Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Setting New Goals for Our Next Decade and Beyond

This is our final guest post celebrating AASE's 10th Anniversary, from AASE President Ashley London

As we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) at the Santa Clara University School of Law next week (!!), I think it is exciting to formulate our plans for the next decade and beyond for this dynamic organization.

We are re-igniting our “Newbie Conference” portion after COVID set us back on our heels, as it did for most organizations across the country. This is a critically important component that helps bring newcomers into AASE to keep us vital and thriving. We hope those of you who will be attending and arriving a little earlier will feel free to drop and meet our new colleagues and begin creating and fostering those mentoring relationships we all have benefited from during our time with AASE.

During the conference in Santa Clara, I am going to ask every one about joining (and perhaps even leading or co-chairing) one of our amazing committees, and about refreshing our commitments to our committee goals.  We have a lot of work to do as we prepare for our fourth bi-annual Diversity Conference, October 11-13, hosted by the American University Washington College of Law, and our Diversity Committee is doing a great job putting this event together. Our Scholarship Committee will be ushering in a new crop of academic scholars as part of our collaboration with AccessLex, and we will be looking to update our technology use and website in the coming year with the Online Presence Committee. Our Programming Committee is responsible for the incredible conference we will all be attending, our Assessment Committee is excited to reveal their findings from the country’s only comprehensive survey of our profession, and our Mentoring Committee is working diligently to connect mentors and mentees. Finally, our Bar Advocacy Committee is responsible for working with the NCBE to present the Q&A session at the conference, a session we hope will provide our membership with more detailed knowledge about the NextGen bar examination and its rollout. I’m also very excited about ushering in our new Executive Board members, so please make sure you cast your votes.

We have so many ways for you to become involved that not only highlight your skills and interests, but that will continue to elevate our profession and this organization as a whole.

We are living in “interesting times,” as the adage goes, and our members in the ASP and Bar Preparation communities are more vital to our students’ success than ever as we continue to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in our law schools, and as we face the challenges of a potentially new bar examination product (NextGen) from the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE).

As I move into the second year of my unique tenure as President of AASE, I’d like to share a passage from Michelle Obama’s book, “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times.” I’ve been devouring this book, and I highly recommend it to all of us facing similar challenges in the legal academy- the challenges to our sense of belonging, our expertise, the uncertainty of our places sometimes, but most of all in balancing our drive to make things better for our students, our law schools, with protecting those tender parts of ourselves so we do not burn out and lose hope.

This passage jumped out at me and reminded me that each one of us has an incredible amount of power and potential here in the AASE organization. It reminded me that none of us alone has to bear the entire burden of changing our world. But if we each do a little bit, our light, our influence, our strengths, and our successes, can be magnified. It only takes a spark. I hope 2023-2024 year inspires each of us to bring our sparks with us to our AASE community so that we can continue to grow, influence, and change our circumstances collectively and individually.

From Michelle Obama: “I believe that each of us carries a bit of inner brightness, something entirely unique and individual. A flame that’s worth protecting. When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it. When we learn to foster what is unique in the world around us, we become better able to build compassionate communities and make meaningful change.”


-Prof. Ashley M. London, AASE President

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