April 3, 2006
Get Rid of Lazy Old Farts! Law Deans' Association Fights Tenure Requirement as Counterproductive to Educational Needs of Law Students
Ann Bartow (South Carolina) has posted on Feminist Law Professors a copy of a March 30 memorandum from Marina Angel (Temple) challenging the actions of The American Law Deans Association (ALDA) in contesting the ABA's authority to use its accreditation power to require tenure or long-term contracts for deans, faculty, clinical faculty, legal writing instructors, and law library directors. From ALDA's submission to the Department of Education:
Our concern is very straightforward: the ABA continues to impose requirements on the law schools it accredits that are not only extraneous to the process of "assuring the quality of [legal] education," but also that improperly intrude on institutional autonomy in seeking to dictate terms and conditions of employment. Such extraneous requirements are in fact counterproductive in that they discourage precisely the innovation and flexibility that are called for in contemporary professional education. We therefore believe that certain ABA requirements do not "effectively address the quality of the institution or its program." as required by 34 C.F.R. § 602.16(a)(1), and that the ABA has failed to demonstrate that it "maintain[s] a systematic program of review that demonstrates that its standards Are relevant to the educational or training needs of students" as required by 34 C.F.R. § 602.21(a). As such, we respectfully request that Secretary require the ABA to revise or rescind these standards prior to granting continued recognition.
ALDA objects to the ABA using its power as an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary to seek to enforce upon its accredited institutions terms and conditions of employment that are extrinsic to educational quality. Specifically, we wish to call to the Committee’s attention to Standards 205(c), the entirety of Standard 405 and 603(d), which, respectively, essentially define the terms of employment of the law school dean, faculty (including those who supervise clinical programs), legal writing instructors and the director of the institution’s law library. The referenced ABA Standards either state, or have been interpreted in the course of accreditation actions to mean, that compliance requires either the granting of tenure or incorporating a tenure-like equivalent in Personnel policies. At a minimum, it is a short step from requiring long-term contracts to mandating tenure.
The submission was made on behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Law Deans Association by:
- Saul Levmore, Dean of the University of Chicago Law School, President, ALDA
- David Van Zandt, Dean of the Northwestern University Law School, Vice-President, ALDA
- Katharine Bartlett, Dean of the Duke Law School
- James Huffman, Dean of the Lewis & Clark Law School, Treasurer, ALDA
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog which has additional information.
File under Out with the Old, In with the Immature and Inexperienced.
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