Monday, January 1, 2018
Our Law Professor Blog Network counterpart, Scott Fruehwald, at TaxProf Blog posted his list of the best legal education articles from 2017. As you'll see in the blogpost re-printed in its entirety below, several academic support professors made the list this year. Kudos to the ASP community! (Kirsha Trychta)
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"Weekly Legal Education Roundup: The Best Legal Education Articles of 2017" by Scott Fruehwald
Because the week between Christmas and New Years is typically slow for legal education news, I am going to discuss the best legal education articles from 2017. Several articles in the past year showed the effectiveness of new approaches to legal education. There have also been several excellent articles this year on professional identity development. Finally, measuring outcomes was an important area of research in 2017.
- Louis D. Bilionis (Cincinnati), Bringing Purposefulness to the American Law School's Support of Professional Identity Formation. In February, the Holloran Center at the University of St. Thomas School of Law held a conference entitled The Next Steps of a Professional Formation Social Movement. In his contribution to the conference, Dean Bilionis declared that there needs to be a new mindset on the part of law schools, professors, and other law school professionals to properly help law students develop their professional identities.
- Hillary Burgess (Charlotte, Appalachian), Beyond Learning Objectives: Overview of The Taxonomy of Cognitive Legal Learning Objectives and Outcome Measurements. This is the best article I have seen on learning objectives, assessment objectives, and outcome measurements. Professor Burgess has adopted Bloom's Taxonomy to legal education.
- Jennifer M. Cooper (Tulane) & Regan A. R. Gerung (Wisconsin-Green Bay), Smarter Law Study Habits: An Empirical Analysis of Law Learning Strategies and Relationship with Law GPA. "Both legal educators and law students need to incorporate testing and formative assessment as a study and learning strategy to learn each new topic, not just exam prep. Self-testing and formative assessment are not only critical for success in law school, but help students develop successful learning strategies for the bar exam and as lifelong learners in law practice."
- Heather Field (Hastings), Fostering Ethical Professional Identity in Tax: Using the Traditional Tax Classroom. Professor Heather Field has written an excellent article that explains how to help future tax lawyers develop their professional identities.
- Neil W. Hamilton (St. Thomas), The Next Steps of a Formation-of-Student-Professional Identity Social Movement: Building Bridges Among the Three Key Stakeholders – Faculty and Staff, Students, and Legal Employers and Clients. "The major challenge for this symposium on next steps for the formation-of-student-professional-identity social movement is how substantially to increase the number of law students nationally who experience required professional-identity curriculum."
- Peter H. Huang (Colorado), Adventures in Higher Education, Happiness, and Mindfulness. "This Article analyzes why law schools should teach law students about happiness and mindfulness. This Article discusses how to teach law students about happiness and mindfulness. Finally, this Article provides brief concluding thoughts about how law students can sustain happiness and mindfulness once they graduate from law school."
- Benjamin V. Madison III and Larry O. Natt Gantt, II (Regent), Self-Directedness and Professional Formation: Connecting Two Critical Concepts in Legal Education. "Students want meaningful employment. Nevertheless, many if not most have not recognized the need to make a plan to pursue such employment. Most students have not identified the areas of law that best match their strengths and values. Moreover, most students do not have an intentional plan for exploring roles in the legal profession that would match their strengths, values, and interests. . . The authors explore how law schools can help students in seeking their goal by cultivating self-direction and development of a plan to move toward their goal."
- Deborah Jones Merritt, Ruth Colker, Ellen E. Deason, Monte Smith and Abigail B. Shoben, Formative Assessments: A Law School Case Study. Students who chose formative feedback "achieved significantly higher grades on the final exam even though the assessment score did not factor into their course grade. Notably, students receiving this formative feedback also secured a significantly higher GPA in their other spring-semester classes. Both of these effects persisted after controlling for LSAT score, UGPA, gender, race, and fall-semester grades.
- Louis N. Schulze Jr. (FIU), Using Science to Build Better Learners: One School's Successful Efforts to Raise Its Bar Passage Rates in an Era of Decline. "In this essay, I discuss principles from the science of learning that law schools and students should embrace. In the context of the methods we have implemented at Florida International University College of Law, which had the highest bar passage rate in Florida for three consecutive exams, I detail the project of transforming the learning of law away from the ineffective methods of yore and towards effective strategies that can make a difference on student performance and bar passage."
- William M. Sullivan (lead author of Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law), Professional Formation as Social Movement. The Sullivan article may be the most important article on legal education I've read in the past few years. Its thesis is revolutionary: Law schools not only need to include professional identity formation in the curriculum, they need to frame the curriculum around it. This would indeed be a disruptive innovation, which would create a 21st-century approach to legal education.
- David I.C. Thomson (Denver) and Stephen Daniels (American Bar Foundation), If You Build it, They Will Come: What Students Say About Experiential Learning. "What we learned was that applicants chose Denver Law on several traditional factors (such as cost and location) but also strongly indicated that the experiential learning component was an important part of their decision."
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Hat tip to my colleague, Atiba Ellis, who forwarded me a link to the BBC World Service podcast series "The Why Factor," which recently explored the concept of Imposter Syndrome. The podcast smartly outlines the causes of Imposter Syndrome and then highlights the syndrome's prevalence in the workplace and higher education--especially among diverse or minority employees and students.
The 23-minute episode explains: "Have you ever felt like a fraud? You think that one day your mask will be uncovered and everyone will know your secret. According to psychologists, this is a common feeling that many of us suffer from and it has a name; Imposter Syndrome. The term was coined by two American psychologists, Dr Pauline Clance and Dr Suzanne Imes, in 1978. Dr Clance and Dr Imes first thought the feeling was only experienced by high achieving women, but quickly found that men experienced it too. According to subject expert, Dr Valerie Young, women are more susceptible to imposter feelings because they internalise failure and mistakes- whereas men are more likely to attribute failure and mistakes to outside factors. However, those who belong to minority groups of whom there are stereotypes about competence also commonly experience imposter feelings. If you suffer from imposter syndrome, don’t worry you’re in good company; Maya Angelou, Robert Pattinson, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis and many more successful people have expressed feeling like imposters."
Monday, October 16, 2017
I first want to provide a special shout-out to Russell McClain, the University of Baltimore School of Law, and everyone involved with the planning and running of the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Diversity Conference. The presentations and accompanying dialogue were informative and thought provoking. And, as always, the camaraderie among the law school academic support community and the community’s genuine interest in law student success were inspiring and helped serve as continued motivation to push us through the rest of the academic semester.
I also want to provide a separate shout-out to my colleague, Rachel Gurvich. I have mentioned Rachel’s name and Twitter handle (@RachelGurvich) on several occasions at law school conferences and on this blog. Rachel recently wrote an ASP-ish post on The #Practice Tuesday blog. The post, entitled, “It’s not so shiny anymore: 1Ls and the October slump”, provides seven tips on how 1Ls can push through the rest of the academic semester. I encourage you and your students to take a look at the post and follow Rachel on Twitter. She’s a great colleague and resource at Carolina and beyond—her Tweets have reached and supported law students throughout the country, including this one and this one.
Rachel and Sean Marotta (@smmarotta) started The #Practice Tuesday blog as an opportunity to expand their #Practice Tuesday discussions on Twitter. On Tuesday afternoons, Rachel and Sean lead great discussions on “advice and musings on legal practice and the profession.” Participants in the discussions include practitioners, judges, and law school faculty and students throughout the country. Feel free to join in on the conversations!
Again, thanks to Russell McClain and everyone involved with the AASE Diversity Conference! And, thanks, to my amazing colleague Rachel Gurvich! (OJ Salinas)
October 16, 2017 in Advice, Current Affairs, Diversity Issues, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Learning Styles, Meetings, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General, Teaching Tips, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Hat tip to Gonzaga's Sandra Simpson, Associate Professor of Legal Research and Writing and Co-Director of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, for sharing her blog post on the ILTL website. The link is http://lawteaching.org/2017/08/28/the-easiest-technology-for-doing-the-hard-work/ and gives a quick summary of her technique using questions on Mentimeter to help her students understand Bloom's Taxonomy. (Amy Jarmon)
Sunday, August 6, 2017
The Law School Academic Support Blog is one of a variety of blogs that make up the Law Professor Blogs Network. Over 100 law professors serve as editors of the various topical blogs within the network. The Legal Writing Prof Blog and The Legal Skills Prof Blog are just two of the specialty blogs that might appeal to ASP/bar prep professionals. Many of the blogs in the network are on specific legal topics: appellate advocacy, contracts, environmental law, M&A to name just a few. You can check out the entire list of blogs within the network at: Law Professor Blogs.
Monday, July 31, 2017
I wrote in last week’s post of my trip to the Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD) conference in Minnesota. The conference theme focused on diversity and inclusion, which we know will also be the focus of our upcoming Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) conference in October.
My colleague, Alexa Chew, and I lead a discussion at ALWD on ways to make law schools more welcoming for everyone. We spoke about our experiences participating on our Diversity and Inclusion Task Force at UNC Law. We spoke about how allowing students to share their stories and listening to their stories can create more awareness and understanding of the diversity and inclusion problems that may be wounding your law school.
Alexa and I wrote a blog post in advance of our ALWD presentation in Jennifer Romig’s Listen Like a Lawyer blog. We wrote that most of us working at law schools want a more diverse and inclusive environment. However, many folks working in our law schools are often unaware of what our students are experiencing during their law school tenure. So, schools get into a situation where they are trying to fix or work on a "problem" that they have not identified or know little about--or worse, that they may be inadvertently contributing to.
Alexa and I provided a few suggestions that could help more folks “get in the know.” The suggestions are relatively simple and inexpensive, but they may still have a huge impact on how students feel when they walk through the doors of your law schools. I suspect many of you in the ASP world are likely already doing many of the suggestions quite well! Keep it up!!! And encourage others in your law school to follow your lead!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
There is a very interesting discussion at the Freakonomics blog (same authors as the book) about how to incentivize class attendance. I think this dovetails nicely with a question posted yesterday on the ASP listserv about laptops in class. Both attendance policies and laptops bans get at the same fundamental issue: how do professors keep students in class and engaged? I don't think there is one answer to this question, but a theme seems to run through both issues. The theme is lecture-only or lecture-from-the-book courses bore students, encourage students to miss class, and increase the use of distractions in class. I have heard over and over from doctrinal professors that the Socratic Method is not lecture-only, but as the Socratic Method is employed in many classes, students can't see the difference. This is especially true when the Socratic Method is used to question only a tiny number of students in a large class; I have heard students complain they would rather lecture-only, because questioning only a few students, who may or may not have done the reading, just increases confusion.
The comments below the post in Freaknomics make sense and pose the same questions law schools are struggling to answer.