Thursday, January 21, 2021
I wonder. Perhaps this diagram might serve as a visual tool to help students reflect on learning. After all, many students are quite stressed by first semester grades. Here's a possible diagram, artistically captured by the handwork of Prof. Betty Bobbit Byrne (Paulkner University), that might just help students explore possible ways to improve their learning. Feel free to share with your students. (Scott Johns).
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
ASP Foundational Scholarship Series: This series focuses on the seminal ASP/ Bar Exam scholarship that contributed to the development of academic and bar support best practices.
For the first-ever post in this series, I was stuck between two choices. So, I chose both:
1. Knaplund & Sanders, The Art and Science of Academic Support, 45 J. Legal Educ. 157 (1995).
This article was one of the earliest and most robust empirical analyses of law school academic support programs. It helped ASP faculty defend the then-controversial pedagogy of "contextualized academic support" and answer the question "Why should we spend money on an ASP?"
From the introduction:
• Our analysis of seven distinct academic support initiatives at UCLA shows that support can substantially and demonstrably improve both short-term and long-term academic performance, but the effects vary markedly across UCLA's programs.
• The variation in academic effectiveness across UCLA's programs follows distinct patterns that yield definite guidance on the pedagogy of academic support.
• We found some evidence that academic support programs can have valuable benefits apart from their impact on grades.
2. Russell McClain, Helping Our Students Reach Their Full Potential: The Insidious Consequences of Ignoring Stereotype Threat, 17 Rutgers Race & L. Rev. 1 (2016).
Coupled with Professor McClain's conference presentations on this subject and a related TEDx Talk, this article was the first to analyze the phenomenon of stereotype threat specifically as it pertains to law students. It serves as a crucial resource for ASP faculty, and all others, to understand their potential in ameliorating the effects of implicit bias in the law school classroom.
From the article abstract:
A psychological phenomenon may be a significant cause of academic underachievement by minorities in law school. This phenomenon, called stereotype threat, occurs as a result of the fear of confirming a negative group stereotype.... When subject to this threat — as a consequence of being confronted with environmental or explicit triggers — people do worse in academic settings than they otherwise are capable of doing. In this article, I explore the implications of the research on stereotype threat for law schools and make several recommendations to deal with the threat.
There are natural implications for law school admissions, of course. If a portion of our applicant pool is affected by stereotype threat, then we cannot trust the accuracy of the metrics we typically use in law school admissions, i.e., prior academic performance and LSAT scores of law school applicants. Indeed, those credentials actually may under-evaluate the academic potential of these applicants, who are often minority students. This should cause law schools to reevaluate their admissions policies.
After students are admitted, law school provides fertile ground within which stereotype threat can flourish. This, of course, means that the performance of minorities in law school — in class, on exams, and in other areas — is likely to be diminished, such that many minorities will not perform up to their academic capacity. And, obviously, we would expect this same dynamic to play out on the bar exam.
Law schools can address stereotype threat at each of these levels, and they should do so. This article lays out a framework for understanding and dealing with the threat.
(Louis N. Schulze, Jr., FIU Law).
Good morning, everyone, and a big thanks to Steven and the ASP Blog crew for inviting me here again. Every other Tuesday, I will be posting what will be called the "Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight." In each post, I will highlight a publication from the academic and/ or bar exam support field.
There will be two categories: "ASP Foundational Scholarship" and "New Scholarship." The first category will reintroduce the seminal pieces that developed the generally agreed upon "best practices" in the academic and bar support field.
The second category of "New Scholarship" is self-explanatory but requires a quick note. Traditionally, academic and bar support faculty have been reluctant to self-promote their scholarship. Perhaps arising out of the "ASPish" moniker, this norm demonstrates the humility that sits at the epicenter of who we are as a community. But, it has also left too much ASP/ Bar scholarship out of the spotlight. I am hoping that this series can help solve that conundrum.
Therefore, if you publish some form of scholarship on law school academic/ bar exam support, please send me a link. I will also promote new scholarship referred or found independently, so if you read a new piece and find it helpful, please let me know.
The format of the piece is not important. Books, law review articles, online law review essays, shorter pieces ... all are welcome. I also welcome suggestions for the ASP Foundational Scholarship category. If a publication positively contributed to your understanding of our field, such that you think others should be aware of it, please let me know and send a link.
Later today, I will post the first installment of the ASP Foundational Scholarship series. No spoilers here, though; you'll have to wait for it.
(Louis N. Schulze, Jr., FIU Law)
Monday, January 18, 2021
It is that time of year again. Many first-year law students are anxiously awaiting grades from their first semester of law school. To all of you, I say: I hope your first semester grades are everything you want them to be.
Regardless, try to maintain perspective. Each grade is but a snapshot of your performance during a “moment” in time and, sometimes, it can feel as if there is no rhyme or reason to how each of those snapshots develop. Students who studied more may not perform as well as expected. Students who studied less may perform better than expected. The exam you thought was your best performance may end up being your worst grade. Similarly, the exam you thought was your worst performance may end up being your best grade.
Whatever your grades are, your feelings about them are valid. It is okay to feel excited about and celebrate your good grades, but do not rest on your laurels (keep doing the work). It is okay to feel frustrated or disappointed about less-than-ideal grades, but do not get stuck in that frustration or disappointment. Process your feelings and then pivot.
Your grades are not the final word on your abilities or the opportunities you will have. They are also in no way indicative of your value as a person or how great of a lawyer you will become. What matters more than a less-than-ideal grade is what you do in response, and that response can make for a great narrative of grit and resilience that you share with, among others, future employers.
If your grades are not everything you want them to be, get to work changing your reality for the spring term. Connect with your ASP faculty and/or staff to discuss your strengths and identify areas for growth, then develop a plan to expand upon the former and work on the latter. Cultivate a growth mindset. Your abilities and skills are not fixed—you can develop and refine them with practice and by leveraging your feedback. One semester of grades does not define you or dictate your story. YOU are the author of your story. Keep writing.
(Victoria McCoy Dunkley)
Eduardo Briceño and Dawn Young, A Growth Mindset for Law School Success, ABA Student Lawyer Blog (Sept. 12, 2017), https://abaforlawstudents.com/2017/09/12/growth-mindset-law-school-success/.
Heidi K. Brown, Law School Grades Are Not Your Story—You Are Your Story, ABA Student Lawyer Blog (Jan. 9, 2020), https://abaforlawstudents.com/2020/01/09/law-school-grades-are-not-your-story-you-are-your-story/.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
The AASE Bar Advocacy Committee would like to make you aware of an online conference devoted to bar licensure. The Law and Leadership Conference sponsored by Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School is an important annual event that draws scholars, noted judiciary, and practitioners.
Each year, BYU Law School invites leaders on an issue of current importance to discuss how we might change the world for the better using our legal education. Following the historic decision by several states, including Utah, to adopt an emergency diploma privilege in the summer of 2020 and recognizing the known racial, gender, and other biases present in traditional bar examinations, this year’s topic is “Paths to Bar Licensure.” In 2020, a pandemic and global racial upheaval have combined to trigger a reconsideration of bar examinations as the gateway to licensure. In this conference, we will examine the features and shortcomings of the bar examination and other potential paths to bar licensure.
The committee encourages those concerned about the future of the bar exam and entry into the legal profession to attend and participate in this free event. Keynote speakers include Dean Emeritus and Professor Joan Howarth, and Professor Deborah Jones Merritt. Our own Bar Advocacy Committee Chair, Marsha Griggs, will be a panelist at this event. The ASP voice is crucial to the discussion about the future of bar admissions and the licensure process. We owe it to ourselves and the students we serve to stay in the know on proposed changes to the exam format and coverage and the alternate paths to practice. We hope to see our community continue to engage, on a national scale, in discussion forums like these.
Register for the Conference here.
Saturday, January 16, 2021
School of Law
Vacancy Number 301110
Position Type: Faculty position with full, competitive benefits package
Opens: 12/18/20 Closes: Open Until Filled
Salary: Commensurate with qualifications
The University of Baltimore School of Law is a dynamic public institution with a commitment to providing students access to law school and the legal profession. The School of Law seeks a Director of Academic Success who will hold the non-tenured faculty rank of Professor of the Practice. In this 12-month position, s/he will develop programming and teach academic success skills with a student-centered approach. In collaboration with the Director of Bar Success, the Professor/Director will teach and shape the administrative direction of the School of Law’s academic success programming. The Director will be part of the School of Law’s Office of Academic Affairs.
Electronic applications are required. Before starting or submitting your application, save the documents the academic team requires: Curriculum Vitae and cover letter. PDFs are preferred; Word documents are acceptable.
The duties of the Professor/Director will include:
• Developing and implementing academic support programming for 1L and 2L students, including programming for at-risk students
• Teaching the School of Law’s highly successful, small-section mandatory academic support course for at-risk 2L students, Rules and Reasoning
• Collaborating with the Director of Bar Success to create and administer programs that support academic and bar exam success
• Collaborating with faculty and staff to identify and support students
• Collecting data regarding academic success
• Providing academic counseling
• Participating in the national community of academic success professionals and ensuring the School of Law is consistent with Best Practices in legal education
• Performing other duties as a member of the Academic Affairs team.
Design and teach courses to support law student academic success.
• Teach the School of Law’s small-section mandatory academic support course for at-risk 2L students, Rules and Reasoning
• Collaborate with appropriate faculty committees to propose revisions to existing courses and propose new courses as necessary to address academic success issues
Develop and implement academic skills workshops and programming and counsel students.
• Act as a liaison between the School of Law and bar exam authorities.
• Plan, coordinate, staff, teach workshops, and work directly with incoming and current law students to support their academic success.
• Offer resources to faculty members regarding teaching techniques and assessments that enhance academic skill-building and legal analysis.
• Advise and assist identified students with course selection and their academic program.
Collect data and stay current on best practices in academic success and bar readiness.
• In connection with other law school faculty and staff members, gather and analyze data on all aspects of academic support programs to help inform and develop them, with a continuing goal of improving students’ success in law school and on the bar exam.
• Stay abreast and regularly inform the deans and faculty of best practices and trends in law school academic success and bar support programs, and perform other activities in service to the law school, such as committee and task force work related to student academic success.
• Attend national conferences and participate in the greater community of experts in the field of academic support and readiness for the profession.
• Draft reports, as necessary, regarding student performance, academic skill-building and effective strategies, and other relevant aspects of student academic outcomes.
Support activities in the Office of Academic Affairs such as:
• Exam administration
• Student advising
• Orientation programs for entering students
• Other duties as assigned.
Minimum Required Qualifications:
Education: A Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-accredited law school or its equivalent
• License to practice law in at least one U.S. state or the District of Columbia
• Prior academic or bar support teaching experience, or an equivalent combination of three years of practice experience and adjunct teaching.
• Previous experience in academic support, legal writing, or other law school teaching;
• Scholarship in learning theory and academic support;
• Experience in the practice of law
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
• Superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills.
• Knowledge of law school curriculum and best practices for law teaching.
• Familiarity with ABA regulations and bar admission requirements.
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively with students, adjunct and full-time faculty, and administrators.
• Creative approach to problem solving
• Experience implementing new programs with specific, measurable goals.
• Experience working effectively with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff.
• Experience collecting, interpreting, and analyzing data.
• Ability to handle confidential information, collaborate with colleagues, and exhibit good judgment when interfacing with students, staff, and faculty.
Please review the following information before you apply. Questions regarding the electronic application should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, January 15, 2021
South Florida Regional ASP Conference
Schedule and Registration Information
We are pleased to announce the schedule for the first annual South Florida Regional ASP Conference, hosted by Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law.
The conference will be held on Friday, January 29, from noon to 5:00 pm (Eastern time) on Zoom. The conference is free, but you must register in advance. To register, please use this link:
https://nova.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYocuCopz4jGdOsTG9f0mDwRcmhNklq-wii. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Come prepared to engage! In true ASP fashion, we envision this conference as being a place to share ideas, bounce ideas off of each other and get feedback, and leave with new inspiration for our own work! The conference will not operate as a webinar but instead will permit all participants to see and engage with each other in every session.
Friday, January 29
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Session 1
Performing a Performance Test – Legal Communication Skill Exercises Based on Performance Test Problems
Gregory R. Bordelon
Associate Professor and Director of Academic Success, University of Maine School of Law
Peer Review Groups for Law Students Writing Research Papers: Providing Community, Constructive Feedback, and Accountability
Patricia M. Trainor
Graduate Writing Specialist, Graduate Writing Lab, Poorvu Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University
Break from 1:30 pm to 1:45 pm, but the Zoom space will be open for those who wish to continue chatting.
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm: Session 2
Collaborative Essay Drafting with Google Docs (30 minutes)
Katie Tolliver Jones
Director of Academic Success and Assessment, Lincoln Memorial University Duncan School of Law
Using ASP Fellows in a Virtual ASP Office (30 minutes)
Maria Florencia Cornu Laport
Assistant Professor of Academic Success, St. Thomas University School of Law
Break from 2:45 pm to 3:00 pm, but the Zoom space will be open for those who wish to continue chatting.
3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Session 3 – Community Conversations
Considering the Importance of Trauma-Informed Teaching
Assistant Dean, Academic Success & Professionalism, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law
Identity and Intersectionality: Navigating Hierarchies in Legal Academia
Amanda M. Fischer
Visiting Assistant Professor, Academic Resource Center, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School
Academic Success and Executive Functioning Skills
Elena Rose Minicucci
Professor of Practice, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law
4:30 pm: Happy Hour!
If you are free, remain in Zoom to “hang out” and chat with fellow ASPers.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
I just got out of class. An online zoom class, not surprisingly. But, in reflection of the first class, I had a bit of a surprise. I did a whole lot of talking and talking and then, even more, talking. You see, I took a glance at the audio transcript file. And it was quite an eye-popper.
I did most of the talking, which means that my students did very little.
It makes me wonder whether I left enough time in the midst of my words for my students to learn. I once heard a brilliant teacher say something to the effect that "the less that I talk the more that they [my students] learn."
Of course, as the saying goes, the "proof is in the pudding."
Which leads to my next surprise. I try to end classes with asking students one thing that they learned along with one thing that they didn't understand. Well as you might expect, I didn't leave enough time for the last question because, you guessed it, I spent too much time talking.
But, in response to the first question, what they learned, well, they learned about what I liked (snickers!) and where I ate lunch on the first day of the bar exam (the liquor store since I forgot my lunch), etc. In other words, it seems like they learned a great deal about me but perhaps not as much about bar preparation, which is the subject of our course.
Lesson learned, especially for online teaching...speak less and listen more. In short, trust them to learn by learning together, as a team, rather than just trying to pound information into their heads. I sure learned a lot today. Next class...my students are going to learn plenty too! (Scott Johns)
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
This past week many of us attended AALS virtually. In that spirit, I want to honor the award winners within our community. The AALS Section on Academic Support gave two awards this year, to two very deserving women.
Paula Manning, Visiting Professor, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
American Association of Law Schools Section on Academic Support Legacy in Leadership Award
At the 2021 meeting, the AALS section on academic support gave Paula Manning the Legac in Leadership Awards. Paula has been instrumental in building and nurturing the discipline of academic support. Paula is a mentor and guiding force for ASP colleagues across the country. Whatever the topic, Paula has provided guidance and wisdom to countless ASPers on the evolution of their programs, their teaching, their scholarship, and their professional development. Her advice is always insightful and thoughtful, and countless ASPers now possess stronger programs, students, and professional opportunities because of Paula's contributions to our discipline.
She worked with LSAC as a frequent organizer of early national and regional ASP conferences, and was a driving force behind the creation and evolution of AASE. Put simply, the field of Academic Support has grown stronger through Paula’s energy, passion, and insight.
Paula's research and scholarship have had a profound impact on the field. Paula co-authored with Michael Hunter Schwartz the most recent edition of the field-changing Expert Learning for Law Students, wrote a Torts casebook in the Carolina Academic Press “Context and Practice” series, and has produced numerous influential law review articles on such topics as how to inspire creative growth-minded lawyers, and how to give productive feedback to law students.
Paula is a gifted educator. She has been innovative in her own teaching and has developed strong programs that maximized the potential of her students at numerous schools. Her devotion to students is unparalleled, as she offers feedback that fosters effective, precise, and positive reinforcement. Her scholarship has also influenced many educators by examining core premises of what it means to be an effective legal educator. Paula's work has promoted progress in ASP and instilled change to law school classroom pedagogy.
Marsha Griggs, Associate Professor of Law and Director of Academic Support and Bar Passage, Washburn University School of Law
American Association of Law Schools Section on Academic Support Trailblazer Award
At the 2021 meeting, the AALS section on Academic Support gave Marsha the Trailblazer Award. Marsha is a uniquely resonant voice in speaking to the current moment, and in leading the charge for change to professional licensure for the future.
Marsha’s academic writing and conference presentations have moved bar prep into the mainstream of legal education. Most recently, she authored The Bar Exam and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Need for Immediate Action, Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 537(2020), which provided a national voice for bar reform during the global pandemic. This article was followed immediately by another important work: An Epic Fail, which will be published in the upcoming edition of the Howard Law Journal. Additionally, she is a frequent contributor to the Law School Academic Support Blog and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences. She has also had her work cited by numerous national magazines and publications, including The National Jurist, the ABA Journal and Law.com. Her expertise has been sought by boards of law examiners and supreme courts across the nation. Prior to her most recent scholarship, she has published in the SMU Law Review Forum, and the Texas A&M Law Review.
Marsha is a colleague who always looks for opportunities to lend a helping hand. She not only diligently serves her current students and recent graduates at her law school, but assists law graduates across the entire country who seek out her guidance and input on the challenges ahead for alternative paths to licensure and how to improve access, opportunity and diversity in the legal profession.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
When I was a kid, I saw an episode of the TV series Maude that was broadcast on November 1, 1976 – the day before Election Day. Maude, the assertive main character, was trying to convince everyone to write in Henry Fonda for President. When her featherbrained neighbor Vivian asked Maude why she was in such a rush to get the idea out, Maude looked at her severely and explained that the election was happening tomorrow.
“Tomorrow?!” exclaimed Vivian. “And it seems like only yesterday it was Halloween!”
Well, today, with the results of the October bar exam barely in hand for many examinees, we have leapt right back into preparation for the February exam. Perhaps the final casualty of the Endless Summer is the strict reduction of time to process the relationship between all that happened before the exam and the results that came out of it. Individuals who just found out in late December or early January that they did not pass have had to decide very quickly whether to register for the February exam. A California repeat examinee could still register next week, with as few as 32 days left before the exam is administered. And while many states and law schools have seen an increase in bar pass rates compared to July of 2019, we have entered the February bar study period without some of the data we might ordinarily use to assess the reasons for any changes in passage rates. At least here in New York, some of the granular data about subject-matter performance on the MBE portion has not been provided, and information about statewide trends have only been reported in the most general terms. This makes it harder to determine the effects of the delay, of the changes in format and delivery, and of strategies adopted or resources provided in response.
Tomorrow is February?! It seems like only yesterday it was October!
Thus, even though the February bar exam represents a great stride towards “normalcy” in many jurisdictions – in that it will be delivered on a traditional set date, with typical full UBE content – this will still be an unusual administration, affected by ripples of the pandemic. Some repeat examinees will be facing a compressed study period, although I have observed that a least a portion of them, perhaps spurred to greater-than-normal pessimism under the circumstances, began preparing prophylactically even before scores were announced. In any case, those of us who work with repeating graduates may be asked to provide additional support.
More frustrating to me is having to determine what aspects of the support provided to our examinees over the five months between graduation and the October bar would be most advantageously replicated over the next two months. The extended prep period was, I felt, grueling for all involved, but it provided time and motivation for examinees and teachers alike to try new strategies. Based on our results, some of these strategies appear to have beneficial. But which ones? And are they replicable between now and the end of February, or were they successful because, and not in spite of, the long stretch of time before the October administration? Without all the information I wish I had, this feels in some ways similar to what many of us had to do this summer: reacting to a novel situation without certainty, and ending up (very likely) relying in part on intuition and extraordinary effort.
Hopefully, knock on wood, fingers crossed, things won't feel this way come summer 2021. For now, the one thing I am fairly certain played an important part in my examinees' performance that is likely replicable now was the increased sense of camaraderie and support that they reported as a result of the very high-touch summer and fall. With so many changes so frequently, and with unbelievable levels of anxiety among bar studiers (who on the whole are not typically known for tranquil, detached attitudes), I initiated what would turn out to be bi-weekly (or more frequent) Zoom meetings to pass along news, share strategies, and provide opportunities for feedback. Already feeling isolated by the pandemic, the students reported that these meetings helped them feel connected to each other and to the school, and it appears they took more advantage of the resources we made available (including lots of one-on-one meetings with me). This was kind of a form of intrusive counseling. It seems to have worked, at least under those recent conditions, which in some ways are still ongoing. So, while I am still hoping to develop more clarity about how other specifics contributed to examinees' performance, this is one lesson I took from yesterday that I can apply today to help my examinees prepare for tomorrow.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Winter break includes the wonderful benefits of a work break, time with family, and college football bowl games. Media and fans began degrading bowl games again this year after numerous players chose to not play in their team's bowl game. Those media and fans clearly did not talk to my kids while we watched the Montgomery Bowl, Cheez-It Bowl, Liberty Bowl, and numerous other college exhibitions. I do agree with my kids that constant college football is awesome, so we watched games throughout the break.
Announcers talked about the impending playoff games throughout each of the games. A major storyline for the upcoming Ohio State-Clemson game was how Clemson coach Dabo Swinney ranked Ohio State 11th on his coaches' poll ballot, well outside the top 4. For context, COVID caused disruptions in college football like everything else. However, the disruptions weren't uniform. Individual conferences made different decisions based on what the conference thought was safe. The Big 10 conference, which includes Ohio State, originally decided not to play a fall season. However, the SEC, Big 12, and ACC (which includes Clemson) decided to start in September. Teams in the latter conferences played approximately 9-10 games. The Big 10 eventually reversed course, but the teams would play fewer games. Ohio State only played 6 games prior to the playoff. Swinney said a team that only plays 6 games shouldn't be ranked with the teams that played 9-10, so he ranked them lower. Then, the game happened.
The game proceeded like any MBE question or prime-time drama. Ohio State beat Clemson from the opening whistle. The game wasn't particularly close. Critics screamed from keyboards about Swinney's ridiculous ranking. Clearly, Ohio State was far better than the #11 ranking on his last ballot. He clearly couldn't evaluate teams, and he probably provided motivation for Ohio State to prove him wrong. Critics were quick to use the game results to prove Swinney wrong, but was he wrong? Is it possible that Ohio State is both one of the 4 best college football teams in the country and also not deserving the ranking because they hadn't played enough games? I don't think the two sentiments are mutually exclusive, but critics seem to rely too heavily on the game's results to disprove his ranking. If Clemson won, does that mean his ranking was legitimate? The post hoc analysis seems to rely heavily on the result to either prove or disprove his claim when his claim focused more on deserving to be there and not ability to win.
The playoff storyline wasn't the only instance of relying too heavily on results. In a pro football game, the Las Vegas Raiders were losing by 2 points late in the game. Instead of scoring an easy touchdown with a minute left, they proceeded to kneel down multiple times to kick a field goal with 19 seconds left. The coach said he didn't want the opposing team to have enough time to score. Statistically, it was the best decision. A team shouldn't be able to score in 19 seconds, but of course the opposing team scored in a few quick plays. Critics pounced after the game saying the Raiders coach made the wrong decision. He made the statistically correct decision that didn't work. Does the result inherently mean the decision was wrong? If they score a touchdown, and the other team also scores because they have more time, would that be the wrong decision. I would argue he made the right call, but the decision didn't work. That doesn't make his decision wrong.
The idea of relying too much on results applies to law students as well. Grades are about to come out, and some students will be disappointed. Those same students made decisions throughout the semester about what, when, and how to study. Do low grades mean the study decisions were wholly incorrect? I don't think so. Grades are only 1 feedback device to analyze. I help students create new plans every semester. Some of them integrate more self-regulated learning, quizzes, reading, and/or review. Integrating self-regulated learning isn't bad just because grades didn't end up exactly as desired. Making the right decision doesn't always lead to the desired outcome, but the decision to be a better learner is still the right decision.
I encourage all students to evaluate progress. Grades are a good place to start, but students should also look at how often they read, whether they made outlines, how many practice questions they completed, whether they sought feedback, and any other tool to determine whether they were prepared walking into the exam. Anything can happen during a 3 hour exam. Computers crash and fact patterns surprise students. Grades may be important, but grades are only a snapshot of performance during a 3 hour time block. Focus on the process before the exam to determine where to improve.
Results provide feedback, and I want everyone to continually try to improve. However, results aren't the full picture because bad results can sometimes come from good decisions. Focus on preparation to continue to improve through the law school marathon.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021
It is AALS Annual Meeting week and the Section on Academic Support is holding 3 programs and the business meeting. This year the section is holding 1 main program and 2 co-sponsored programs.
Wed, Jan. 6, 2:45 pm - 5:30 pm EST - Section on Academic Support and Real Estate Transactions Joint Program: "The Changing Architecture of Legal Education: Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study."
Thurs, Jan. 7, 2:45 pm - 4 pm EST - Empirical Study of Legal Education & the Legal Profession, Academic Support, PreLegal Education & Admission to Law School, and Student Services: "An Empirical Look at Influences on Access to Legal Education & the Profession."
Sat, Jan 9, 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm EST - Section for the Law School Dean and Academic Support: "COVID-19 and the Bar Exam: Supporting our Graduates."
Section Business Meeting
The ASP section business meeting will be held on Wed., Jan. 6, at 5:30 pm EST immediately following the main program. The business meeting is NOT part of the main program login. The main program platform does not allow for discussion.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
While the conference is specific to Legal Writing, many in our community have insight in this area. Check out the call below.
The 2021 Empire State Legal Writing Conference Wants YOU!
The Empire State Legal Writing Conference is a biennial event dating back to 2010 (when we actually attended conferences in person). The Empire State Planning Committee is comprised of Legal Writing faculty and administrative staff from all over New York State. In addition to arguing about things like whether buffalo chicken wings are better in Buffalo or Brooklyn (ok we know who wins that one), we are also delighted to announce that we will be holding a two-day virtual conference on May 13 and 14.
If you want to present, we want you! While we friendly New Yorkers welcome proposals from legal writing faculty at all stages of their career, we particularly encourage proposals from newer legal writing faculty. If you are a first time presenter afraid to take that leap, a committee member will happily assist you with your proposal.
The Details. . .
Cost: Free, free, free. In other words, no charge.
I am new to teaching legal writing, should I submit a proposal?
ABSOLUTELY! You are exactly the kind of presenter we are looking for. Everyone has to start somewhere and the Empire State is the perfect place to start. We will even assign you a mentor to help you prepare for your presentation, if you want.
Does the conference have a theme?
Yes - the theme is there is no theme; we want to encourage presentations on a wide range of topics. We encourage both individual presentations and panels.
What types of presentations and panels are you looking for?
We are looking for presentations and panels on a wide variety of topics - some ideas include:
- Transitioning from online to in-class, lessons imparted;
- A panel discussion for legal writing professors who teach classes outside the discipline;
- A panel for legal writing professors who publish outside of the discipline;
- Ideas for teaching effectively (this can include a specific exercise or problem that you used that worked well);
- Techniques for providing meaningful feedback;
Or anything else you can come up with - the New York City skyline is the limit!
Will we be going to see a Broadway show, or visiting Niagara Falls?
Very funny, but look at the bright side- you don’t have to wear a suit when you present.
Deadline and Submission Instructions for the Presentations
Please use the following for the email subject matter line [if multiple presenters, please use the name of the person submitting the proposal]: EmpireState2021.LastName.FirstName
Submit the proposal in word, using the same name as the email subject matter line.
Proposals should include the following information:
- The presenters’ names, titles, school affiliations, email addresses, and cell phone numbers (in case of technical glitches).
- The title of the presentation.
- A description of no more than 250 words.
- A description of no more than 2-3 sentences for the program.
- The preferred length and format of session (panel/presentation/etc.). In an effort to accommodate as many speakers as possible, we are contemplating sessions of different lengths, with different numbers of speakers. We think we may have some sessions of 20 minutes, and others at 45 minutes.
Deadline and Submission Instructions for Scholars’ Work in Progress
We welcome your participation if you have either: 1) an idea for an article and would like to receive feedback and suggestions before jumping into the research/writing progress; or 2) if you anticipate having a draft of an article by May 2021 and would like feedback on the draft from other legal writing scholars (participants will circulate drafts in advance).
Please use the following for the email subject matter line [if co-authors, please use the name of the person submitting the work]: EmpireStateScholars2021.LastName.FirstName
Submit the proposal in Word, using the same name as the email subject matter line.
Descriptions should include the following information:
- The authors’ names, titles, school affiliations, email addresses, and cell phone numbers (in case of technical glitches);
- A description of no more than 250 words; and
- Whether you will be workshopping:
- an idea for an article or
- an article draft in progress (see explanation above).
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
All of us at the Law School Academic Support Blog wish you and your families Happy Holidays! We appreciate you reading our posts. We also hope you are able to get a break over the next few weeks. 2020 took nearly all our collective energy, so hopefully, we can recharge for the new year.
We are taking a break to celebrate the season. Posts will begin again the week of January 11th.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Assistant Professor of Academic Success
at the University of Dayton School of Law
Work Type: Faculty Full Time
Location: Dayton, OH
Applications Close: January 6, 2021
The University of Dayton School of Law invites applications for an Assistant Professor of Academic Success. This is a twelve-month, non-tenure track position with an initial appointment of one year and the possibility of renewal for long-term (three or five-year) appointments after three years of satisfactory service. The position is expected to begin on July 1, 2021.
The focus of the Academic Success Program at the University of Dayton School of Law is to help students develop the skills necessary for law school success and first-time bar passage.
At the University of Dayton, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. We translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range perspectives and experiences, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including people of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
The University of Dayton School of Law has positioned itself in recent years on the cutting edge of legal pedagogy. Its innovative Road to Bar Passage and Academic Success Programs, school-wide curricular reforms, and ongoing partnerships with expert consultants and University experts from outside the law school such as the Director of Assessment and Student-Centered Analytics, have led to significant leaps forward in the art and science of improving student and alumni outcomes. In the last four years of concerted effort, the school bar passage rate has increased markedly, as have median test scores and GPAs of incoming students. The Law@Dayton Online Hybrid JD program, launched in 2019, expanded access to legal education to students not otherwise able to join the profession. Few American law schools have pushed as aggressively as the University of Dayton School of Law for novel, creative, effective ways to help all students learn and succeed in the legal profession. The Assistant Professor of Academic Success will contribute to these ongoing efforts of the School of Law.
Responsibilities of the Assistant Professor of Academic Success will include:
- Teaching academic success courses related to legal reasoning, critical reading, exam- writing, and bar examination preparation;
- Providing academic advising and professional development counseling for students;
- Supervising and evaluating the Law School’s Learning Communities program, including designing student-led sessions and working with upper-level Dean’s Fellows;
- Participating in the larger community for academic success professionals through regular attendance or presentations at conferences and other relevant endeavors to support the faculty member’s professional development;
- Delivering and assessing a comprehensive program of academic support from orientation until graduation.
A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school; and
Ability to articulate a commitment to academic support, including implementing the best models and practices available to encourage student success and utilizing recent developments in pedagogy in U.S. law schools.
While not everyone may possess all the preferred qualifications, the ideal candidate will bring many of the following:
Successful experience in:
- Academic support, including implementing best models and practices available to encourage student success and utilizing recent developments in pedagogy in U.S. law schools;
- Providing effective academic advising and professional development counseling for students;
- Law teaching, particularly in designing and teaching academic success courses or those related to legal reasoning, critical reading, exam-writing, and/or bar examination preparation in a U.S. law school;
- Compiling and analyzing data for statistical analysis, including familiarity with the most commonly used statistical software programs;
- Mentoring and working with students from diverse backgrounds;
- Demonstrating a commitment to socially and culturally diverse communities.
Recent successful experience in:
- Developing and administering structured intervention and counseling programs for at-risk students;
- Program administration, including delivering and assessing all aspects of a program, especially if the experience relates to academic support;
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including effective presentation skills;
- Law school achievements and accomplishments, including high academic achievement, law review, or moot court;
- Effective interpersonal communication skills with various constituencies and the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues; and
- Expressed willingness to engage with Catholic and Marianist educational values.
Special Instructions to Applicants:
A complete application consists of a CV and Cover Letter addressing commitment to academic support, including implementing the best models and practices available to encourage student success and utilizing recent developments in pedagogy in U.S. law schools.
Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.
Posting closes at 11:55 PM EST, January 6, 2021.
The University of Dayton is a top tier, Catholic research university with offerings from the undergraduate to the doctoral levels. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary, the University is a diverse community committed to advancing the common good through intellectual curiosity, academic rigor, community engagement and local, national and global partnerships. Guided by the Marianist educational philosophy, we educate the whole person and link learning and scholarship with leadership and service.
Informed by its Catholic and Marianist mission, the University is committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Informed by this commitment, we seek to increase diversity, achieve equitable outcomes, and model inclusion across our campus community. As an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer, we will not discriminate against minorities, women, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities, or on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The University is also pleased to provide support for spouses of prospective and newly hired faculty through its dual career program. While we cannot guarantee placement, we serve as an effective resource and support system for your spouse. Information can be found at http://www.udayton.edu/hr/employee_resources/dual_career_resources.php
Interested applicants must apply online directly through: https://employment.udayton.edu/cw/en-us/job/498357/assistant-professor-of-academic-success
Sunday, December 20, 2020
|Posting Type:||External - Open to All Applicants|
|Job Title:||Assistant Director of Academic Success; Rank of Instructor|
|Position Title:||Assistant Director of Academic Success; Rank of Instructor|
|Position Type:||Full-Time Faculty|
|Department:||College of Law|
Benefit package includes: Medical, Dental, Vision and Prescription insurance, Life insurance, Workers’ Compensation insurance, Unemployment insurance, and Total Disability insurance. Retirement: The University contributes 4% of the regular salary with up to 3% of additional matched contributions into the TIAA Retirement Program.
(The University has currently frozen employer matched contributions for the remainder of the fiscal year.)
Other benefits include tuition remission for employee, spouse, and employee’s dependent children under the age of 25 (this does not include the last two year of the PharmD program or the JD), and twenty days of paid medical leave per year.
Candidates must hold at least a J.D. from an ABA accredited law school with a minimum of more than one year’s prior experience in academic support. The Director will lead the academic support program at ONU and coordinate with and report to the Director of Bar Success to provide an integrated program of academic support and bar support services.
Assistant Director of Academic Success. Non-tenure Track Faculty. 12-month appointment with eligibility for continuing appointment. Instructor Status. The Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law is seeking to appoint an Assistant Director of Academic Success to begin on or after January 2, 2019.
Be an integral part of the Academic Success Program (ASP) at Ohio Northern University College of Law, working with the Director of Academic Success; provide academic assistance for all students to improve essay writing, reading comprehension, issue spotting, and legal analysis skills; meet individually with academic at-risk students in the 1L and 2L classes or any student by request or upon recommendation by professor; teach an academic support lab to 1L students; teach an academic support course to select 2L students; provide academic assistance and host weekly ASP sessions in the Summer Starter Program; coordinate and teach in the January term Legal Problem Solving and Analysis course for 1L students; coordinate and supervise the teaching assistant academic support program; provide input on issues such as academic assessment and data evaluation of student performance. Program; provide input on issues such as academic assessment and data evaluation of student performance.
- Strong writing, analytical, and organizational skills
- A JD from an ABA accredited law school with strong grades
- Familiarity with outcomes based assessment
|Open Until Filled||Yes|
|Special Instructions to Applicants:|
Saturday, December 19, 2020
|Position Title||Director of Bar Success|
|Location||IIT-Downtown Campus (DTC), Chicago, IL|
|Department||CK Dean of Law|
Chicago-Kent College of Law seeks an energetic, innovative, and experienced teacher to direct its Bar Success Program. The Director will design and implement bar-related programming and will be responsible for monitoring, developing and enhancing a complete Bar preparedness program for Chicago-Kent Students.
The Director will assume leadership of a program that has already developed several classes and strategies to facilitate bar preparedness. Chicago-Kent is committed to enriching and streamlining its current program by hiring someone who can work full time on bar preparedness efforts. The Director will work closely with faculty and staff (particularly the Director of Academic Skills, the Dean for Student Affairs and the Director of Legal Writing and the faculty currently working on bar readiness) to provide tailored assistance for at-risk students including advising, coaching, instruction, and referrals to resources; develop and present programming for all JD students concerning bar readiness; offer bar-related advising and support to individual students on matters such as character and fitness concerns or course selection; and track relevant data related to bar passage and other academic success metrics. Scholarly writing, especially on topics related to teaching and learning, is welcome but not required.
|Special Schedule Requirements||
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employers, abide by all applicable provisions of federal, state and local law. IIT does not discriminate in their employment policies and practices on the basis of race, color, religion except where religion is a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification for the job, national origin or ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital status, veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable law.
|Education & Experience||
● Juris Doctor Degree from an ABA-accredited law school plus three years of relevant experience
|Knowledge & Skills||
* At least three years of experience in law practice or teaching
|List any certifications or licenses that are either required or helpful in performing the job, designating whether required or preferred.||
Tailored Support for Individual Students:
|Percentage Of Time||50|
|Percentage Of Time||30|
Data Tracking, Analysis, and Follow-up:
|Percentage Of Time||20|
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
|Position Category||Full Time|
|Posted Until Filled||Yes|
Friday, December 18, 2020
As we enter the holiday season, we seem to measure things in dozens. To that end, and in that spirit (and as a respite from grading…), here are the 12 Students You Meet on Zoom:
1. The First One There: this student comes before I have even poured the coffee I will need for the class. And then they leave because they are alone. And then they come back. And now I have four separate recordings for the class-three are about 38 seconds long.
2. The Gamer: he (or she) has the headphones/mic combo and gamer chair set up like all the folks on YouTube videos that your 15 year old son watches. They may actually be playing a game online with your 15 year-old son during class…..
3. The Snuggler: she (or he) is all comfy cozy in their fluffy bed during class. Their face is sideways because sitting up is a lot. Probably not taking any notes….
4. The Snacker: they did bring enough to share but….
5. Video off/audio on: Um. We can hear their mom telling them something even if we cannot see them (rolling their eyes no doubt). No worries, I muted you both.
6. Computer only attending class: no video, no audio, no student. I called on them after asking them to turn on the video three or four times. No answer. I ended class but didn’t end the meeting and they were still there-or were they ever there? The emailed questions later in the week make me believe not…..
7. The Chatter: the syllabus actually says that any private chats will show up in my transcript of the chat. I don’t care if you think my hair looks weird today. Actually, I do. Ouch.
8. The Harry Potter Painting: they are off screen and then they are back and then they are off again. I am waiting for them to show up in another person’s square…with a sword….and a pony.
9. The Traveller: they are moving from room to room hunting the elusive wifi. Wascally wifi….or walking around outside and taking us with them. Sadly, it will not count towards my daily steps…
10. The Mobile Classroom: They are in a minivan-in the driver’s seat, but when we go into breakout rooms I have a weird vision of them physically driving over to another parking spot. I’m actually impressed at how spacious and clean the van is compared to my house.
11. The Pet Sharer: I love your dogs and cats. I had no idea you had a whole bunch of birds until you unmuted yourself and the noise made all three of my cats come running to my laptop. Still, it was a delightful chaos.
12. The Student doing the best they can under the circumstances: that’s everyone. I would like to thank my students for their patience and understanding during the garbage collection/mail or package delivery/fire engine barking as well as the occasional meowing and tail in your face. This is hard-and we made it work.
(Elizabeth Stillman - Guest Blogger)
Thursday, December 17, 2020
Wow. At long last, final exams are over...sort of.
For most of us, we have a very difficult time with uncertainty in general, which is particularly exasperating as we wait - sometimes for weeks - for our grades to arrive (and the more so in light of the current ongoing pandemic).
So, despite the festive times that are supposed to fill this month, we often find ourselves unable to relax, to enjoy others (and ourselves), and to simply wind down and rest.
Nevertheless, there's a simple way - in just a flash of a moment - to help break free from the many stresses and strains of the past few weeks of final exams. Why not try out, today, the "smile loop?" It sounds, sort of, fun, doesn't it? So, here's the scoop (and the science too):
You see, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Bernstein:
"Smiling produces neural messaging in your brain that makes you happier. Some studies have shown that when we smile our facial muscles contract, which slightly distorts the shape of the thin facial bones. This leads to an increase in blood flow into the frontal lobes of the brain and the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine. And, when we smile at someone, that person tends to smile back. So, we've created a feel-good loop." http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-fall-back-in-love
For those of you that are not scientists (that's me!), the short scoop is that smiling brightens not just our days but the days of those around us. And, it seems to me that smiling at another person helps put us on the right track to thinking about others rather than worrying about the past few weeks of final exams (with its lingering wait for grades). Indeed, despite face masks due to the pandemic, I've noticed that I can tell whether someone is smiling. Even masks can't stop us from appreciating smiles!
A few years back I had the chance to put smiling to the test in very difficult circumstances as a volunteer attorney. There's a little Greek island just a few short miles off the Turkish coast. Because of its locale so close to Turkey, thousands of people had been fleeing on small inflatable boats across the Aegean Sea to escape persecution and in some cases war in their native countries - from Syria to Iran to Iraq to Afghanistan to South Sudan - with the hope of receiving refuge in the European Union. I talked with a man, his wife and his adorable small children that risked it all traveling by land from Afghanistan through Iran and Turkey only to be finally living for months in a small UNHCR tent in a refugee camp on the island of Chios.
Despite the lack of resources and the uncertainty of still waiting - for months on end - to receive as of yet an asylum hearing, he smiled. And, then his children smiled. Why, his whole family smiled. In the December cold of the wind swept coast of this little island refugee camp, we all smiled...together. He and his family may not have had much to give but they gave something immeasurably priceless...they shared smiles with me.
Let me say, this was not a unique experience. As I walked through the refugee camp with a number of refugee-seekers, even though we often didn't speak the same language, we were able to communicate in ways richer than words. Over and over, refugees would just come up to me with big generous smiles and warm handshakes of greetings. Memorably, a small Syrian boy grabbed my hand one day by the lunch tent as a group of young people were dancing, asking me to join in the footsteps and singing.
You see, smiles are not just a trick to make your life better or happier. Rather, smiles are the sweetness of life itself in helping us to make the world a little better for others.
So, as you wait for final exam grades to come in, be of good courage and share smiles with those around you. Who knows? That brief smile might get you up and dancing!
Saturday, December 12, 2020
Western State College of Law (WSCL) at Westcliff University invites applications from candidates for a tenure-track position as Director of the Academic Support Program beginning July 1, 2021. We seek candidates with prior experience in teaching academic support or bar preparation, strong academic backgrounds, a commitment to teaching excellence, and demonstrated potential for productive scholarship.
WSCL is located in the city of Irvine, California – close to miles of famous beaches, parks, recreation facilities and outdoor activities as well as the many museums, music venues, and diverse cultural and social experiences of greater Los Angeles.
Founded in 1966, WSCL is the oldest law school in Orange County, California, and is a fully ABA approved for-profit, private law school. Noted for small classes and personal attention from an accessible faculty focused on student success, WSCL is proud that our student body is among the most diverse in the nation. Our 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150 California judges and about 15% of Orange County’s Deputy Public Defenders and District Attorneys.
WSCL is committed to providing workplaces and learning environments free from discrimination on the basis of any protected classification including, but not limited to race, sex, gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, genetic marker or on any other basis protected by law.
Confidential review of applications will begin immediately. Applications (including a cover letter, complete CV, teaching evaluations (if available), a diversity statement addressing your contributions to our goal of creating a diverse faculty. and names/email addresses of three references) should be emailed to Professor Todd Brower, Chair, Faculty Appointments Committee: email@example.com For more information about WSCL, visit: wsulaw.edu