Sunday, April 18, 2021
The semester is nearing the end. Most students are in finals study mode, so I want to provide a few pieces of studying advice.
- Create a good study calendar. The calendar focuses on what you will study on which days. Start with putting your final exams on the appropriate days. Then, work backwards to today adding in what classes you will study each day.
- Create a good daily/hourly schedule. The next schedule to create is an hourly schedule for each day. When will you wake up, work out, study, have lunch, etc. The more you write down, the more efficient you will be with your time.
- Utilize ACTIVE studying techniques. Re-reading an outline for the 5th time probably won't help you remember the material. Test whether you understand and can recall the material by:
- Trying to recite the structure/skeletal outline out loud;
- Talking to a non-lawyer friend and explaining a concept in a way the non-lawyer would understand;
- Issue spotting practice essay questions;
- Creating hypos that would test each major sub-topic in the course;
- Taking practice multiple choice quizzes; and
- Writing out essay answers.
- Ignore external non-emergency distractions until after finals.
- Ignore rumors from classmates. Only worry about what you can control, which is your preparation.
The semester flew by, and finals are right around the corner. Make sure to study both efficiently and effectively to be as prepared as possible. Good luck to everyone on finals.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Academic Success answers directly to the Vice Dean for Students. The Assistant Director reports to the Director of ASP and works closely with the ASP Program Manager, ASP student mentors, and other faculty and staff. The Assistant Director teaches core ASP courses, including Foundations of Legal Analysis, Legal Methods, and Bar Exam Skills & Tactics (BEST). The Assistant Director is also responsible for coordinating either the July Education for the Bar (JEB) program, a course designed to prepare students to sit for the July iteration of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), or the February Early Bar (FEB) program, a six-credit course designed to prepare students to sit for the Vermont (UBE) February bar exam before graduating in May.
The Assistant Director is also responsible for presenting at ASP workshops, meeting with students individually, collaborating with faculty and staff, serving on faculty committees, and assisting the Director with administrative duties, including compiling, and filing mandatory reports. Additional responsibilities include attending school functions such as graduation, faculty meetings, and various other events throughout the year. Occasional availability on nights or weekends is required.
Essential Functions and Principal Accountabilities:
- Provide individual counseling and tutoring for students about study habits, skills, tools for improvement, time management, outlining, exam preparation, and bar-related issues.
- Assist ASP Director in planning, implementing, and designing academic support programs for all students at VLS.
- In conjunction with Director, develop and implement student programming for all three classes, including but not limited to curriculum design and implementation of first-year skills-based course, second-year bar information session, and third-year bar-passage course.
- Design and implement workshop series and informational resources for all students including maintenance of TWEN, ASP web sites, bulletin boards, flyers, and emails, working closely with Director and ASP Program Manager.
- Aid in design and implementation of pre-orientation and orientation activities for incoming students.
- Collaborate with ASP team to increase awareness of department services. Provide support to doctrinal faculty in utilizing those services.
- Help students in connecting and maximizing usage of institutional and community resources.
- Work with Director and Program Manager to coordinate activities of Student Mentors and assist in Mentor selection, training, and support. Meet regularly with Student Mentors to monitor both mentor and mentee progress.
- Juris Doctor degree required with a license to practice law.
- Four years of experience in higher education administration and/or teaching at the JD or Master’s level or comparable relevant work experience.
- Experience in legal practice is a plus, but not required.
- Working knowledge of or ability to learn adult learning theories.
- Familiarity with first-year law curriculum.
- Knowledge of or ability to learn FERPA regulations.
- Strong legal analysis skills.
- Excellent writing ability.
- Strong interpersonal communications skills.
- Ability to navigate basic technology systems in a Windows/Office environment for email, scheduling, online meetings via Teams or other platforms, and various school-specific databases.
- Understanding of and appreciation for inclusion, including the ability to work with students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds, identities, and viewpoints.
Vermont Law School is mission-driven, guided by its motto: “Lex pro urbe et orbe,” law for the community and the world. This mission is apparent in the Law School’s longtime commitment to environmental law and social justice and the varied careers that its students have pursued in those fields. The Law School’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, and board share a strong sense of this mission.
Vermont Law School is located on the White River in the historic village of South Royalton, VT, which is approximately a 30-minute drive from Hanover, NH, and a 45-minute drive from Montpelier, VT. For more information on the law school please go to www.vermontlaw.edu.
Vermont Law School is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of inclusion and connectedness. We are able to grow and learn better together with a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students. In recruiting for faculty, we seek unique backgrounds in education, opinions, culture, ethnicity, race, sex, gender identity and expression, nation of origin, age, languages spoken, veteran’s status, color, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs. As part of our commitment to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, candidates who meet the qualifications for this position and who require accommodations to apply should contact Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. Vermont Law School is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Interested applicants should apply through this link, attaching a cover letter, C.V., and two professional references. Applications received by April 23, 2021, will receive first consideration; the position will remain available until filled.
Friday, April 16, 2021
The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law is conducting a national search for its next Student Support Specialist - Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success
Essential job duties include the following:
- Reporting to the Director of Academic and Bar Success, the Associate Director will assist in designing and implementing McKinney’s academic and bar support initiatives in order to provide a comprehensive and meaningful academic experience for law students.
- Create content for and lead a comprehensive 1L workshop program focusing on the development of academic skills such as case synthesis, outlining, legal analysis, critical reading, and exam preparation. Workshop series includes online modules. Development of online modules will implement best practices of online education.
- Provide individual assistance and counseling, including regularly scheduled meetings, with students in academic difficulty and at-risk students. Develop and monitor academic plans and recovery plans for individual students. Review and provide critical and constructive feedback on exercises and practice exams. Advise at-risk students on course selection.
- Meet with and counsel students on their academic skills development; develop and oversee the execution of individualized learning plans; and provide one-on-one assistance for at-risk students.
- Track student success and academic performance for students in academic difficulty and at-risk students. Utilize Canvas e-learning management system to help develop student skills and track student progress.
- Serve as the primary manager of the Dean’s Tutorial Society (DTS), including hiring, training, and managing peer tutors, developing and revising skills lessons for peer tutors to utilize with 1L small groups, and developing and revising training materials and handbook for tutors.
- Assist with supplemental bar prep program, including conducting practice exam sessions, assisting with skills and strategies workshops, and providing critical and constructive feedback on essays and MPTs.
- Assist with collection and organization of data for long-term assessment of: (a) student participation in Academic and Bar Success programming and course offerings, (b) individual student academic and bar exam performance, and (c) McKinney School of Law retention and bar passage rates.
Qualified candidates should have a Juris Doctor degree along with one to three years of related professional experience, preferably post-law school experience or higher education experience; current or previous admission to a state bar in the United States, preferably Indiana or a UBE jurisdiction; teaching, advising, tutoring, counseling, or related experience preferred.
Required knowledge, skills, and abilities for this position include strong legal writing, research, and analysis skills, strong communication and public speaking skills, ability to build rapport with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff, commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community, and ability to identify methods to enhance learning for multiple learning styles.
Review of materials will begin immediately and will continue until the appointment is made. All applications must be submitted online prior to May 8, 2021. For a description of the position and to apply for posting #293524, please visit https://jobs.iu.edu.
Indiana University is an equal employment and affirmative action employer and a provider of ADA services. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ethnicity, color, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, disability status or protected veteran status.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Dear Academic Support Community,
I’m very pleased to announce, through the hard work of Kirsha Trychta and our programming committee, we are Co-producing a webinar with the Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research Section.
Co-produced by the Sections on Legal Writing, Reasoning, and Research and Academic Support
Date: Monday, May 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 PM EST
Moderated by AALS Past President Darby Dickerson, this webinar will explore the caste system in legal education and will discuss potential solutions to the problem, with a particular focus on legal writing and academic support programs and professors. The moderator and a panel of law school Deans (comprised of former academic support and legal writing professors) will discuss how their schools and others can address this issue by mobilizing institutional support for skills professors, capturing the value-add that skills professors bring to legal education, opening up pathways to tenure, and addressing inequities, among other topics.
- Understand the problems with the academic caste system in legal education
- Identify one concrete step professors can take to help develop their career or their program at their institution
- Identify one concrete step law school administration can take to help develop the profession of skills professors
Click Here to register for the Webinar. *Registration is required
I hope to see many of you there, and feel free to spread the word!
Chair, AALS Section on Academic Support
Friday, April 9, 2021
Have you ever been at a bar at last call, when they turn on the lights and what was a magical place in the darkness transforms into a dirty, tacky room that you would not have entered if you had seen it this way at the beginning? I think that is where our students are in this year of pandemic teaching and learning.
Yesterday, at the end of class, I told my students that I was there for them, I saw them and asked what I could do to help them get to the finish line this semester. We had about four minutes of class time left, and I wanted to acknowledge that our once-a-week class had two boxes left to check off before the semester ended. A student raised her small yellow emoji hand and asked, “where can I find the motivation to move forward? I seem to have lost it just when I need it.” There was a lot of nodding. Cameras that had been off for the past hour came back on. I sighed, took a deep breath, summoned my inner Kate McKinnon, and paraphrased her entirely accurate statement on the Dec. 20, 2020 episode of Saturday Night Live, "It's like the light at the end of the tunnel has shown us how stinky and bad the tunnel is." There is so much truth in this. Seeing what we have been through as we near the end of it is an exhausting place to be stuck as finals approach.
So, I tried to find something that might re-ignite motivation. I had to admit that the semester ending wasn’t enough of an incentive to get to the end of it. I had to also admit that there is no easy answer to that question except maybe, while it seems like a time where things don’t matter and that the pandemic blip will explain any so-so grades, the truth is that the pandemic excuse will have a pretty short half-life. So, I told them it does matter. The grades will start to matter; the approach they take to getting them will matter more, and most important of all: they matter. We have not given up on making sure they learn because their learning-even under these strange circumstances-will always be what matters.
I asked them to find a morsel of normalcy every day from now until exams end and make a list of these things. I showed them the flowers I bought at Trader Joes in cheerful shades of yellow, coral and orange and urged them to find something beautiful to look at when they are down. Spring is exactly the right time of year to see these things changing daily. I suggested going to the ocean (but no swimming yet, it is still cold here in Massachusetts!) and understanding in its vastness that they should, occasionally, feel that they can be small and not in control and that is okay. But I also told them that nothing I say is a one size fits all pep talk: flowers and water will not solve all problems and that my advice was not meant in any way to diminish their very real feelings of despair. I offered to meet individually with anyone who wanted a tailored pep talk. I reminded them about the counseling center and our Dean of Students office.
But truly, I had no answer that might find lost motivation. I am hoping it is merely misplaced and that time, light, flowers, waves, vaccines and kindness will help us find it.
In the meantime, I will pull out my virtual pom-poms, cheer students towards the goal and raise my glass to the day that we can consider this awful and now illuminated tunnel completely behind us.
(Elizabeth Stillman - Guest Blogger)
Thursday, April 8, 2021
With just a few more weeks of classes for most law students, many of us are afraid. Sorely afraid because we know that we've got a lot to do and a lot to learn.
Facing those fears is key. I recall when I was growing up that parents constantly told me to be "careful." "Watch your step." "Play more gentle."
Sometimes I wish that the advice was instead: "Be courageous!"
You see, without bruises there can be little growth and thus little learning.
Nevertheless, it need not be all hard-knock lessons. After all, you as law students are paying valuable consideration to earn your law degrees. So take advantage of the resources that are available to you.
Let me give you a suggestion based on a column that I saw from a behavioral economist in response to the question "[w]hat's the best way to get useful feedback and make the most of...conversations?" D. Ariely, Dear Can Column, Wall Street Journal (Feb. 4, 2021).
The short answer is don't ask for feedback.
Instead, "...research shows that in general, looking at the past isn't the best way to figure out what we should be doing differently in the future. Instead of asking for feedback, which is backward-looking and usually vague, try asking your [professor] for advice. That will encourage them to look ahead and give you concrete suggestions and actionable items." Id.
So, be courageous. Seek out advice. Ask for concrete action items to improve future performance. Skip the feedback and instead ask for "feed for the future," i.e., advice. (Scott Johns).
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Members of the Association of Academic Support Educators,
Please complete the AASE 2021 Short Survey before April 7th. A link was sent out on March 25th. Search your inbox for an email from AASE Membership. A reminder email should follow shortly. If you cannot locate the link, please email me or Goldie Pritchard.
The AASE Assessment Committee compiled this short nationwide survey to supplement the longer survey conducted by AASE in 2018. This short survey (maximum 20 minutes if all sections of the survey apply to your school) compiles the following:
- general data about each law school,
- information about the content of academic success programs and workshops,
- information about the content of bar prep programs and workshops, as well as,
- salary and status data.
To ensure that all teaching philosophies and that all job statuses and salaries are captured, the committee recommends that each non-clerical faculty and/or staff member within the academic success community complete the AASE 2021 Short Survey. Only the general data about each law school would be duplicative.
Further, since the AASE Assessment Committee exists to support and promote the assessment of programmatic effectiveness within AASE, the committee looks forward to compiling the data and presenting the results at the annual AASE Conference in May. If you have any questions regarding the survey, please contact me at email@example.com or board member, Goldie Pritchard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to my fellow committee members, Matthew Carluzzo, Jeanna Hunter, Diane Kraft, Dyann Margolis, Chenay Weyble, and our board liaison, Jodi Wiredu, for their valuable insights and tireless energy developing this survey. This truly was a team effort and it was an honor to work with all of them!
Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey!
All the best,
Anne G. Johnson
AASE Assessment Committee Chair
Adjunct Professor of Law
Assistant Director of Academic Success
Mercer University School of Law
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Initiatives
New York Law School (NYLS), an independent law school in the heart of Tribeca, seeks an Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Initiatives who will assist the Associate Dean for Academic and Bar Success and the Assistant Dean for Bar Success with the overall management of the School’s academic and bar success initiatives. The Associate Director will collaborate, design, coordinate, and deliver academic and bar support programming to assist J.D. students with the development of the critical skills necessary to succeed in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice.
The Associate Director of Academic and Bar Success Initiatives will work under the leadership of the Associate Dean for Academic and Bar Success. The primary focus of the Associate Director‘s position is bar success initiatives. This is a full-time, year-round position.
• Under the direction of the Associate Dean for Academic and Bar Success, work closely with the Assistant Dean for Bar Success to collaborate, design, coordinate, and deliver bar support programming.
• Use bar passage predictive data to perform targeted outreach to students in need of intensive support to pass the bar exam.
• Work with these students in their final year of study and with graduates during the bar preparation period by evaluating and providing both groups with individualized feedback, monitoring progress in their bar preparation courses, and mentoring them throughout the bar preparation period.
• Serve as an individual support to bar takers, and provide the encouragement and empathy necessary to help them pass the bar exam.
• Assist in coordinating work with other departments to address the needs of students and graduates studying for the bar exam.
• Teach bar study-focused courses in the fall and spring, and assist in the design and teaching of bar-preparation workshops.
• Under the supervision of the Assistant Dean for Bar Success, develop, coordinate, evaluate, and monitor study plans and activities for upper-level J.D. students. Provide students with timely feedback on individual writing assignments, and work with students to improve learning strategies, as well as test-taking, time management, and organizing skills.
• Stay abreast of trends in the academic and bar support field. (The Assistant Director will be provided with opportunities for professional development and training on learning theory and pedagogy.)
• J.D. from an American Bar Association-accredited law school, license to practice law in the United States, and excellent academic record.
• Prior academic or bar support teaching experience preferred. A suitable combination of 1 to 3 years of practice experience and adjunct teaching may be substituted for academic or bar support experience.
• Superior written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.
• Proficiency at project management, including, but not limited to, developing, planning, and implementing goals.
• Ability to work collaboratively with all members of the Law School community.
• Ability to collect, interpret, and analyze data.
• Ability to work under pressure.
• Some evening and weekend availability required.
• Knowledge of academic programs pertaining to law students.
• Working knowledge of formats for written legal analysis (e.g., IRAC, CIRAC, CREAC).
• Knowledge of educational theories and learning styles.
• Working knowledge of the Uniform Bar Exam.
• Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, and the ability to learn new programs as needed.
Compensation and Benefits
The position offers a highly competitive compensation and benefits package.
How to Apply
Submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, writing sample, and a copy of the applicant’s official or unofficial law school transcript to Kitty Montanez, Associate Director of Human Resources, at email@example.com.
Friday, April 2, 2021
Director of the Academic Achievement Program at the University of Miami.
Please submit a cover letter, resume, list of references, and teaching evaluations (if applicable). Applications must be submitted using the University of Miami online portal, and questions can be emailed to AppointmentsCommittee@law.miami.edu. Candidates applying early will be given first consideration, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. We anticipate conducting interviews for the position in April and May 2021 with an anticipated start date no later than August 2021.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Let me ask a question. What's one thing you learned today? Often times, I move so fast through my day that I learn very little. Maybe you're a bit like me.
Unfortunately, class can be like that too.
I often find that in a rush to teach I sometimes leave little time for my students to learn. It's sort of like I feel as though my students' learning is dependent on me filling them with all that I know. Stuffing them full of legal jargon, techniques, and principles. In short, mush.
But that's not learning. Learning takes time, practice, trial, thoughtfulness, experience, creativity, struggle, rest, pursuit, and failure, just to list a few of the sensations and practices that we go through as we are learning.
In order to help me gauge what my students are learning in our class meetings, I try to end each online zoom class with a one-minute reflective chat. All participate because I use this chat as a chance to take attendance. I ask my students to post one thing that they have learned in class today. Just one thing.
Most of the time the comments are related to what we covered in class, but not always. But all of them are valuable, not just for me, but for the rest of the class too, because the responses are visible to all.
It's one way - in this world of online teaching - for me to learn from my students. Because, truth be told, learning is a two-way street, filled with bustling activity as we learn together with, through, and from each other.
So next time you end class, ask your students what they have learned today.
That's not just a great way to end class; it's also a great way to honor and respect your students as learners. (Scott Johns).
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
A deluge of fine scholarship from the academic and bar support world this week:
1. Kris Franklin (NYLS) & Paula Manning (McGeorge./ WCSL), Make it Work! Teaching Law Students to Get Great Supervision (Even When Supervisors Aren't That Great).
From the abstract:
In an ideal world every single meeting between law students and professors, or between beginning lawyers and their supervisors, should leave supervisors impressed by their charges and junior lawyers/students with a clear sense of direction for their work. We do not live in that ideal world.
This Article seeks to improve those supervisory meetings, and to do so from the perspective of the ones under supervision. We posit there is a genuine art to getting the best supervision possible, and that doing so can be both learned and taught. We first unpack some of the disconnects and hidden assumptions that can hinder effective supervisory meetings. We observe that participants in supervisory meetings may have very different expectations about the roles of the participants. We further explore the relational aspects of supervision and note that a shared sense of responsibility for supervision promotes more effective supervisory interactions. Next, the Article turns to considering what law professors can do to prepare law students to get the most out of feedback from their supervisors. We conclude that teaching law students to adjust their attributions toward growth, to set clear and achievable goals, and to be thoughtfully self-reflective, will maximize their learning in any academic and professional supervision.
2. Melissa Hale (Loyola, Chicago), Antonia Miceli (St. Louis), & Tania Shah (WSCL), The Ultimate Guide to the UBE (Wolters Kluwer, May 28, 2021).
From the publisher's description:
The Ultimate Guide to the UBE is your "one stop shop" for all things UBE (Uniform Bar Exam). Now administered in over 35 jurisdictions, bar exam takers don't want to just pass - they want to excel and obtain the highest score possible so they have their choice of UBE jurisdictions. This Guide covers it all - from the basics of what is tested on the UBE, to the best ways to personalize your bar exam study, to the most important of all - how to maximize your score on each of the three sections of the UBE.
With over 40 years of combined experience in preparing students to pass the bar exam, Tania Shah, Melissa Hale, and Antonia (Toni) Miceli bring their expertise in the bar exam field directly to you and use actual bar exam answers from real bar examinees to show you exactly what you need to do to pick up points on the UBE!
(Louis Schulze, FIU Law)
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law invites applications for a visiting professor to offer programming and teach courses related to Academic Success and Bar Prep.
Memphis Law has a strong interest in hiring a visiting professor who will contribute to creating a broadly diverse campus community. Applicants should have an outstanding academic record, excellent communications skills, and both a desire and an ability to work collegially in a collaborative environment. Applicants must have a J.D. Teaching experience is desired, but is not required.
The base salary will be $84,000 for a preferred twelve-month visiting appointment. Tennessee does not have an income tax, and, in several different surveys, Memphis consistently ranks in the top ten for having one of the lowest costs of living in the United States.
Applicants should send the following materials to Dean Katharine Schaffzin, at firstname.lastname@example.org: a letter of interest, a resume or CV, and a list of three references. (Please include “Visiting Professor Application” in the subject line of the e-mail.) In addition, applicants must submit materials through the University’s hiring portal at https://workforum.memphis.edu/postings/26789. Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.
While the University of Memphis does not treat race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation as dispositive in hiring decisions, the University of Memphis has a strong institutional commitment to hiring persons who will add to its diversity. The University of Memphis is an EEO/AA employer.
The University of Tulsa College of Law is hiring a Director of Academic Support.
The Director of Academic Support provides programming and activities from 1L orientation through post-graduation bar preparation for student academic and professional success. To implement the goals of student success, the Director of Academic Support will work closely with the Associate Dean of Students, administrators and faculty to envision, develop and implement on-going academic success, time management, and wellness programming for all students, with targeted programs as needed for students.
Please submit a cover letter, résumé, and contact information for three references to: The University of Tulsa, Office of Human Resources, 800 S. Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104 or email to email@example.com or fax to (918) 631-3543.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
I don’t know about your law school, but we did not have a regular week-long spring break this year. Instead, perhaps as an afterthought, we were awarded a one-day reprieve which occurred on St. Patrick’s Day…in Boston (people who have ever lived in Boston will know what I mean).
I truly understand why we did not have our usual break. We are part of a university that has undergraduates, as well as a business school, and we did not want students leaving and returning to campus in the middle of a pandemic, especially since these students are most likely to be vaccinated in the last wave. As a result, we started a week later in January to allow more self-quarantining and to keep our end dates and commencement on schedule. One Wednesday in the middle of March made sense from a strategic planning point of view.
And yet, this is the week I have spent the most time talking to tearful and anxious students who have hit a wall. This is also the week that students have disappeared from my radar and I have had the most correspondence with our Dean of Students Office about students I am worried about. I have begun starting my emails to them with, “me again...” and ending them with, “again, sorry to add something else to your plate.” Joni Mitchell was absolutely right when she said, “Don't it always seem to go; That you don't know what you've got till it's gone.” Sigh.
The one class I teach on Wednesdays is a one-credit MPT driven class. We meet for about an hour at the utter apex of the workweek: high noon. I am never sure if I should ask how everyone’s weekend was or whether I should wish them a good one-it is an awkward time for small talk. I’d like to think that this class, at its silly time, is an oasis in an otherwise Zoomful chaos. Since spring “break,” fell on our class day, I told the students in this class that I would consider the day sacred and assign no new work or have any assignments due, so long as they each did something that gave them joy and send me a picture to prove it. I wanted students to think that the one “assignment” they had, for the one day of break they had, was to do one thing that brought them joy. In return, I promised I would send them my proof as well.
As usual, this class of students did not disappoint. The first picture I received was of an absolutely adorable baby and the caption, “I’m spending some time with my niece!” This was followed by a selfie of a student driving a few dogs to the dog park-even the basset hound looked cheerful. So far, I have received photos of snuggly kittens, excited meetings with friends, a birthday cake, a recent publication, a dog who had lost a battle with a skunk but smiled at a bath, a bubble bath drawn and ready (for a human), a map of a five-mile run, and a pizza from a favorite place shared with a favorite person. The picture of a visit with a grandmother--for the first time in a year-- made me cry. In return, my students got a series of shots from me that included: a recipe, my gathered ingredients, batter in a pan, and, finally, my son eating a gooey brownie. The fact that not everyone was in a position to engage in happy activities was not lost on me either-there are no consequences or penalties for not sending the picture and pictures were sent only to me, not the whole class.
While our Wednesday off was something, it was also clear that one day was not enough of a break for students in times that are already fraught. It is not enough time for a student to turn away from the pressure of law school and then, refreshed, turn back to finish up the semester. Everything we do these days seems both rushed and suspended in time, abbreviated and yet drawn out. I worry that we will crawl over the finish line at the end of the semester at exactly the time students need to summon the energy to run. Safety and wellness do not belong on opposite sides of the same scale and I hope that we are not forced to weigh them against each other again. Next year, may we all find ourselves somewhere with, “a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot” for spring break.
(Elizabeth Stillman - Guest Blogger)
Friday, March 26, 2021
M. Griggs (Washburn) & D. Rubenstein (Washburn), It’s Time to Re-Set the Bar for Online Proctoring (Bloomberg Law, March 24, 2021).
ASP's own Professor Marsha Griggs and her colleague ask crucial questions here. Everyone in ASP should be aware of these troubling issues.
From the intro:
Online bar exams administered during the pandemic were marked by controversy around the use of proctoring using artificial intelligence and allegations of cheating that mostly were proved false. Washburn University School of Law professors David Rubenstein and Marsha Griggs say regulation and best practices are needed, since online exams appear to be here to stay.
(Louis Schulze, FIU Law)
Sunday, March 21, 2021
UCI Law is hiring a new head of its ASP department. The person will hold a working title of “Assistant Dean of Academic Skills.” Under UCI’s Academic Personnel Manual, the person will hold an “Academic Administrator” title. Here is a link to the official posting: https://recruit.ap.uci.edu/JPF06651. Jennah Jones, the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence (firstname.lastname@example.org), is heading up the search process. If you are interested in applying, please submit your materials by April 12, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Associate Director for Bar Performance and Assessment
BASIC FUNCTION & SCOPE OF JOB
Under the supervision of the Faculty Director of Bar Services, the Associate Director will design and implement a comprehensive communications and monitoring system to annually track student preparation and performance on the bar exam by graduating class in all jurisdictions, and assume primary responsibility for collecting and analyzing a wide range of bar performance data for reporting to the law school faculty, university senior leadership and accrediting agencies. The Associate Director will also oversee the delivery of the law school’s 3L/4L and post-graduation bar exam preparation curriculum and programming, including but not limited to the alumni bar mentoring program, essay feedback program and simulated exams.
- Create and implement a comprehensive program for communicating with students about bar exam requirements in order to assess their preparedness and predict success;
- Design and implement a case management and monitoring system for students in each graduating class, to track exam performance in all jurisdictions, with particular focus on the California Bar Exam;
- Collect, compile, manage and secure a wide-range of data that relates student demographics, participation and academic achievement to bar performance outcomes;
- Conduct statistical analysis and prepare reports for the law school faculty and the university senior leadership following each exam administration;
- In collaboration with the law school dean’s office, compile statistics for the ABA’s annual bar passage questionnaire; recommend strategies to maintain compliance with accreditation standards;
- Oversee and provide individualized counseling to GGU students preparing for the bar exam as well as repeat bar takers;
- Review student practice essays, provide detailed feedback and oversee the law school’s alumni bar mentoring program;
- Formulate and revise as needed the curriculum for bar preparation workshops, courses and orientation sessions;
- Provide training for adjunct instructors and supervise teaching assistants;
- In collaboration with the Faculty Director of Academic Achievement, administer all Themis programs and services throughout the student lifecycle; and,
- Provide support for Academic Achievement programming and teach academic skills courses as needed.
- JD from an ABA-accredited law school and member of the State Bar of California;
- Minimum two years’ experience in preparing students for the bar exam, with prior experience grading the California bar exam preferred;
- Experience with standard practices of data collection, management and analysis; familiarity working with relational database systems and statistical program software packages preferred;
- Proficiency in using Excel and the MS Office suite;
- Superior organizational, written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills;
- Ability to provide motivation and encouragement to students; think creatively and critically around strategies to assess student preparedness and improve bar exam performance;
- Ability to work independently, managing multiple projects and deadlines under minimal supervision; set priorities, demonstrate initiative and assume leadership while working as a member of a professional team;
- Ability to handle confidential information, collaborate with colleagues, and exhibit good judgment when interfacing with students, staff and faculty; and
- Ability to establish and maintain positive and professional working relationships with all law school constituents, bar examination officials and the legal community.
Friday, March 19, 2021
Society of American Law Teachers Presents:
Social Justice in Action Webinar Series
Can You See Me?
Inclusive Practices for Entry
into the Legal Profession
Friday, March 26, 2021 from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET
From law school classes to artificial intelligence proctoring, students of color are asking, “Can You See Me?” Myriad stressors contribute to disparate bar pass outcomes that deprive the legal profession of much needed diversity. Some stressors are the costs, content, and cut scores of the bar exam; others manifest in the law school classroom.
Can we challenge and mitigate these stressors without exacerbating stereotype threat? Recent law grads, professors, and an identity researcher will address the problematic invisibility of students of color and present law faculty with interventions to promote inclusion.
Panel discussion with including Octavia Carson, Areeb Been Khan, Victor Quintanilla, Heidi Williams, and Pernell Jackson
Moderators: Marsha Griggs and Joan Howarth
Panelists will be available until 4:15 PM for Q&A.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
It might seem a bit late in the learning curve. To welcome our students, again, to class.
But, I suppose I'm in a habit of doing so because each class I start with an enthusiastic "Welcome!"
Nevertheless, do I, do we, really mean that? Do we really "welcome" our students? And, if so, what do we mean and how do we go about "welcoming" our students?
It seems to me that the word "welcome" suggests something like "being present to embrace my students, coming along side them to create a place of graciousness wellness."
So, taking the inspiration from a presentation by Prof. Katie Jones (Lincoln Memorial University) about how to incorporate online corporate drafting exercises in law school spaces, I tried my hand at a very brief mini-exercise with the goal of helping my students welcome each other.
As Prof. Katie Jones explained, the first step was to craft a discussion question requiring group responses. Dividing the class into 12 to 20 small groups of students (and using google docs), the students - working in teams - drafted answers to the following question:
"What are three things that you share in common with your group outside of law school and legal education?"
Hard at work, the groups came up with lists, often times with more than 3 things shared.
Back together as a whole, I asked one group to share what they had learned about their group. The lists were fascinating, welcoming, and embracing, even if some of the things that they shared were things such as "We are all so fully spent and exhausted."
In short, they learned, at least a bit, that they weren't alone.
I next asked the group of students to share how they had learned the things that they shared in common.
That's where it got really interesting because the key to learning about group members was in asking questions, lots of questions, sometimes questions that led to dead ends and then other questions that led to sparks of commonness.
The questions required curiosity and creativity and openness. As they questioned, they learned. In fact, as one of my students at the end of class responded to the question from me about what they had all learned today, the student remarked that she learned that "asking questions is a form of learning."
How true! How well said!
So, rather than having students read research articles about how to learn to learn, you might try this simple exercise, courtesy of Prof. Kate Jones, in exploring in real-time how to learn. After all, sometimes the best lessons - the lasting lessons - come from within. (Scott Johns - University of Denver).
P.S. Asking questions, being curious, and engaging in creativity seem like the same tools that can make law school learning bloom.