Thursday, October 13, 2016
Have you ever locked yourself out of an office, a car, an apartment or home? I sure have, and plenty of times. The worst was a Friday night at a carwash - after having just finished washing a car - with a bunch of cars lined up behind me to get into the carwash. Very stressful! But, that's not the point.
Rather, there are two ways to view the situation.
First, I might feel like I'm just plain out-of-luck, unless I get an expert - like one who has the master key to cars - to let me in.
Second, I'm not going to let this stop me, at least not without a good-hearted try.
Our responses are different in the two cases based on our approaches or mindsets to the stressful situation.
In the first case, I just give up and wait for help. And, while I wait, I start to simmer over negative thoughts, such as: "I can't believe I did this again" or "How could I be so careless?" Despite my stewing over my situation, my situation doesn't change. I'm still waiting for others to bring the master key. I'm not growing and I'm not learning.
In contrast, in the second case (or at least while waiting for help), I decide to take a try at getting into my car. So, perhaps I grab hold of a paperclip, stretch it out, flex it a bit, poke it around the lock, and hope (or imagine) that I will trip the locking mechanism to open the car door, even without my key. It might not work…or…it might work! But, regardless of the outcome, I still try, and, in the process, I feel bits of excitement, some positive vibes, that at least for the moment take my mind away from blaming myself for the situation or telling myself that I'm plum out of luck, and, instead, I re-direct my energies to finding a solution, a pro-active way out of my predicament.
Interestingly, research scientists are starting to discover some very exciting things about stress and mindset.
First, stress is common to all of us. It's part and parcel with the human experience. Indeed, according to the scientists, to try to avoid stress is not just impossible but downright harmful to us. So, we shouldn't run from it…at all.
That brings us to the second point. Stress is critically important in helping us grow as a person and even as a learner. In fact, it's not really true that stress kills; rather, it's our mindset to stress that determines whether it harms the body or rather it builds up the body and mind. Indeed, biologically speaking, the right mindset to stress produces the chemical and biological reactions necessary for learning.
Third, our current mindset about stress is not fixed in stone at all. Rather, our approach to stress can be changed - through even very short video clip interventions - where we learn to reframe our approaches to stress so that we see "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" about the impact of our mindset approach in determining whether stress is beneficial or not.
You see, according to the scientists, it is our mindset to stress (and not the stress itself) that determines whether stress produces good outcomes or harmful outcomes. According to the experts, our bodies are hardwired not to avoid stress but rather to grow through stress. For example, let's take exam stress. The student that learns the research about mindset and stress prior to an exam (i.e., that stress can actually be a good experience because stress can be mind-enhancing, mind-activating, and mind-growing, thus leading to positive growth in learning) performs much better than the person who believes that stress harms one's abilities to tackle an exam.
Let's make this concrete. If you are like me, when I take exams, my heart starts pounding and my lungs start breathing in gulps. I could view that as a bad sign. If I do, I'm in trouble. Or, I could recognize that my body is reacting to a stressful situation in precisely that way that it was made to react. In fact, my increased heart and respiration rates are actually working together for good - my good - to bring me to a more alert state, with much more oxygen than normal, to help my brain perform better than ever, and just in the knick-of-time for me to tackle that exam that is before me.
Want to know more? Try these resources. For a quick overview, take a look at psychologist Kelly McGonigal's article "How to be Good at Stress." Ted Ideas: Good At Stress
For a short 3-step approach to turning stress into a positive, see the article by psychologist Alia Crum and performance coach Thomas Crum entitled "Stress Can Be a Good Thing if You Know How to Use it" in the Harvard Business Review. Stress as a Good Thing
Finally, for the scientific details, please see psychologists Alia Crum and Peter Salovey's research article "Rethinking Stress: The Role of Mindsets in Determining the Stress Response." Rethinking Stress
It's something to think about…stress and our mindset. (Scott Johns)
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Success or thriving in law school can be characterized in two different ways. There is “Traditional Success” which includes the things we generally think about such as (1) receiving academic honors throughout one’s law school career and at graduation and/or (2) involvement or leadership in revered and coveted activities or organizations. For some, participation in law review or moot court, becoming a teaching assistant or a research assistant, obtaining a summer clerkship, externship, or judicial clerkship are all signs of success. These are, for the most part, tangible things that one can see and comprehend. Involvement in the ways listed above seems to equate, for most, with a certain guarantee that one will land the dream job with the dream starting salary. For some students, these aspirations are so interwoven with their expected law school experience that without them they feel less than successful. The reality is that not everyone is going to have such an experience. So what does one do if they only achieve one or none of these goals?
For others, to succeed and thrive as a law student might mean “Achieving Your Realistic and Attainable Goals” and maybe even surpassing those goals. Succeeding and thriving in law school might include some awards and achieving your goals but more importantly, it means developing your persona as a legal professional. It means developing good relationships with classmates, professors, and staff who will become future colleagues. It means developing a good reputation and striving for personal excellence and improvement. It means focusing on your self-development rather than constantly comparing yourself to others. While it is important to have individuals that you admire and strive to be like, your journey is uniquely yours. A checklist of to-dos and to accomplish only limits the full extent of the law school journey. At the end of your law school journey, you want to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you did the best that you could, that you used all of your resources, and that you maintained your integrity, self-respect, and authenticity. It is easy to adopt another’s path but you can forge your own unique path.
My motto for law students is: NOT A THING is imPOSSIBLE. At times the journey might appear impossible but hope and faith can propel us beyond our wildest dreams. It is imperative to learn from failures and shortcomings, most will have many.
The most successful law students are those who can stare a challenge in the face, work through the difficulties and frustrations, and endure the emotions but pick themselves up shortly thereafter. Weakness is not in sharing your challenges with a peer because you never know what challenges they are facing. Many students struggle with similar insecurities though they might show unwavering strength. Be honest with yourself and don’t lie to yourself about your commitment to what you have to accomplish. Sort through your challenges and deficiencies and don’t be overly confident about your abilities. I know too many students who may not meet all of the qualifications for a particular opportunity yet opportunities that seem impossible have been made possible for them, so trust yourself.
This is dedicated to a student I have seen grow and find her place within the law school world. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
SAVE THE DATE!
5th Annual AASE National Conference
May 23-25, 2017
Texas A&M School of Law
Fort Worth, TX
Hotel Information and more details regarding registration are coming soon!
Camesha Little ∙ Assistant Director of Academic Support Program
Texas A&M School of Law ∙ 817.212.4193
Mississippi College School of Law (MC Law) invites applications for the position of Assistant Director of Academic Support. This position involves assisting the Director with the supervision of the law school’s academic support program for students in all years of the law school program and of the law school’s bar preparation program for third-year students. The Assistant Director will also teach first-year students in the Legal Writing Program. A detailed job description is attached.
The Assistant Director’s contract is initially a one-year probationary contract, subject to renewal for a second probationary year. The contract may then be awarded for a five-year term. At the end of the first five-year term, the Assistant Director is eligible for a presumptively renewable five-year contract. The law school support for the Assistant Director would include grants for scholarship, teaching assistants, and conference travel. Prior experience in academic support is preferred, but not required.
The law school campus is in downtown Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital and a center for law, business, and culture in the mid-South. We particularly welcome applications from residents of other regions of the country, women, and minorities. To learn more about the law school and its environment, visit our website at www.law.mc.edu.
To apply for this position send the following information: a cover letter describing your interest in the position and what you would bring to the position, a Mississippi College faculty application (see apply below for a faculty application), short writing sample (3-5 pages) and resume, to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Office of Human Resources, Campus Box 4052, Clinton, MS 39058. Transcripts are not required at this time. This position will be posted until filled.
Monday, October 10, 2016
We are almost exactly halfway through our semester's classes. It is the point in the semester when some students exhibit their stress by complaining about everything and everyone in their paths.
What they do not realize is that their focusing on negativity only adds to their stress rather than relieving it. Venting feels good momentarily. (Let's face it, we all vented at times during law school.) But some students go beyond mere venting and get stuck in a consistently negative attitude which can solidify into low productivity, low skill levels, or a blame game.
By stepping back and re-thinking the situation to recognize a more positive approach to this academic challenge, students can turn initial frustration into a quest for improved grades, professionalism, and competence. Negative students stay negative, and sometimes angry. Positive students are those who can regain perspective.
Here are some examples that show the negative and positive attitudes (these are all based on real law student comments):
- Negative 2L student: If I had been in the easy section of the class last spring, I would not have gotten a D grade. The professor did not teach well. Positive 2L student: I got a D in the course. At first I was angry about the grade, but then I realized that 60 other students in the same section did better than I did on the exact same exam. Can you help me learn some new strategies for studying and for taking exams?
- Negative 2L student: I have worked for my attorney father for the last three summers, and he never complained about my writing. The legal writing professor who gave me a D+ does not know what he is talking about. Positive 2L student: I worked during three summers for law firms, but now I realize the expectations are higher for law students than undergraduate interns. I plan to attend the extra writing workshops this fall to improve my skills since my legal writing grade was disappointing.
- Negative 2L student: The law school registration system stinks. I really wanted to take the 2 p.m. section of a course, but the 3Ls got all the slots. It is only offered every other year, and I was not about to get out of bed to take it at 8:00 a.m. Positive 2L student: I was sad to have to take the 8:00 a.m. section of the course because the later section was full and I did not make it off the waitlist. But hey, when I am working I'll have to be at the law firm early, and the course is important to me.
- Negative 2L student: Reading and briefing cases, taking notes, and making outlines is such a waste of time. I just use canned briefs, a class script, and others' outlines. Positive 2L student: Although reading and briefing and making outlines takes time, I learn the necessary skills and understand everything at a deeper level when I process the course material myself. Shortcuts do not give me the same results.
- Negative 1L student: I worked as a legal assistant in a law firm for three years, and my attorneys never asked me to do this ridiculous jurisdictional stuff that has taken up the first month. My civil procedure professor does not know what real-life lawyering is all about. Positive 1L student: I never did any jurisdictional stuff when I worked as a legal assistant for a law firm. But I realize that was probably because I was just asked to do the every day procedural tasks for litigation and not to think through some of those other issues.
- Negative 1L student: Law school should not be this much work and demand such a large commitment. My social life is taking a hit. And they expect me to study in the evenings and on the weekends! Positive 1L student: Being a lawyer is hard work and takes tons of commitment. Now is my chance to learn the skills that will make me competent in my future profession. I am up for the challenge of hard work because I want to be an excellent lawyer, not just a mediocre one.
- Negative 1L student: Professors do not tell us exactly what to memorize for the exam and are always discussing stuff that was not mentioned in the cases. I just want to know the black letter law to parrot back. Positive 1L student: Having to read and analyze cases will be a daily task as an attorney. Learning how to do it well is really important to me. The professors help me to synthesize the law and think about things that I would never have seen on my own.
- Negative 1L student: Legal research and writing assignments are too hard and expect too much. The professor does not tell me exactly what to write - even when I get a draft back. Positive 1L student: Legal research and writing are really hard because I have to research thoroughly and write so concisely. I realize our having to figure some of its out on our own prepares us for what it will be like on our first part-time jobs.
- Negative 1L student: The people in my classes are such nerds/losers/gunners/(fill in the blank). I am obviously superior because I do not have to work as hard as they do. Positive 1L student: There are a lot of really bright people in my classes. Some of them are a bit annoying. But most of them inspire me to produce my best work. I may be smart, but I am no longer a big fish in a small pond.
- Negative 1L student: Professors are posting practice questions that they expect us to complete on top of everything else! No way I want to do that extra work. Positive 1L student: Practice questions will allow me to see how this professor tests and to get feedback on my answers. After all, exams are all about applying the law to new legal scenarios. I'll do all the posted questions and more.
- Negative 1L student: The upper-division students hired by the professors are all running the weekly 1L sessions on the off days and times for class. No way I am getting up at 8 a.m. or staying on Friday morning after my classes are over. They should schedule more convenient sessions. Positive 1L student: What a luxury to have upper-division students who run extra sessions for the professors to help us with the classes. I can monitor my progress and understanding. I get to do more practice problems. And they have office hours, too!
- Negative 1L student: Professors should just tell us everything we need to know. Why should I have to go in and ask questions on office hours? Positive 1L student: My professors are good about answering questions and giving me feedback on outlines and practice questions. It means that I have to stay on top of the work and ask for help, but those things are just part of being responsible for my learning.
- Negative 1L student: The free food at the luncheon speakers is too repetitive and not what I like. Positive 1L student: Oh, wow! Another day without having to pay for lunch or bring it from home. Hmmm, what are dolmades? Guess I'll try it and find out.
Law school is tough, tiring, and sometimes frustrating. If the endeavor to become an excellent attorney can be remembered, many of the experiences can be re-evaluated for their career benefits and learning. No law student can be positive every day. But the ones who retain a positive attitude most days will find the law school experience less frustrating and more productive. (Amy Jarmon)
Saturday, October 8, 2016
COMPLIANCE WITH ABA STANDARD 314: FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT IN LARGE CLASSES
Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law
Spring Conference 2017
“Compliance with ABA Standard 314: Formative Assessment in Large Classes” is a one-day conference for law teachers and administrators who want to learn how to design, implement, and evaluate formative assessment plans. The conference will be interactive workshops during which attendees will learn about formative assessment techniques from games to crafting multiple choice questions to team-based learning. Participants will also learn ways to coordinate assessment across the curriculum. The conference workshop sessions will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Emory University School of Law.
Conference Content: Sessions will address the following topics:
Why Assess: Empirical Data on How it Helps Students Learn
Games as Formative Assessments in the Classroom
Formative Assessment with Team-Based Learning
Creating Multiple Choice Questions and Ways to Using Them as Formative Assessment
Coordinating Formative Assessment Across the Curriculum
Conference Faculty: Workshops will be taught by experienced faculty: Andrea Curcio (GSU Law), Lindsey Gustafson (UALR Bowen), Michael Hunter-Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Heidi Holland (Gonzaga) and Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga)
Who Should Attend: This conference is for all law faculty and administrators. By the end of the conference, attendees will have concrete and practical knowledge about formative assessment and complying with Standard 314 to take back to their colleagues and institutions. Details about the conference will be available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law.
Registration Information: The registration fee is $225 for the first registrant from each law school. We are offering a discounted fee of $200 for each subsequent registrant from the same school, so that schools may be able to send multiple attendees. Details regarding the registration process will be provided in future announcements.
Accommodations: A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for $159/night; at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown, Decatur for $99/night; and at the Decatur Holiday Inn for $159/night. Reservation phone numbers are : Emory Conference Center Hotel: 1-800-933-6679; Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Decatur: www.marriott.com or 1-404-371-0204; Holiday Inn Hotel Decatur 1-888-HOLIDAY. Passkey Link: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/ILTL. Attendees can also call 1-800-933-6679 to make reservations. Attendees must identify themselves as part of Emory Law School-Institute for Law Teaching & Leadership conference. The cutoff date to book a room at the Emory Conference Center Hotel is Friday, March 3, 2017.
To book rooms at the Courtyard Atlanta Executive Park/ Emory (1236 Executive Park Dr. Atlanta, Ga 30329) attendees need to call: 1-800-321-2211 or 404-728-0708. Please have attendees identify themselves as part of the Emory Law School group staying on March 24, 2017 at the Courtyard Atlanta Executive Park/Emory located at 1236 Executive Park Dr. Atlanta, GA 30329. Reservations must be made on or before Friday, February 24, 2017.
To book rooms at Holiday Inn Express & Suites Emory (2183 North Decatur Rd. Decatur, GA 30033) attendees need to call: 404-320-0888 and reference that they are with Emory University School of Law group for March 24, 2017. Reservations must be made on or before Friday, February 24, 2017.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
As mentioned in yesterday's blog by Professor Goldie Pritchard, it's bar exam season...with results coming in throughout this fall semester.
With that in mind, here's some advice for all bar-takers as results are posted...from across the landscape and the oceans...from Puerto Rico to Guam and from Washington State to Florida.
First, if you passed the bar exam, congratulations! What a wonderful accomplishment! As you celebrate your success while waiting to take your oath of office, here's a quick suggestion. This a great time to reach out to your support team (family, friends, colleagues, mentors, etc.) and personally thank them for their encouragement and inspiration. And, with respect to your law school colleagues that did not pass, its important that you reach out to them too. Send a quick email. Invite them for coffee. Let them know that you personally stand behind them and for them no matter what. Most importantly, just listen with kindness, graciousness, and compassion. In short, be a friend.
Second, if you did not pass the bar exam, please know that the results are not a reflection of who you are as a person....period. Lots of famous and successful people did not pass the bar exam on the first try (and some after a number of tries). Yet, they are some of the most outstanding attorneys and successful leaders. So, be kind to yourself. Take time to reflect, cry, and ponder. Most importantly, just be yourself. Then, in a few days or a few weeks, reach out to your law school. Make sure you order your exam answers if they are available in your state because looking at your exam answers can give you inside information on what you did that was great and where to improve too. Contact your bar review company for a one-on-one chat. Overall, though, the most important task at hand is to be kind to yourself, and please remember, your value comes from who you are and not from the bar exam at all. Period. (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Bar results are trickling in from various jurisdictions. Students who sat for the bar exam in July 2016 are impatiently waiting for their results to arrive. Some who have received results are excited because they have accomplished their goal and are steps away from being licensed attorneys. Others are devastated by their results and are not quite ready to regroup and re-strategize. For everyone else, this is a tense period of time filled with uncertainty and unease until official bar results are in. Academic Support Professionals who focus on bar preparation are on edge, awaiting results for each and every one of their former students. We share in the joy of student successes, sit with the tears, listen to the disappointment and frustration, and help our students refocus and face the bar exam challenge, hopefully, one final time.
Students who are now 2Ls and 3Ls are hearing from their former schoolmates who sat for the bar exam. At the very least, they are lurking on various social media outlets to see if their friends and former colleagues have passed the bar exam because they are uncertain about “bar exam result etiquette.” Needless to say, this is an uncomfortable time for everyone.
This is, however, an ideal time to discuss the bar exam, bar exam preparation, and bar exam success. Students have “real life” people whom they know either passed or were unsuccessful in passing the bar exam. This is an opportune time to demystify the bar exam and debunk myths about the bar exam. As Academic Support Professionals, we can discuss fears, concerns, and planning for the bar exam. We can also address how to study for the exam and things that students can do now in anticipation of sitting for the bar exam. This is a time when students are more willing to listen and have good intentions, mostly motivated by the fear of being unsuccessful on the bar exam.
Congratulations to all who were successful on the bar exam. Hang in there, to those who were unsuccessful. Cry and be upset for a little while but regroup and work with the bar exam experts at your institution. We are crossing our fingers for you if you are still waiting for results. Good courage to all the Academic Support Professionals who work in bar exam support as you empower students, develop new strategies and use new resources for student bar exam success. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
U of Memphis Assistant Director of Law School Student Affairs and Academic Success Programs Temporary Position
The University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law is seeking applicants for an Assistant Director of Law School Student Affairs and Academic Success Programs.
Please note that this is a temporary staff appointment (funding is limited to the remainder of this academic year) expected to terminate at the end of June 2017.
A job description and application instructions are available via the link below:
The position will close on October 11, 2016.
The law school welcomes applications that would contribute to the diversity of the law school staff.
If you have questions about the position or the application process, please contact Meredith Aden at email@example.com.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Saturday, October 1, 2016
|Position Title||Director of Bar Studies Program|
|Market Reference Pay Range||14|
|Months Per Year||12|
|Hours Per Week||37.5|
The Director of the Bar Studies Program teaches the bar studies class and provides educational programs to law students to prepare them to gain admission to the bar. This position reports to the Director of the Academic Resource Center (ARC).
Seattle University School of Law educates lawyers who distinguish themselves through their outstanding professional skills and their dedication to law in the service of justice. Faculty, students and staff form a vibrant, diverse, and collaborative community that promotes leadership for a just and humane world. The Law School’s commitment to academic distinction is grounded in its Jesuit Catholic tradition, one that encourages open inquiry, thoughtful reflection and concern for personal growth. Innovation, creativity and technological sophistication characterize our rigorous educational program, which prepares lawyers for a wide range of successful and rewarding careers in law, business and public service.
|Essential Job Functions||
Teach bar preparation courses to law students and law graduates preparing for the bar exam. Provide individual students with skills counseling, along with small group skills counseling, that is complimentary to the class.
Counsel students (other than those enrolled in bar preparation courses) about their academic progress in law school and readiness to take the bar exam.
Provide programming and advice for students about the administrative aspects of the bar admission process. This includes timetables for registering to take the exam as well as the information needed to submit a complete application.
Provide the faculty and administration with information and advice regarding the bar exam and other aspects of the admissions process.
Collect and gather data to review, analyze and measure the success of the bar studies program.
As a member of the ARC Team actively participate in the development and implementation of events and programs that provide a comprehensive and meaningful academic experience for our law students.
Maintain the Bar Studies website, making sure all content is current and accurately reflects the programs that are being provided.
|Marginal Job Functions||
other duties as assigned.
Juris Doctorate (JD) from an accredited institution and must have attained a license to practice law (need not be current).
Must have the ability to build rapport with students in individual counseling situations and maintain student and student record confidentiality.
A high level of self motivation, organization, flexibility, and solid judgment and interpersonal skills.
Must have outstanding communication skills, both verbal and written legal writing skills, with the ability to use these skills in individual and group presentation situations.
Proficiency with Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and social media platforms.
All candidates must show a demonstrated commitment to diversity and the University’s mission, vision and values and requires a criminal history background check.
College level teaching experience
|Compensation||Salary will be discussed during the interview process and is commensurate with qualifications.|
|Excellent Benefits Package||
Our excellent benefits package currently includes: Medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, significantly subsidized for employee and dependents; generous retirement plan; vacation, sick leave, 12 holidays plus Christmas week off, community service leave; Transportation pass 75% paid; Automatic payroll deposit; Library privileges for employees; University fitness facilities free for employees; S.U. tuition for employees and dependents administered in accordance with University policies.
Application Instructions: Please apply online at: https://jobs.seattleu.edu. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to attach an electronic cover letter and resume when applying.
Seattle University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran in the administration of any of its education policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletics, and other school-administered policies and programs, or in its employment related policies and practices. In addition, the University does not discriminate on the basis of genetic information in its employment related policies and practices, including coverage under its health benefits program.
All University policies, practices and procedures are administered in a manner consistent with Seattle University’s Catholic and Jesuit identity and character. Inquiries relating to these policies may be referred to the University’s Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity, Chief EEO Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and ADA/504 Coordinator by calling (206) 296-2824.
Consistent with the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations, Seattle University has designated three individuals responsible for coordinating the University’s Title IX compliance. Students or employees with concerns or complaints about discrimination on the basis of sex in employment or an education program or activity may contact any one of the following Title IX coordinators:
Office of Institutional Equity (OIE)
Office of Human Resources
Individuals may also contact the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
- Cover Letter
Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).
- * How were you referred to this job posting?
- Seattle University jobsite
- NWjobs.com/Seattle Times
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Social Media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc-Please name in next question)
- Industry Specific Jobsite (Please name in next question)
- Employee Referral (Please name in next question)
- Other (Please name in next question)
- Yesler Terrace Resident
- If Other, Employee Referral, Social Media or Industry Specific Job Site please specify:
(Open Ended Question)
UCI Law is still actively recruiting for an Assistant/Associate Director of Academic Skills. Since we are hiring for the long-term, please feel free to apply even if you will not be available until January or summer of 2017.
We are looking for an experienced instructor who will be able to teach ASP courses in the curriculum starting next Fall. We are willing to hold the position open for the right candidate so he/she can fulfill his/her current teaching obligations this year. We understand that it would be incredibly difficult to leave another academic institutional this time!
Applicants can access AP Recruit by following this link:
https://recruit.ap.uci.edu/apply/JPF03611 Anyone who is interested in being considered for the position should formally apply through this link, and also send me materials by email.
As always, I'm happy to talk to anyone about this position.
All the best,
Friday, September 30, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
As mentioned in a previous blog, most of my law school outlines were - simply put - not outlines…and not useful at all in law school. Rather, my outlines were just my regurgitated notes with my case briefs and class notes filling out the details.
And, there was a good reason that I didn't know how to outline or create another organization tool (such as a flowchart, a map, an audio file, a poster, etc.). That's because I didn't have a framework in mind to organize my notes, briefs, and casebook materials. And, I suspect that many of our students find themselves in similar straits.
So, here's a thought…just a thought. Perhaps Academic Support Professionals might lend a hand in providing the organizational template for outlining.
Here's why. First, the casebook and the class syllabus already provide our students with a rough guide as to methods to organize a law school subject. So, we don't mind giving our students some sort of start in the process. But, the rough guide from a casebook and syllabus are not enough.
That's because the rough outlines in those materials do not provide students with sufficient details to organize the subject. The tables of contents, for example, usually just provide legal terms of art. That's it. No so-called "black letter" law at all.
So, here's the rub. We expect our students to craft the rules for themselves. But, in the practice of law, we don't do that at all. Rather, at least speaking for myself, when I work on a novel legal problem, I don't ever start with a casebook. Instead, I start with a mini-hornbook to provide me an overview of the black letter law, including the big picture "umbrella" rules, such as: A refugee is "one who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion…" Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(a)(42)(A).
Then, I start digging into the cases to figure out, assuming that the law does not define the various terms, what persecution means or membership in a particular social group, etc. In short, as an attorney, I have never had to create an umbrella rule from scratch based on reading a bunch of cases. Instead, I use the cases to determine how to apply (or distinguish) the rule to (or from) the situations that my clients are facing.
If that is how most of us practice law, then maybe that is how we should study law too. If so (and this is just a hunch of mine), maybe we should be giving our students a template of the black letter law. Then, our students can proactively use that template to flesh out the meanings of the rules, the limits of the rules, and the particular applications of the rules…by inserting within that template their case blurbs, class notes, class hypotheticals, policy rationales, etc.
One of my best professors in law school (and also one of my most difficult in terms of grading) was not afraid at all to set out the black letter law for us, both as a preview of the coming class and as a review of the previous class. With the law set out, we were much better able to dig into the heart of the law…what do the words mean, what are the policy implications behind the rules, should the rules be changed, etc.
In short, we learned to think like a lawyer…even without having to craft our own umbrella rules. And, amazingly, that's one of the few law school classes that I can still recall many of the things that I learned. The others - just like most of my law school outlines - are just faded memories. (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
As of late, the higher education world and various outlets have been buzzing about “Safe Spaces”, “Free Speech”, and other related topics. I am not going to insert myself into this discussion nor am I going to express my viewpoint. I do however wonder if Academic Support offices are “Safe Spaces” for students?
I understand that as ASP professionals our primary purpose is to support students academically. We help students identify strengths and weaknesses; we help students develop weaknesses into strengths; we help students develop and implement processes that work for them; and we help them develop effective learning tools. We help students on academic probation build their confidence and achieve their goals. We also help students prepare for and overcome the bar exam hurdle, the first, second, or third time around. As ASP professionals, we are an important part of the lives of the students we engage with.
When I say “Safe Space”, I mean are we individuals students might seek out for non-academic support as well? Are our offices a place where students feel welcome, included, unjudged, and supported? For me, my answer is an emphatic YES! Aside from the key aspects of my job, I also build relationships with my students. I would be ineffective at my job if I did not help students feel a sense of community and humanize the law school experience and profession. I challenge my students and support them because I care about them. I occasionally share my experiences with similar challenges students encounter to normalize their experiences. I listen carefully, actively engage, remember the discussion and ask about how students are doing. I may also use some of the information the student shares to help bring some of the exercises and assignments we work on together to life. I do recognize that not every student might feel a connection with me initially or ever but I do my best to ensure that each and every student feels that I am personally invested in their journey, looking out for their interest, will work with them to achieve their goals, and relish in their successes.
This week has been particularly challenging for several of my students. I have heard about stressful interviews, coping with illness, the challenges of meeting deadlines, and the stress of time management and balancing work and school. Students also wanted to have serious discussions and vent about the events in the news and their reactions to them, classroom discussions or the lack of discussion about the news, reactions of classmates to discussions on the topic, feelings, etc.… Others discussed job search, insecurities about grades, family, financial challenges, and successes and accomplishments. I also fielded questions about when the library and computer lab open and several questions prefaced with “This might be a stupid question but…” or “You might not be the person but…” I am grateful for a background in student affairs which has equipped me to manage many of these situations and direct students to resources.
While some of the week was spent encouraging, empowering, and redirecting students, my students are well aware of my expectation that we will be back on track next week. (Goldie Pritchard)
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Many ASPers have been involved with LSAC committees, workshops, and other aspects over the years. Below is an announcement regarding the sad news that LSAC's President, Dan Bernstine, has passed away.
I apologize if you have received this sad announcement more than once. It is with overwhelming sadness that I have the unfortunate task of telling you that Dan Bernstine, President of LSAC, has passed away at his home. As soon as we have more information about arrangements, we will communicate that information to you.
While our concern right now is with helping all of Dan's friends and colleagues to deal with his loss, I want to assure you that the Board and I have complete confidence in the senior management team that Dan built.
Please do not hesitate to contact me.
SUSAN L. KRINSKY
Chair, LSAC Board of Trustees
Monday, September 26, 2016
If you wish to register for the West Coast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals conference on Saturday, November 5th, the registration and information link is here. The agenda for the meeting is below.
WEST COAST CONSORTIUM OF ACADEMIC SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS
Fifth Annual Conference: Preparing Our Students for What’s Next
McGeorge School of Law, Sacramento, CA
Saturday, November 5, 2016
9:00-9:30: Breakfast & Welcome
Jay Mootz, Dean and Professor of Law
9:30-10:15: The MPT: A Tool for Preparing Students to Critically Self-Assess During Bar
DeShun Harris, Texas A&M University School of Law
This interactive presentation will focus on how the Multistate Performance Test can be used as a
mechanism for preparing students to critically self-assess during their bar preparation and the
presentation will engage in a discussion about other possible tools that may assist students in
developing their ability to self-assess.
10:25-11:10: Harnessing the Power of Self-Control to Create Better Learning Outcomes for
Kevin Sherrill, University of La Verne College of Law
Are there very simple strategies we could be using in law school classrooms to increase student
learning? Psychological scientists would say yes, and there is ample evidence to support such an
assertion. This presentation will examine some of these strategies organized in the process model of
11:20-12:20: Exam First Aid: Teaching a Multiple Choice Exam System
Jennifer Kamita and Chris Hawthorne, Loyola Law School Los Angeles
Jennifer Kamita and Chris Hawthorne, two of the authors of Exam First Aid: Multiple Choice, will explain
how to train your students in this innovative system and improve their multiple choice scores.
1:15-2:00: There’s No App for That: Teaching Students Synthesis in an Era of Information
Reichi Lee and Rana Boujaoude, Golden Gate University School of Law
In this presentation, participants will:
• Understand why students today are less equipped than they have ever been to perform at the
level that the study of law requires.
• Articulate a short list of core skills – with emphasis on synthesis – that all students need to
master in order to excel in law school, on the bar exam, and in the practice of law.
• Identify concrete ideas for incorporating the teaching of synthesis into the law school curriculum
that does not require major curriculum reform or additional resources.
2:10-2:55: Helping Students Add Value to the Team Through Learning Styles-Directed Tasks
Shane Dizon, California Western School of Law
This presentation will share my ongoing efforts to revise all small-group work modules in existing
academic support curriculum to suggest specific tasks to students based on learning styles. The
presentation will also detail how this learning styles-directed task builds successfully on early
introduction of learning styles to entering students, as opposed to the novel challenges of embedding of
such task divisions in upper-division/remediation courses or programming. Ultimately, this presentation
hopes to inspire others to actively incorporate learning style task suggestion into their own group work
modules in classes and programs (building greater engagement), and to cross-promote the importance
of value adding and active giving in a teamwork setting on future career success.
3:05-4:05: Putting Students at the Center of Academic Success Programming
Devin Kinyon and Liza-Jane Capatos, Santa Clara University School of Law
Over the past five years, we’ve made some big (and small) changes to our first-year academic success
programming at Santa Clara. All of those changes have been guided by the simple idea that we serve
students, and they should be at the center of everything we do. The changes have been helped by our
own experience as former peer academic success leaders.
This session will look at two big ideas we’ve implements in recent years: (1) We’ve changed the way we
hire, train, and work with our upper-division peer leaders, and have some ideas about how to make the
most of that role; and (2) we’ve shifted our communications focus to better reach students,
recalibrating our individual and large-format messaging so that it really “speaks” to them. Join us to
hear our ideas and share some of yours.
4:15-5:00: Engaging the Unengaged: Breathing Life into Lessons to Re-engage Students
Anne Wells, Loyola Law School Los Angeles
Over the course of a semester or the year, there are times when some students may disengage from a
class, whether from disappointing grades, anxiety, fatigue, burnout or even boredom. To re-engage
these students, sometimes all that is needed is something that reminds them that the law can be
interesting, engaging, relevant and even fun. This talk will present various ideas, exercises and
techniques for use in the classroom that students respond to and relate to, and, in the process, once
again become more positively and fully engaged in and excited about the material.
5:00: Conference Close
Our student organization on animal law has brought dogs into the law school during several exam periods to de-stress law students. Other law schools have also done this type of pet therapy. Now USC is touting its new hire: USC "Hires" Full-Time Wellness Dog.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Many of our law schools have exchange or L.L.M. foreign students enrolled in our courses. Our educational system (both undergraduate and legal) is very different from the educational backgrounds of many of these students. Adapting to the U.S. educational system is compounded by adapting to the U.S. legal system as well. It is not unusual for foreign students to tell me how very difficult the transition is for them.
I can empathize because I had to adjust to the British legal system and language when I cross-qualified as a solicitor for England and Wales - and I already spoke American English and came from a common law country! It was hard to think in two versions of English and make the mental switches to a very different common law legal system. Most of our foreign students are adjusting to an entirely different language and from civil law to common law!
A recent Inside Higher Education post addressed the participation in class aspect of the adjustment for foreign students. The post provides food for thought and practical tips as we try to help these students adjust to the very American emphasis on class participation. Read the post here: Helping Foreign Students Speak Up . (Amy Jarmon)
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Hat tip to Dr. Victoria Sutton, Texas Tech Law's Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, for alerting me to the collection of videos from the Igniting Law Teaching conference in 2015 found on the Legal Ed web pages. You can also find the 2014 conference through the Legal Ed web page by following the conference link. (Amy Jarmon)