning the Law? Everything!

And, as a consequence of our (my) failure to so often talk about principles of justice throughout our (my) classes, we are often creating a toxically-damaging learning environment because our students came to law school not to just memorize cases but to learn to do justice.   Thus, without actively incorporating discussions of justice within our courses, our students JUSTIFIABLY feel like justice has very little to do with why they came to law school in the first place.  No wonder they struggle so often to feel like they fit in.  They don't.  

But, it's not because they don't fit in law school.  Rather, its because we don't fit in law school because we are so often not getting at the real root of the purpose of our legal education, namely, righting and healing and restoring relationships in a broken fragile world.  As a consequence, we should not be surprised when our students are not jazzed about our intricate discussions and hyperactive hypotheticals that are so often devoid of heartfelt life yearings.  

So, that brings me to a suggestion on how to incorporate principles of justice within the study of law.

First, be bold.  Name it.  Let your students know that justice is difficult, its edgy, its often amiss.

Second, provide a framework.

As a tool, it might be helpful to explore possible ways to think about what the right thing to do might be.  As set out by Dr. Michael J. Sandel in his wonderful book entitled "Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?," there are three major principles that we might look towards for guidance as to justice: (1) the welfare principle; (2) the freedom principle; and, (3) the virtue principle.  http://justiceharvard.org/justice-whats-the-right-thing-to-do/  Please note:  If you happen upon Amazon, you can browse the first chapter of his book to brilliantly capture the scope of the three approaches.  If not, here's my own simplistic version:

Justice

1.  The Welfare Principle might also be called the "Mostest-for-the-Greatest" principle (or, as philosophers call it, the utilitarian principle).  In brief, the right thing to do according to this principle is what would bring the greatest benefit to the greatest number in society.  We often see this play out in constitutional litigation concerning something like the "undue burden" test in dormant commerce clause cases.  It's a balancing test.  We balance the burden on interstate commerce against the benefit to local state interests in order to see which might maximize the greatest good or utility or benefit.  In another context, we see this principle called to duty - so to speak -  in tort law concerning what a reasonably prudent person might due under similar circumstances.  Finally, this principle is often discussed in the course of environmental litigation as to the benefits of environment regulation versus the societal costs.

2.  The Freedom Principle seems to be widely adored but rarely advocated, at least in my survey of government litigation concerning constitutional rights issues.  We might label this as the "Absolutist" principle, namely, that certain rights are absolutely off-limits from government coercion or usurpation or abolition.  Think of freedom speech or freedom of religion.  But, as we quickly learn in constitutional law, the First Amendment freedom of speech can be heavily regulated by the government provided the government provides a sufficiently "good" reason.  For example, when the government silences a particular subject, it generally must meet strict scrutiny analysis by demonstrating that the restriction is necessary to achieve a compelling government interest.  So much for absolute protection!  Thus, we most often see the freedom principle give way to other perhaps competing arguments as to justice, often based on the welfare principle or the virtue principle.

3.  So, that brings us to the Virtue Principle.  We might call this the "Honor" principle.  Think of the marriage cases.  The issue in the marriage cases, at its roots, centered upon what sorts of marital relationships ought to be honored, with the court holding that the purpose of marriage is fundamentally about society honoring committed loving relationships among consenting people.  In contrast to the arguments of many states, marriage is not fundamentally about children.  Thus, the court, seeing that states honored opposite sex marriages but not same sex marriages, reasoned that all marriages regardless of gender must be honored the same because gender is irrelevant to the issue of loving relationships.  In other words, the right thing to do is to honor consistently all marital relationships that share the same fundamental marital characteristics.  In short, the court found that it was unfair to honor only opposite sex marriage but not other marriages because the failure to do so is dishonorable and not virtuous.  Justice requires giving honor to what is deserving honor.

Now, as we see from many of the cases covered throughout law school, the courts are often bouncing haphazardly among these various conceptions of justice (and more) without saying what they are doing.  Shame on them!  That's where these principles of justice can come in mighty handily in law school classes.  Let's get them out in the open!  It's not that these principles will necessarily determine what is the right outcome in a particular case.  But, arguments about these principles are what is at root in most cases.  And, as complex people with many attachments and predispositions, we will start to see that we often favor one principle of justice at the expense of another (which is to say at the expense of others).  So, just reflecting on these principles with our students can help our students better understand and appreciate how they can participate - as future attorneys - in helping to make society a little bit more just for the next generation.  And, that's a great thing to learn in law school!  (Scott Johns).

 

May 11, 2017 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Learning Styles, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Barbara McFarland

I was introduced to Barbara McFarland at my very first Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, several years ago. Barbara was very kind and welcoming to this new ASP professional. Also, she offered much assistance when I sought best practices and other materials for a new course for students who are considered “at risk” after the first semester of law school. I modified and used some components of the materials she shared which ideally complemented the course I teach. Barbara is very humble in sharing her accomplishments and contributions to academic support so I would urge you to read her biography on her law school website (Goldie Pritchard).

Barb

(Barbara McFarland is pictured here, far right)

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment.

Barbara B. McFarland

Director of the Office of Student Success Initiatives & Assistant Professor

Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I started doing academic support work 20 years ago (or maybe more) as an overload while teaching legal research and writing at the University of Cincinnati College of Law. I came to Chase in 2006 to continue that combination of positions, but in 2007 the Dean moved me into a full-time position in academic support. A year or two later, he added bar support to my duties.

Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most? What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?

While I am fairly proficient at programming for students from the top to the bottom of the class, the thing I think I do best is to convince students that they CAN do the work in law school, pass the bar exam, and competently practice law. The biggest challenge in being a one-person office responsible for as many as 500 students in the building is finding time to accomplish the important tasks that keep getting bumped back behind the urgent tasks. I have NOT overcome that challenge, unfortunately.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

My former students are my legacy, especially the ones that might not have graduated from law school or passed the bar without some support and guidance.

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

If one student per year sends an email or stops by to tell you thank you for what you do, hang on to that positive message; it will get you through another academic year!

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

While I do not believe that everyone admitted to law school will or should succeed, I do believe that we—the law schools—owe every admitted student the opportunity to do his or her best work.

May 10, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Correction: AASE Conference Registration Closes May 17th

REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE WEDNESDAY MAY 17, 2017

5th Annual AASE National Conference

Texas A&M University School of Law

Fort Worth, Texas

 May 23-25, 2017

 

To register go to:

https://associationofacademicsupporteducators.wufoo.com/forms/2017-annual-conference-registration/ 

You can update your AASE membership at the time of registration! 

Please make sure that you submit all payments at the time of registration.

For more information about directions to the law school visit: https://law.tamu.edu/about-us/visit-us

May 10, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Study Questions Student Recognition of Good Teaching

Today's The Chronicle of Higher Education references a study of nearly 340,000 mathematics students at University of Phoenix that questions whether students can recognize good teaching. The link to the post is here: Student Evaluations Study.

May 9, 2017 in Miscellany, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Assistant Dean for Experiential Education Position at UCLA

UCLA School of Law

Job Posting

Assistant Dean for Experiential Education

The position of Assistant Dean for Experiential Education requires a talented and enthusiastic individual to build and oversee the operational excellence of the UCLA Law program of clinical and experiential education.  The Assistant Dean will report to and work under the general direction of the Faculty Director and/or Vice Dean of Experiential Education and will be expected to work independently with multiple faculty and staff within the law school.  The Assistant Dean will participate in the Law School’s academic and curricular planning and support the Faculty Director and/or Vice Dean in expanding and promoting excellence in the law school’s program of clinical and experiential education.  The Assistant Dean will also develop and maintain systems to ensure the provision of excellent legal services to clients and excellent pedagogical opportunities for students.  These duties will require the Assistant Dean to build strong relationships within the law school community, as well as with external governmental and nonprofit entities with which the law school is collaborating.  The person in this position should have some background and familiarity with clinical legal education, the ability to exercise creativity and good judgment about the law school program, and a deep interest in educating students and providing legal services to clients and communities in the region.  The person in this position has the possibility of spending up to approximately 25% of his/her time teaching in a clinical program, to be determined in consultation with the Faculty Director/Vice Dean. 

Minimum requirements include an excellent academic record; a J.D. or equivalent advanced degree; at least five years of substantial legal practice or related experience; and demonstrated management, administrative, and organizational skills, with successful prior experience in clinical legal education preferred.  The salary and level of appointment will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.  This position is a full-time, year round, non-tenure track academic appointment with an expected start date of July 1, 2017.  This appointment is subject to the rules and regulations of the Regents of the University of California, which are mostly embodied in The UCLA CALL and the University of California Academic Personnel Manual.  (See https://www.apo.ucla.edu/policies/the-call; and http://www.ucop.edu/acadpersonnel/apm/welcome.html.)

Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made.  To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by Tuesday, June 13, 2017 but will be considered thereafter until the position is filled.  Please apply online at https://recruit.apo.ucla.edu/apply/JPF02951 by submitting pdf copies of a cover letter, CV or resume, and the names and contact information for at least three professional references.  Applicants with teaching experience should also include their teaching evaluations, a summary thereof, or other testimonials concerning their teaching experience.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct).

May 8, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Exam Study - Using Study Aids Wisely

Lately I have had a number of discussions with students about study aids and exam study. Several were on the verge of spending large sums of money on lots of study aids they did not have time to read. So here are some quick tips for using study aids wisely during exam period:

  • Read study aids selectively. If I am confused about easements, then reading a commentary on that topic to clarify the law may be very helpful. However, reading an entire 400-page commentary on property would be over-reacting and not an efficient or effective use of my time if all I am confused about is easements.
  • Read one study aid for a topic rather than several. If the first study aid that I read to clarify easements does the trick, I need to stop there. Reading two or three extra study aids on the same topic will not add much oomph and will whittle down the time I have to learn other topics.
  • Choose visuals that work for you - if visuals work for you. Crunch Time visuals are decision flowcharts. The Finals series has tree diagrams. Gilberts outlines tend to have tables, checklists, and flowcharts. Acing series often has checklists. Making your own visuals is often the most productive for deep understanding. If visuals do nothing for you, then do not use them!
  • Choose practice questions to match your exam type. Most professors tell students their exam formats: fact-pattern essays, short-answer essays, objective questions, or a mix. If I have an objective exam, then I want to focus on doing lots of objective questions. If I have an exam that is just fact-pattern essays, then those are the practice questions that I want to focus on during my study. A mixed exam should have mixed practice questions in proportion to the types.
  • Increase the difficulty of the practice questions you complete. As you become more adept, choose practice questions that are more difficult. Go from the one-issue ones in an Examples & Explanations book to the multi-issue ones in commercial outlines or other practice question series.
  • Always do any practice questions provided by your own professor. It amazes me how many students do very few of the practice questions or old exams provided by their own professors.
  • Remember to learn your professor's version of the course. Using your professor's steps of analysis, buzzwords, etc. makes it easier to find points when grading. Plus any study aid will have covered some topics for a national audience that your professor probably did not cover.

Good luck on exams! (Amy Jarmon)

May 7, 2017 in Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

When You Hit a Wall

As exams unfold and the bar exam looms, I find that I have to remind students that they may hit a wall in their studying at some point. By that I mean, getting to a point when your brain cannot absorb one more rule, comprehend one more practice question, or focus on one more sentence. No amount of switching tasks, switching courses, or mental pep talks will budge that mental wall. It cannot be climbed over, gone around, or blasted through no matter what is tried.

So many students keep studying any way because they fear taking a break and walking away. Time is of the essence! But, the only result they will get is hitting their heads against that same wall. Frustration, stress, and anxiety all build as they soldier on.

Hitting a wall is a major stopping point - a 10-minute break or 10 jumping jacks will not budge it. Hitting a wall is our brain's way of saying, "STOP!!! There is no door in this wall for you to walk through. Go away and come back later after a big break."

The problem with this kind of major mental block is that a complete break is needed for the student to come back refreshed. One needs to find an environment or pastime that allows no thoughts about law school or law courses or law exams.

When I was in exam period or in bar studying and hit a wall, it did not help for me to sit in my apartment and read or watch a TV show. Those books and outlines were still over in the corner, worrying me. I was surprised that as a runner and swimmer that those pursuits also did not allow me a total break. I could still worry about law while I ran or swam.

So I chose two activities that meant I would completely relax, get away from the law, and let my brain recover for a couple of hours:

  • Going to a movie theater. Once the lights went down, I would become absorbed in the movie and forget all about law school. Comedies were especially good for those laugh endorphins. Besides, I adore popcorn.
  • Playing racquetball. That hard little blue ball really hurts if you do not stay focused on the game. Whacking that little ball also got rid of lots of frustration and stress.

Students need to consider what would absorb them to the point of total relaxation. One student told me recently that she would choose playing a difficult piece of music on the piano. Another student chose playing tennis. Another prior student was a woodworker and had to concentrate totally around circular saws.

Listen to your brain. When it is telling you that it cannot do any more, take that longer break. Let your brain recuperate from all the heavy lifting for a couple of hours. Then go back refreshed and begin again. The wall will have come tumbling down by then. (Amy Jarmon)

 

May 6, 2017 in Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Director of Bar Admissions Program at Western New England

Director of Bar Admission Programs

Western New England University School of Law is seeking candidates to become our Director of Bar Admission Programs.  This is a full time, year-round position.  The Director will continue our existing bar examination preparation program and design, administer, and oversee the Law School’s bar examination preparation efforts and activities, including, as appropriate, teaching classes (for-credit and/or non-credit), counseling and tutoring students on an individual and group basis, and developing/implementing/monitoring programs and services.

The Director will work with law students to help them prepare for success on the bar examination and will further develop the program that is currently in place and implement appropriate changes as needed to make it as effective as possible.  Aspects of this work include: developing strategies to assist all students (particularly students whose academic indicia are predictive of challenges in passing the bar); tracking the academic progress of students (particularly at-risk students) to insure that students are receiving necessary bar passage services; tracking students’ bar examination results to focus better the Law School’s efforts and to satisfy accreditation reporting; teaching a supplemental bar review program or for-credit courses; coordinating interactions with the Board of Bar Examiners in various states and with commercial bar exam providers; developing programs and services to encourage awareness of bar exam and bar admissions requirements; and working closely with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Enrollment Planning, the Director of Academic Support, the Academic Support and Bar Pass Committee and other members of the faculty and staff to help students achieve success on their bar exams. 

Qualifications: The successful candidate will have a J.D. degree from an A.B.A. approved law school, admission to at least one state bar achieved via successful completion of a bar examination, and experience in teaching in and administering bar exam preparation programs and courses.

Western New England University is a private, independent, coeducational institution founded in 1919. Located on an attractive 215-acre suburban campus in Springfield, Massachusetts, Western New England University serves 3,700 students, including 2,550 full-time undergraduate students. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are offered through Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy, and School of Law.

Application Process:  Applications should be received by June 2, 2017, although nominations and applications may be accepted until the position is filled.  This position has a start date of July 1, 2017.  All applications should include a letter of interest and résumé, together with the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least three references.  Applications should be mailed to: Donna Martin, Employment Associate, Human Resources, Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01119.  Electronic submissions are encouraged and may be sent to hr@wne.edu.

Western New England University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  We welcome candidates whose background may contribute to the further diversification of our community.

May 5, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Veteran ASP Spotlight: Rodney O. Fong

You may consider this entry and future ones “self-serving” but please stay tuned. When my ASP mentor recently left the profession, I thought it might be a splendid idea to highlight a few “veteran ASPers” while they are still active in the profession. After conversations with a few colleagues, I decided to start highlighting a few individuals I view as “veteran ASPers.” I encountered these highly experienced individuals at certain points of my ASP journey which began almost ten years ago. Each contributed to my success by helping me in small or significant ways and shared their wisdom, experience, and advice. I deemed it expedient to streamline questions rather than ask them anything and everything I could have possibly wanted to know. It is impossible to highlight everyone so I am starting with a select few, Rodney O. Fong being the first.

Rodney O. Fong is an awesome individual. I was first introduced to him by my former law school Dean who suggested that I contact him for advice, direction, and possible mentoring. He responded to my email message which was followed by a great phone conversation. I admire his commitment to diversity, student success on the bar exam, and desire to help new professionals. Please learn about him below. (Goldie Pritchard)

Fong

Q: Please indicate your full name, title and institution of employment.

Rodney O. Fong

Co-Director of Law+Plus and Bar+Plus Programs & Assistant Professor of Law 

University of San Francisco School of Law

Q: Please briefly describe your ASP work including length of time associated with it and what initially stimulated your interest.

I switched from practice to teaching because I love teaching and counseling people. Also, I found that practicing law limited on the number of people I could help, namely my clients.  But by training more people to become lawyers, I could indirectly help more clients in our communities.

My law school had a formal academic support program and I was a student in the program as well as a tutor during my last two years of school. I started teaching in 1990, focusing on academic support and, in 2005, I formally added bar preparation.

Q: Which aspect(s) of ASP work do you enjoy the most? What would you consider your greatest challenge thus far and how have you overcome the challenge?

I love the challenge of figuring out how to better prepare our students. First it was putting together workshops and lesson plans focusing on IRAC and study skills. Then I delved into education and learning theory exploring ways to teach students more effectively. Next, it was figuring out how generational differences affected our Gen X and Gen Y students and that continues today with unraveling the effects of helicopter parenting. More recently, I have been working on applying socio-psychological theories and creating reduction and intervention strategies.

My greatest challenge has been helping law schools transition from input measures, like LSAT and UGPA, to output measures, such as graduation rates, bar passage, and employment. Law schools are now being evaluated on how well we teach our students and what they are learning, hence the ABA requirements for establishing student learning outcomes and formative and summative assessments. Unfortunately, changing the law school culture has been slow and painful. But schools that have been able to fully integrated academic support into their teaching and learning culture tend to be more successful.

Q: What do you want your professional legacy to be?

I have two things that I am equally proud of. First, I am proud of all the students that I have been able to help become lawyers, especially those from underrepresented groups and first generation students. They are now in the profession assisting clients and making an impact on our communities. I am also proud of helping the students who decided not to become lawyers. Law school and practicing law is not for everyone. But if I was able to help someone in their decision to leave law school and still maintain their dignity and confidence, then that is a success. Many of these students go on to become successful in other fields.

The other thing I am proud of is helping a law school overcome low bar performance to retain its ABA accreditation. It was not a matter of tutoring a few students to pass the exam, but changing the culture and attitude of an entire institution. When the bar results started to improve, you could feel the change in attitude and confidence within the school and that is something I will never forget. To hear students proclaim that they want to do better than the class before them was amazing, especially when a couple of year before, they doubted if they could even pass the exam.

Q: What motivational advice or encouragement would you offer to new and/or mid-career ASPers or law students?

For my ASP colleagues – Changing institutional cultures, attitudes, and behaviors is a process that takes lots of time and patience. Also, timing is critical. An institution may not be ready for change. But when it is, you have to be ready and prepared to lead.

Q: Is there anything else you deem necessary to share (quote, encouragement, inspiration, visual, etc.…)?

My favorite quote during this time of law school uncertainty is a Chinese proverb: “Chaos – where brilliant dreams are born.”

May 3, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tick, Tock: Time Management During Exams

A common concern among students is how to manage their time during an exam. Many students remark that they were rushed on the final essay or had to randomly bubble the Scantron for the last five multiple-choice questions. Time got away from them, and they simply ran out of time to do a thorough job on every question.

Here are some hints to have better time management in a fact-pattern-essay exam:

  • Before you begin answering questions, look at the professor's suggestion on importance regarding each question.
  • If the professor indicates a time estimate to show importance, you know how long you should spend on the question to garner the most points and to move through the exam at the right pace. Use the time estimate given by the professor.
  • For time estimates, add all the time estimates to make sure the professor did not make a math mistake - the total should equal or be less than the total exam time.
  • If the professor does not give time suggestions but instead gives points to show importance, the point totals indicate the proportion of time for each question within the exam.
  • For points, divide the total points by the time for the exam to determine how many points you should accumulate in an hour - match the points per hour to the questions to show the pace you should move through the exam.
  • For either type of professor indication, make a time chart for each question with the following proportion given to tasks; your chart will have the starting and ending times for each task for each question:
  1. Spend 1/3 of the time for the question to read, analyze, and organize an answer - your answer will be less jumbled.
  2. Spend 2/3 of the time for the question to write the answer - follow your answer organization to make sure you discuss everything you saw.

Here are some hints to have better time management in an objective exam:

  • Let's say you have 100 questions to finish in 3 hours (1.8 minutes per question) - most students stop their time management here; not very helpful because it is extremely hard to know if you are spending too little time or too much time for a particular question, and you will get whiplash looking at your watch that often.
  • The reality is that some questions will take less than 1.8 minutes because you know the material well or they are easier, and some questions will take more than 1.8 minutes because they are harder or you are less sure of the material.
  • It is more helpful to set checkpoints for yourself to work at a consistent pace through the exam; the number of checkpoints you use will depend on your past experience with objective exams.
  1. If you tend to speed through objective questions and misread, pick by gut, make careless errors, or have other speed-demon errors, then you will want more checkpoints to slow you down for careful reading and proper analysis.
  2. If you tend to get bogged down, stew over answers, second-guess as you go along, add facts outside the question's four-corners, or have other slow-poke errors, then you will want more checkpoints to keep you moving through questions and not dawdle or spin your wheels.
  • Let's do a time chart for the example of 100 questions in 3 hours (with a starting time of 1 p.m. and ending time of 4 p.m.); a checkpoint every 30 minutes works for many people: 1:30 p.m.: 17 questions completed; 2:00 p.m.: 34 questions completed; 2:30 p.m.: 51 questions completed; 3:00 p.m.: 68 questions completed; 3:30 p.m.: 85 questions completed; 4:00 p.m.: 100 questions completed. (Do not worry about the 16.6 when you divide 100 by 6; pretend you are the IRS and round up to 17 so that you have fewer questions in the last 1/2-hour segment.)
  • Are you someone who needs more checkpoints for the same exam example? A checkpoint every 20 minutes would give you: 1:20 p.m.: 11 questions completed; 1:40 p.m.: 22 questions completed; 2:00 p.m.: 33 questions completed; 2:20 p.m.: 44 questions completed; 2:40 p.m.: 55 questions completed; 3:00 p.m.: 66 questions completed; 3:20 p.m.: 77 questions completed; 3:40 p.m.: 88 questions completed; 4:00 p.m.: 100 questions completed. (For the 11.1 when you divide 100 by 9, again pretend you are the IRS and round down to 11 questions with 12 questions for the final 20-minute segment.)
  • If you are someone who wants some time to go back and review your exam, deduct those minutes from the total exam time and spread the remaining time through your time chart in the correct proportions depending on essay or objective questions.

Some other tips about time management on exams:

  • Practice the time-charting steps when you doing your exam-worthy practice questions as you get closer to each final. If you are used to making time charts, you will be more adept at doing so in the exam itself.
  • Practice some questions under timed conditions as well; you become more comfortable with the pacing if you practice.
  • Remember that the goal is to finish the exam; keep moving through all of the questions according to your time chart.
  • Make sure that you still read the professor's exam instructions; a professor who says complete 3 of the 5 essay questions will only read 3 answers even if you ignored the instructions, time-charted well, and completed 5 essays.
  • Study the material for understanding and not just memorization; you will analyze more quickly if your understanding is deeper.
  • Open-book exams are a trap; you will not have time to look everything up, so your studying should be as strong as for a closed-book exam.
  • Complete lots of practice questions; you will analyze more quickly if you have had lots of practice with many fact scenarios before the exam.
  • If you reserve review time, be selective in what you go back to review; reviewing everything leads some students to second-guessing themselves and changing right answers.

The good news is that poor time management is an exam problem that can be remedied with smart strategies. Analyze your past time management problems and take action to correct them. (Amy Jarmon)

 

 

 

May 2, 2017 in Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 1, 2017

Reminder: Registration for AASE National Conference Closes on Wednesday

REMINDER: REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

5th Annual AASE National Conference

Texas A&M University School of Law

Fort Worth, Texas

 May 23-25, 2017

 

To register go to:

https://associationofacademicsupporteducators.wufoo.com/forms/2017-annual-conference-registration/ You can update your AASE membership at the time of registration! 

Please make sure that you submit all payments at the time of registration.

For more information about directions to the law school visit: https://law.tamu.edu/about-us/visit-us

 REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 2017

May 1, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)