Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, November 21, 2008

Position at the University of Iowa College of Law

                                                Director of Academic Support
                                                University of Iowa College of Law

The University of Iowa College of Law invites applications for the position of Director of
Academic Support. This is a non-faculty full-time administrative staff appointment starting July
1, 2009 at a salary commensurate with qualifications and experience.

The College of Law is a welcoming professional community located in a vibrant university
town. The Director of Academic Support will administer and advance the College’s current
academic support program, which assists law students as they develop and improve legal study
and test-taking skills, adjust to the challenges of law school, and prepare to enter law practice.
The Director will work with law school faculty and administrative staff to create and present
first-year orientation and academic skills programs and to coordinate a year-long peer mentoring
program. As part of the Student Services team, the Director will also contribute to the design and
implementation of programming to enhance the professional development of second- and third year
students as they make curricular choices, sharpen their academic skills, and prepare to take
a bar examination. As a complement to programming, the Director will also work closely with
individual first-year and upper-level students to improve their academic and professional skills.

The Director may assume other duties related to law Student Services as well, such as
participating in the Hubbard Law School Preparation Program and working with students for
whom English is a second language. Depending on interest and qualifications (and subject to
faculty approval), the Director might also occasionally teach academic or skills courses within
the law school. In addition, the College encourages and provides support for the Director to
engage in research and professional development activities in the Academic Support field.

Prior experience with an existing law school academic support program is a desirable
qualification, but transferable experience in helping others improve legal and professional skills
may be viewed as equivalent. Inquiries about the position may be directed to Associate Dean
Carin Crain at 319-335-9648 or

Required Education
A juris doctor degree from an ABA accredited law school, or an equivalent combination
of education and experience.

Required Certification
Admission to a state bar.

Required Qualifications
Ability to think creatively and critically about the goals of academic support in legal
education and to design and present programs to meet those goals.
Ability to counsel, advise and instruct individual students from diverse backgrounds.
Genuine interest in and ability to work closely with faculty, staff and students to enhance
program effectiveness.
Solid academic record and excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Considerable (3-5 years) relevant experience.

Desirable Qualifications
Experience with an existing law school academic support program.
Legal practice, clerkship or other experience related to the practice of law.
Familiarity with scholarship on functions of academic support programs.
Demonstrated success in teaching.

To apply, visit and refer to requisition # 56309. Review of applications
will begin on January 30, 2009, and continue until the position is filled.
The University of Iowa is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and
minorities are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

November 21, 2008 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Ideas than Time?

Do you ever wish you had more hours in a day so that you could implement all of the great ideas you come up with during the year?  As a one-person operation for 650 students, I truly wish that I could have several of me to implement new ideas.

I need several extra pairs of arms and hands to go along with my brain to type drafts of class notes, develop Power Point slides, and revamp handouts.  I could use several extras of my body to attend committee meetings and community groups as we revamp old programs and initiate new programs. 

Mind you, there is always unpaid overtime to squeeze in some of the extras.  But, one has to be careful about burn-out.  As my program has grown from brand-new to established here at Texas Tech, I have been able to pare down the insane number of extra hours that I was putting in each week.  However, overtime will realistically never disappear entirely as long as I have new ideas and care about making my program better (and as long as the university tags me as an exempt manager).

As ASP professionals, we have to balance caring for our students and caring for ourselves.  Our group of professionals is likely to give of ourselves to others constantly because we want our students to succeed and we truly care about them as individuals.  And, we also give to others in ASP through phone calls, workshops, conferences, articles, and other outlets. 

And, for those of us who are not married and/or have children, we sometimes have trouble carving out our personal space because it is easy to decide that no one is waiting at home expecting us.  (Hmmm, dogs could be very useful.  Unlike my cat children of the past, they do need us to show up promptly unless we have backyards with doggie doors.)

So, I have gotten better at carving out personal time.  I use every cancelled meeting or appointment slot to the maximum.  I keep a long list of "future ideas and projects" as an incentive to improve my program within realistic time limits.  And, I occasionally do say "no" or "next year" to requests that come my way.

Despite the disadvantages at times, I hope I never run out of new ideas.  I hope that I never stop being inspired by other ASP folks to try a new approach.  I hope that I never lose sight that it is a blessing to come to work each day to help my students.  After all, these are the things that make me an ASP professional.

So, New Idea, if you are out there, come and find me.  I am ready for you.  (Amy Jarmon)       

November 20, 2008 in Encouragement & Inspiration | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reminders as the semester winds down (and up)

As the semester winds down, and exams wind up, it's time to remind students of the basics.  I live in a very cold climate, but a frost is blasting the entire east coast, so these reminders may have a location bias.

1) If you are new to a colder climate, be sure to keep the heat on in your house, even when you go away, so the pipes don't burst.  Nothing is worse than waking up on the morning of exams to ice-cold water leaking from the ceiling or in puddles on the floor.

2) If you don't have enough warm clothes for yourself or anyone you live with, let someone know. There is no shame in asking for help.  Every year I have lived in a colder climate, either as a law professor or as an elementary school teacher, I saw people who moved from warmer climes and forgot to bring a heavy coat. If you need to borrow a coat, just ask. ASP or the student services office are the first places to look. If you need a coat because you can't afford one, look to the same places. 

3) As the semester winds down, so do funds, and food. Don't go hungry.  Exam period is not the time to show your fortitude by starving yourself.   You can not perform your best if you are hungry. If your school does not have funds to help you eat during exam period, they can refer you to places that can help. 

4)  If you are healthy and have enough money so you don't need to worry about these things, look around and see if any of your classmates need help. If you know someone is struggling, help them or direct them to help.  Don't let the competitive spirit of law school allow you to forget that these people are your colleagues, your support system, and your friends.  Be kind to those around you.  You can't imagine how much a person in need who is looking for direction will appreciate someone who asks how they can help.  All they may need is someone to talk to, someone to provide a sympathetic ear.  (RCF)

November 19, 2008 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Report from the NY-area ASP Directors Workshop

Friday, Nov. 14, 2008, was the New York-area Academic Support Directors Workshop, hosted by Brooklyn Law School. This is different from the conferences sponsored by the LSAC; this conference is the brainchild of Kris Franklin (NYLS) and Linda Feldman (Brooklyn Law); it is designed to get local ASP professionals together to present and chat about issues they have been experiencing.  This year's workshop was a great success, with schools from across the country represented. Everyone who attends the workshop is asked to present on a topic relating to a theme. This year's theme was "Working with Doctrinal Faculty."  I came away with great new material as well as some new ideas about what to add to my academic success program. 

I was the first presenter of the morning, with a discussion on using "the law". My comments were similar to the post I wrote a couple of weeks ago. However, I received some great suggestions on how to add Civil Procedure to my repertoire.

The next presenters were Mary Ferrari and Gail Stern from Quinnipiac on integrating ASP principles into tax courses. This was fabulous discussion on respecting different learning styles in the classroom as a doctrinal teacher, and how to incorporate different processing styles into casebooks and classroom teaching.

Kris Franklin presented on a class project for her Torts section, where teams of students put together a graphic analysis of a Torts problem using graphic organizer software. Kris's students did a truly magical job on the assignment, and I (among others) encouraged Kris to encourage her students to post some of the results on the web so others can marvel at how bright and talented they are.

Hillary Burgess of Hofstra continued on the theme with a presentation on using flow chart activities in the 1L classroom. Hillary did a fabulous job of showing how flow charts can be used to help students create their own learning activities to support the material they are learning.

Heather Zuber blew us all away with a presentation on how she restructured the Western State 1L colloquium.  Heather put in an enormous amount of work to reshape and redesign the program to reflect the needs of current students, and enhance the learning experience of the upperclass TA's.  I think everyone was left wondering if Heather ever slept in this past year when she was done talking about all the changes she made to the program. 

Carmen Morales of Fordham presented on employing students from law review as tutors for 1L students. This is an area where people can have very strong opinions, and Carmen did a great job showing us how she made this program a success at Fordham.

Linda Cortez of U Baltimore presented on I (heart) IRAC (Where is the IRAC love?).  If you are a new ASP professional looking for ways to convince students that IRAC represents the essential elements in an exam, you should get in contact with Linda, ASAP.  Linda, as always,  did a fabulous job showing the different ways to present IRAC to students, which included models for different learning types. 

Catherine Coleman, a new member of our ASP community, did an outstanding job explaining USC's restricted enrollment policy, and their time line for preparing students for exams and the bar.  I am taking the idea of restricted enrollment back with me to my school; it creates a category for students who are not in danger of failing out of law school, but need additional supports to achieve their personal best.

Mary Lou Bilek and David Nadvorney of CUNY  demonstrated the idea of "rounds" as a pedagogical tool as well as a tool for faculty support. The idea of addressing student concerns in rounds, similar to what is seen in the medical school context, was a revelation. I believe we all were in agreement that this tool is something we need to spend more time exploring in later conferences. 

The last presentation of the day was by Micah Yarbrough of Widener-Wilmington on  the reporting requirement of 3-106.  I have actually sent a copy of Micah's PowerPoint to some of my ASP colleagues; it did a great job organizing the myriad new requirements we are all facing when reporting our bar pass rates to the ABA. His presentation also opened the door to a discussion on working together with other schools to get some clarity regarding interpretation of some provisions within 3-106. 

A hearty thank you and good job go out to Kris and Linda, who did a wonderful job getting us all together and providing a forum for us to discuss our issues and challenges in a supportive community. 

And I second a call made by Kris and Linda...we should be planning and organizing more of these forums throughout the country. This is was a great learning experience, and we all need more opportunities for professional development and support outside of the LSAC conferences. 


November 17, 2008 in Academic Support Spotlight | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)