Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

NALSAP: Registration Now Open for June 1-3 Conference

Hello!

We are thrilled to announce that NALSAP Conference registration is NOW OPEN! Registration is $100 for NALSAP members and $150 for non-members. The conference will take place on June 1-3, 2017, at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, California. You can register online here: nalsap.org/events/conference.

Here are some highlights of what the inaugural conference will feature:

  • Connie Horton will provide us with a “counseling toolbox” for student affairs professionals. Specific counseling tools us laypeople can employ as we’re meeting with students on the front lines. Dr. Horton, Ph.D. and a Licensed Psychologist, is the Associate Vice President for Student Life and the Senior Director of Counseling, Health, and Wellness at Pepperdine University.
  • Catherine Matthews, J.D., Ph.D., Indiana University Maurer School of Law, will provide a higher education law primer aimed specifically at law school student affairs professionals.
  • 14 concurrent sessions covering a broad range of topics, such as supporting marginalized students, Generation Z, mentorship programs, conduct, strategies for doing more with less in an era of decreasing budgets, strategies for inclusion of Graduate Program & International Students, diversity and implicit bias, student development theory, and so much more!
  • Opportunities for networking with colleagues from across the nation at the first conference entirely devoted to law student affairs professionals, including a welcome mixer, networking lunches, wellness activities with the NALSAP Conference Committee, and more.
  • Two NALSAP business meetings where you can learn more about this brand new organization and get involved in various leadership roles.
  • Wellness, wellness, wellness! Mindfulness, meditation, self-care (for students AND for US!) will be woven throughout the conference into various plenary/concurrent sessions, as well as some fun experiential offerings.
  • Optional QPR suicide prevention training on Saturday afternoon. QPR is an emergency response to someone in crisis and can save lives. QPR’s suicide prevention course is designed to teach professionals how to reduce the immediate risk of suicide and provide longer-term care for those at risk.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We look forward to seeing you in June!  

Warmly,

Rebekah Grodsky & Emily Scivoletto

NALSAP Conference Co-Chairs

nalsapconference@gmail.com

Like us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/nalsap

Register for the NALSAP Conference: nalsap.org/events/conference

March 7, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 6, 2017

Gen Z: Our Future Law Students

Hat tip to Vickie Sutton, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at Texas Tech School of Law, for forwarding a report released by Barnes & Noble and an article about the report. Gen Z students are currently 13-18 years old. The two items can be found here:  Download Gen-Z-Research-Report-Final and Download ECampus News Gen Z is about to take ove... (Amy Jarmon)

March 6, 2017 in Learning Styles, Miscellany, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Compilation of Reader Comments and Emails

We periodically gather some comments from our readers to share on the Blog. Here are some responses and conversations that we have had over the last several months:

Marsha Griggs (Texas Southern ) shares her idea in response to Goldie Pritchard's A Wall of Inspiration post on February 22nd: "I do something similar via Facebook. I have a private FB group set up for our bar takers. Each day of bar study, I send motivational pictures, quotes and positive affirmations. The response is overwhelmingly positive." 

Don Macaulay (Pipeline to Practice Foundation) sent a link to their website in response to our announcement of the Inaugural AASE Conference on Diversity: http://www.pipelinetopractice.org/.

Rod Fong (U of San Francisco) and I had a nice email exchange after my February 19th post on Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose. Rod shared two links that may interest readers who have not seen them: Angela Lee Duckworth's Ted Talk on Grit (Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance) and Eduardo Briceno's Tex Talk on Growth Mindset and Success (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN34FNbOKXc). Rod also observed: "I combine the grit and growth mindset with two other social-psychological theories, belonging and stereotype threat.  I find these four work together well. The other thing I'm noticing in students is that grit and growth mindset don't work well if the students are not good self-regulated learners.  Without this skill, they seem to think that just doing the work, like going through the motions, is enough to learn and study. . . . They don't realize that it takes energy to assess their work and properly correct their mistakes." 

Otto Stockmeyer (Emeritus Western Michigan) gave some historical insight on IRAC following Goldie Prichard's January 13 post on Dr. Martin Luther King: "The Letter from the Birmingham Jail," and IRAC?: "Michael Josephson, who founded a bar review course in Michigan in 1991 which became one of the country's largest within 10 years, emphasized IRAC in the essay-writing portion of his course. He attributed IRAC's origin to the U.S. Army. According to him, the Army developed IRAC at the outbreak of World War II as a method of teaching problem-solving to a flood of new recruits. Whether or not IRAC helped us win WWII, it made Josephson a millionaire." 

Otto Stockmeyer (Emeritus Western Michigan) also commented on Alex Ruskell's Weapon of Choice post on January 13th: "My experience counseling poorly performing students has been that 60% of the time they change right answers to wrong ones. Of course, they are presented with more wrong choices, so that may explain part of it. Also, it may be a characteristic of poor performers and not universal." 

Thank you to our many readers who post comments for the editors after reading our posts. We have a policy of not posting comments publicly because of the amount of spam comments that are received by the Blog. Please know that we appreciate hearing from you. (Amy Jarmon)

March 5, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Director of Academic Success Position at UDC - DCSL

DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC SUPPORT

UNIVERSITY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DAVID A. CLARKE SCHOOL OF LAW (UDC-DCSL) invites applications to fill the tenure-track position of Director of Academic Support.  We will consider exceptionally talented applicants at either the assistant or associate professor level. Candidates must demonstrate a record of strong academic performance and excellent potential for scholarly achievement.  The position will begin in July, 2017.

We are looking for an experienced academic success professional who is familiar with the best practices in the field and interested in designing a state-of-the-art academic success program suitable for our mission. The mission of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law is to recruit and enroll students from groups under-represented at the bar, provide a well-rounded theoretical and practical legal education that will enable students to be effective and ethical advocates, and represent the legal needs of low-income District of Columbia residents through the school’s legal clinics.  UDC-DCSL is one of only six American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).  UDC is the nation’s only urban, public land grant university.  UDC-DCSL is highly ranked: Top 10 in the nation in Law School Clinical Programs (US News and World Report, 2017); 2nd most diverse faculty (Princeton Review, 2016); 2nd most chosen by older students (Princeton Review, 2016); 2nd best environment for minority students (Princeton Review, 2016); and the #1 Ranked law school in National Jurist Magazine’s “Schools with the most community service hours per student” (2017).  UDC-DCSL has a strong commitment to diversity among its faculty and encourages applications from minorities and women.

The salary range for the position is $97,513 - $122,004, depending upon appointed rank.

Although we will accept applications until the position is filled, we strongly encourage interested applicants to submit applications by March 20, 2017 for complete consideration. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume.  Contact:  Professor Wilhelmina Reuben-Cooke, Co-Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Building 52, Room 470, Washington, D.C. 20008. 

wreuben-cooke@udc.edu

March 4, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Work is a Four-Letter Word

My love of punk rock reflects my general paranoia about the messages that consumer culture crams into our heads.  This week, in meeting with students about bar prep, poor performance, or other issues, I was struck by how many students made some reference to their need to relax.  For example, I got an email saying someone couldn't meet at a certain time because "that was the time they went home to take a nap."  Another student told me that they were spending all of Spring Break "beaching and golfing."  Another student listened to my spiel about bringing up her grades and then said, "That's great advice -- but, to be honest, I'm not doing that much work."

It kills me when students fail the bar and it turns out they did under 50 percent of their commercial bar prep.  I generally blame the phenomenon on computers, but I'm beginning to wonder if it's really coming from advertising and culture.

Since we live in a consumer culture, most of the messages we get on a daily basis are about consuming.  Consuming goes hand and hand with relaxing -- stop doing whatever it is you are doing and eat this burger, drink this coffee, put two iron tubs out in your backyard and hold hands with your mate, etc.  Social media reflects it in weird pictures of people's dinners and smiling vacation shots.  Besides advertising and social media, there's constant messaging about working less, slowing down, and smelling the roses.  That stuff has to sink in.  

ASP is in a weird position because we're often dealing with students in crisis, and we are often counselors and sounding boards for struggling students.  Consequently, being a hard ass and piling on a bunch more work is probably not a fantastic idea.  However, although I used to worry about "burn out" when figuring out study plans for struggling students, I've more or less stopped taking that into consideration.  Making the assumption that no student is going to do 100 percent of what I say, I figure I don't need to add to the constant barrage of "you deserve and need to take time off" that students hear everyday.  I tell them they need to sleep, eat healthy, and exercise, but I leave relaxing for them to figure out.

The above post may ultimately be just another example of an older generation dissing on a younger one ("Back in my day, I had to walk uphill both ways to school"), but I want all of them to succeed.  I used to describe what I do as teaching them to study "smarter," but maybe I should really change it to studying "smarter and harder."

The Smiths -- Work is a Four-Letter Word 

(Alex Ruskell)

March 3, 2017 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Voice Opportunities" to Make a Difference in Legal Education: ABA Nominations - Due April 10, 2017!

The ABA Section on Legal Education and Bar Admissions is seeking nominations for leadership positions on the Council.  In light of the important field work that academic support professionals play in the enhancement and the betterment of legal education, this is a great opportunity to share your voice and expertise with others.  So, if interested, here's the link to nominate yourself or others: http://www.americanbar.org/nominations  (Scott Johns).

March 2, 2017 in Advice, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

You Are Not An Island

Microaggression. Merriam Webster initially noted this word as “a term to watch” but added this word to the dictionary in February 2017. Microaggression as defined by Merriam Webster is “a comment or action that is subtly and often unintentionally hostile or demeaning to a member of a minority or marginalized group.”

How do we, academic support professionals, support our students who deal with microaggressions and aggressions that impact their ability to focus on academic work and impact their academic performance? I pose this question not because I have an answer but because this is a question I have asked myself lately.

It is quite difficult to be mentally present, engage with doctrinal content, and focus on tasks at hand while being concerned about what covert or overt actions will occur next or be directed towards you. The idea that one might have to contend with a racial or ethnic land mine at any time in a law school classroom or hallway is very daunting. A microaggressive comment from a professor during exam review can be devastating particularly when we encourage students to meet with professors to review exams and obtain feedback. There are a few articles addressing the impact of microaggressions on the recipient which highlight serious psychological effects.

Oftentimes, just reminding students of why they are in law school and encouraging them to not give up on a future legal career while having honest discussions about how they will manage these situations is usually a starting point. I spend time encouraging students to view these encounters as strengthening their abilities to deal with difficult situations while making them realize they are not alone. We discuss their feelings, anticipated accomplishments and consequences of each situation, and management of similar situations. I fundamentally view this process as an unwritten part of my job mainly because I am a person of color who was once a student of color. Silencing the loud voices of negativity when a student already has a few layers of self-doubt, and awakening and reminding students of the infinite reach of their abilities to view the world as a better place can be a struggle and long term process.

Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF). A term coined by William Smith in the Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity and Society (2008) is “a theory attributed to the psychological attrition that People of Color experience from the daily battle of deflecting racialized insults, stereotypes, and discrimination.”i “RBF is the cumulative effect of being “on guard” and having to finesse responses to insults, both subtle and covert.”ii

How do we, academic support professionals, support our students who have been microaggressed when we are managing our own instances of microaggressions and aggressions but also contending with Racial Battle Fatigue? I pose this question because I am curious about how other academic support professionals manage such situations.

To make a very long story short, I had a week filled with incidents that would fit the classic definition of microaggressions and some I would characterize as aggressions coming from various aspects of life in the span of five days. I was anxious and somewhat distracted, which is out of character for me, unfocused, and unhappy but tried to be positive but all efforts failed. I faced each situation, responding in various ways I deemed appropriate, sought the support of my circle of trust, and moved on. I usually do a good job not showing my frustrations. In retrospect, I did not realize how much these encounters impacted me.

Something amazing happened the following week; I found joy, passion, and energy because of the students. I received a number of kind notes, nice words, positive feedback about programs and presentations, and other expressions of appreciation. For someone who is accustomed to problem-solving, affirming students, acknowledging wrong doings, validating feelings, empowering students, and checking-in to ensure that all is well, I did not quite know what to do with myself. It was like the universe suddenly said: “everything is great; this is just a step in your journey.”

I often believe that I am on an island even though there are so many people that surround me. No one knows the many battles fought and won within the confines of the four walls of my office, on the island. What often keeps me going are moments when students make comments to me such as; your words or actions made a difference and changed my outlook when I was on the precipice of giving up and filled with tears. This brings back memories of individuals who did the same for me during moments of immense pressure and self-doubt. (Goldie Pritchard)

iRacial Battle Fatigue’ Is Real: Victims of Racial Microaggressions Are Stressed Like Soldiers in War

iiChristopher Dorner and Racial Battle Fatigue

March 1, 2017 in Advice, Diversity Issues, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Two Top Ten Badges Earned

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_Small

Two of our Contributing Editors received recognition from the State Bar of Texas Texas Bar Today for their posts near the end of last semester. Congratulations to Scott Johns and Goldie Pritchard for recognition of their posts! Scott's post can be found here: Chewing the Cud: Should You Be the Tortoise or the Hare in Exam Prep. Goldie's post can be found here: Exams Are Coming.

February 28, 2017 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Oops! Correction to AALS Section Officers/Exec Board Post

Our apologies to Jenn Car! She was incorrectly listed as still being at UNLV. She is now at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The corrected Exec Board list is below:

    Chair: Danielle Kocal (Pace)

    Chair-Elect: Staci Rucker (Dayton)

    Secretary: Courtney Lee (McGeorge)

    Treasurer: Jenn Carr (Thomas Jefferson)

    Past Chair: Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Twinette Johnson (Southern Illinois)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Philip Kaplan (Suffolk)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Raul Ruiz (Florida International)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Goldie Pritchard (Michigan State)

February 27, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Spring Break - Already??!!

This has been the week when students suddenly have realized that it is only two weeks to our law school's Spring Break. The reactions have been joy or trepidation. Here are some of the comments:

The joy group:

  • I'm going home! I miss my family/siblings/mother's cooking/friends/dog. It will be wonderful to be home.
  • I'm getting married and having a short honeymoon! Grin.
  • I'm heading to the beach/slopes/Vegas for the week. (Mixed group - some clearly plan to play full-time; some add they will take their outlines along and get some study in - wink, wink.)

The trepidation group:

  • I'll never be able to take time to go home if I want to study enough.
  • I am so far behind, I'll spend the whole time outlining and writing my papers.
  • Gosh! Exams start seven weeks after Spring Break! Groan.
  • The semester is going by too fast! I'll never get everything done.
  • That means I need to spend a whole week trying to understand Con Law/Commercial Law/Income Tax/(fill in the blank).

Whichever group the students fall into, they all realize that time is marching on this semester. It is well past the beginning weeks of the semester when some students coast. It is time to buckle down and make progress. (Amy Jarmon)

February 26, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Do You Know Who Your Exec Board and Officers Are for AALS Section on Academic Support?

In case you were not at the January 2017 business meeting and are wondering who to contact about the AALS Section on Academic Support, here is a list of the 2017-2018 leadership:

    Chair: Danielle Kocal (Pace)

    Chair-Elect: Staci Rucker (Dayton)

    Secretary: Courtney Lee (McGeorge)

    Treasurer: Jenn Carr (UNLV)

    Past Chair: Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Twinette Johnson (Southern Illinois)

    Board position (expiring January 2018): Philip Kaplan (Suffolk)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Raul Ruiz (Florida International)

    Board position (expiring January 2019): Goldie Pritchard (Michigan State)

February 25, 2017 in Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Such a Scream

The other day I was listening to music in my office when a student came in.  We said hello, she sat, and I turned off my iTunes.  The first thing she asked was "What was THAT you were listening to?"

When I first started in ASP, I worried a lot about acting like a "good professor."  I read articles and watched professors who were considered "great" as I tried to figure out what personality traits or styles or workshops might connect best with students.  Since every ASP thing I've ever done was voluntary, I thought it was especially important for me to be attractive to students.  I watched people who were really funny, people who were really energetic, people who were really clear, people who bled with confidence, and people who all but screamed "Real Life Experience!"  I stirred all this "good professor" stuff into a slightly bitter bouillabaisse and tried to drink it down.  But I wasn't really happy with it. 

I read this week's post about a photo board of success and thought that maybe I should do something like that (really, it sounds great and probably helps a lot, and I in no way mean to criticize it).  But, honestly, that kind of thing is not me.  It would feel phony.  I'd hate doing it.  I think if I tried something like that with my personality it would actually have the opposite effect.  Students would be able to see I was presenting myself as someone I am not, and I think that would ultimately make them less likely to seek my help.

If you are new to ASP, you'll find that ASP people are super helpful and cool about offering advice, teaching tips, etc., but don't feel like you have to do them all, or that what you're doing is necessarily wrong.

The things in your personality that ultimately make you a "good professor" will probably be things that you didn't think would help.  On opposite walls of my office, I have a cartoon poster of my daughter as the superhero "Unicorn Girl" and a zombie apocalypse poster from the CDC.  I hung them up simply because I liked them, but I have ended up getting an enormous amount of conversational mileage from them.  Especially with students in grade trouble who were "sent to my office," the two posters have turned out to be terrific ice breakers.  I don't think either poster would fit with anyone's classic image of a "good professor."

Ultimately, if you're worried about connecting with students, I think the best advice is to simply be yourself.

By the by, this is what I was listening to:

Tom Waits -- Such a Scream

(Alex Ruskell)

 

February 24, 2017 in Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Matter of The Heart: Moving Forward in the Midst of the Bar Exam Wait

It’s a great time for you - as this week’s bar takers - to reflect, appreciate, and take pride in your herculean work in accomplishing law school and tackling the bar exam.

Let's be direct!  Bravo! Magnificent! Heroic!  Those are just some of the words that come to mind…words that you should be rightly speaking to yourself…because…they are true of you to the core!

But, for most of us right now, we just don’t quite feel super-human about the bar exam. Such accolades of self-talk are, frankly, just difficult to do. Rather, most of us just feel relief – plain and simple relief – that the bar exam is finally over and we have somehow survived.  

That’s because very few of us, upon completion of the bar exam, feel like we have passed the bar exam. Most of us just don’t know.   So now, the long “waiting” period begins with results not due out for most of us for a number of months.

So, here’s the conundrum about the “waiting” period:

Lot’s of well-meaning people will tell you that you have nothing to worry about; that they are sure that you passed the bar exam; and that the bar exam wasn’t that hard…really.

Really? Not that hard?

Really? You know that I passed?

Really? There’s nothing for me to worry about?

Let me give you a concrete real life example. Like you, I took the bar exam. And, like most of you, I had no idea at all whether I passed the bar exam. I was just so glad that it was finally over.

But all of my friends, my legal employer (a judge), my former law professors, and my family kept telling me that I had absolutely nothing to be worried about; that I passed the bar exam; that I worked hard; that they knew that I could do it.

But, they didn’t know something secret about my bar exam. They didn’t know about my lunch on the first day of the bar exam.

At the risk of revealing a closely held secret, my first day of the bar exam actually started out on the right foot, so to speak. I was on time for the exam. In fact, I got to the convention center early enough that I got a prime parking spot. Moreover, in preparation for my next big break (lunch), I had already cased out the nearest handy-dandy fast food restaurants for grabbing a quick bite to eat before the afternoon portion of the bar exam so that I would not miss the start of the afternoon session of the bar exam.

So, when lunch came, I was so excited to eat that I went straight to Burger King. I really wanted that “crown,” perhaps because I really didn’t understand many of the essay problems from the morning exam. But as I approached Burger King, the line was far out of the door. Impossibly out of the door. And, it didn’t get any better at McDonalds next door. I then faced the same conundrum at Wendy’s and then at Taco Bell.

Finally, I had to face up to cold hard facts.  I could either eat lunch or I could take the afternoon portion of the bar exam. But, I couldn’t do both. The lines were just too long. So, I was about to give up - as I had exhausted all of the local fast food outlets surrounding the convention center - when I luckily caught a glimpse of a possible solution to both lunch and making it back to the bar exam in time for the afternoon session – a liquor store.  There was no line. Not a soul. I had the place to myself. So, I ran into the liquor store to grab my bar exam lunch: two Snicker’s bars. With plenty of time to now spare, I then leisurely made my way back to the bar exam on time for the start of the afternoon session.

But, here’s the rub:

All of my friends and family members (and even the judge that I was clerking for throughout the waiting period) were adamant that I had passed the bar exam. They just knew it! But, they didn’t know that I ate lunch at the liquor store.

So when several months later the bar results were publicly available on the Internet, I went to work for my judge wondering what the judge might do when the truth came out – that I didn’t pass the bar exam because I didn’t pack a lunch to eat at the bar exam.

To be honest, I was completely stick to my stomach. But, I was stuck; I was at work and everyone believed in me. Then, later that morning while still at work computer, the results came out. My heart raced, but my name just didn’t seem to be listed at all. No Scott Johns. And then, I realized that my official attorney name begins with William. I was looking at the wrong section of the Johns and Johnsons. My name was there! I had passed!   I never told the judge my secret about my “snicker bar” lunch. I was just plain relieved that the bar exam “wait” was finally over.

That’s the problem with all of the helpful advice from our friends, employers, law professors, and family members during this waiting period. For all of us (or at least most of us), there was something unusual that happened during our bar exam. It didn’t seem to go perfectly. Quite frankly, we just don’t know if we indeed passed the bar exam.

So, here’s a suggestion for your time right now with your friends, employers, law professors, and family members.

1.  First, just let them know how you are feeling. Be open and frank. Share your thoughts with them along with your hopes and fears.

2.  Second, give them a hearty thank you for all of their enriching support, encouragement, and steadfast faithfulness that they have shared with you as walked your way through law school and through this week’s bar exam. Perhaps send them a personal notecard. Or, make a quick phone call of thanks. Or send a snap chat of thankful appreciation.  Regardless of your particular method of communication, reach out to let them know out of the bottom of your heart that their support has been invaluable to you. That’s a great way to spend your time as you wait - over the course of the next several months - for the bar exam results.

3.  Finally, celebrate yourself, your  achievement, and your true grit....by taking time out - right now - to appreciate the momentous accomplishment of undertaking a legal education, graduating from law school, and tackling your bar exam.  You've done something great, and, more importantly, something mightily significant.  (Scott Johns).

February 23, 2017 in Bar Exam Issues, Bar Exams, Encouragement & Inspiration, Stress & Anxiety | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Wall of Inspiration

For first-time bar takers and repeat bar takers, this is the week they have prepared for the past two months. This preparatory period was particularly demanding for me as students responded to my advice and used the ASP office extensively. Between November and February, students from coast to coast engaged with me through emails and phone conversations. I heard the devastation of poor performance on mock exams and practice questions and read about the fear of failure and saw it spread to other bar takers. Current students expressed concern for bar takers and asked whether their former classmates were in touch with me. The most challenging aspect of this bar preparatory period was coaching students to manage the roller coaster of inevitable emotions. For some students, the “real talk” discussions to address frustrations, implosions, and physical tolls were insufficient. I had to find a creative way to re-energize bar takers.

Something I have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity to do came to mind. I always wanted to highlight the achievements of former students, mostly to inspire current students but I saw an opportunity to encourage my February bar takers as well. I contacted a select yet diverse group of alums who I believe would influence current students and requested pictures for display. With their permission, I would post pictures on a wall in my office and use them to motivate current students. Of course, not everyone responded but those who did were quite elated about the idea of sharing their pictures with others. This project provided me with the opportunity to speak with former students, some of whom I met for the first time almost eight years ago.

Today, about two thirds of my display board is filled with pictures from commencement and swearing-in ceremonies. So far, every day has been a wonderful walk down memory lane. I remember each student’s struggles and successes, laughter and excitement. I remember serious conversations we have had, new and unique things they taught me, and fears and concerns they harbored. I witnessed these students achieve their dreams.

For my February bar takers, I shared with them a photo of my wall with an inspirational message and it was a hit. I encouraged them to visualize their own successes and remember what they have already accomplished including the struggles of law school and all they overcame to make it to commencement. For my current students, when they come into my office, there are many unfamiliar faces, yet a few recognizable faces posted on my wall. This wall of pictures has been a great conversation starter particularly about the things students look forward to accomplishing. Reflection is imperative to rejuvenation. Every now and then, I look up at my wall and smile.

Congratulations to the February 2017 bar takers, you survived! Here’s to plenty of rest before your next endeavor. (Goldie Pritchard)

February 22, 2017 in Bar Exam Preparation, Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Director of Academic Success Position at U of Buffalo

Position Summary:

The University at Buffalo School of Law invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Success. The Academic Success Program is designed to provide students with support through every stage of the academic program. Thus, the Director will work closely with the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, the Vice Dean for Student Affairs, and the faculty to develop small and large group classes and programs designed to enable students to be successful in law school and on the bar exam. Specifically, it is anticipated that the Director will oversee the development and operation of a writing center, manage an individualized academic counseling program, and assist students and alumni as they prepare for the New York State Bar Exam. Salary will be commensurate with experience.

Minimum Qualifications:

All applicants must have earned a J.D. at an accredited law school and been admitted to practice in at least one state. Applicants should also possess an academic and/or practice history demonstrating strong analytical, verbal, and legal research and writing skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

Given the critical role that the Director serves in the academic program at the law school, it is expected that the successful candidate will also possess some or all of the following:

  • Prior experience managing or providing individualized academic support services in a law school setting.
  • Teaching experience in a bar preparation or academic support program, a legal research and writing program, and/or in any other capacity requiring an emphasis on analyzing and applying the law.
  • Familiarity with the subjects covered by the Uniform Bar Exam.
  • A demonstrated ability to assist students with a diverse array of identified needs, including students for whom English is a Second Language (ESL), students with learning disabilities, and students with disparate learning styles. 
  • A history of working in a collaborative team setting, with a preference for those who have done so in connection with the development and implementation of an academic support program or in a similar academic setting.

Application Process:

                Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest, a current CV, contact information for at least three references, and teaching evaluations, if available, to S. Todd Brown, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, at stbrown2@buffalo.edu.  The hiring committee will begin reviewing applications immediately. All applications will be accepted and considered until the position is filled.

February 21, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Associate Director of Bar Support Position at Roger Williams

Associate Director of Bar Support
 
 
 
 
Category: Staff positions RSS feed of all Jobs   Subscribe to Job Alerts     
Department: School of Law
Locations: Bristol, RI
Posted: Feb 10, '17
Type: Full-time Regular
Ref. No.: 109814
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About Roger Williams University:

Roger Williams University, located on the coast of Bristol, RI, is a forward-thinking private university with 45 undergraduate majors and more than a dozen graduate programs spanning the liberal arts and the professions, where students become community-minded citizens through project-based, experiential learning. With small classes, direct access to faculty and boundless opportunities for real-world projects, RWU students develop the ability to think critically while simultaneously building the practical skills that today's employers demand. In the five years since launching its signature Affordable Excellence initiative, the University has established itself as a leader in American higher education by confronting the most pressing issues facing students and families - increasing costs that limit access to college, rising debt and the job readiness of graduates. In addition to its 4,000 undergraduates and 300 graduate students, RWU is home to a thriving School of Continuing Studies based in Providence as well as Rhode Island's only law school.

Roger Williams University is committed to creating and supporting an intellectual community devoted to teaching and learning and providing the opportunity for personal and intellectual growth for students, faculty and staff. The University credits much of its growth and success to the hard work and dedication of its employees.


Job Description:

The Associate Director of Bar Support's primary objective will be to enhance the bar passage rates at the law school through developing, implementing, directing, and evaluating a comprehensive bar examination program, including teaching the for-credit Applied Legal Reasoning course.  The Associate Director will work in the Academic Success Program and will assist the Director of Academic Success to incorporate best practices in preparing students for the bar and in academic advising.

Bar Exam Material Review and Preparation
Teach Applied Legal Reasoning (ALR) course each semester as arranged by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, in multiple sections as appropriate. The primary focus of the course should be the Multi-state Bar Exam (MBE), but there should also be instruction and coverage of the Multi-state Performance Test (MPT) and the Multi-state Essay Exam (MEE) and other skills necessary for first time bar success. Course should include feedback and evaluation of course performance to strengthen content knowledge and analytical and writing skills needed for bar success. The Associate Director will work with the Director of Academic Success to incorporate best practices in teaching into the bar prep program and will incorporate instruction by distance learning into the bar prep program.

Provide support to graduates during bar preparation leading up to the bar.

Provide remedial instruction and support for students who fail to earn a passing grade in ALR for the purpose of improving performance on the MBE and providing a way for students to obtain academic credit for the course, if appropriate.

Design, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive workshop series for all law students on topics related to the bar. Workshop series should include, at minimum, the following topics: early considerations for first and second year students, preparing for the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), overview of the application process, and workshops on the MBE, MPT, and MEE.

Student Counseling and Guidance
Meet individually with all third year students to review important information on the bar exam. These mandatory "Bar Information Meetings" are to provide individual counseling and advice for students on the steps they should follow to ensure first-time bar success and to advise students regarding the bar exam application process and choice of jurisdiction. In collaboration with the Director of Academic Success, provide academic advising sessions to first and second-year students, as well as open door advising sessions before course registration.

Serve as academic advisor for students identified most likely to fail the bar exam. As academic advisor, review and approve course registration each semester for adequate coverage of bar courses and provide other academic support, in conjunction with the Director of Academic Success and the Writing Specialist, to improve analytical and writing skills necessary to pass the bar exam.

Work individually or in a group setting with graduates who were unsuccessful on the bar exam to provide coaching and guidance as they prepare to retake the bar exam.

Analyze bar exam results, including analysis by law school performance and admissions criteria (LSAT and undergraduate GPA) and provide regular reports to the faculty and senior staff.

Maintain the law school's website on the bar exam and Character & Fitness process in accordance with best practices and ABA requirement Standards 504 & 509.

Bar Exam Liaison
Advise the faculty and administration regarding any bar preparation matters and work with faculty on the integration of bar exam topics and material, including assessments, in select courses.

Oversee the ABA reporting of bar exam data in consultation with the Registrar and Associate Dean.

Attend regional and national Academic Support Conferences.

Serve as the primary contact for the School of Law with commercial bar course vendors and bar examiners to obtain results, monitor changes to the exam, and arrange for meetings as appropriate.

Provide information to students and administrators about the bar exam, including the application process, and organize sessions with bar examiners where possible. 


Requirements:

J.D. degree from an ABA accredited law school and strong academic credentials and admission to the practice of law.

Three years of relevant experience, either in the law school academic support field or teaching bar exam skills.  

Proven teaching, interpersonal and counseling skills including class preparation, classroom teaching and working with individual students.

Adept at developing, marketing and delivering a bar preparation program.

Commitment to diversity and supporting a diverse student population.  Willingness to work with students with a range of disabilities.

Proficient in compiling and analyzing data for statistical analysis.

Intermediate knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.


Additional Information:

Roger Williams University is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer committed to inclusive excellence and encourages applications from underrepresented populations.

For information on our Non-discrimination and Title IX policy, visit: rwu.edu/NDT9


Application Instructions:

Please attach a resume, cover letter, and list of three (3) professional references.

http://rwu.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=81401  

February 21, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)

Save the Date for Inaugural AASE Diversity Conference

Inaugural AASE Diversity Conference 

Fulfilling Promises:  Providing Effective Academic and Bar Exam Support to Diverse Students

October 12-13, 2017

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

Baltimore, MD

February 21, 2017 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why is using another person's outline or a commercial outline ineffective?

Law students are always looking for shortcuts. The problem is that a shortcut by definition is not efficient or effective: it is cutting corners. Yet year after year, students listen to the upper-division student myth that you just need to get another outline and not make your own.

So let's get it out in the open before it is too late in the semester to still create a good outline of your own: learning occurs when you grapple with material and process it yourself.

  • Using a secondhand outline means that someone else learned and processed, you did not.
  • A borrowed outline means that you become a parrot who can recite the information without understanding that information.
  • You need to understand the law at a deeper level that you reach by outlining if you want to apply it adeptly to new legal scenarios on an exam.
  • Each person learns differently; another person's outline or a commercial outline may not match how you need to process material to learn.
  • A professor's change in perspective on a course, legal reforms, or a different casebook can all make a prior outline inaccurate - or even obsolete.
  • A commercial outline is for a national audience and rarely matches your professor's structure, emphasis, or state jurisdictional focus.
  • The quality of the borrowed outline may be suspect if you do not know the grade that was received for the course.

Looking at another outline for format ideas and to check for missing concepts or nuances if legitimate. But depending on it instead of doing your own hard work is asking for deficient learning. (Amy Jarmon)

February 20, 2017 in Exams - Studying, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose

For too many law students, law school becomes an endless slog. They get so bogged down in the daily grind that they lose enthusiasm for the law and the legal profession. If they do not rediscover their original sense of purpose, they will endure their legal studies rather than experience them fully.

Here are some suggestions for resuscitating your love of the law and finding your purpose again:

  • Remind yourself why you came to law school. What were your goals as an aspiring lawyer? What areas of the law piqued your interest? What wrongs did you want to right? What legal causes were you passionate about?
  • Remember who your legal role models were. Who were your inspirations for becoming a lawyer? Whether it was Atticus Finch, your mother the judge, your uncle the corporate lawyer, or the public defender who took your cousin's case, think about why you wanted to be like those individual lawyers.
  • Take time to get involved with the "heart matters" of law school. Volunteer to help with intake at a pro bono clinic. Get trained to participate with VITA or CASA or another worthy cause. Join a law school organization that provides community service.
  • Meet and talk to local lawyers. Attend a local bar luncheon as the guest of your professor or a local attorney. Attend lectures, CLE seminars open to students, and alumni events at your law school where you can meet the speakers and lawyers in attendance.
  • Sign up for courses that help you get hands-on with the law: clinics, trial advocacy, client interviewing, alternative dispute resolution, drafting courses, and more.
  • Talk with your professors and career services staff about your legal interests after graduation  and ways to pursue those interests. Gather information about types of legal jobs and legal specialties that you are considering.
  • Read biographies and other non-fiction books about the lawyers, legal cases, and legal movements that have impacted our world. Explore how the law and lawyers can change society for the good.

A sense of purpose makes any endeavor more meaningful. It gets us through the rough days. It inspires us to move toward our goals. It turns the slog into a stepping stone. (Amy Jarmon)

February 19, 2017 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Position at McGeorge Law University of the Pacific

Assistant Dean for Student Affairs

San Francisco Applicants: Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

Below you will find the details for the position including any supplementary documentation and questions you should review before applying for the opening.  To apply for the position, please click the Apply for this Job link/button.

If you would like to bookmark this position for later review, click on the Bookmark link.  If you would like to print a copy of this position for your records, click on the Print Preview link.

Posting Details

Position Information

Job Title Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Union Level  
Department Student Services
Campus Sacramento
Posting Number 201300975P
Full or Part Time Full Time
Number of Months  
Work Schedule  
Position End Date  
Open Date  
Close Date 03/13/2017
Open Until Filled No
Special Instructions to Applicants  

Position Summary Information

Primary Purpose

The Assistant Dean is responsible for counseling and advising law students about classes, academic programs, and stress and time management. The Assistant Dean also oversees disciplinary matters, student policies, student government, student organizations and events, and supports the academic and community life of students to enhance retention. In addition, the Assistant Dean supervises examinations, accommodated examinations, wellness programs, special projects and programs, and disabled student services. The Assistant Dean serves on appropriate faculty committees. The Assistant Dean is responsible for the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars offices, including supervision of staff, day to day office operations, and the operations budget.

Essential Functions

1. Directly supervise the operations of the Student Affairs and Registrars office. This includes supervision of professional and support staffs, day-to-day office operations, and the operations budget. Set performance expectations and customer service standards for each office and annually monitor and evaluate office functions against those standards.

2. Oversee and/or provide academic counseling services to J.D. and LL.M. students . Make referrals to other University student services as appropriate.

3. Process student requests for withdrawals, leave of absences, accommodations, requests to attend summer and other programs at other ABA schools, request for transfer, add/drop classes, switch divisions, letters of good standing, and letters to State Bar re: moral character and other registration information. Provides students with registration information through email and informational sessions.

4. Oversee the delivery of services including in-class and exam accommodations to all disabled students under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and pursuant to establish University policies and procedures.

5. Handles all faculty and staff requests for information regarding academic statistics (academic disqualification, academic probation, division switches). Handle all FERPA issues regarding information maintained by Registrar.

6. Handle all matters which come before the Grading and Advancement Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. Prepare student petition files, attend all Committee meetings and provides academic background to Committee, prepare and disseminate all decision letters.

7. Provide assistance to the Associate Dean including issues surrounding the preparation of the academic schedule, class size and classroom changes, exam scheduling, and requests to audit classes.

8. Assess the University’s student-oriented business processes, policies, practices and procedures to minimize risk and ensure compliance.

9. Assist student organizations with planning and implementation of projects; provide guidance on availability and procedures for obtaining funds including coordination efforts with Advancement. Serve as liaison between the student body, faculty, and administration on matters affecting students; act as an advocate for students as appropriate; oversee student disciplinary processes.

10. Oversee the scheduling and administering of examinations and provide accommodated exams.

11. Oversee wellness programs and manage the student insurance program.

12. Designated Campus Security Authority.

13. Serve on various campus committees and perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

Juris Doctorate degree.

Valid driver’s license required. Incumbent must also be able to meet the University’s fleet rules and be eligible to drive for University business. The University’s insurance carrier reserves the right to exclude applicants based on their driving record.

Preferred Qualifications

• Education and Experience:
Experience or educational degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field would be beneficial. A minimum of three years of progressively responsible work experience in a law practice or higher education is required.

• Communication & Reasoning:
Exceptional verbal, written, organizational, and interpersonal skills required. Excellent collaboration and negotiation skills, including the ability to work effectively with students, faculty and staff. Demonstrated success in program management and leadership skills; the ability to work effectively with a diverse population; and function independently in making decisions and completing projects with limited supervision. Function effectively as a team player as well as works independently, set priorities and meet deadlines. Work with sensitive matters and records, and maintain confidentiality. Ability to form and maintain positive and collaborative professional relationships with colleagues and with other departments and academic units.

• Computer Skills & Technical Skills:
Candidates must have intermediate skills in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with Banner or other database programs desirable.

Physical Requirements

• Physical Demands:
The physical demands described here are representative but not definitive of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
• Some lifting of materials (20 lbs or less)
• Bending, stretching, reaching required
• Sitting for long periods of time

• Work Environment:
Fast paced office with many competing demands. Travel up to 15%. Evening and weekend work often required.

Hiring Range  
Background Check Statement

Applicants who are selected as final possible candidates must be able to pass a criminal background check

AA/EEO Policy Statement

University of the Pacific is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer dedicated to workforce diversity. In compliance with applicable law and its own policy, Pacific is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff and does not discriminate in its hiring of faculty and staff, or in the provision of its employment benefits to its faculty and staff on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, sex/gender, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, medical condition, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression or mental or physical disability.

Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
Optional Documents
  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Other Document

 

February 18, 2017 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)