Monday, April 7, 2014

Advice from Goldilocks for Law Students

Remember Goldilocks in the home of the Three Bears?  She did not want porridge that was too hot or too cold; she did not want a chair too hard or too soft; she did not want a bed that was too hard or too soft.  She wanted everything to be just right.

I often remind my law students about Goldilocks.  They do not want briefs that are too long or too short.  They do not want outlines that contain too many case details or too few rules.  They do not want exam answers too conclusory or too verbose.  They do not want to do too little research or too much research.  They want each step to be just right.

First-year students especially have trouble finding that "just right point" in their work.  Second- and third-year students are not immune from the problem, however, in at least some of their tasks. 

Students may obsess about the line to draw - how much is too little and how much is too much?  Some become paralyzed in their work because they are looking for perfection in knowing the just right point from the get-go.  They need to understand that they will learn to draw that line only by continuously repeating the tasks.  The practice in doing the tasks leads in time to the ability of finding the just right point with ease.

Learning is a process and not a "given" from the start for most law students.  Students can use self-monitoring to find the "just right point" over time as they repeat the various tasks.  Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Reviewing one's briefs after class against what the professor indicated/discussed in class.  Why was the student's issue statement too broad or too narrow?  What facts were included that were not needed or were left out?  What policy arguments were missed or inaccurately stated? 
  • Comparing one's class notes after class with another student.  What important points were missed from the class discussion?  Did the hypotheticals mentioned by the professor get written down?  Were the professor's steps of analysis delineated in the notes?  Were notes taken down verbatim in a mechanical way or thoughtfully included for the salient points? 
  • Critiquing one's outlines after each topic is completed.  Does the outline contain the law and policy needed to solve new legal problems?  Does the outline flip one's thinking to the bigger picture and synthesis of the law or stay stuck in a series of case briefs?  Is the outline skimpy without the steps of analysis and depth of understanding or is it filled with trivia that is not helpful?
  • Comparing one's written practice question answers with the model answers or discussing them with study group members after everyone has done them separately.  Were all of the issues spotted?  Were there any rules left out or mis-stated?  Were the facts used correctly when applying the law?  Were all of the steps in the analysis delineated?  Were both parties' arguments included?
  • Reviewing low-grade exams at the beginning of the next semester to analyze what one did well or poorly.  Most professors will allow students to compare their exams to anonymous A papers or rubrics or model answers.  Many professors will go over the exams with students as well.
  • Evaluating at the end of each semester one's progress on each study task for finding the just right point.  Formulating strategies for further improvement on the tasks one is still struggling with.

If the student cannot determine strategies for further improvement after self-monitoring, then help from academic success professionals, professors, and teaching assistants should be sought out. (Amy Jarmon) 

  

April 7, 2014 in Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Downward Slope

Students are realizing that the semester is speeding along and rapidly coming to a close.  Many students have done a good job of completing outlines regularly, reviewing outlines already, and completing practice questions on material they have already learned.  Other students are just now contemplating efforts beyond daily class preparation.  Those students with paper courses are either well into their research and writing stages or have suddenly realized they need to get underway.

Why do some students postpone exam study or papers until the last few weeks?  There can be several things at work that influence a student's decision to delay.

The delay in exam review and on paper tasks is often a habit left over from undergraduate education.  When there were multiple tests and no cumulative final exam, it was easy to get A grades by studying a few days before the test.  The amount of material on the test was minimal.  And without a cumulative test later, there was no reason to remember the material beyond the test date.  When a paper was only a few pages long, it was easy to pull it together rapidly and still have an excellent grade.

Another aspect of delay is the well-meaning but erroneous advice of upper-division law students.  The mantra around our law school is that you do not have to study for exams until "six weeks out."  To most upper-division law students who experienced those multiple/non-cumulative exams, this mantra seems to make sense since the suggested time period is so long compared to past study periods (You want me to study for 6 whole weeks!). 

Some students delay because they are chronic procrastinators.  Like Scarlett O'Hara they will think about it tomorrow.  But then they do not think about it - or just put it off again.   Rather than go away, however, the delayed tasks become more and more urgent.  As they become more urgent, they also may become more paralyzing.  And then the delay just continues.

These students who now realize how much they need to accomplish can help themselves by implementing the following techniques:

  • Evaluate their time managment.  Honestly determine where they waste time (long lunches, e-mail/Twitter/Facebook, long exercise regimens, food preparation, sleeping late on the weekends, etc.) and commit those "found" hours for study.
  • Commit on paper to the hours that will be used for review for exams or for paper completion every week: Monday 2-4 review Wills; Tuesday 1-2 review Copyright and 6-7:30 review Tax; Wednesday 2-5 Natural Resources paper; Thursday 9-10 review Tax and 6-7 review Copyright; Friday 1-2:30 Wills practice questions and 4-6 Tax practice questions; and so forth for each day.
  • Break down the large tasks into smaller steps.  Use a monthly calendar to distribute tasks into the designated times committed each day to those tasks.  Put into review slots the subtopics to review.  Put into paper slots the research, writing, or editing tasks to complete.  Put into the practice question slots the questions to be completed from the professor's course site, a study aid, or other source.   
  • Find an accountability partner to help stay on track.  Agree to meet and study in the same room so studying cannot be skipped.  Agree to discuss certain subtopics or practice questions on a particular day so that the work must be done.  Tell the person at the end of each day what was or was not accomplished from the monthly schedule.
  • Ask for help if they need it.  The academic success professional at the law school can assist with prioritizing work, formulating study schedules, and discussing additional strategies that match the student's situation.
  • Minimize life tasks to find more study time.  Food preparation can be done on the weekends.  A major apartment cleaning now and then minimal spot cleaning and pick up until exams are over.  Stock up on food staples and other supplies now to avoid extra shopping trips.  Switch to an easy care wardrobe instead of high maintenance fashion. 

It is time to take control over the remainder of the semester.  The downward slope is here, but there is still time to correct any delaying tactics that have become detrimental.  (Amy Jarmon) 

April 5, 2014 in Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Depression: SLU Medical School Combats the Problem

Hat tip to Stephanie West Allen for an article regarding changes made at SLU's School of Medicine to lower depression among medical students.  Some of the techniques could be beneficial also for law schools.  The link is here: http://www.slu.edu/rel-news-slavin-med-ed-325.  (Amy Jarmon)

April 4, 2014 in Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New Bar Exam Section -- Interpretive Dance

The National Conference of Bar Examiners announced last Thursday that it will be adding a new section to the Multistate Bar Exam -- Interpretive Dance.  

The new section will add one hour to the current bar exam, and take place on the same day as the MEE and MPT.  Students will be given a topic from the current list of MBE subjects (for example, "The Rule Against Perpetuities") and will then have 40 minutes to choreograph an appropriate dance "displaying the student's understanding and familiarity with the relevant issues and analysis" and "showing the student's aptitude in formulating the relevant rule of law in logical and complete ways."  The students will be given six potential music choices:  "Les toreadors from Carmen Suite No. 1" by Georges Bizet, "Ride of the Valkyries from Die Walkure" by Richard Wagner, "Bugler's Holiday" by Leroy Anderson, "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin, "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane, and "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot.  The dance should take no longer than 10 minutes.    

At South Carolina, we will be instituting a new class in response to the change, which will include basic choreography to make sure the students fulfill the section's mandate of "choreography appropriate to the legal issue at hand."  The class will largely focus on Balanchine and Graham, although we will also look at Tharp and Cyrus as potential role models. 

We will also be instituting daily group sit-ups because of the importance of core strength.

(Alex Ruskell) 

April 1, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Thoughts for Students Who Are Conclusory on Exams

Students who are conclusory and do not give the complete analysis for their answers (do not "show their work") may do so for several reasons:

1)      They tend to write to the professor and tell themselves that they do not have to mention something “because the professor knows that.”  Changing their audience to a non-law person (grandmother, little sister, uncle) may help them give the analysis step by step because the new audience would not understand the conclusion without extra connecting of the dots.

2)      They tend to have the entire explanation in their heads but never get it onto paper.  They can ask themselves “why?” after every sentence.  If the sentence does not already state the “because” explanation, they need to continue writing to explain fully what they are thinking.

3)      They tend to dismiss arguments in their heads rather than discussing the arguments on paper.  For example: The plaintiff may be able to argue that the defendant should have posted a warning or put up a fence to keep children out of the railroad yard and prevent injuries.  The student rebuts the arguments in her head by saying “the children are too young to pay attention to warnings or will climb the fence” and leaves the arguments out.  The student instead needs to put that analysis on paper even if it then gets rebutted by the other party. 

4)      Conclusory writers are often global-intuitive processers.  They focus on the big picture and inter-relationships of concepts rather than organized analysis and detail. 

a.       They need to study for depth of understanding and not just breadth or general understanding.  (They sometimes think they know a subject until they get into the exam.)

b.      They need to learn rules precisely so they do not miss the full analysis needed for each element/factor.  (Paraphrasing the rules can lead them to inadequate analysis.)

c.       They need to spend 1/3 of their time on an exam question in reading, analyzing, and organizing an answer and 2/3 of the time writing the answer.  (They tend to write almost immediately and have less organized answers.)

d.      They need to chart or outline an answer with facts, cases, and policies to discuss rather than hold everything in their heads.  (They often find in exam review that they mixed up facts or forgot to mention an element or case.)

e.      They need to use all of the time allowed for the exam.  (They often rush through or leave early.)

f.    They need to write out answers to practice questions to make sure that they are including full analysis.  (They tend to answer practice questions in their heads but never perfect the writing process.)

Students who are conclusory in their writing of exam answers will often show the same tendencies in their legal writing classes.  The techniques mentioned can be modified for those assignments.  (Amy Jarmon) 

April 1, 2014 in Exams - Theory | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pictures of Matchstick Men

 

 

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I'm a huge fan of Peter T. Wendel's illustration of the different "planes" of a case (from his book, Deconstructing Legal Analysis).  The idea that there are three discrete levels of thought and analysis involved in cases seems to be helpful and rather mind-blowing for many students.  I've also found it particularly helpful when I am trying to help students categorize and breakdown different rules and ideas (like breaking up the levels of scrutiny in a Con Law question, or splitting apart subject matter and personal jurisdiction on an essay).  So, I drew a picture.

I'm not sure if it exactly inspires confidence, but it gives students something to look at during a lecture besides me.

(Alex Ruskell) 

March 28, 2014 in Advice, Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Reminder: April 1st Deadline for AALS Program Proposals for the Section on Academic Support

Call for Proposals

AALS Section on Academic Support

January 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

ASP a Roadmap at the Crossroad: How Academic Support Will Meet Today’s Varied Challenges 

From isolated academic support efforts to more formalized multifaceted programs, academic support has fundamentally changed itself and legal education over the years.  In light of shrinking budgets, disappearing positions, smaller applicant pools, and media attacks on legal education, academic support programs face newer and varied challenges.  The Program Committee seeks proposals highlighting innovative methods, programs, or ideas related to these challenges. 

Topics might include, but are not limited to, efficient and effective ways to:  collaborate with faculty; manage limited human and financial resources; attract and retain students; provide resources for students with learning and other disabilities; and create programming for diverse populations to address any social isolation and/or bridge any skills deficiencies. 

Preference will be given to presentations designed to engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed.  Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics.  The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within the legal academy and the academic support community. 

Proposals must include the following information:

1.  A title for your presentation.

2.  A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.

3.  A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.

4.  The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 30 minutes in total.  Presentations as short as 15 minutes are welcomed.

5.  A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.

6.  Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.

7.  A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic conferences.  (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)

8.  Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).

9.  Any articles or books that you have published that relate to your proposed presentation.

10. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide. 

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Tuesday, April 1st at 5pm to Goldie Pritchard, Michigan State University College of Law, gpritch@law.msu.edu.  If you have questions, please email Goldie Pritchard or call at 517.432.6881.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:

Goldie Pritchard, Chair

Robin Boyle Laisure

Ilana Ben-zeev

Robert Coulthard

Steven Foster

Lyndsay Garmond

DeShun Harris

Danielle Kocal

Haley Meade

Maysa Nichter

Brendon Taga

ASP Section Chair:  Amy Jarmon

 

March 26, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Blank Generation

Many students have problems with outlining an answer before writing it on the exam.  When all you hear is typing fingers around you, taking the time to outline your answer might seem like a luxury you don't have time for.

Consequently, I have students make a short "attack" outline to use during the exam (if it is open book), and ask them to set up that outline in something of a fill-in-the-blank format.  

For example, the attack breakdown for adverse possession might look something like this:

Adverse Possesssion 

Hostile --

Exclusive --

Open and Notorious --

Continuous --

Actual --

On the exam, once the student recognizes that a question is asking about adverse possession, he or she can simply fill in the relevant facts on the attack outline and then write the exam answer.  Especially for the weakest students, who might have timing issues and tend to leave out elements and specific facts, such an attack outline can be invaluable.

(Alex Ruskell)

March 21, 2014 in Advice, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UCLA Position for Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs – UCLA School of Law

JOB SUMMARY STATEMENT

The Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Services, also known as the Dean of Students, provides strategic leadership for law school programs and services that foster the academic success and professional development of students enrolled at the law school. The incumbent cultivates an environment of mutual respect and appreciation of diversity among students.  Key responsibilities of this position include: serving as a liaison for students with faculty and administration; advising and supporting students in their academic development; overseeing implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities; overseeing student organizations; implementing academic standards; formulating new policies affecting student conduct or academic options; overseeing student welfare and discipline; and overseeing the creation and support for procedures and programs that promote diversity, foster an inclusive environment, and enrich law students in their professional development.

The Assistant Dean reports to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Curriculum and works in a collaborative relationship with other offices within the law school and campus, the faculty and the legal community. The candidate directly supervises the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, and the Assistant Director of Student Services.

Discretion and independent judgment are required of this position. Some travel may be required to attend on and off campus events during and outside normal business hours.

 

QUALIFICATIONS & REQUIREMENTS

 

·         Juris Doctoratedegreeor theequivalentdegreedesired.

·         Senior levelmanagement experienceandskill in programreviewand development, institutional assessmentprocesses, andinter-unitcoordination.

·         Seventotenyears ofexperienceworking ina positionwith increasing responsibility, preferably atan institutionof higher education.

·         Demonstratedabilitytoeffectappreciationofdiversity, inter-cultural competencyand experienceinfosteringthose values instudents, staffand facultyinaconcreteand pragmatic way.

·         Demonstrated skill in academic advising for all students, but particularly students in the academic support program.

·         Advancedknowledgeof theoveralllawschool academic cycle, witha clear understandingof curriculum, financialaid, law school and American Bar Association policies and procedures.

·         Abilitytoestablish andmaintaineffective, collaborativerelationships andenlistsupport ofall levelsoffaculty, staff, students, campus administrators andcommunityconstituencies, inorder tomobilizea teameffort toaccomplish programgoals.

·         Demonstratedabilityto deal with andresolveconceptual, administrativeand public relations issues.

·         Advanced knowledge of Americans with Disabilities Act and compliance requirements.

·         Skill in developing andimplementingsuccessful strategies toprovideexceptionalstudentand facultyservices.


 

 

APPLICATION INFOMRMATION

Please note the application deadline is April 10, 2014.

The link to apply is listed below:

http://hr.mycareer.ucla.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=63284

 

 

March 19, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Assistant Professor of Academic Success & Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation at U of Dayton

Assistant Professor of Academic Success and Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation – POSITION SUMMARY

The University of Dayton School of Law is accepting applications for an Assistant Professor of Academic Success who also will be Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation.    The Academic Success Program at the School of Law is designed to help students develop the skills necessary for law school success and first-time bar passage.  The Academic Success Program impacts every stage of the academic program, providing support to students from orientation to after graduation.  An academic success professor position is a non-tenure track position for one year with possibility for renewal pursuant to a faculty adopted policy which also provides for a long-term (three or five-year) appointment after at least three years of satisfactory service.   An Assistant Professor of Academic Success will be charged with teaching academic success courses, providing academic advising to students, and participating in and supporting the Academic Success Program.  The Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation is an internal administrative appointment at the discretion of the Dean of the School of Law.  The Director of Academic Success and Bar Preparation will lead the Academic Success Program and supervise faculty teaching in programs of academic success and bar examination preparation.  A more detailed position description is available upon request.

An applicant must have prior experience in legal education or law teaching, including prior experience in the enhancement of student learning processes and outcomes. In addition to a J.D. degree, the applicant must also have a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with a diverse population of students, faculty, and administrators.  We prefer candidates with three years or more prior experience in law school academic support, prior experience in the assessment of students’ academic performance consistent with the expectations of the faculty and the bar examination, and highly effective communication and presentation skills.

The University of Dayton, founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary, is a top ten Catholic research university. The University seeks outstanding, diverse faculty and staff who value its mission and share its commitment to academic excellence in teaching, research and artistic creativity, the development of the whole person, and leadership and service in the local and global community.  To attain its Catholic and Marianist mission, the University is committed
to the principles of diversity, inclusion and affirmative action and to equal opportunity policies and practices. We act affirmatively to recruit and hire women, traditionally under-represented minority groups, people with disabilities and veterans.  Applications will be accepted until March 27, 2014.  To be considered as a candidate for this position, you must apply online at: 
 http://jobs.udayton.edu/postings/13008.  Cover letter and CV should be submitted electronically on the website at the time of application.  For more information about the School of Law or the Academic Support Program, please visit our website at http://www.udayton.edu/law or contact the chair of the hiring committee, Professor James Durham, University of Dayton School of Law, 300 College Park, Dayton, Ohio  45469-2772.

 

March 18, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do you have photos from the January 2014 Academic Support sessions at AALS?

If you have photos that you took in January 2014 at AALS in New York City during the Section on Academic Support business meeting, program, or lunch, please send them to Louis Schulze at Florida International University School of Law for inclusion in our next AALS newsletter.  His e-mail address is lschulze@fiu.edu.  Thank you!

March 17, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsiblity Exam

For many 2 and 3Ls the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) is right around the corner.  The MPRE is a multiple choice exam consisting of 60 questions offered three times each year.  The MPRE is a required licensing test for all states except Maryland and Wisconsin.  The American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and control­ling constitutional decisions and generally accepted principles established in leading federal and state cases and in procedural and evidentiary rules are tested on the MPRE.  Commercial bar companies have condensed these rules in their review lectures.  And, fortunately, most of these companies offer free MPRE courses and materials for students.

Although these free resources are available, many students do not take advantage of them.  Instead, they underestimate the difficulty of the MPRE and sometimes take the exam without even studying.  While the MPRE is not as challenging as the Multistate Bar Exam, it is still a high stakes standardized test that requires concerted effort in order to reach a passing score.  A careful study of the rules sets a firm foundation for test day.  Additionally, as with any test, completing practice questions will hone an examinees test taking ability and will help assess their performance.  The commercial bar courses offer ample practice questions for this purpose.  The National Conference of Bar Examiners also offers for purchase one Online Practice Exam (OPE) for the MPRE.  

Here are a few other things to keep in mind as you prepare for the MPRE:

  • Arrive on time, but not too early.  Once you have been checked in by the proctors in the testing room, you are not allowed to leave prior to start time.  If you arrive too early, you are stuck waiting in a room full of overly anxious applicants and an assortment of #2 pencils.
  • You cannot chew gum during the exam (or have other food or drinks).  I really wanted my gum, but they made me throw it away.
  • You cannot wear earplugs!  Why?  I do not know the answer.  This is cruel and unusual.
  • You are able to leave the room during the test, but depending on your testing site that may not be a great idea.  At my testing site, the bathroom was two flights of stairs from the testing room.  (Even though I wanted to take a restroom break, I did not want to sacrifice the time.)  Extra time is not given for restroom breaks.
  • You cannot bring anything into the testing room- no cellphones, no bags, no books... Bring your pencils, your ID, your admission ticket, (photo- see below) and your knowledge of PR.
  • Don't forget to bring a current passport-type photo on exam day.  Think about getting this out of the way early.
  • Leave your watch at home.  Watches are not allowed at the test center.  Electronic devices of any kind are not allowed either.
  • As with the bar exam, wear comfortable layers.  The temperature of the room may be too hot or too cold and may fluctuate during the course of your test. 

Above all, do not minimize the effort needed to prepare for the MPRE.  Last minute cramming may lead to regret.  Scores are posted approximately five weeks after the test.  Good luck to everyone taking the MPRE!

(Lisa Young)

 

March 12, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Call for Paper Proposals for the AALS Academic Support Section

Call for Proposals

AALS Section on Academic Support

January 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. 

ASP a Roadmap at the Crossroad: How Academic Support Will Meet Today’s Varied Challenges 

From isolated academic support efforts to more formalized multifaceted programs, academic support has fundamentally changed itself and legal education over the years.  In light of shrinking budgets, disappearing positions, smaller applicant pools, and media attacks on legal education, academic support programs face newer and varied challenges.  The Program Committee seeks proposals highlighting innovative methods, programs, or ideas related to these challenges. 

Topics might include, but are not limited to, efficient and effective ways to:  collaborate with faculty; manage limited human and financial resources; attract and retain students; provide resources for students with learning and other disabilities; and create programming for diverse populations to address any social isolation and/or bridge any skills deficiencies. 

Preference will be given to presentations designed to engage the workshop audience, so proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed.  Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics.  The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within the legal academy and the academic support community. 

Proposals must include the following information:

1.  A title for your presentation.

2.  A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.

3.  A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.

4.  The amount of time requested for your presentation. No single presenter should exceed 30 minutes in total.  Presentations as short as 15 minutes are welcomed.

5.  A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.

6.  Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employother technology.

7.  A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic conferences.  (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)

8.  Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).

9.  Any articles or books that you have published that relate to your proposed presentation.

10. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide. 

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Tuesday, April 1st at 5pm to Goldie Pritchard, Michigan State University College of Law, gpritch@law.msu.edu.  If you have questions, please email Goldie Pritchard or call at 517.432.6881.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:

Goldie Pritchard, Chair

Robin Boyle Laisure, Past Chair

Ilana Ben-zeev

Robert Coulthard

Steven Foster

Lyndsay Garmond

DeShun Harris

Danielle Kocal

Haley Meade

Maysa Nichter

Brendon Taga

ASP Section Chair:  Amy Jarmon

 

March 11, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 10, 2014

AASE Conference Heads Up

Save the dates for the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) conference at University of Indiana McKinney School of Law from May 29 - June 1 in Indianapolis!  Registration will open on Thursday, May 29th from 10:30 a.m. - noon with the program beginning at noon.  Friday and Saturday will be full programming days with evening events.  The conference programming will end at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 1st.  Detailed information on registrations, hotels, and the conference sessions will be sent out once the final program is ready.

March 10, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What the Best Law Teachers Do Conference

Colleagues: 

Northwestern Law and the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning are proud to present:  What the Best Law Teachers Do: Educators in Action, a two-and-a-half day conference, June 25-27, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois.  

What the Best Law Teachers Do: Educators in Action provides a forum to hear the presentations of one-dozen remarkable law educators featured in Harvard Press’s newly-released book. These outstanding educators will share their insights and teaching techniques over the course of two full days. For more information, please visit our website

Summer in Chicago is a delight to behold. Steps from Lake Michigan and just a short walk from the Magnificent Mile, the exciting Second City is at your doorstep. 

For details about the conference, to review our speakers, organizers, and sponsors, and to register for the conference and for our exquisite accommodations, please visit our website

See you in the Windy City! 

Debbie Borman,

Northwestern University School of Law

 

Emily Grant,

Gerry Hess,

Michael Hunter Schwartz,

Sandra Simpson,

Sophie Sparrow,

Kelly Terry,

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning

March 9, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Dean's LIfe

Our readers may be interested in a recent article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education that discusses being a good dean or a mediocre dean.  Although it is written by a pair of former education deans, it is relevant to the lives of law school deans as well.

I noted the point about how important certain "dispositions" are for a good dean.  Perhaps these dispositions explain in part why some of our own ASP'ers have gone on to being highly successful deans!  The link is here: A Tale of 2 Deans.  (Amy Jarmon) 

March 8, 2014 in Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Post Bar Exam Blues

Now that the celebrations and champagne toasts have faded, bar examinees may feel lost, deflated, or generally lacking direction.  This state of mind is what I refer to as the "Post Bar Exam Blues."  As with other challenging life transitions, processing their bar exam experience will take time.  They have been on a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and lows for the last eight weeks.  Once the ride ends, it is hard to remember who you were before you got on.   

In order to best move through this period, I suggest that students first reflect on their experience.  Sharing their feelings with someone they trust can help them work through their fears, their doubts, and acknowledge the incredible accomplishment of getting through this test.  Writing out their feelings is also helpful.  Once they get these emotions out into the universe, it is easier for them to put the experience behind them and avoid replaying it over and over again in their mind.

Results generally take several months to be released.  Thus, once they have the opportunity to reflect on their experience, it is best to redirect them toward something positive and productive.  Second guessing their performance, or holding their breath until results are posted is fruitless.  Instead, having them create a list of current projects or ways to use their free time can help them see that there is life outside of bar review.  Also, jumping head first into a new job or a job search can help remind them why they wanted to become a lawyer.  Ultimately, getting them to understand that they are not defined by their MBE score will help them remedy their blues.

(lby)

March 6, 2014 in Advice, Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

UCC Article 3 & 4, No More

Is the check a negotiable instrument?  Is the party a holder in due course?  Was the check properly payable? These are frequent questions bar students draft as they struggle through answering Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Article 3 & 4 bar essays.  However, these struggles appear to be over for many.  According to the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE), effective with the February 2015 bar exam, Negotiable Instruments (Uniform Commercial Code Article 3 and the excerpts of Article 4, Bank Collections) will no longer be tested on the Multistate Essay Examination (MEE). 

This news should come as a relief to future bar exam applicants and Academic Support Professors as well.  UCC 3 & 4 is an area that students rarely study in law school.  They approach bar review with little (if any) knowledge of negotiable instruments and bank deposits and collections.  The unfamiliar language coupled with the lack of practicality make this area difficult for students to internalize.  Some students may have never even written a check!  Additionally, many states that do not use the MEE, no longer test UCC 3 & 4.  Thus, the decision to remove UCC 3 & 4 from the list of subjects tested on the MEE seems timely and appropriate.

This news also made me wonder how decisions like this are made.  For example, are there are other subjects that should also be eliminated from or added to the list of subjects tested on the MEE?  What is the process by which these decisions are made?  Additionally, NCBE has expressed interest in adding more subjects to the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE).   Should all of the current MEE subjects also be tested on the MBE?  Is this truly necessary for assessing competency?  Or, is this a bar that will negatively impact access to the profession?

LBY

March 5, 2014 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exam Preparation, Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Variety in ASP

I am off to the Southwestern Consortium Workshop in a few days.  One of the things that I like most about ASP workshops and conferences is hearing from colleagues what they do at their schools under the ASP umbrella. 

I find it fascinating that there are so many great ways to accomplish our objectives.  Although programs have many commonalities, the best way to do it at a particular law school depends on philosophy, historical structures/events, student characteristics, academic standards, staffing levels, facilities, budget, ASP status, faculty interface, administrative support, and so much more.

Here are some of the ways that we differ while everyone is working toward the goals of retention and improving student skills and bar studier success:

  • Areas covered: academic success - bar preparation - legal writing - some combination
  • Staff size: one-person offices - under 5 people - 6 or more people
  • Appointments: administrative dean - 9/10/12-month staff - faculty on tenure track - non-tenure-track faculty - hybrids
  • Budgeting:  budget funded by a fee - defined budget process with discussion - defined budget process without discussion - ask and hope to receive per item
  • Facilities: director's office - director's office plus another secretary/library/teaching fellow space - dedicated office suite
  • Study aids library: publisher complementary copy arrangement - budgeted study aids library - donated used study aids - director's own collection - hybrids
  • Office equipment/files: dedicated workspace - shared space with others - in director's office - hybrids
  • Secretarial support - dedicated ASP secretarial support - shared secretarial support - work study or other student support
  • Duties of law student workers: teaching fellows/tutors who present doctrinal reviews and study skills - teaching fellows/tutors who present only study skills - research assistants to assist with assessment and statistics - hybrids
  • Faculty involvement: ASP across the curriculum - first-year faculty involved - upper-division faculty for required courses involved - as needed/asked basis with select faculty - little/no faculty involvement - hybrids
  • Summer course for invited "at risk" first-year students: length varies - number of students varies - criteria for admission vary - graded or pass/fail - conditional admission based on grade achieved or enrolled upon completion - required curriculum course or elective course segment - hybrids
  • Pre-orientation ASP: pre-orientation workshops/online tutorials for all first-year students on academic skills - pre-orientation workshops/online tutorials for invited first-year students on academic skills - required/suggested summer reading for first-year students - no pre-orientation
  • Orientation sessions: orientation sessions on academic skills presented by ASP - orientation sessions on academic skills presented by faculty - orientation sessions on academic skills presented by upper-division students - hybrids
  • Study groups for first-years: mandatory structured study groups for first-year students - voluntary structured study groups for first-year students - freelance study groups for first-year students - hybrids
  • Extended orientation: extended orientation sessions on academic skills - extended orientation sessions on non-academic topics - mandatory with consequences/"mandatory" without consequences/voluntary - hybrids
  • Courses: academic support course for first-year students - academic support course for upper-division students - bar preparation course - mandatory/voluntary - credit/non-credit - graded/pass or fail
  • Workshops: workshops for first-year students - workshops for upper-division students - no workshops - hybrids
  • Probation or "at risk defined by cum GPA" students: mandatory with consequences meetings/workshops/course - "mandatory" without consequences meetings/workshops/course - voluntary meetings/workshops/course - hybrids
  • Academic dismissal process: ASP has official role in the process - ASP has informal role in the process - no ASP role in the process
  • Academic advising: ASP has official role in the process - ASP has informal role in the process - no ASP role in the process
  • Other duties: adjunct professor - university committee work - law school committee work - advisor to student organization/competition team - pre-law advising - K to 12 pipeline outreach

There are many other facets of our work on which we have variations.  One of the joys of ASP work is that colleagues are willing to share their expertise, materials, and suggestions.  ASP'ers are a refreshing group of legally-trained folks because everyone is willing to learn from others and contribute positively to the dialogue.  I am looking forward to seeing you in San Antonio, Indianapolis, or at another workshop where we can exchange ideas.  (Amy Jarmon)   

 

March 3, 2014 in Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Note taking in class: the how to and the benefits -- a refresher

I am currently attending Constitutional Law classes as a way of helping me work with students toward academic success.  As I attend these classes, I take notes.  Note taking in class is one way, among many, to remain actively engaged in learning.

Here is one way of thinking about how note taking fits into your learning process in law school:

1. Before class

*You read cases;

*Read cases again, this time you take notes in the margins of your case books; and

*Read cases one more time, at least, and brief the cases.

2. During class, you attend; listen; participate; and, yes, take notes.

Too many times, students either take limited notes or only make notations on their case briefs or in their case books.   While, no student should try to transcribe every word spoken in class, all students should take notes – separate from their case briefs.

* Take note of anything the professor writes on the board – either before or during class;

*Take note of the professor’s questions about the cases and hypothetical questions;

*Take note of any tests and the professor’s interpretation of how the courts have applied those tests;

*Take note if your professor explains how the law will or won’t be applied to a hypothetical situation;

*Take note when your professor begins class by summarizing a previous class or previous classes;

*Take note when your professor ends class by summarizing what was covered in class;

*Take note, if your professor ends a unit of study by summarizing the topic;

*Take note if your professor incorporates multiple-choice questions into the class.

*Take note if you lose focus.  Try to record the point at which you lost focus and the point at which you regained focus.  By doing so, you will know where you need to fill in gaps in your notes.

3. After class, review and polish your notes.  Do so within 24 hours of taking the notes.  In that way, you will be able to spot holes in your notes and can consult with classmates or the professor to fill them.  Reviewing notes within 24 hours can help you to remember the material.

4. At the end of every week, review and clean up your notes for each class.  Doing this will help you to get in shape for outlining. 

*Outline as you go; when you complete a topic in class, outline the topic.  Build in weekly time to work on your outlines.

*Reread your outlines every week.  Repeated exposure to material will help you to remember the material.

 

(Myra Orlen)

March 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)