Monday, December 4, 2023
It is that time of year again. I warned students that the minute they finished digesting their Thanksgiving meal, finals would be upon us. And here they are. Here are my most often dispensed tips for tackling the time before and exams themselves:
- Make an exam plan: put your exams on your calendar and work back from them to today. Think of the tasks you need to complete between the exam and today: finishing up your outline, reading the completed outline, and doing practice questions (both multiple choice and essay for those classes that will have both). Repeat for every class, including the ones where you have a paper due instead of an exam. Plot a course to finish your course successfully.
- Engage in active rather than passive studying: reading your outline or casebook or (although ASP folks shudder to say it) a commercial outline over and over is not effective. You need to know the material certainly, but you also have to be able to use it.
- Practice Building an Answer: I tell students that the law is like the tools on Bob the Builder’s tool belt: you need to have them with you on exams (that would be memorization or in case of an open book exam, careful tabbing of the cases and statutes). But it is not enough to just drag the tools into the exam, you need to know when and how to use them-because the essay exam question is going to be a pile of wood that you need to shape into a sturdy answer. You’ll need to pull the correct law out of your tool belt and apply it correctly to build something that works. You’ll also need to know the sequence of building steps. That is part of what you need to practice before the exam.
- Prime your pump: take some time to outline your exam answers before you begin writing. I know running out of time on exams can be an issue, but the time taken to make a list, or better yet, a chart, of the issues you have spotted and how you plan to deal with them is worth it. Use this as both a framework and a checklist for writing your answer. This will keep you from straying off into tangents that are a time suck. And, as a bonus, in the event you do run out of time, you can always use what remains of the list to at least tell the grader that you spotted these issues. That can be worth a few points!
- Self-check your issue spotting: use a pencil or a highlighter to mark facts as you use them in your answer. Most of the facts in your hypo are going to be important, so a large, unmarked area indicates that you have missed an issue.
- Don’t go shopping without a list on multiple choice questions: much like going to Trader Joe’s hungry and without a shopping list, you will be anxious to find anything good among your choices on a multiple choice question and therefore fill your answer sheet with things you don’t need just because they look tempting. Stop! Don’t be tempted into choosing plausible sounding but incorrect answers as you browse the options. I actually went to Trader Joe’s today to get dog treats. I had no list, so I came home with brie, a tin of cookies, crackers, dish soap, flowers, and dog treats. Don’t be me on your exams. When you look at a multiple choice question,cover the answers, think of the answer in your head and then shop for what is on your mental list among the answers.
- Practice Multiple Choice questions from more than one source: here is a crazy idea: your professor may not write their own questions. If they don’t (or even if they do), the language on the exam may seem a bit foreign compared to the terminology you used in class. Practicing from many sources will make you fluent in the topic and able to use a larger vocabulary to understand questions and pick correct answers.
- A little anxiety is okay, but a lot is paralyzing being a little nervous is likely to help you focus and stay on task, but being extremely nervous is likely to stop you in your tracks and take up time you cannot afford to squander. Practice calming strategies as part of your studying. Work with your therapist or any other trusted person (including, always, yourself!) to think of what you will do when you are staring at a question and draw a complete panic inducing blank. Will you move on to another question? Breathe a few times? Remember your mantra (mine was always, “Brain, don’t fail me now!”).
- Have a list of 5-9 short items in your head: many studies have shown that the ideal number of items to hold in your head is 7 (plus or minus 2). Right before the exam, load your brain with 5-9 things you seem to always miss and as soon as the exam begins, dump those items onto the exam paper (or onto your computer). I always forgot to include defenses, so my list would start there.
I’d love to be able to say that exams are not important, that they don’t mean much in the scheme of life, but that would be condescending and dismissive to say to students, and essentially false. And of course, there are more tips and techniques that I share with students, but that would bring us way over the magic number.
 This will work for most types of questions, but there will always be some that require you to read all the options. Some examples of these might ask like for a “best argument”, or “all of the following are true except” types of questions…
Friday, December 1, 2023
It’s the last day of classes. There is palpable stress in the air that can only be brought on by the collective dread of law school final exams. This time of year, I always seem to reflect on my own 1L fall exams. I remember a string of late nights spent furiously editing outlines. I can also clearly remember thinking to myself, “I’ll never have time to study if I don’t finish these!” Finally, I realized something was wrong with that picture. Isn’t creating a study tool supposed to help you study?
I felt an unbelievable amount of pressure to make outlines for every class. But the outline structure made it difficult for me to see the hierarchy of concepts, to synthesize the material (to cut an anecdote about a case felt like torture and a word document is endless anyway), or frankly to even review the material in a meaningful way. My strength in learning comes from my ability to see the big picture and make connections back to that structure. Working systematically on an outline each week, when many law classes are not taught with the big picture in mind, was painful. I was behind on my outlines, not because I wasn’t working hard or was procrastinating – I was behind because the process of outlining didn’t work for me. So, I did the unthinkable. I hit delete on all my outlines.
How did I manage to succeed on my final exams after I pressed delete? I created study tools that helped me see the big picture, synthesize rules, and think about how those rules apply to new scenarios. I made the same study tools I used successfully during my undergraduate career. I called them “concept pages.” They were single sheets of paper, each dedicated to a major concept in a class. They were messy with arrows connecting ideas. They also contained clear, concise rule statements and showed how the rules connected. I could make them quickly. They improved my understanding because they acted as a series of capstones on each major concept. They aren’t for everyone, but they worked for me. And that is my point.
Over the years, when students come to me panicked about the state of their outlines (not started, WAY too long, class notes with roman numerals that mean nothing to them, etc.), or crying because they will never finish their outlines in time to study for exams, I start the same conversation. “What if you tried something else? What type of study tool did you make in college? How do you like to organize material? Flow charts? Tables? Maybe something handwritten and messy?” I have seen many students do better in law school when they stop making outlines and start making something else. What would happen if we supported students to make the study tools that work best for them? If we gave them other options from day one? If we talked about creating study tools instead of using “outlining” as a synonym for law school success?
The best study tool to create is one that best organizes the information. For some topics that might be a short, traditional outline. For other topics, a table or flow chart will work better. We should be flexible about study tools because they need to flex around the subject matter and around individual needs. I’ve stopped telling students to outline. Instead, I ask what type of study tools they are working on and how the tools are working for them. Who’s with me?
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
1. Griggs, Marsha (Washburn) and Curcio, Andrea Anne (Georgia State), Book Review, Joan Howarth, Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing, 71 J. of Legal Educ. 543 (2022).
From the abstract:
In Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing, Professor Joan Howarth issues a clarion call to the academy, the legal community, and the judiciary to reform how we license lawyers in the United States. In this book Howarth identifies the current crisis in law licensing, the history of racism that created this crisis, and the tools available to address it. Shaping the Bar challenges our entrenched notions of professional identity, and it forces us to confront vulnerabilities in attorney self-regulation. It does so in a manner that will stir even those not immersed in the current debate about law licensing. This review highlights Howarth’s explanation of how the attorney licensing system fails to protect the public by failing to assess the skills and abilities new lawyers need to competently represent clients while simultaneously unjustifiably excluding people of color and those without financial resources. The review summarizes her data-based arguments that explain how we have developed and perpetuated a system that fails the public and systematically disadvantages particular groups, and her eminently workable suggestions for how to change the system. It discusses how Howarth connects the law licensing process to legal education, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the two, and noting that as legal educators, we must accept responsibility for our part in creating, and hopefully now dismantling, this system.
2. Kincaid, Rachel (Baylor), Law Schools: Want to Help Bend the Arc of the Moral Universe Toward Justice? Hire Law Professors with Public Service Experience, __ Univ. of Richmond L. Rev. __ (forthcoming __).
From the abstract:
We are living in momentous times. Social justice and the legitimacy of our political systems are at the forefront of many people’s minds. Demands for change - sometimes revolutionary change - abound, based on myriad crises: the murders of Tyre Nichols, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor; mass incarceration and the criminalization of poverty; the bungled response to COVID-19 and resulting economic precarity of many across the globe; threats to our democratic institutions and educational institutions at home and abroad; the erosion of reproductive rights, the environment, and tribal sovereignty; attacks on LGBTQIA+ people and their rights; and persistent and devastating levels of gun violence, to name a few. During momentous times like these, law schools can and should make a difference. But how we do that is a more complex question. Is it only through career services offices that encourage students to pursue careers fighting for social justice? Or do professors, even ones in required doctrinal courses, have a role to play in transforming our society? In this article, I argue the latter. And I argue that one way law schools can ensure that their professors are equal partners in this fight for social justice is by hiring law professors with experience in public service (more than just a year or two clerking). Doing so requires evaluating the law professor hiring process, both in fact and in the way we talk about it. But if my suggested interventions are adopted, I think law schools can ensure that the legal community contributes to the revolutions and reforms necessary to meet the demands of these momentous times.
[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]
Monday, November 27, 2023
Lately, a list-serv I have subscribed to has been a hotbed of political group-wide emails. It is not a political list-serv, so this volley is something of a surprise. The emails are about the war between Israel and Hamas-and they have been ugly. Am I a coward for not engaging in the group email chain but rather writing about it in a blog entry? Perhaps, but I contend that the professionals (that I suppose I can call colleagues) on this list-serv are engaging in behavior that they are absolutely free to engage in but is also demeaning and chilling. One thing some posters on the list do is launch personal attacks. Others basically argue that if you do not agree with them, it is because you are ignorant and uneducated about the subject area, so they offer a lot of links--some from questionable sources-and one, in a total twist of fate, written by my sister-in-law (a reputable source!). The same email accusing people of being essentially unintelligent is signed, “Yours in Solidarity…” Um, I am not going to actually agree with you that I am an imbecile because I don’t see things exactly as you do, so that’s a big nope on the solidarity.
Some of these posters could learn a lot from Academic Support folks about how to be collegial. That is why I am thankful this year for the amazing community of ASP folks who are the champions:
- We share well. ASP conferences are the best because we share everything. We share materials, techniques, statistics, joy, triumph, frustrations, and passion.
- We care about each other. I have had more people in this community inquire about my family in Israel than I ever anticipated. It actually brought me to tears.
- We care about our students. We always use the possessive when we talk about them-they belong to us and while we cannot help every single student, we would if we could (and they came to office hours, just saying).
- We celebrate and uplift each other’s work. Think of the work Louis does on this blog every Tuesday to announce recent scholarship-and that is just one example of how we amplify the community.
- We respect each other. We would never call each other names or require acquiescence to be deserving of solidarity.
- We are family. We know each other. We welcome newcomers with offers of help and materials.
- And even if you don’t agree with the above points, I still think the world of you and your intelligence and accomplishments.
Happy end of classes!
Sunday, November 26, 2023
I am delighted to announce Ashley Cetnar from the University of Idaho will join us as a contributing editor. She will primarily post on Fridays. Ashley Cetnar joined the University of Idaho in August 2021. She received her B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Michigan in 2007. In 2010, she earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law, graduating with honors. She is also an active member of the Florida Bar.
Prior to joining the law school faculty for the 2021-2022 academic year, Professor Cetnar gained extensive experience in academic success and bar preparation as an Instructor of Law & Assistant Director of Academic Success at Stetson University College of Law. There, she worked with students to ensure they developed the skills necessary to succeed in law school and on the bar exam. She has been teaching students in bar-skills courses since 2016 and advising law students since 2015. Now, she looks forward to using her experience to support University of Idaho students in the pursuit of their educational and professional goals.
Sunday, November 19, 2023
Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law (“LMU Law”) in Knoxville, Tennessee seeks
to hire a Director of Bar Success to begin no later than July 1, 2024. LMU Law’s Academic and
Bar Success Program is designed to benefit all students by enabling them to succeed
throughout law school, preparing them to pass the bar exam, and equipping them to practice
law at the highest levels. As one of five full-time faculty members in the department, the faculty
member will teach courses designed to introduce, reinforce, and develop skills to enable
students to be successful on the bar exam. The Director will also coordinate LMU Law’s
supplemental bar preparation programming for its graduates; work collaboratively with other
faculty; work with students one-on-one to provide individualized instruction and coaching; and
mentor students and graduates.
This is a non-tenure-track faculty appointment with a presumptively renewable twelve-month
contract. Because the Director will coordinate LMU Law’s supplemental program for the July
bar exam each year, he or she is eligible to receive course release in the fall or spring semester
every other year. The position includes future eligibility to apply for a long-term contract and
governance rights as to all matters except hiring and promotion of tenured and tenure-track
faculty. For a lateral candidate who has already established a strong record of scholarship, a
tenure-track appointment may be an option.
LMU Law has an institutional partnership with a national bar preparation company and
otherwise provides significant resources for academic and bar success. The faculty and
administration welcome innovative and data-based approaches to bar preparation. The
Director will join a collaborative faculty that values the contributions of Academic and Bar
Success faculty members. The faculty have already made curricular changes in anticipation of
changes in the bar exam and anticipate working with the Director to improve student learning
Requirements for the position include a J.D. degree; prior experience teaching in a law school
bar preparation program or working with law school graduates to improve their bar exam
performance; bar membership in any U.S. jurisdiction (can be inactive); demonstrated ability to
devise, coordinate, and implement innovative programming; effective presentation skills in
both small-group and large-class settings; knowledge of learning and teaching strategies for law
students; experience working with, and demonstrated commitment to supporting, diverse
populations; and commitment to LMU Law’s mission. The preferred candidate will have prior
experience coordinating a law school’s bar preparation program; practical legal experience; a
personal record of strong academic achievement; experience preparing students and graduates
for the Uniform Bar Exam; and/or experience or demonstrated interest in data collection, data
management, and basic statistics.
LMU Law is fully accredited by the ABA and has both full-time residential and part-time/hybrid
programs. We are a student-centered institution with the mission of improving access to the
legal profession and legal services in Southern Appalachia and other underserved regions. LMU
Law has a rigorous, practice-focused curriculum that is designed to emphasize student learning
outcomes and ensure that students have the knowledge and skills needed to make positive
contributions to their communities as lawyers and leaders.
In line with our commitment to diversity, we strongly encourage applications from people of
color, women, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, veterans, and others who can
enhance our faculty, curricular, and program diversity through unique life experiences,
viewpoints, or philosophies.
Our law school is located in the heart of Knoxville, Tennessee, a city that offers a fusion of
vibrant city life, stunning natural beauty, and a rich historical and cultural scene, complemented
by the backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Interested applicants should contact Professor Syd Beckman, Chair of the Faculty Recruitment
Committee, at [email protected]. For more information about LMU Law, see
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Widener University Delaware Law School invites applications for an Associate Director of Bar Pass Programs. Reporting to the Director of Bar Pass Programs, this twelve-month, administrative position will work closely with the Director, faculty and administration to develop and implement programs to help students and alumni pass the bar examination and acquire the skills and abilities required to achieve success. Apply here.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES (including, but not limited to):
- Deliver programming for bar exam success for all students throughout their studies to maximize bar passage
- Collaborate with the Director of Bar Pass Programs to develop and revise programming for bar exam success
- Engage in student mentoring related to bar exam performance and strategies for success
- Advise students on the bar application process, including timelines and requirements
- Mentor repeat bar examinees in their exam preparation and advising them on best practices for repeating the bar exam
- Implement academic success programming and courses under guidance from the Directors of Academic Success
- Provide individual feedback and assessment to help students improve academic performance, study skills, and bar exam preparation
- Create and facilitate workshops to help students improve academic performance, study skills, and bar exam preparation
- Teach Bar Exam Success, Writing Effectively for the Bar, and other courses based on curricular needs
- Compile and analyze bar examination data relating to graduates’ performance and recommend changes to address weaknesses
- Track and mentor students during the commercial bar review periods
- Coordinate and host an in-person simulated bar exam for students during bar review
- Other duties as assigned
MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS (education/training and experience required):
- J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school, and membership in a state bar with successful completion of a state bar examination
- Excellent project management skills, organizational skills with attention to detail, oral and written communication and interpersonal skills, and a strong service commitment
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office
- Demonstrated ability to build relationships
- Works closely with the Academic Success Program Directors, helping to implement academic success programming and courses
- Evaluate and facilitate collaborative discussions with administration, faculty and students; lead efforts on data collection and assessment.
- Performing other duties as assigned.
- The successful candidate will have law school professional experience, preferably in the context of a law school bar support or academic success program, and a record of strong academic performance in law school. Experience in the practice of law is also preferred.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND/OR UNUSUAL HOURS:
- Position requires some evening teaching availability, up to 3 nights a week, depending on the semester
- Availability for exam proctoring, which may occasionally fall on a weekend.
- Ability to lift 20 lbs
All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Widener University is committed to fostering an inclusive community in which faculty, staff, and students from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and personal experiences are welcomed and can thrive. We are an equal opportunity employer and are committed to providing equal educational and employment opportunities for all persons without regard to age, color, national origin, race, religion, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or status as a protected veteran.
Widener University, an independent, metropolitan, doctoral-intensive university, connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention and experiential learning are key components of the Widener Experience. Located in Chester, PA, Widener's main campus is nestled between Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE, with Law Schools located in both Harrisburg and Wilmington. For more information about the university, please visit our website at www.widener.edu.
Friday, November 17, 2023
Please join us in White Plains, NY for the annual North East Consortium of Academic Support Professionals conference. December 15, 2023 from 11:00-3:00 ET.
This year's program is entitled ASP Expanding our Reach: Are We Reaching Out and Are We Reachable? We have an amazing line-up of presenters and are excited to spend the day sharing ideas both in-person and virtually.
The conference will be hosted in person at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. However we will also have a zoom option for those who cannot travel to NY.
There is no registration fee but we ask that you please register (whether coming in person or virtually) using this link so that we can adequately prepare.
We are reserving a block of rooms at Sonesta White Plains Downtown and will share hotel information with registrants next week.
We look forward to seeing many of you next month!
Danielle, Stephen, Erica, and Liz
Sunday, November 12, 2023
The Director of Academic Success creates programming and provides support to law students to help them set and reach their academic goals throughout their three years at Drake Law School and the bar exam. The role works individually with any Drake Law student seeking to improve study skills, to identify problems interfering with academic performance, and to provide guidance and recommendations for future academic success. The role also teaches two academic success-focused classes and coordinates larger-scale programming to help law students reach their potential, including Integrated Study Group (ISG) for first-year students and Bulldog Bar Prep for alumni studying for the bar.
The Director of Academic Success serves as an administrative staff member on the Student Services team. The role reports to the Assistant Dean for Student Services.
The Director of Academic Success must demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a strong ability to direct and implement student support functions.
The Director of Academic Success will have the proven ability to communicate clearly, manage multiple deadlines, and engage with students from all backgrounds. The Director of Academic Success will develop and execute intentional, high impact student services experiences and create a positive culture of student success in the Law School.
• J.D. degree and successful passage of the bar exam
• Experience related to advising students or clients through high-stress, high-stakes situations
• Superior organizational, communication, and relationship management skills
• Excellent problem-solving and analytical skills
• Demonstrable ability to lead, supervise, and direct student employees and to work as a team with staff at all levels in the accomplishment of goals and objectives
• Ability to gain understanding and proficiency with technologies used in student services
• Experience with teaching
• Experience with providing meaningful feedback to improve academic skills
• Creative and innovative mindset for pursuing an effective strategy to serve an ever-evolving student population
• Experience achieving goals both through self-directed projects and while leading a team
• Strong judgment, decision-making capabilities, and problem-solving skills
• Excellent oral and written presentation skills
• Experience with Starfish or other student management programs
• Candidate should be able to work independently with technology and be proficient in the use of Microsoft Office programs including Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint as well as Zoom and other communication tools
Bar Exam Support Functions (20%): Coordinate the bar exam preparation program. Provide individual support for at-risk first-time bar examinees, including, meeting regularly, developing customized study plans and strategies, developing and assigning targeted practice exercises, and providing individual analysis and feedback to support preparation for the bar exam. Coordinate the Bulldog Bar Preparation program for alumni. Maintain contact with at-risk bar examinees (first time and repeaters) over the "bar preparation season" (February and July administrations) to provide support, encouragement, and assistance. Provide regular reports analyzing bar exam results, bar support activities, and student outcomes. - (Essential)
Academic Support Functions (20%): Coordinate academic success programming. Continually evaluate student performance, identifying which students appear to be struggling or at-risk; initiate and maintain contact with those who are at-risk or on probation. Provide intensive individual academic counseling to assigned students and advise them on various academic issues. Advise and approve course selections for students below an established GPA with the goal of providing a balanced legal education that aims to improve students' success in law school and on the bar exam. - (Essential)
Teach Bar Preparation Course (Fall and Spring) (15%) - (Essential)
Teach Principles of Legal Analysis Course, in partnership with Assistant Dean for Student Services (Spring) (15%) - (Essential)
Integrated Study Group (ISB) Program (15%): Maintain responsibility for training ISG Leaders. Develop curriculum and direction of the ISG program. Coordinate with relevant faculty to develop curriculum for the program. Direct and implement the practice exam program. - (Essential)
Data Analysis (5%): Analyze law school data and stay current on current trends and best practices in the area of academic success and bar pass, including structural changes to the bar exam and responsive curricular changes. Analyze graduate bar-passage data from all U.S. jurisdictions. Provide periodic internal reports on metrics and progress toward achieving goals for bar passage and academic success to the Law School’s faculty and staff. Research and implement the most current best practices for bar and academic success. Stay abreast of trends in the academic and bar-support fields. Stay current with ABA regulations and bar-admission requirements. - (Essential)
Equity & Inclusion (5%): Support equity and inclusion initiatives and serve as a resource for Law School’s diverse students. - (Essential)
Academic Advising (5%): Serve as academic advisor for an assigned list of students, including a portion of the students on special academic status and academic probation. - (Essential)
Salary & Benefits
The salary is competitive and will be commensurate with the experiences of the selected candidate.
Drake University offers a competitive benefits package including health, dental, vision, life and disability coverages, flexible spending accounts, retirement plan options and generous time off. Drake University also offers significant higher education cost savings for employees, their partners/spouses, and dependent children through our tuition waiver and tuition exchange programs.
Special Instructions to Applicants:
Interested candidates will be asked to complete the Employment Application. Please attach a current resume/CV and cover letter. Successful candidates must complete the background and reference check process.
If you have any questions about this position, the application process, or working at Drake, please contact us at [email protected]. We are happy to assist you.
Review of Applications Begins:
A review of applications will begin immediately. This position will remain open until filled. Apply here.
This position will provide support to law students (day and evening), beginning in their first year, on study skills, critical and analytical thinking, exam strategies, time management techniques, and prepares students and graduates for the bar exam. The Specialist will conduct workshops as well as review and provide critical and constructive feedback on exercises and practice exams. The Specialist will also spend a significant time providing academic advising and counseling with a diverse range of students.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Collaborate with the Academic Achievement Team to develop the curriculum for the lL Expert Learning courses
- Collaborate with the Academic Achievement Team to develop the curriculum for the bar preparation courses
- Work directly with recent graduates in the bar preparation program
- Counsel and assist law students and graduates on law school and bar exam success. Many of our students are from diverse backgrounds and are first generation law students
- Review and provide meaningful feedback on practice exams and other formative assessment exercises submitted by law students and graduates
- Stay abreast and regularly update the deans and faculty of best practices and trends in law school academic support and bar preparation programs
- Communicate and coordinate with and stay abreast of the recent trends in commercial bar review programs
- Plan, assign and review work of staff to ensure that group objectives are met
- Hire, train, develop and manage staff to ensure that a qualified staff exists to meet group objectives
- Cross train the Academic Achievement Team on best practices for reviewing assessment results
- Perform other related duties and participate in special projects as assigned
- A J.D. degree from an ABA-approved law school is required.
- Admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction
- Ability to work in a multicultural environment; strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Works collaboratively with members of a professional team
- Excellent and patient listener
- Interacts with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
- Diagnoses student challenges with a holistic approach
- Familiarity with psychological barriers that affect student performance;
- Optimistic and positive outlook
- Creative and innovative problem solver
- Effective verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills
- Manage time efficiently to handle multiple tasks
- Strong technology skills in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
For fullest consideration, apply online https://jobs.uic.edu by the listed closing date. Include (upload) a .pdf copy of your letter of intent, current CV/resume, and the names of 3 references.
Friday, November 10, 2023
Attorney licensure may have just experienced a massive shift in practice, and the shift was not from NextGen. Oregon approved an alternative pathway to licensure that could provide the framework for other states to shift away from standardized testing. You can read the brief release here.
Debate will ensue regarding the ability of this exam to measure competence. Whether it works or not, I applaud Oregon for attempting to find a way to measure competence without using bubble sheets. I also applaud everyone who worked on the proposal, lobbied for change (some within our community), and continue to advocate both for students and minimum competence. Keep up the good work.
Monday, November 6, 2023
Last night I had a dream that while I sat in a committee meeting, an airplane flew into the building next door. I could see the tail of the plane from the giant window as well as a second smaller plane coming up behind it to do the same. For the record, the building in my dream isn’t next door and in fact there are no giant buildings adjacent to the law school. I woke up thinking two things: 1. I attend way too many meetings, and 2. the scariness of the world is triggering some 9/11 memories for me. These are fraught times.
I am Jewish, possibly the only female Jewish faculty member at my law school and certainly one of very few if there are any others. I have family and friends in Israel. I have friends and students who have family in Gaza. I am of two hearts in this and since I am trained as a lawyer, I will try to explain it in an analogy.
I think my big feelings about the initial attack and response attacks is analogous to wearing a giant hoop skirt of emotion. It hinders my movement and makes it hard to get around things and other people who are wearing their own crinolines of thoughts. It also makes it easier to bump into and step on others as well. And that means that I am also oversensing things that bump into or step on mine. I spend a lot of intellectual capital on parsing out what is and what is not antisemitism-in other words, has someone actually stepped on my skirt or just bumped into it inadvertently? Similarly, I don’t want my apparel to hinder students, or make them uncomfortable in class, or in the halls, or really anywhere in our school. I see their silhouettes in my office, on line, and in class.
I finally took some action to trim my attire. I called in the best expert I could find: our University Chaplain. Our Chaplain is neither Jewish nor Muslim, but like the character Mother Ginger in the Nutcracker, she has room under her giant skirt for all of us and offered me some good talking points for hard conversations. Most of all, she reminded me that it is very easy to take offense to postings on line, but very difficult to not see the humanity in everyone when in person. I need to trim myself back to my personhood and not my membership in any particular group. I think I may still have a bit of a train drifting behind me, but it is much more manageable.
It is hard to be academically successful while wearing the hoop skirt. It is distracting at best, and a hinderance at worst. Academic Support should be a safe place for students to be welcomed for who they are and not what they are perceived as. Last Thursday I met with one of my students who is anxious about their family in Gaza. I’d love to say we laughed, we cried, we hugged, but we didn’t. We hung up our protective attire for more than a few minutes and talked about law school after acknowledging that the awkwardness we felt wasn’t going to stop us from doing the work that needed to be done. I told them that I was concerned for my family, I was concerned for their family, but most importantly, I was concerned for them. What else is there?
 I am not a particularly religious person, but I felt alone, and I thought she would be a neutral and kind person to chat with-and she was indeed that.
 Yes, I may have taken the hoop skirt too far, but here is a cite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nutcracker#Roles
Monday, October 30, 2023
Request for Proposals: Presentations and Scholarly “Works in Progress”
Northeast Consortium of Academic Support Professionals (NECASP) Conference
Friday, December 15, 2023, 11am-3pm ET, in-person and via Zoom
Hosted by the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
NECASP will be holding its annual one-day conference this December. We are excited to return to an in-person conference this year, although we will still be including a remote option to accommodate those participants and presenters unable to travel to New York. Our topic this year is ASP Expanding our Reach: Are We Reaching Out and Are We Reachable?
Description: In order to adjust to the ever-changing needs of our students, it’s imperative we do a yearly audit of our messaging and our services to our students. So, this year, let’s get together (in person!!!) to discuss ways we can ensure we are reaching out to all of our students consistently and make sure we are accessible to them.
We welcome a broad range of proposals –from presenters in the Northeast region and beyond –and at various stages of completion –from idea to fruition. Please note that we may ask you to co-present with other ASP colleagues depending on the number of proposals selected. Our conference will be in-person on the Pace Law campus in White Plains, NY; however, we will have a Zoom option and will consider proposals from both in-person and remote attendees. If you wish to present, the proposal process is as follows:
- Submit your proposal by NOVEMBER 3, 2023, via email to Danielle Kocal at [email protected]
- Proposals may be submitted as a Word document or as a PDF
- Proposals must include the following:
- Name and title of presenter
b. Law School
c. Address, email address, and telephone number for presenter
e. If a scholarly work in progress, an abstract no more than 500 words
- Whether you will be attending in-person or remotely
g. Media or computer presentation needs
- As noted above, proposals are due on October 27, 2023. The NECASP Board will review the proposals and reply to each by November 17, 2023.
If you have any questions about your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact one of us, and we look forward to seeing you at our conference!
Information such as hotel blocks and zoom links will be forthcoming. As always, there is no fee to attend this conference.
2023-24 NECASP Board Members
Chair: Danielle Kocal, Director of Academic Success The Elizabeth Haub School of Law / Pace University, [email protected]
Vice Chair: Erica Sylvia, Assistant Director of Bar Success & Adjunct Professor of LawUniversity of Massachusetts School of Law, [email protected]
Treasurer: Stephen Iannacone, Director of Academic Success, Cardozo Law, [email protected]
Secretary: Elizabeth Stillman, Associate Professor of Academic Support, Suffolk University, [email protected]
Sunday, October 29, 2023
Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, seeks to hire three full-time, tenure-track faculty members to begin July 1, 2024 at the Assistant Professor level. Our primary needs are Academic Success, Civil Procedure, Legal Methods, Property Law and an Environmental Law Clinic Director. In addition, we have needs in other areas, including: Criminal Law, Evidence, and Law & Technology/Intellectual Property. Qualified candidates will have strong academic credentials, including at least a J.D. degree or its equivalent. Candidates should demonstrate evidence of and potential for innovative and impactful teaching, scholarship, and service to the Law School, the University, and the legal profession.
In its sixth decade, Delaware Law School is ABA-accredited and the first law school in the nation's First State of Delaware. It has civic-minded students and staff and a top-notch faculty featuring some of the most highly regarded teachers, legal scholars, and social change agents in the nation. The large corporate community in Delaware and the varieties of legal practice opportunities in neighboring Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland offer students an unusually rich array of opportunities for experiential learning through internships and externships, a public interest law center, and numerous clinical programs.
Wilmington and the State of Delaware are great places to live, work and visit. In 2023, Outside Magazine named Wilmington as one of the 15 happiest places to live in the U.S. and Conde Nast named Wilmington one of the nation's best places to visit. Livability.com has named Wilmington as one the nation's top 100 places to live, and Travel & Leisure named Delaware as one the best places to retire.
Applicants are invited to submit a cover letter, CV, and three references at:
Saturday, October 28, 2023
Friday, October 27, 2023
THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY J. DAVID ROSENBERG COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications for the position of Director of Academic Enhancement and Bar Success Program. The positon is a full-time, 12-month, non-tenure-track faculty position. Depending on experience, a successful candidate will be hired as an Assistant or Associate Clinical Professor in the Clinical Title Series.
Qualified candidates must have a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school and have successfully passed a bar exam in a U.S. jurisdiction. In addition, at least four years of law practice experience or teaching experience (or a combination) is required. Supervisory or managerial experience is preferred. Required knowledge, skills, and abilities for this position include:
• Excellent communication, writing, and analytical skills
• A commitment to developing inclusive teaching practices that engage students from diverse backgrounds.
• Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work effectively with a range of constituencies.
• A recognition of the need to properly protect and disseminate confidential and sensitive information.
• Proficiency in program planning, implementation, and assessment skills, including compiling and analyzing data for statistical analysis.
Essential functions of the position include:
• Administer a program of academic excellence and support benefittng all law students, especially those students in their first and second year of study, building off our current successful programming.
• Facilitate workshops in the fall and spring semesters for 1L students.
• Advising and coaching students on an individual basis
• Work closely with other faculty members to provide comprehensive instruction and support including assisting the Assistant Dean of Student Services with 1L Orientation.
• Design and teach courses that introduce, reinforce, and develop analytical, reasoning, writing, and other critical skills to enable students to be successful in all years of law school and beyond.
• Advise faculty on topics such as providing helpful feedback, academic advising, bar coaching, and integration of skills and learning strategies into academic coursework and co-curricular efforts.
• Oversee the Bar Support Program including developing and teaching the bar success courses, supervising additional bar success course instructors as needed to ensure sufficient coverage; coach and support individual students during bar preparation leading up to the exams; design and implement a workshop series for all law students on topics related to the bar, including preparing for the UBE, an overview of the application process/informational session with the Kentucky Office of Bar Examiners and bar skills workshops on the MPRE, MPT, MEE, MBE , and NextGen bar exam.
• Oversee the relevant program budget(s).
• In addition, other duties consistent with the overall goals of the Law School, including, but not limited to, serving on law school committees, and teaching other legal writing and/or skills courses that support the law school curriculum, as needed.
To receive consideration for this position, applicants must apply through the University of Kentucky’s Integrated Employment System at [htps://ukjobs.uky.edu/postings/487516] where they can submit a leter of application and resume. Please send any questions to Faculty Appointments Commitee Chair Associate Dean Jennifer Bird-Pollan, [email protected], or by mail at the University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law, 620 South Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40506-0048.
The University of Kentucky provides a range of employee benefits to its faculty. There are several healthcare plans available. Faculty are also eligible to participate in the University's retirement plan. Essentially, the University will deduct five percent of your salary and contribute it to the plan of your choice (among several investment alternatives), and the University contributes an additional ten percent to the plan. Several other insurance policies are available to faculty members. We can help you obtain further information on these benefits from Human Resources, or you can go to their website for additional information (htps://hr.uky.edu/employment/working-uk/our-benefits).
The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity University that values diversity and inclusion. Individuals with disabilities, individuals from minoritized populations, veterans, women, and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
1. Murray, Michael D. (Kentucky), Artificial Intelligence for Academic Support in Law Schools and Universities (SSRN, September 6, 2023).
From the Abstract:
The current models of verbal generative artificial intelligence (AI)—Bing Chat, GPT-4 and Chat GPT, Bard, Claude, and others, and the current models of visual generative AI—DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and others—can play a significant role in academic support in law schools and universities. Generative AI can help a student learn and understand material better, more deeply, and notably faster than traditional means of reading, rereading, notetaking, and outlining. AI can explain, elaborate on, and summarize course material. It can write and administer formative assessments, and, if desired, it can write self-guided summative evaluations and grade them. AI can translate material into and from foreign languages with a fidelity to context, usage, and nuances of meaning not previously seen in machine learning or neural network translation services. AI also can visualize material using the tools of visual generative AI that literally paint pictures of the subjects and situations in the material that can overcome students’ literacy issues both in the native language of the communication and in the students’ own native languages.
Beyond supporting student learning and academic success, AI can be a democratizing force because it can empower students to begin writing or drawing or painting at a level that their own life experiences and education have not prepared them or enabled them to participate in. AI can empower students to perform creative, artistic, or literary activities related to legal education and law practice at a high level, catching them up to where other classmates would start. First-generation college-goers and graduate students can use the collective knowledge of a large language model to bring themselves to a higher starting point in the process of gaining admission to and finding success in legal education and ultimately in the practice of law.
The current text-based generative AI models in the form of Microsoft’s BingChat, Goggle’s Bard, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and traditional methods of tutoring and academic support. It does so through the multimodal nature of its skills: AI can explain, elaborate on, and summarize course material; it can interpret, translate, visualize, or reorder parts of the material. AI can evaluate and correct the grammar, spelling, syntax, and style of a piece of student writing, a task which campus writing centers often avoid for pedagogical reasons or simply logistical and resource-driven reasons. AI has become a master translator moving easily from communications in one language and converting them into many languages, and at the same time monitor the grammar, spelling, syntax, and style of the translated work for fidelity of usage in the target language. At the farther reaches, AI can communicate to illiterate and less than fully literate students because several of the current AIs or their close corporate cousins speak the language of images (i.e., visual communication) by generating visuals to illustrate, depict, diagram, or graph a concept. AIs can deliver the gold-standard level of one-on-one, personalized attention for tutoring and support.
Naturally, with this amount of power placed in the hands of faculty and administrators wielding AI tools, there is a commensurate amount of responsibility to use the AI professionally, equitably, and ethically. AI chat bots may sound human and exhibit a noticeable personality, but they are not persons, they are tools. The writing of AI sounds very intelligent, but that is not because the AI itself is highly intelligent, but rather the AI has assimilated and synthesized the intelligent words of tens of thousands of intelligent writers and generated text that appears equally intelligent. But the AI does not think. It does not reason. It does not replace thinking for our students. AI merely has the extraordinary capacity to simulate the output of a reasonable, thinking person. Yet, AI can also assimilate lies, biased content, hate speech, and harmful language and synthesize and generate similar content without discriminating the good and the true from the bad and the harmful. Current textual generative AIs are trained on a large language models that did not evaluate their source material for truth or bias, or fairness or hatefulness, in gathering as much data as possible for the AI to work with. Volume of material was the operating criteria for building large language models, not truth, justice, equity, and inclusion. At the same time, AI has the capacity to collect and run through personal and biometric data, again without thinking because AI does not think. This is an important part of the use experience of these models, and one that needs to be communicated to users who would turn to the AI for truth and correction on a wide range of deeply important topics.
2. Deo, Meera E., A CRT Assessment of Law Student Needs (and Accompanying Fact Sheet), 125:5 Teachers College Record 1 (2023).
From the Abstract:
Law students of color have been struggling to recover from the heightened challenges they endured during the pandemic. Struggles with food insecurity, financial anxiety, and emotional strain contribute to declining academic success for populations that were marginalized on law school campuses long before COVID. Legislative support is necessary to support students through this era so they can maximize their full potential. The article draws on data from the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) to understand law students’ challenges during COVID and consider ways that administrators, legislators, and others can ameliorate their struggles. The article concludes with recommendations for both institutional and legislative solutions to the identified student struggles. Law schools must allocate greater resources to student needs that range from mental health counseling to academic support—and only after first identifying the unique challenges facing women of color and other students traditionally left at the margins. Legislators must recognize that law students, while privileged in many ways, nevertheless need ongoing support to meet their basic needs; they should consider expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to cover law students, providing more financial aid and loan forgiveness, and prioritizing rental assistance so that law students can focus on their academic success and reach their full potential as attorneys.
Posted by: Louis Schulze, FIU Law
When I began teaching in the ASP field in 2007, the most common academic support method involved schools stationing a person in an office near areas frequented by students. This method sought to capture “walk-ins” when students randomly ventured past the office and realized that a chat with the ASP designate would be helpful. Although many in the field also met with individual at-risk students regularly, that was a tricky task because most schools lacked formal mechanisms to require or strongly compel at-risk students to participate.
But the field has moved towards a more classroom-based model, with support courses taught by instructors and supplemented with individual meetings.1 Despite this, vestigial assumptions about the nature of academic support linger, and performance evaluations sometimes anachronistically focus on the degree to which the ASP faculty member’s office is open and bustling with walk-in business. This assumption about the necessity of face time ignores the reality that remote academic support has many benefits.
First, institutionally prohibiting remote academic support and presuming that ASP faculty should focus on walk-ins risks watering down effectiveness. While being available to all students is important, ASP effectiveness needs to be efficient if law schools need the program to “move the needle.” Spending hours with the student destined for law review, who already has the self-regulation skills to make use of every available resource, means spending fewer hours with truly at-risk students. Using remote work by appointment to cordon off time for at-risk students allows academic support faculty to focus more on those needing the help.
Second, the misunderstanding of ASP methods means that those in the field must be in the office, at best, five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Because so much of ASP work happens outside those hours, with (very) late-night phone calls during bar prep season not uncommon, requiring ASP face time makes a 60-70+ hour a week job even more taxing, ensuring burnout and turnover.
Third, remote academic support helps preserve at-risk students’ privacy. Because few law schools provide faculty with BigLaw partner-sized offices, meeting semi-privately with struggling students risks putting them in the awkward situation of being spotted by passers-by. This drives students away and hinders intervention. Because closing the office door is not a wise practice, a Zoom meeting allows students to position themselves in a place where the conversation can be truly private. Although there are ways to mitigate or eliminate this problem in an in-person setting, remote meetings can be a tool for accomplishing this, too.
Fourth, remote meetings allow scheduling flexibility that makes academic support more, not less, available to struggling students. If the in-person 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. model is required, meeting with many students simply is not possible. Part-time students with jobs often cannot meet until after 5 p.m., and meeting in person with, say, 10 such students a week in the office leaves the academic support faculty member working 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. in-office hours (at best) five days a week. By contrast, remote meetings open availability to busy students who might otherwise not be available for support.
Lastly, remote academic support has pedagogical benefits. Most of my student meetings entail giving feedback to individual students on the exam-like essays they write for my courses required for students in the bottom 20% of the class. This means going through the essay line-by-line pointing out analytical strengths and weaknesses. Using Zoom, I can mark up the essay with comments in advance, share that Word doc on Zoom, and go through the comments as both the student and I have our eyes on the same document. Using the “cognitive think-aloud”2 teaching method, I can edit the paper in front of the student live, delete analytically weaker portions, and replace them with stronger points as the student observes. Then, I can encourage the student to chime in and contribute to the live reconstruction of the analysis. While the in-person version of this is certainly viable, I have found that the Zoom approach has its benefits.
None of this is to say that academic support should be entirely remote. Establishing in-person rapport and trust with at-risk students is key to creating a relationship that fosters student success. But regular remote work is both feasible and desirable. At a time when so many excellent academic support faculty are leaving the field due to burnout, and the ratio of advertised positions to available candidates makes hiring nearly impossible, retaining talented ASP faculty is crucial. Law schools can foster a more humane work environment by encouraging ASP faculty to work remotely two or three times a week. Doing so will allow schools to attract and retain ASP faculty candidates who can serve their students well.
Louis Schulze, FIU Law
1 I do not mean to suggest that the "walk-in" model is necessarily bad. For some schools, relying solely on this method is a good fit, primarily those with low academic dismissal rates and strong bar passage. But schools that academically dismiss more than a small handful of students or whose bar pass rates are not optimal should likely employ more proactive measures to support their students instead of or in addition to the "walk-in" model.
2 Cognitive think-aloud protocols "involve the teacher vocalizing the internal thinking that they employ when engaged in literacy practices or other areas of learning."
Monday, October 23, 2023
There are a number of sources of the phrase, "once around the park and home," according to the Urban Dictionary.1 I prefer to think it comes from an old Tony Bennett song: Please Driver (Once Around the Park Again).2 The song is sung from the point of view of a man who has been dumped and is longing for his usual company around the park. As Bennett says, "The trees tonight are snowy white. We drove around like this till dawn last New Years Eve."3 But let's be clear: driving around a park is a loop, you are not going to get anywhere new driving in circles, but you will take in the view.
Just now, I met with a student who came in to chat about their (ungraded) property midterm and wanted me to take a look before the peer review occurred in the next property class. Luckily there was a grading rubric and a copy of the question for me to follow along with-it has been a good long while since I took property. As I looked over what the professor was looking for and what the student had produced, I saw a large gap. The student had essentially spotted the issues and came to a correct (per the rubric) conclusion about each one but had not (with maybe two exceptions) mentioned any law or used the facts they were given to reach the conclusions. They explained that they were only hoping to get the "correct answer" to each question. I gently pointed out that instead of IRAC, they had used IC-and that was only because I gave them credit for stating an issue because they had resolved it. On the rubric, 2 points were to each I, R, and C per question, but there were 4-6 points assigned for the analysis-and rightfully so. Based on what I saw, they had scored badly.
They were adamant that they knew the material. I agreed that it was more an output rather than input issue (putting law in students' heads is a different thing altogether), but unlike undergraduate exams (and ironically more like 7th grade geometry), they needed to show their work. On the one hand, I could see (but not really assume) that the student understood the class because they reached the correct conclusion, however, since all of our 1L exams are graded anonymously, their property professor would just be surprised entering the poor exam grade and could not know whose exam it was until that moment. On the other hand, it would be a shame to get an unsatisfactory grade on the exam despite knowing the material. It was a question of showing the work, contextualizing the conclusions by analyzing fact and law together, and just taking a minute to slow down and admire the scenery of IRAC as a format.
I showed the student the picture below (I took it this morning on the way to a haircut) and asked if they had ever taken a drive to look at the foliage (it is a very New England thing to do) and they said they had. I asked them where did you end up when you did that? What was your final destination? They couldn't recall but agreed that the drive was worthwhile. I made my "teachable moment noise"-which I can only assume is extremely annoying but unavoidable (sorry-not sorry). I told them that this is mainly the idea of law school essay exams: you need to state the route (issue), take the best road (rule), and look for the reasons you have taken the trip (analysis). And where you end up is not nearly as important as the road you took and what you saw along the way (the good and the bad). Getting from point A to point B without taking a detour into the rule and analysis is efficient but will leave you at point C (as a grade).
In other words, the "correct answer" is the journey.
- Urban Dictionary: Home James
- 1954 HITS ARCHIVE: Please Driver (Once Around The Park Again) - Tony Bennett - YouTube,
- Id. I mean who does not love Tony Bennett?