Saturday, December 13, 2014

If you are creating a new ASP course...

Every year someone on the listserv asks for advice because they have been charged with creating a new ASP course. I remember the anxiety I felt when I had to design my first course. Kris Franklin's new book, Strategies and Techniques for Teaching Academic Success Courses, should fill this need. The book will be given away free during AALS. 

I have read the book, and highly recommend it. Although I have been teaching in ASP for many years, it was an excellent refresher on what I should do doing and thinking about when I design (or redesign) a course. 

(RCF)

December 13, 2014 in Advice, Books, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Frontwards

During law school, I took a class on environmental law and national parks that I was really into.  I knew it frontwards, backwards, and sideways.  When I took the exam, I finished an hour early and looked around at my fellow students who were still busily scribbling away (the era of Bluebooks had not left us yet).  I checked my answers a few times and then just figured I had been really prepared for the exam.  So, I turned in my exam and sat out in the hallway reading a Thomas Pynchon novel while I waited for my friends to get out.

When they finally left the exam room an hour later, everyone was going through the usual exam post-mortem, which I tried to ignore (I also believe in the credo of Fight Club stated below).  Then someone said, "What did you write for question five?"

Question five?  What question five?  I had answered four questions.  There was a fifth?

To this day, I really don't know what happened.  Whether I somehow didn't turn over the test paper, or whether there was a printing mistake, I have no idea.  I went to my professor, but he said the mistake was on me.  I still did fine in the class, although question five was something along the lines of "Explain why you like squirrels," so I probably would've really crushed it if I actually noticed question five.  But, except for waking up screaming every six months or so, I've largely forgotten about it.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I absolutely agree with the Fight Club idea of not talking about exams.  And I also agree that once you take an exam you should put it behind you and let it go (at this point, if you have a daughter between the ages of five and 11, you probably read the last three words of that sentence in a soaring alto).  

Almost everyone of my colleagues, from folks that graduated 40 years ago to folks who graduated five years ago, has a similar story.  Clearly, things worked out.  The important part is that if you do make a mistake on the exam or realize you answered a question wrong, you need to consciously throw it behind you.  Dwelling on it now won't help you.  Spending Christmas break beating yourself up over it won't help.  And, more than likely, it is less of a disaster than you think (in that environmental law class, I still pulled a B +).

The important thing is to keep moving frontwards.

And let it go!

(If you now need to get Elsa out of your head, I suggest either "What Does the Fox Say" or "Call Me Maybe").

(Alex Ruskell) 

December 11, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don't Talk About Exams

“The first rule of Fight Club is, ‘don’t talk about Fight Club.’ The second rule of Fight Club is, ‘don’t talk about Fight Club.’”  

Brad Pitt uttered these words 15 years ago in the iconic movie Fight Club (a movie about a fight club). Even today when I ask my class, “What is the first rule of Fight Club?” every single guy responds, “Don’t talk about Fight Club.”  You may wonder why I would ever ask such a question and the answer is, the same holds true for exams. Don’t talk about exams. Talking about exams is like asking a woman how much she weighs or asking anyone how much he or she makes. First, outside very specific situations (like your doctor’s office), there is absolutely no reason to ask these questions. Second, you wouldn’t ask your friends these questions because you know that no matter the response, someone walks away from the conversation feeling bad. Talking about the exams is exactly the same: there is no reason to talk about it and someone always walks away feeling bad. I’ve had students challenge me and ask, “what if you have to talk about an exam?” and “what if there really is a reason?” I throw it right back and say, “give me an example.” In all the years I've been doing this, I’ve yet to hear a legitimate reason to talk about exams. As you continue through exams, keep in mind the first rule of law school exams, “Don’t talk about exams.”

KSK

December 10, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Use visualization techniques to build confidence before exams

You have studied and prepared -- will continue to study and prepare -- for your end of term exams.  You have outlined each subject and prepared exam checklists that contain the legal issues/rules, elements that yopu need to know to do well; you have reread and continue to reread your outlines; you have written practice exam essays; and you have done practice multiple-choice questions.  Keep up that good work and maintain that momentum.

As you prepare for exam day(s), you can take one more step by taking a page from athletes preparing for competitions.  Use visualization techniques to build or enhance confidence as you move into the exam period.  Breathe deeply, close your eyes, visualize a large powerful animal, visualize yourself as that large powerful animal.  Take that image of yourself with you into the exam room. On exam days, employ strong, erect, powerful posture -- posture that reflects confidence.

While there is no substitute for study and preparation for law school exams, you can sse the combination of preparation and visulaization techniques to build confidence as you approach exams.  Visualize yourself as powerful; enter the examination room with erect, strong posture; picture yourself writing exams confidently.

(This post was inspired by a presentation at the New England Consortiium of Legal Writing Teachers Conference - September 2014 at Vermont Law School  -- "The Sport of Lawyering: Using Visualization to Improve Performance," Julie St. John, Assistant Professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law)

(Myra Orlen)

December 8, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Looking for an Opportunity to Expand Your Professional Credentials?

Calling All Volunteers for AALS Section on Academic Support Committees!!!!

Get involved in your Section by participating on one of the committees.  The committees that need your help are:

  • Awards Committee: The Committee decides whether the Section will present a Section award at the next AALS Annual Meeting, solicits nominations, votes on the nominations, and recommends a recipient to the Executive Committee for submission to AALS for approval.
  • Bar Passage Committee: The Committee discusses aspects that affect law graduates’ success on the bar exam and considers hot topics that should be brought to the attention of the membership.
  • Learning Curve: Learning Curve is the Section publication for articles on academic support and related issues; one issue is electronic, and one issue is hard copy.
  • Nominations Committee: Solicits nominations for the open officer and board positions and presents a slate to the Executive Committee for election at the Business Meeting at the AALS Annual Meeting. 
  • Program Committee: Plans the main program for the Section at the AALS Annual Meeting.  The committee chooses a theme to complement the main conference theme, solicits proposals and papers for potential presenters, and plans the details of the program.
  • Website Committee: Oversees the Law School Academic Success Project website for the Section.  The website includes a directory and a variety of resources for ASP’ers and students including podcasts, conference information, job postings, and more.

To become involved on a committee, either sign up at the business meeting or program at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. or send an email to Lisa Young, Chair-Elect at youngl@seattle.edu.

December 6, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

One Marshmallow or Two?

I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Walter Mischel, who is known for administering “The Marshmallow Test” to young children as a researcher at Stanford. As many of you are aware, the test consisted of children sitting in a room with a single marshmallow (or another sweet treat) while being asked to delay eating it. If they delayed their gratification, the child would get a greater reward at a later time (typically two marshmallows). The experiment produced interesting and, at times, comical responses from the children being observed. You can check out some Marshmallow Test videos on YouTube to watch the eye rolling, seat squirming, and general agitation exhibited by the children.

While the underlying experiments were amusing to watch, the conclusions drawn from the initial experiments and the long term studies were quite insightful.  Essentially, by understanding our impulses and how we can retrain ourselves in order to have greater willpower, we can make better choices and be more productive. Many of us believe that human nature rules whether the child would take the marshmallow instead of waiting (or whether the student would study for another 2 hours before watching an episode of their favorite show or checking their Facebook page). While some are more inclined to eat the marshmallow right away, many are able to resist for a limited amount of time.

As Dr. Mischel pointed out, we can all learn how to control our impulses (kids with marshmallows or adults with other enticements). For example, if you know that when you go to holiday parties, you rush the dessert table and do not leave that table until you have sampled two of each type of dessert, you can put a plan in place in order to limit your dessert intake. If you have no plan in place or if you arrive to the party hungry, you are more likely to fall into the dessert vortex. If plan ahead, to first spend some time at the crudité and also allow yourself a bite from three different sweets over the course of the event, you are more likely to be successful in limiting your impulses. Alternatively, if you instead plan to abstain completely from eating dessert at the party, you will likely fail. Thus, deliberate and premeditated change in small increments helps create a new practice that is easier to successfully adopt and sustain.

How does this apply to law students? Law students often succumb to and/or are ambushed by procrastination. It is difficult to delay gratification no matter what age. I learned from the marshmallow studies and from Dr. Michel’s presentation that we can all learn how to control our impulses if we understand what drives our impulses and if we are committed to making one small change at a time. In my example above, an individual knows that they struggle with overindulging in dessert. The willpower is harder to maintain without a clear and doable strategy in place. However, recognizing the temptation, adopting a realistic alternative, and planning ahead create a method for success. If law students try to more fully understand their impulsive triggers, they are better positioned to generate a plan to resist or avoid them.

Thus, law students can follow this strategy to use their time more effectively and more efficiently. Here are a few ideas:

  • They can begin by writing out typical time stealers and creating targeted goals to reduce them. (Examples: When I study in groups, I am easily drawn off topic. When I turn on the television, I end up watching it for longer than I expected. If I turn my phone on while I am studying, my social media becomes a huge distraction.)
  • They can purchase or create calendars in order to plan and track their time. Hard copy calendars visualize their priorities much better than a computer version.
  • They can turn off their electronic devices while they study for a continuous block of time. (Example: I will study Torts for 3 hours in the library and leave my computer and phone in my locker.)
  • They can disable their Wi-Fi while in class or while reviewing notes on their computer.
  • They can establish a reward system that motivates this continued behavior. (Example: If I complete my stated study goal, I will get a night off or an extra hour of sleep, or more time for a special activity.)

Once an effective time management plan is established and the inherent benefits are apparent, students are more apt to fully adopt these new strategies by continuing to buck their impulses. After all, two marshmallows later are better than one marshmallow now.

(Lisa Bove Young)

 

December 5, 2014 in Bar Exam Preparation, Exams - Studying, Miscellany, Science, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life's Rich Pageant

On the morning I had to take my very first law school exam, I woke up believing I had been struck blind.  My eyes were sealed shut.  I stumbled around my apartment, tripping over my roommates who lived on the floor (long story) and made my way to the bathroom.  I got my eyes unstuck with hot water and a washcloth.  It turned out I had pink eye -- which I have never had before or since.  

By the time everything was sorted out, I had something like 20 minutes until my exam started.  I hopped on my bike, flew down the hill, and made it to the exam just in time for everyone to scatter away from me as I sat down for the exam.  I could barely see, but the exam turned out fine.  I eventually went to student health who: 1) asked me how often I hung out with young children (I was 22 and single, so never); 2) told me not to smoke (I didn't); and 3) sent me home with eyedrops, a handout on safe sex, and a condom.

Based on that exam experience (and others, including a woman who cried next to me during the entire bar exam), I always tell my students to simply expect the worst when they are getting prepared for exams.  Expect the exam room to be too cold, flooded with raw sewage, or infiltrated with wild dogs.  Expect your car not to start, your dog to eat your textbook, and a marching band to tune up outside the exam room.  Expect your computer to crash.  Expect the power to go out.  Expect weird questions on the exam.

And, if none of that happens, great.

But if something like that does, don't let it throw you.  Too many students let monkeywrenches take out the whole engine.  

After falling into a fountain, Peter Sellers, as Inspector Clouseau in the film A Shot in the Dark, says "It's all part of life's rich pageant" (strangely enough, a clip is not floating around the Internet).  Along with being the title of the best R.E.M. record, it's a pretty good attitude to have regarding hiccups and problems during exam week.

Things are going to happen -- study enough and feel confident enough that you can simply roll with the punches.

(Alex Ruskell)

December 4, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Feed Your Body to Feed Your Brain

Winter has arrived. Just as the temperatures are dropping and daylight hours are getting shorter, students are gearing up for longer study days and less sleep. During exam period, students tend to over-consume caffeine and junk food and cut back on sleep and exercise. This combination often leads to fatigue and illness. Getting sick is the last thing you want to happen during exams. Exam period is when you need to be at your best so don’t underestimate the importance of healthy habits. Keep your body strong in order to keep your brain strong. Study for those exams but also eat a vegetable, go for a brisk walk, and get some sleep.

KSK

December 3, 2014 in Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wit and Wisdom from Conan the Barbarian

Along with the opening of Disney's EPCOT center and the death of Leonid Brezhnev, 1982 is best remembered for the release of Conan the Barbarian, the "Citizen Kane" of barbarian movies.

As anyone with a love of barbarians can tell you, the best line in the movie is when Conan (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who surprisingly lost the Academy Award for Best Actor to Henry Fonda) tells the Mongol general what Conan thinks is best in life:

Conan -- What is Best?

For law students, the next couple of weeks of studying for exams are likely to be pretty dreadful and keeping motivated is difficult.

To keep motivated, I suggest to my students that they post a picture that represents why they are in law school on their bathroom mirror -- whatever it may be.  While it may be something noble like "helping others" or supporting their families, it might be something less attractive like having the coolest condo in Manhattan or, like Conan, "crushing their enemies."  The fantastic writer Elizabeth McCracken once told me that "Revenge is a perfectly good motivation for writing."  I quote that line all the time.

Importantly, whatever the reason is, that reason is personal, locked in the bathroom, and only has to have meaning to the person brushing his or her teeth every day in that mirror.  It doesn't have to be edited, thought about, or worried over.

At this point in my life, the picture on the mirror would be my children.  When I was 22 and a first year law student, it probably would have been trees and wolves.

Or a really bitchin' guitar.

(Alex Ruskell)

December 2, 2014 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Study for Exams Like a Pro

Across the country law students are studying for semester exams. This is not the first blog post about staying healthy, managing time, and staying organized and motivated during exam prep. There is a reason for that. Law students tend to get distracted by what you are doing for exams that you forget to understand why you are studying for exams. It’s because you want to be a lawyer. Well, I’m a lawyer, too. Yes, I went to law school a long time ago and but exam prep hasn’t changed much. Law students still consume way too much caffeine, don’t shower or shave often enough, and stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then crash until noon. I don’t recommend doing any of these things. Law school is the bridge to the profession of law so treat it as such and start studying like a professional. Get up at 7-7:30, shower, eat breakfast, and be ready to study by 8-8:30. Put in 4 good hours in the morning (with a short break) and then take an hour for lunch. Not only do you need to feed your body but you need to give your brain a break and a chance to re-charge. After lunch, it’s time for another 4 focused hours of studying. It’s now 5-5:30 but you aren’t starving because you ate a decent breakfast and lunch. You take a 30-minute break (have a snack, get some fresh air), and are good for another 2 hours. Now it is 7-7:30 and you are hungry and tired. You’ve put in 10+ hours and it’s time to call it a day. You prepare and eat dinner and catch up on email and social media. Before going to bed, you review all you’ve accomplished and make a plan for the next day so when you get to your study spot you are ready to go and don’t have to waste time figuring out what to do. If this sounds too easy to be true, it’s not. It just requires you to stop thinking like an undergrad and start thinking like a lawyer. 

KSK

December 1, 2014 in Advice, Exams - Studying, Professionalism, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Out of Office"

It is a rarity that Academic Support Professionals get to take a long weekend without working. We answer emails and calls day and night, grade on the weekends, and prepare workshop and class materials around the clock.  While the nature of this job requires an abundance of feedback and prompt communication with students, we too need a break at times.  This Thanksgiving (day or weekend) consider putting on your out of office email notification. I typically only use an out of office email response when I will be away from wi-fi zones (aka camping at Mt. Rainier) or on vacation for an extended time. However, at this point in the semester, we encourage our students to take a break and spend time making memories with their families and friends. Thus, it is a great idea to take our own advice. I encourage you to unplug, unwind, and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The emails, papers to grade, and to-do lists will wait patiently until Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(LBY)

November 27, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

So One L's you have finished your last Legal Research and Writing Assignment for the term, now what . . .

Now that most first year law students have finished their final LRW assignment for the term, it is not time to relax.  While 1L's can cross one big item off their "to do lists," it is very important for 1L's to remain focused on the push toward final and mid-term exams.  Do not rehash that final writing assignment; instead, move on to exam preparation.

1. Continue to update, review, and condense those course outlines.

2. Stay up-to-date on all remaining assignments for your doctrinal courses.

3. Be sure that you know the dates and room locations for all of your end of term exams.

4. Prepare and stick to your study schedule. Be specific for every block of time as to how you will allocate your time.

5. Your study schedule must continue throughout the Thanksgiving Break.  Now is not the time to let up.

6. Be certain to include doing practice exams in your study regimine: do both essay and multiple choice questions, when appropriate.

7. Meet with classmates to review exam answers -- after writing the answers yourself.

8. Take time to enjoy Thanksgiving and breathe.

(Myra Orlen)

November 24, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Correct Email Address for Nominations for AALS Academic Support Section

The correct email address for nominations for Treasurer and Board Members for the AALS Section on Academic Support is to Louis Schulze at lschulze@fiu.edu.  If you sent a nomination to the incorrect address, please re-send it.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

November 24, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Expert Exam Advice

For most people, the end of November means Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season. It means family, food, and football. For law students, it means the start of exams. It is a time for writing papers, creating outlines, and studying. A lot of studying. For 1Ls especially, it can be stressful and quite overwhelming. This is the first set of exams they will take and success is not guaranteed.

I recently had breakfast with a group of 2Ls and as the conversation turned to exams, I asked them to share some advice: what do 1Ls need to know about law school exams? Here are their wise words:

  • Make your own outline and start with 20 minute blocks to overcome beginner’s inertia.
  • Focus on what is important, including the non-school aspects. Don’t let finals take over your life.
  • Don’t mistake organizing for studying. You make the perfect outline and not know a thing on it.
  • Know the terms of art and use them when answering questions.
  • Many people study in different ways. Trust your methods. Don’t feel like you have to be white knuckle the whole finals period.
  • Studying is key, but you need to know when to stop. If your outline is done (and it should be) stop the night before the final and do something else: anything else. Especially near the end of your finals, you need to give your brain a break.
  • Don’t neglect relationships.

KSK

November 24, 2014 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Correct Email Address for Nominations for AALS Academic Support Section

The correct email address to send nominations for the AALS Academic Support Section Treasurer and Board Members is to Louis Schulze at lschulze@fiu.edu.  If you sent a nomination to the incorrect address, please re-send it.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

November 22, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Welcome Phil Kaplan to ASP

Kaplan picture

Please welcome Phil Kaplan as Associate Professor of Academic Support at Suffolk University Law School where he assumed ASP duties in July 2014. 

Phil graduated from Suffolk University Law School and practiced law in Boston for nine years prior to returning to Suffolk to teach.  This past July he transferred to the Academic Support Program. For the past eighteen years he has taught in the law school’s Legal Practice Skills Department, including a semester as acting director in spring of 2007. Phil was also the 2009 recipient of the Thomas J. McMahon Award for Dedication to Students.

Phil has thoroughly enjoyed his new position. It allows him to take the skills and knowledge that he has taught for 18 years and focus them in a new direction. Academic Support also affords him a greater opportunity for one-to-one contact with students, which has always been one of his favorite parts of academia.

Please welcome Phil to academic support when you see him at a regional conference, the AALS Annual Meeting, or AASE!

 

November 22, 2014 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Call for Nominations for AALS Section on Academic Support Elections for Treasurer and two Board Members

Call for Nominations for AALS Section on Academic Support Treasurer and Two Board Members

Elections are scheduled for the AALS Section on Academic Support business meeting on Friday, January 2nd at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.at the 2015 AALS Annual Meeting.  The Nominations Committee will receive the nominations and will recommend a slate of candidates at the business meeting.  In addition, nominations will be taken from the floor at business meeting.

The Executive Committee of the Section consists of Officers and Board Members: Chair, Chair-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past Chair, and four Board Members.  Officers hold one-year terms; Board Members hold two-year terms. 

The 2014 – 2015 Executive Committee is:

Chair: Amy Jarmon

Chair-Elect: Lisa Young

Immediate Past Chair: Louis Schulze

Secretary: Melinda Drew

Treasurer: Chelsea Baldwin

Board Member (term expires January 2015): Jamie Kleppetsch

Board Member (term expires January 2015): Goldie Pritchard

Board Member (term expires January 2016): Linda Puertas

Board Member (term expires January 2016): Alex Ruskell

For 2015 – 2016, a rotation of 2014 – 2015 Officers will occur as follows: the Chair will rotate into the Immediate Past Chair position; the Chair-Elect will rotate into the Chair position; the Secretary will rotate into the Chair-Elect position; the Treasurer will rotate into the Secretary position.  The two January 2016 Board Member positions continue.

Vacancies to be filled by election will occur in the Treasurer position and the two Board positions expiring in January 2015.  Nominations are being solicited for these vacancies.

  • Treasurer: one-year term as Treasurer; the Treasurer will serve as the Co-Chair or Chair of a committee (committee determined in discussion with the incoming Chair); this position would rotate in future years to the Secretary, Chair-Elect, and Chair positions under the current procedures.
  • Board Members: Two vacancies; two-year terms expiring in January 2017; Board Members serve on one of the Section committees (committee determined in discussion with the incoming Chair).

The nomination process:

  • Who may be nominated: Persons nominated must be faculty or professional staff of AALS-member law schools and also be members of the AALS Section on Academic Support.
  • Who may submit a nomination: You may nominate yourself or any other eligible candidate. 
  • Contents of the Nomination: The nomination must be in writing and include the following:
    • The nominee’s name
    • The nominee’s title, institutional affiliation, business address, and business telephone
    • A brief statement (less than 200 words) regarding the nominee’s role at his/her institution and connection with law school academic support.
    • If you nominate someone other than yourself, please indicate whether you have obtained the nominee’s permission.
    • Deadline for submission of nominations: Nominations must be received by Monday, December 15, 2014.
    • Where to send the nominations: Email submissions are preferred and should be sent to Louis Schulze at Florida International University (corrected email: lschulze@fiu.edu); mailed submissions should be sent to Louis N. Schulze, Jr., Assistant Dean and Professor of Academic Support, Florida International University College of Law, Modesto Maidique Campus, RDB Hall 2047, Miami, FL 33199.

 

Dr. Amy L. Jarmon

Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs and Lecturer

Texas Tech University School of Law

2014 – 2015 Chair AALS Section on Academic Support

November 21, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Do You Want to Get More Involved in AALS?

Calling All Volunteers for AALS Section on Academic Support Committees!!!!

 Get involved in your Section by participating on one of the committees.  The committees that need your help are:

  • Awards Committee: The Committee decides whether the Section will present a Section award at the next AALS Annual Meeting, solicits nominations, votes on the nominations, and recommends a recipient to the Executive Committee for submission to AALS for approval.
  • Bar Passage Committee: The Committee discusses aspects that affect law graduates’ success on the bar exam and considers hot topics that should be brought to the attention of the membership.
  • Learning Curve: Learning Curve is the Section publication for articles on academic support and related issues; one issue is electronic, and one issue is hard copy.
  • Nominations Committee: Solicits nominations for the open officer and board positions and presents a slate to the Executive Committee for election at the Business Meeting at the AALS Annual Meeting. 
  • Program Committee: Plans the main program for the Section at the AALS Annual Meeting.  The committee chooses a theme to complement the main conference theme, solicits proposals and papers for potential presenters, and plans the details of the program.
  • Website Committee: Oversees the Law School Academic Success Project website for the Section.  The website includes a directory and a variety of resources for ASP’ers and students including podcasts, conference information, job postings, and more.

To become involved on a committee, either sign up at the business meeting or program at the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. or send an email to Lisa Young, Chair-Elect at youngl@seattle.edu.

November 21, 2014 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Turkey, Taters, and Torts...Early Prep for Finals

With Thanksgiving week coming up, law students everywhere are thinking about spending time with family and friends and taking a few days off to relax.  However, the long weekend is also a great time to begin thinking about final exam preparation.  Therefore, in between the pumpkin pie and leftover turkey sandwiches, law students, especially 1Ls, will benefit from creating a study strategy for upcoming finals.  Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Create a detailed study plan. Calendar the next month so that you are able to incorporate your study agenda with all of your other responsibilities. Don’t forget to calendar your down time including: exercise, veg-out time, and the basics...like sleep.
  • Think about what you covered thus far this semester in class. Did you spend more time on particular areas of law or on certain cases? If yes, make sure you have a solid understanding of those areas. In addition to reviewing your notes from class, go back and reread the important cases again and take detailed notes. 
  • Prepare to begin memorization. Depending on when your finals are scheduled, you may not be ready to begin the memorization process. However, this is a great time to prepare for memorization.  Create study aids (see below) and/or mnemonics as you begin reviewing the material.
  • Consider your learning style. Are you a visual learner? Then, try creating a flowchart or mind-map. Use a whiteboard and color-code your checklists. Are you a kinesthetic learner? Make flashcards or record yourself talking about the law or reciting the elements. Think outside the box, not everyone learns from “outlining.” Instead, I encourage you to create a “study aid” that is tailored to your needs as a learner.
  • Review the big picture. Having an understanding of the law or the overarching legal theories will help you as you begin your memorization and intensive studying.  A good way to effectuate this understanding is to create a one page schema or mind-map of the main ideas or concepts from the course. This will help you see the big picture without getting bogged down in the minutia and will help you see how connections can be made between the many parts. Chunking the material into sections will also help you make these connections and allow you to have a deeper understanding of the law.
  • Look over sample outlines and study guides. These can help you get started, but try not to rely solely on them for your exam study. Also, many of the bar review companies provide 1L study guide material, which may include traditional outlines, on-line lectures, and practice questions. These are great resources and are typically free!
  • Ask for your Professor or Academic Success Office for past sample exams. These exams are extremely valuable study tools. You can use them to identify the issues being tested, the rules to apply, and, more importantly, to understand your Professor's expectations.
  • Take practice tests. You can also simulate a final exam with past exams or hypos and practice questions found in various study aids. The more exam writing you practice, the more proficient you will become. This is the most effective way to study for final exams! It is not only what you know, but also being able to apply what you know in a timely and logical manner.
  • Lastly, Thanksgiving is about being thankful. If you are not happy, well-rested, self-confident, and balanced, the rest of your life (especially exam prep) will not be productive. Use this time to reflect on what you are thankful for, catch up on your sleep, and build up your spirit.

 I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

(Lisa Bove Young)

November 20, 2014 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Director for the Academic Resource Center Position at Seattle University

Seattle University School of Law invites applications to serve as the Director for the Academic Resource Center (ARC), ideally beginning on June 1, 2015.  ARC is a nationally renowned academic support program, which is known for its commitment to providing access to the legal profession. The ARC program’s dual purpose is to support the diverse and non-traditional students admitted through SU’s Access Admission Program so they excel in law school and beyond, as well as to provide general academic support and bar preparation assistance to the entire student body. The ideal candidate will have expertise and experience in providing academic support for law students, as well as teaching excellence and administrative capability. 

The director reports to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and supervises three staff members (ARC Associate Director, ARC Assistant Director, and Director of Bar Studies) as well as a team of law student teaching assistants. The director will oversee and evaluate the instructional and programmatic activities of the ARC to implement a comprehensive series of student academic support services that facilitate student academic success and retention, and that support law faculty teaching. The director will teach the intensive summer course for Access Admission students, as well as other academic support-related courses and study strategy workshops. The director is expected to be a supportive link between faculty, teaching assistants, and students by handling questions and helping resolve academic-related problems. The director is also expected to help create and maintain an open and welcoming environment for students and provide advice and counsel to students on issues related to their academic success. In addition, the director works collaboratively with other law school student service departments to provide comprehensive student educational services, oversees ARC Access Admission Alumni events and programs, and actively represents the ARC and School of Law with the Washington State Bar Association, local specialty associations, and national organizations.

This position may be a tenure-track/tenured, long-term contract, or an administrative staff appointment, depending on experience and expertise.  Tenure-track Assistant, Associate or Full Professor appointees are responsible for teaching, maintaining an active research/scholarship agenda and providing service to the School and University.  Contract Assistant, Associate or Professor of Lawyering Skills faculty are responsible for teaching, professional development and community service to the School and University.   

Required:  J.D. from an ABA-accredited institution and license to practice;

Preferred: An advanced degree in a field related to education. 

Seattle University School of Law educates ethical 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. Our rigorous educational program is characterized by innovation, creativity and technological sophistication, and we prepare our graduates for a wide range of successful and rewarding careers in law, business and public service.

Seattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic university located on 48 acres on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. More than 7,700 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools. U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2015” ranks Seattle University among the top 10 universities in the West that offer a full range of masters and undergraduate programs. Seattle University is an equal opportunity employer. 

In support of its pursuit of academic and scholarly excellence, Seattle University is committed to creating a diverse community of students, faculty and staff that is dedicated to the fundamental principles of equal opportunity and treatment in education and employment regardless of age, color, disability, gender identity, national origin, political ideology, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. The university encourages applications from, and nominations of, individuals whose differing backgrounds, beliefs, ideas and life experiences will further enrich the diversity of its educational community.

Interested applicants should submit applications online at https://jobs.seattleu.edu, and include a cover letter, Curriculum Vitae, and contact information for at least three references. The cover letter should be addressed to Professor Catherine O’Neill, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, and should describe the applicant’s educational philosophy, commitment to diversity in the legal profession, and how the applicant believes the ARC mission of providing access and support to students from under-represented populations furthers the mission of the Seattle University School of Law.  For full consideration, applications should be submitted by December 15, 2015.  Open until filled.

 

November 20, 2014 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)