Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Happy 10th Birthday AASE!

2023 marks the 10th birthday of the founding of the Association of Academic Support Educators! AASE is the first and only nationwide non-profit professional organization dedicated to supporting and promoting academic support educators in the legal academy. ASP and Bar Prep educators are a community of generous collaborators who seek to support and uplift their fellow members with a very student-centric focus. I am honored and privileged to have served as President of the organization, and have been a member for so long. It’s an organization that means so much to me, and many others, and that offers so much support and guidance to members of the academic support community. I am so proud of how far we have come in the past decade!

To celebrate this mile-marker year, we will feature blog posts about AASE history and great moments, written by those that have played an integral role in the organization’s beginnings. Knowing where we came from helps us chart our exciting future!

AASE members have been fighting and advocating for change in the legal academy since the organization’s inception. Advocating to elevate the status of AASE members, advocating to change education for the better on behalf of our students, and advocating for more equity and fairness in lawyer licensure and the bar examination.

For example, Professor Marsha Griggs, has been tirelessly advocating for more transparency, equity, and fairness in regards to the bar exam for years. She has recently been supported in this critical work by our own President Professor Ashley London.  On Saturday. Jan. 7, at the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Conference in San Diego, professors Griggs and London participated in an important panel discussion with Professor Joan Howarth and Dean Danielle Conway, addressing the problematic history of racism and gatekeeping at the hands of those traditionally in charge of lawyer licensing, “Who Are We: Racism at the Heart of Admission into the Legal Profession.”  The panel is based on Prof. Howarth’s new book, Shaping the Bar: The Future of Attorney Licensing, an absolute must read for the ASP community and law school administrators. Within our own community, we know these women are the experts on this history, as well as what needs to change. So, to see them on a national panel was amazing and well deserved. Marsha stressed that it is our profession, and that every lawyer, every practitioner, needs to come together to work on changes. She also advocates for “blunt force mathematical trauma” – using data to get rid of coded racism. I absolutely love this approach. Ashley added that if you’ve taken the oath of professional responsibility and you’re not currently angry with the state of the bar exam, something is wrong.  The panel was great overall, but I was so happy to see our AASE leaders shine!


In addition, other non-academic support panels had AASE members presenting. This would have been almost unheard of at the inception of our organization. The hard work of those who have come before us are carving a place for us in the academy, and we will carry on that tradition. I’m so excited to see so many members of our community recognized as experts, given tenure and promotion, and making strides in leadership and change. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring!

And of course, this means we really need to celebrate in Santa Clara, where we have our 10th Annual Conference – “Past, President, Future: AASE at 10 and Beyond.”  It will be May 23-25th, and I hope so many of us can gather together to celebrate the accomplishments of AASE, and of each other.

And remember, the deadline for proposals is January 20th! Submit your proposal here!

(Melissa A. Hale)

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