Wednesday, January 8, 2020

AALS Section on Academic Support Leadership, and Honoring Laurie Zimet!

This year, I ended my holiday travels with a trip to AALS in Washington, DC. Now that I'm back to normalcy post travel, or at least what passes as normal in academic support, I thought I'd share a bit about our section's AALS Leadership, and our award recipient!

First and foremost, I'd like to officially welcome Jamie Kleppetsch, Director of Bar Passage at DePaul College of Law in Chicago, as the AALS Academic Support Section Chair. Jamie has been doing bar passage work since 2008, and I know she will lead our section to amazing things. I am looking forward to working with her, as I am the new chair-elect! In our leadership, we also have Kirsha Trychta, the Director of the Academic Excellence Center at West Virginia University as our Secretary, and Joe Buffington, Director of Bar Success at Albany Law School as our treasurer. I'm excited to work with this amazing group of people!

Most importantly, the section recognized Academic Support leader and trailblazer, Laurie Zimet. Laurie is the Director of Academic Support at UC Hastings, and is regarded as an expert and founder in the field of academic support. She even coined the term "Asp-ish!". In fact, Laurie was a founding member of the AALS section on Academic Support, so it is more than fitting that the section pay their respects!

While anyone that has met Laurie, or seen her present, knows exactly why she was deserving of this award, I wanted to include some quotes from some members that nominated her.

"She is a resource of incredible wisdom and insight, and she always makes time to check in with other professionals to track their career development.  Whether it focuses on professional concerns, program development, and/or enhancing individual skills, Laurie has served our community tirelessly.  Her thoughtful guidance has improved academic support programs across the country.  She has also been a staunch advocate of academic support professionals by educating countless members of the academy of the importance of our field and the necessity of job security for those in our field." And "In addition, her expertise in teaching is known nationwide.  She was an early proponent of active learning in the classroom, which has had a ripple effect on countless professors." Both of these descriptions from Pavel Wonsowicz at UCLA. I think Pavel sums up what those of us that know Laurie think.

In addition, from Kris Franklin, at New York Law School, Laurie is one of the true originators of our discipline, a mentor and foremother to uncountable past and present academic support professionals, and a widely-admired leading voice in legal education. Recognition of her unique contributions to the profession is fitting and probably overdue." Kris is not wrong, and continues to say "Laurie is a recognized expert in active learning and in ASP program design. She has frequently consulted with law schools that were seeking to open or expand academic support programming. In so doing, she helped create jobs in the field, and she directly or indirectly opened the door for many of those working in ASP positions today.

Laurie has always been seen as an unusually vibrant speaker and educator. She has given hundreds of talks at law schools and academic support conferences around the country, all of which helped further the field and inspire those working in it. As just one example, together with Paula Lustbader she was a frequent and early presenter at the AALS Workshop for New Law Professors. Those talks brought the student-centered learning so central to ASP work to a generation of entering law teachers nationwide.

Perhaps most endearingly, as the invited keynote speaker at an LSAC-sponsored ASP conference in Miami, Laurie coined the immediately-recognizable term “ASPish.” We may not be able to fully capture in words the many qualities that the term includes, but… we know ASPish when we see it. Laurie embodies it."  

She really does. Congrats to Laurie!

(Melissa Hale)

 

WLaurie jamie
Laurie jamie

 

 

January 8, 2020 in Academic Support Spotlight, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 6, 2020

Takeaways from the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting

You have so much to explore and express, but . . .  you may be asking yourself, is my story good enough? The answer is yes! – Schan B. Ellis

I can think of no better way to begin the new year than by sending kudos to the AALS Section on Academic Support, the executive board, and the planning committee for a fabulous panel session. If you did not attend the AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, you missed a treat. The Academic Support session held on Friday, January 3, was attended by law school deans and administrators, clinical and doctrinal faculty outside of ASP, testing and learning specialists, and academic support professionals. To a standing-room-only crowd, a diverse panel of presenters shared their research and insights on the role of faculty in delivering academic support, academic archetypes that signal risks of law school underperformance and bar exam failure, potential gender biases in standardized testing, and bar examination, and the impact of bar exam cut scores on diversity in the legal profession.

I have attended the annual meeting many times. From New York to New Orleans, and from San Diego to Washington, AALS provides a unique opportunity to connect with professors and law school professionals in a welcoming smorgasbord of panel presentations and enriching roundtable sessions. Although I am a veteran AALS attendee, this year I saw the conference through the lens of a presenter for the very first time. I had become quite comfortable listening to and learning from others, and this time I sat at the presenters’ table instead of in the audience.

To say that I was nervous would be an understatement of enormous proportion. Even more daunting was the intimidating company of expert co-panelists that I found myself in. My panel included tenured professor and renowned ASP scholar Catherine Christopher from Texas Tech; published textbook author Jane Grise from the University of Kentucky; and Dean emeritus and UNLV law professor Joan Howarth. I was so busy taking notes from their presentations that I could barely focus on my own.

My point to anyone who has an article idea in gestation: do not convince yourself that you don’t have something worthwhile to say. I was so impressed by how broadly attended the session was, and I could only think that we need more novice scholars to share their works in progress and innovative ideas for the good of the profession. I encourage my ASP colleagues to respond to the call for proposals for the 2020 AASE Conference and the 2021 AALS Section on Academic Support session. It was a fabulous experience for me . . . and if I can do it, surely you can too.

(Marsha Griggs)

January 6, 2020 in Academic Support Spotlight, Meetings, Travel | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, December 9, 2019

Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education Seeking Nominations

If you are looking for an opportunity to serve in the broader academic community and provide more exposure to the contribution of ASP, please consider nominating yourself, or an eligible colleague to the the AALS Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession. The Section is requesting nominations for officers and Executive Committee members to serve beginning January 5, 2020 (following the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting).  We hope that members will consider nominating themselves or others to serve in these capacities.
 
The Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession promotes communication relating to the empirical study of the full range of questions raised by legal education and the legal profession, encourages professional development and fostering of relevant skills and expertise for those interested in engaging in the empirical study of legal education and the legal profession, and fosters exploration of and exchange of information relating to research developments between distinct communities within legal education. 
 
The Section is committed to building bridges across the many silos found in legal education, and thus has endeavored to encourage candidates for its officers and executive committee drawn from the diverse ranks of podium faculty; clinical and legal writing faculty; academic support professionals; student affairs professionals; admissions professionals, and other interested members of the broader AALS and legal education community. Officers of the Section and members of its executive committee must be current or retired full-time faculty or professional staff of law schools that are members of the AALS.
 
This call for nominations invites nominations for two officer positions (chair-elect and secretary/newsletter editor) and up to five Executive Committee members (each of whom serves for a one-year term). Current members of the Executive Committee (listed below) are eligible for election to officer positions or for re-election to the Executive Committee. The Nominating Committee will be chaired by Chair-Elect, Victor Quintanilla. The Section encourages candidates from diverse backgrounds and parts of the academy to nominate themselves or others for positions as officers or membership in the Section’s executive committee. The executive committee also anticipates forming project-based committees this year that may require chairs and additional members.  
 
To nominate yourself or another, send an email to Chair-Elect Victor D. Quintanilla, (vdq@indiana.edu) with the subject line “AALS Empirical Section Nomination.” Your nomination should, in one to two paragraphs, explain: (a) your background and interests and their relationship to the work of the section, (b) why you are interested in serving in a leadership position as an officer or member of the executive committee, (c) any other information you think might be relevant to your candidacy. Nominations are due by December 13, 2019.
 
I encourage you to lend your talents and unique perspectives to some of the many AALS Sections, and of course, I  hope to see many of you at our Academic Support Section meeting at AALS next month!
 
(Marsha Griggs)

December 9, 2019 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements, Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Queen Counsels: More Ear--Less Talk

I don't usually keep up with the world of royalty.  But a recent article caught my attention.

You see, it seems that the one of the legal duties of Queen Elizabeth II is to meet weekly with the Prime Minister for counseling. Sam Walker, "The World's Top Executive Coach: It's Queen Elizabeth," Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16, 2019. 

That takes time, energy, and commitment.  And, the queen's been meeting with prime ministers weekly since 1952.  Id.  So, it might be worthwhile to see what she says about counseling and why prime ministers, despite vast differences from one another, continue to seek her advice.

First, the queen provides a safe place for leaders to speak out without "fear or reprisal."  In the queen's words: "They unburden themselves.  They tell me what's going on, or if they've got any problems." Id.  Second, the queen by law is not allow to give orders or publicly takes sides on issues.  Id.  Third, the meetings focus on seeking impartial common ground.  In other words, it's not about the queen's desires but about how to determine what's best for the common good of the people. Id.  Fourth, the queen likens her role in meetings to that of a sponge, which I take to mean being a sounding board for  prime ministers rather than offering advice. Id.

In summarizing the queen's coaching, author Sam Walker suggests the following:  

That great coaches, even though they "often have a better grasp on a tricky situation than the person that they're advising, ...resist the urge to be a helicopter coach.  [Instead,] [t]he only way to help leaders [and students] learn and grow is to allow them to make their own mistakes.  [And,] [t]he only responsible method [to do this] is to let them speak openly, guard their secrets, and, once in a while try to incrementally redirect their thinking.  Doing that requires humility--and lots of practice."  Id.

That's not a role all that different from the world of academic support professionals.  

Like the queen, we are granted access to some of the deepest secrets and most difficult struggles that our students face.  

Like the queen, we must studiously guard our students' confidences.  

Like the queen, we are called to listen lots and speak little.  

Like the queen, our students learn and grow the most when we walk alongside them, helping them incrementally adjust their thinking, so that our students develop expertise in assessing their own learning with solutions that come forth out of the wellsprings of their own hearts and minds.  

To sum up, in the course of most of our work, the truly royal moments of learning are the results of what our students come to experience for themselves under the confidential mentorship of us. As the queen suggests, speaking less can indeed mean speaking more (and in the end lead to better results for our students).  So "hears" to better hearing for the betterment of our students!

(Scott Johns).

November 21, 2019 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Learning Styles, Meetings, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 8, 2019

AALS Awards Committee

The Awards Committee for the AALS Section on Academic Support is soliciting nominations for our annual section award winner.  The AALS Section Award will be presented to an outstanding member of the ASP community at our section meeting on January 3, 2020 at the AALS Annual Meeting.  The committee members are: Jamie Kleppetsch (chair), Susan Landrum, Haley Meade, and Laura Mott. Please review the eligibility and criteria information below and send nominations directly to me, at jkleppet@depaul.edu

The deadline to submit nominations is Monday, November 11 at 5:00 p.m. CST. For a nomination to be considered, it must include (at a minimum) a one to two paragraph explanation of why the nominee is deserving of the award.  Only AALS ASP Section members may make nominations, but all those within the ASP community may be nominated.  Membership in the section is free and can be processed by e-mailing a membership request to support@aals.org.

Eligibility and Criteria for Selection.  The eligible nominees for the award are individuals who have made significant and/or long-term contributions to the development of the field of law student academic support.  All legal educators, regardless of the nature or longevity of their appointment or position, who have at some point in their careers worked part-time or full-time in academic support are eligible for the award.  The award will be granted to recognize those who have made such contributions through any combination of the following activities: 

  • service to the profession and to professional institutions—e.g., advocacy with the NCBE or assumption of leadership roles in the ASP community;
  • support to and mentoring of ASP colleagues;
  • support to and mentoring of students;
  • promoting diversity in the profession and expanding access to the legal profession; and
  • developing ideas or innovations—whether disseminated through academic writing, newsletters, conference presentations, or over the listserv.

Law schools, institutions, or organizations cannot receive an award.  Prior year or current year Section officers are excluded from being selected as an award winner.

November 8, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 23, 2019

Back to Basics

The most important knowledge teachers need to do good work is a knowledge of how students are experiencing learning and perceiving their teacher’s actions.  ~ Steven Brookfield

I love innovative pedagogy. Tools like mind maps, retrieval practice, spaced repetition, and self-directed leaning strategies have been game changers in higher education. I am always looking for ways to enhance and improve my teaching. But innovation is an enhancement to, and not a replacement for, the most basic tenets of quality classroom teaching. In this series of weekly blog posts, I will address teaching basics that are the telltale traits of effective teachers.

  1. Know your audience

We cannot afford to make assumptions about the knowledge or background of the students in our classes. Recently, I attended a conference planned for academic support and bar prep professionals. The first few hours of the conference were devoted almost entirely to explaining basic components of the bar exam. I concluded that the presenters either underestimated the skill and experience of the audience or failed to tailor a previously used presentation for the present audience. My perception of audience reaction to the content and delivery was a combination of polite appreciation, genuine curiosity, and suppressed rage. As audience participants, we have both the luxury and opportunity to make critical assessments of the projected and realized learning outcomes. But a seat on the other side of the podium also yields an enlightened perspective on effective learning strategies.

Rather than disconnect myself entirely from the redundancy of the content presented, I used the time to introspectively examine whether I had made the same mistakes. To my deep chagrin, I had. Insert hand raise emoji. I teach an early bar prep course, enrollment in which is restricted to students in their final year of law school. Because I cannot cover all the bar exam subjects in the time allotted for class, I select a few subjects. Routinely included in my course coverage are Property, Torts, Evidence, and Criminal Law. Although I intentionally include required courses, and stray away from electives that not all students will have taken, I failed to thoroughly research my audience this semester. In so doing, I did not discover, until after class had begun, that two students in my class had not yet completed the required course in Evidence.

One student was concurrently enrolled in Evidence and my course, the other had decided to wait until next semester to complete their requirements. I gut-wrenched at the thought of their polite, yet passive, frustration with me as I assigned practice questions testing hearsay  - a topic with which they had no prior exposure. Of course, there are many law schools who do not require coursework in Evidence, and a corresponding number of students who learn/study the evidentiary rules for the first time during bar prep. Pedagogically, however, had I taken the time (actually a lot of time) to review the transcripts of the students enrolled in my class, I could have scheduled assignments that equally serve and challenge them all. Even though time consuming, doing my homework on my audience is just as important as being well studied in the subject matter that I teach. Suddenly my frustration with another’s seeming underestimation of my knowledge base was supplanted with embarrassment by my own overestimation of my students’.

(Marsha Griggs)

September 23, 2019 in Advice, Bar Exam Preparation, Learning Styles, Meetings, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, August 26, 2019

CSLSA Annual Conference

Do you have a great writing idea but don't know how to get started, or a project that you've started but pushed aside for other tasks? Bring your great writing idea or very rough draft to the Central States Law Schools Association ("CSLSA") annual conference September 20-21, 2019, at the University of Toledo College of Law. CSLSA is a regional organization of law schools dedicated to providing a supportive forum for conversation and collaboration with respect to scholarly activity by law school academics. CSLSA recognizes that scholarship ideas come in many shapes and stages, so presentations are welcome, whether just an early-stage idea or a completed draft.  CSLSA is about helping you grow as a scholar, so you’ll enjoy a relaxed and encouraging environment where you can ask questions and get helpful feedback on your work. At the CSLSA conference, faculty from across the country and around the world come together to collaborate and forge lasting connections. Finding childcare can be challenging, and your children are welcome at the law school while the conference is being held.  If you need help finding a local childcare provider, please contact the CSLSA president at kara.bruce@utoledo.edu. Registration is free to faculty and staff at member schools. For a list of member schools and registration information visit the CSLSA website.

Let's WRITE!

August 26, 2019 in Meetings, Writing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 5, 2019

SEALS 2019 Recap

I just returned from the 72nd annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS) in lovely Boca Raton, Florida. The SEALS conference provided beneficial programming that included substantive updates, current topics affecting legal education and society at large, and a fabulous series of workshops for new scholars.

Our ASP colleagues were very visible during the conference and their sessions generated much positive feedback. There were so many excellent presentations and panel discussions, my one regret is that I could not attend them all. Rory Bahadur, Michael Barry, Cassie Christopher, Patrick Gould, Zoe Niesel, Raul Ruiz, Wanda Temm, and Laurie Zimet shared strategies for bar prep success. DeShun Harris and Renee Allen provided techniques and interdisciplinary teaching methods to improve classroom performance. Twinette Johnson shared her insights on teaching and writing for resistance. Russell McClain and Rosie Schrier challenged legal educators to foster an environment of inclusion by addressing stereotype threat and exploring mindful awareness techniques. Every session provided valuable takeaways. I wish I could address them all!

This was my first year to attend the SEALS conference and it did not disappoint. If you are planning your conference travel for next year, I encourage you to consider SEALS if your travel budget permits. In addition to the topical workshops and discussion groups, I highly recommend the Faculty Recruitment Initiative for anyone on the job market or at a member school looking to hire. The recruitment initiative is designed for entry level applicants, laterals, visitors, and emeriti. SEALS also offers workshops for both prospective law teachers and newer law teachers. These workshops focus on becoming a good classroom teacher, creating effective courses, assessment methods, and balancing service and scholarship. There is certainly room for new and seasoned ASPers to learn and lead at these sessions.

(Marsha Griggs)

August 5, 2019 in Academic Support Spotlight, Meetings, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Strength in Numbers

Today is the first day of the 7th Annual Association of Academic Support Educators [AASE] National Conference.  This year well over 200 law school academic support educators are gathering in Seattle, Washington, to share what we have learned about how to help our students succeed in law school and on the bar examination.  For me, it is an enlightening pleasure every year to swap stories and strategies with my brilliant colleagues.

Today's lead-off plenary session, presented by Michael Barry and Zoe Niesel of St. Mary's University School of Law and Isabel F. Peres of Seattle University School of Law, discussed the use of robust data analysis to create predictive models to help identify and calibrate the guidance provided to specific students in preparation for the bar exam.  Several other sessions on the agenda this week address the need to use specific, articulable information throughout the process of providing academic support: from laying out detailed strategic plans to assessing student development to predicting bar passage rates.  Certainly, like any mature field of study in which reliable and reproducible outcomes are valued, academic success recognizes the importance of definition, measurement, recording, and scrutiny.

Part of me feels there is an irony in this, in that the AASE Conference is also an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most accomplished veterans in the field, people whose spontaneous intuition often appears to be more perceptive and accurate than a detailed mathematical data analysis.  Not only that, there is also a pervasive insistence throughout the Conference on recognizing the ineluctable humanity of each student -- of seeing every one not just as a set of numbers, but as an unpredictable human with immeasurable potential.  The numbers might tell us that student X has a 64% chance of passing the bar, but we might nevertheless work with X as if we sense he really has a 90% chance -- and in doing so, might even help X move from 64% to 90%.

The reality, of course, is that there is no contradiction.  Experienced and gifted professionals are observant; they work with data they may not even be consciously aware of when they assess a student's strengths and weaknesses.  In that context, rigorous scientific analysis can be just as much about confirming the deep knowledge of the veteran as about uncovering previously unsuspected truths.  It can also be about articulating facts and relationships observed by others through long experience in ways that make those facts and truths easier to explain to those new to the field.

Thus, our annual conferences are a double celebration of strength in numbers, recognizing not only the value of sharing the wisdom and lore of our most experienced professionals in a group setting, but also the importance of capturing and confirming this wisdom through data that can back up our intuition, guide our choices, and persuade skeptical students and colleagues.

[Bill MacDonald]

May 21, 2019 in Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs, Encouragement & Inspiration, Meetings, Professionalism, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Strength in Numbers

Today is the first day of the 7th Annual Association of Academic Support Educators [AASE] National Conference.  This year well over 200 law school academic support educators are gathering in Seattle, Washington, to share what we have learned about how to help our students succeed in law school and on the bar examination.  For me, it is an enlightening pleasure every year to swap stories and strategies with my brilliant colleagues.

Today's lead-off plenary session, presented by Michael Barry and Zoe Niesel of St. Mary's University School of Law and Isabel F. Peres of Seattle University School of Law, discussed the use of robust data analysis to create predictive models to help identify and calibrate the guidance provided to specific students in preparation for the bar exam.  Several other sessions on the agenda this week address the need to use specific, articulable information throughout the process of providing academic support: from laying out detailed strategic plans to assessing student development to predicting bar passage rates.  Certainly, like any mature field of study in which reliable and reproducible outcomes are valued, academic success recognizes the importance of definition, measurement, recording, and scrutiny.

Part of me feels there is an irony in this, in that the AASE Conference is also an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most accomplished veterans in the field, people whose spontaneous intuition often appears to be more perceptive and accurate than a detailed mathematical data analysis.  Not only that, there is also a pervasive insistence throughout the Conference on recognizing the ineluctable humanity of each student -- of seeing every one not just as a set of numbers, but as an unpredictable human with immeasurable potential.  The numbers might tell us that student X has a 64% chance of passing the bar, but we might nevertheless work with X as if we sense he really has a 90% chance -- and in doing so, might even help X move from 64% to 90%.

The reality, of course, is that there is no contradiction.  Experienced and gifted professionals are observant; they work with data they may not even be consciously aware of when they assess a student's strengths and weaknesses.  In that context, rigorous scientific analysis can be just as much about confirming the deep knowledge of the veteran as about uncovering previously unsuspected truths.  It can also be about articulating facts and relationships observed by others through long experience in ways that make those facts and truths easier to explain to those new to the field.

Thus, our annual conferences are a double celebration of strength in numbers, recognizing not only the value of sharing the wisdom and lore of our most experienced professionals in a group setting, but also the importance of capturing and confirming this wisdom through data that can back up our intuition, guide our choices, and persuade skeptical students and colleagues.

[Bill MacDonald]

May 21, 2019 in Academic Support Spotlight, Current Affairs, Encouragement & Inspiration, Meetings, Professionalism, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Only Thirteen More Meeting Days 'Til Exam Period!

This time of year sneaks up on us like the holidays in December.  It seems like only yesterday we were welcoming students back for spring semester.  We blink, and then poof!  Final exams are less than three weeks away.  And before they start, we have so much to take care of.  Drafting final exams, for one thing.  But, at the same time, staying on top of our current classes -- in particular, at least in my case, pushing feedback on written assignments out to students so they can make use of it as they prepare for finals.  Plus the approaching end of the semester often means a traffic jam of administrative work, as committees and working groups hasten to complete projects before a big chunk of their members leave for sabbaticals, holidays, or other teaching gigs over the summer.

When it gets crazy busy like this, it is important to set aside at least a measure of our thought and energy for that portion of our student population that might otherwise get lost in the background noise.  Sure, part of what makes us so busy are the students we've developed relationships with -- those who regularly seek us out because of anxiety or confusion or a habit of pursuing every advantage -- and part of it may be required meetings with students on academic probation.  We'll see those folks without much extra effort on our parts.  But there are other students who could use our help who might not put themselves on our radar screens.  Maybe they are shy; maybe they are overconfident; maybe they are just underestimating how much they have to do to get ready for the approaching finals.  Maybe they feel so busy that they can't make time for us.  

These are often students, not currently in academic difficulty, for whom a little support, guidance, or intervention will have a far more significant positive effect this week than it would have if it were delivered when the student showed up at the threshold to our office, panicking, a few days before finals.  So, even though we are busy, making the effort to identify and check in with these students now makes good cost/benefit sense.

If you have not already done so, consider taking some time over the next few days to:

  • Go through your calendar or appointment records from the fall and early spring and make note of any students who have sought help in the past, but from whom you have not heard for a while.  Send them quick e-mails, asking them how they are doing and inviting them to drop by or make an appointment if they'd like to talk about preparing for the end of the semester.
  • Check in with faculty (especially those teaching 1L courses) to ask if there are any students they have concerns about whom they haven't already referred to you.  At this point, spring midterms are probably all completely graded, and those professors may have information they didn't have at the start of the semester.
  • Remind the students (again, especially 1L students) in class or via social media or your school's information portal how close they are to the end of the semester, how busy your office gets at this time of year, and how wise it is to come to see you sooner rather than later if they have any concerns.

When we are this busy and things are moving towards a close so quickly, reaching out to students in the grey area can demand a bit of mindfulness.  But even one fruitful meeting with a student now might be more effective than a flurry of desperate conferences the week before finals.  That would be time well spent.

[Bill MacDonald]

April 16, 2019 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Exams - Studying, Meetings, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 7, 2019

AASE Board Nominations - Deadline April 22nd

Hello, AASE Members,

It is that time of year again. As we look forward to the upcoming national conference, we also need to select new members for AASE’s Executive Board.  Please consider nominating someone to serve on the AASE Executive Board.

Please go to the Membership page of the AASE website and follow the Nomination Link which can be found here:  http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/membership.html.  You also can go straight to the nomination page here: http://www.associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/boardnomination.html.  To nominate someone, you must be an AASE Member. If you are unsure whether you are an AASE member, please contact us at aasemembership@gmail.com.  You many nominate only one person for each position, but you can nominate the same person for more than one position. Self-nominations are allowed.

Nominations are due by April 22, 2019.  All nominees confirmed by the election committee (Betsy Six, Russell McClain, and Toni Miceli – the members of the Executive Board who are not eligible to run for an office) will be forwarded to the Executive Board by May 1, 2019.  We will then circulate an online ballot.  Voting will be open for one week leading up to the national conference and will close on May 21, 2019, the end of the first day of the national conference.

The AASE Executive Board meets or communicates on matters every month.  Each Executive Board position has regular duties in addition to being assigned to serve as a liaison on committees and other tasks as needed.  Candidates should be willing to fulfill the time commitment required of the office for which they are nominated.

The positions that are open for election are President-Elect (3-year position), Vice President of Diversity (1-year position), Secretary (1-year position), and Treasurer-Elect (2-year position).

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Betsy, or Toni. 

Thanks,

Russell McClain

President, AASE

April 7, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

AASE Awards Nominations - Deadline April 19th

Dear ASP colleagues,

AASE will once again provide awards to acknowledge excellence in the academic support field at the annual conference.  AASE developed the following recommendations for the Award Committee:

  • AASE should recognize members’ valuable contributions to law school academic support
  • AASE awards should have as an important objective the recognition of early and mid-career ASP professors
  • AASE Awards should be for specific work or in specific categories
  • The goal of AASE awards should be honoring contributions, not covering categories

The 2019 Awards committee, Kris Franklin, Twinette Johnson, and Jamie Kleppetsch (chair), are soliciting nominations for contributions by individuals, or in appropriate circumstances, groups, in any of the following areas:

  1. Specific ideas or innovations—whether disseminated through academic writing, newsletters, conference presentations or over the listserv
  2. Specific services to the profession—e.g., advocacy with the NCBE, etc.
  3. Providing services to students
  4. Promoting diversity in the profession and expanding access to the legal profession
  5. Mentoring and supporting others in ASP

Recognition may be given to more than one individual or group in any of these categories, and no category requires an award in any one year. We fully recognize just how many ASP educators have made heroic contributions to their students and to the profession. For these reasons, the Awards Committee will consider all nominations received, while keeping in mind there must be a reasonable limit for awards in any one year. Anyone in law school academic support may offer nominations, but current AASE Board members and AASE Awards Committee members are ineligible for recognition. Awards recipients must be members of AASE at the time an award is bestowed. 

Please send your nominations to Jamie Kleppetsch by Friday, April 19, 2019JKLEPPET@depaul.edu

Thank you,

AASE Awards Committee 2019

April 7, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

AALS Section on Teaching Methods Conference Call

The AALS Section on Teaching Methods is hosting a teaching discussion forum via conference call on Tuesday, April 23rd, from 1-2:15 pm ET. 

The forum will focus on innovative practices in online/hybrid law courses with a skills component.  The Section hopes to feature those who are doing ground-breaking work in this area, along with people seeking input for their own courses or simply interested in the topic.

During the call, a few presenters will present their ideas and experiences in a short format and then open the call up for discussion with the group.  The format is oral, no slides or papers necessary. 

We also welcome your participation in the call (if you would like to listen or discuss, but not present) but do ask that you RSVP via our short online form here.

Also, the section needs presenters who have ideas for, or currently teach, skills courses taught in an online or hybrid format for the April 23rd call.  The format is informal – all we ask is that you submit a short topic proposal in advance to allow us to coordinate and organize the call.  Each topic and discussion usually run about 15 minutes.  You can submit your proposal at the RSVP form mentioned above.  The deadline for proposals is Friday, April 12, 2019.

Thanks!

Dustin Benham & Reichi Lee

 

March 30, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Reminder: Call for Proposals for AALS Section on Academic Support

Call for Proposals
AALS Section on Academic Support
January 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC
"Access to the Legal Profession as a Pillar of Democracy: Bar Exam Cut Scores and the Future of Diversity."

As a community, we are aware that bar passage rates are falling in some jurisdictions, and the ABA recently proposed a change Standard 316 on Bar Passage, which would require schools to achieve 75% bar pass rate within two years of graduation. While this proposal did not pass, the current passage rates still have the potential to severely impact law schools that prioritize a mission of diversifying the legal field by preparing lawyers from underrepresented groups. Moreover, in the profession itself, access to legal education, and the profession, is a pillar of democracy. This program will focus on how to better support students who are at risk of not passing the bar exam.

Topics might include, but are not limited to: student engagement on the bar exam, the impact of the UBE on cut scores, programming to support diverse students in their law school courses, programming to support diverse students while preparing for the bar exam, the role of stereotype threat on the bar exam, and the impact of the changing ABA rules on a diverse student population. Proposals should reflect presentations that will be 25 minutes in length.

Proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed. Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics. The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Proposals must include the following information:
1. A title for your presentation.
2. A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
3. A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
4. A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.
5. Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.
6. A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, AASE, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic
conferences. (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)
7. Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).
8. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, May 1st at 5pm to Melissa Hale, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, mhale@luc.edu. If you have any questions, please email Melissa Hale.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:
Melissa Hale, Chair
Robert Coulthard
Maryann Hermann
Twinette Johnson
Jamie Kleppetsch
Danielle Kocal
Susan Landrum
Courtney Lee
Laura Mott
Zoe Niesel
Goldie Pritchard
Louis Schulze
Joni Wiredu
ASP Section Chair: Jennifer Carr

March 16, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Thank You St. Mary's for Hosting SWCASP

St. Mary's did an excellent job hosting SWCASP and the UBE conference last week.  Zoe Niesel and Mike Barry put together a great slate of presenters and provided awesome Texas food staples.  I wasn't able to make the UBE portion, but I will pass along a synopsis of the SWCASP presentations in case you missed it.

The theme this year was collaboration, and the presenters showcased a range of collaboration ideas.  I personally liked the theme and ideas because I take on more classes, projects, etc. than reasonably possible.  The ideas were great for trying to get others to also use academic support to help students.

Zoe and Mike started the workshop with a discussion of how they integrated ASP with the 1L LRW class.  Instead of having a LRW class and a separate ASP skills class, they combined the two into one class.  They created consistent dialogue and terminology for students.  The collaboration also influenced more of the 1L curriculum.  

Halle Hara described a great way to get different departments discussing student needs.  She created a committee consisting of everyone with individual student interactions.  The committee meets once a month to discuss specific student needs.  I saw 2 big takeaways from this presentation.  The first was the committee created communication channels to provide context to everyone helping students in his/her office.  The second takeaway was how to make referrals more efficient.  I send students to other people throughout campus for financial aid help, discussions with Associate Dean, etc.  However, following up with every other administrator is difficult.  The committee is able to quickly determine if students followed up with the referral.

Jacquelyn Rogers uses outside professionals to help her students more effectively.  She brings in performance coaches to help with attention training and mindsets.  Listening to her, I immediately thought about issues we see in millennial students and how an outside professional could help our students thrive.  I also liked that her mental health professional was setup in a suite type setting with other offices so students could not tell who other students were visiting.

Wendy Scott, Mindy Cyr, Charles Splawn, and Jenny Lane discussed Elon's program for inter-department interaction.  Their bar mentorship program is much better than the mentor programs I tried in the past.  Faculty, alumni, and career services are paired with students to help them throughout bar prep.  Students can send essays or ask general questions throughout the summer.  Faculty hold in-person or call in office hours for specific subjects.  The substance paired with the general checking in seems to generate more participation.  I definitely want to use a few of these ideas to get more individual student interaction with faculty during the summer.

Preyal Shah and Meijken Westenskow demonstrated a great self-assessment exercise.  Their exercise used different colored highlighters for the different sections of an essay answer (pink for rule, blue for conclusion, etc.).  Students would highlight each sentence of both their work and a model answer.  The visual differences help students see where they need to improve.  UNT uses this exercise 1L year and returns to it during the 3L bar prep class to help self-assessment during summer months.

Cassie Christopher presented her upcoming article titled "Normalizing Struggle."  Her presentation and subsequent paper describes how students should struggle through the learning process and how we can help approach teaching to help students understand struggle is normal.  She referenced an article I will definitely read titled "Unskilled and Unaware of it."  That article describes the challenges and deficiencies of current education, which is now our incoming students.

The next session included a panel moderated by Sara Berman.  Sara asked Jennifer Carr and Staci Rucker questions about how academic support could team with student affairs.  They discussed the need to help students with issues beyond academics.  Working with student affairs, ASPers could focus on academics while still helping with other issues that affect academics.  Student affairs professionals can use their contacts with financial aid and other departments to help with all aspects of students' experience.

The last panel finished the collaboration theme with Marsha Griggs, Goldie Pritchard, Toni Miceli, and Cassie Christopher discussing their victories and mistakes working with faculty, commercial vendors, and students.  It is always good to see that others have similar struggles with different constituencies within the law school.  They had great ideas for getting faculty involved from small efforts of holding office hours during the summer to providing short lectures.  Toni's commercial vendor guidelines are great if you are looking to create new guidelines for vendors on campus.

Just like every year, SWCASP was a blast.  I have a list of ideas to consider for the summer and next year.  If any of the programs sound interesting, definitely contact the presenter.  They are all open to discussing their programs further.  As many of us know, don't reinvent the wheel each year.  Use others successes (and failures) to help your students.

(Steven Foster)

 

 

 

March 11, 2019 in Meetings, Program Evaluation, Teaching Tips | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

AASE Conference Registration, Tentative Schedule, and Hotel Update

                            

Registration is Now Open for the 2019 Association of Academic Support Educators Conference

Tuesday – Thursday, May 21-23, 2019

Seattle University School of Law

Seattle, Washington

                

Please find attached a tentative schedule for the conference. Some highlights of the conference and hotel information may be found below.

New Academic Success Educator Workshop

The AASE wants to highlight the Newbie Pre-conference that will take place the morning of Tuesday, May 21. This is a great opportunity to meet new ASP members and learn from experts in the field! A mentoring lunch will follow!  

National Conference of Bar Examiners Testing Task Force

The NCBE will hold sessions before and after the conference where you can share your valuable ideas and opinions about the bar examinatiadaon of the future in this interactive discussion. 

Travel Scholarships

AASE will be awarding need-based travel scholarships. More information about how to apply can be found here! 

HOTEL INFORMATION 

The Crowne Plaza Seattle Downtown Hotel is located at 1113 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101 in the heart of downtown Seattle. The hotel is a 20-minute walk to the Seattle U School of Law and a shuttle will be offered to and from the law school. Reservations can be made by clicking here.

The Silver Cloud Broadway Hotel is located at 1100 Broadway in the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. The hotel is directly across the street from Seattle University. The hotel is a short 7-minute walk to the Seattle U School of Law and a shuttle will be offered to and from the law school. Reservations can be made by clicking here.    

For more information about Seattle University School of Law and updates about the conference, please click here.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

Questions? Contact Isabel Freitas Peres

Email: freitasi@seattleu.edu

Phone (206) 398-4323 

 

 Tentative Schedule: Download Tentative Schedule AASE 2019 Conference

Update on hotel:

I contacted the SilverCloud hotel and while the room block is already full for the Monday night (May 20th), they still have some rooms available between May 21st – May 23rd and May 24th. The link has been updated to reflect these dates.

Please have in mind that we have a second hotel (Crowne Plaza Seattle Downtown Hotel) and a shuttle will be provided to and from the conference site.

Thank you and if you have any questions, please let me know.

See you in Seattle!

Isabel Freitas Peres
Director of Bar Studies

Adjunct Professor of Law
Academic Resource Center & Bar Studies
(206) 398-4323
freitasi@seattleu.edu | law.seattleu.edu

                                                                                                              

 

March 9, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Beyond Your Imagination

As the school comes out of the dark and chill of winter -- not that that's happening all that quickly here in Buffalo -- and over the next couple of months, before we reach the crescendo of crunch time going into final exams, our students find themselves presented with a plethora of networking opportunities.  There are dinners and events hosted by student organizations to bring current students and alumni together.  There are panel discussions featuring practitioners in different fields.  There are alumni and alumni groups inviting the students to come meet potential mentors or even employers.

I believe that networking is not just good for career advancement.  It can also enhance one's academic experience.  At any given event, a student might meet someone who inspires them, someone who can help them grasp a particular subject, or someone who helps them envision a path through school and beyond that might otherwise have eluded them.  And I frequently tell my students, "The law is a social profession."  So I encourage all my students -- and especially my 1L students -- to participate in these events, even if they don't see what they might get out of it.  Sometimes what grows out of a new acquaintance is entirely unpredictable.  And if students are still a little dubious or hesitant, I have a story to tell them.

In the 1920s and ’30s, Arthur Murray became the most famous dance instructor in history, first through his mail-order business –- he invented a system of teaching dance by means of footprint diagrams, an idea that was sparked by a conversation he had had with perennial populist presidential candidate and anti-evolutionist Scopes Monkey Trial counsel William Jennings Bryan, of all people –- and then through the “Arthur Murray Dance Studio”, a chain that still exists today. Through the 1950s, Murray and his wife hosted a TV show, The Arthur Murray Party, which consisted in part of dance competitions between celebrity guests.

One such competition pitted the smoldering Latin actor Ricardo Montalban against the well-known ventriloquist Paul Winchell. Montalban was a star in his native Mexico and had had some success in Hollywood, though nothing like the fame he would achieve some two decades later as Captain Kirk's enemy Khan Noonian Singh in the Star Trek franchise and the mysterious Mr. Rourke on the series Fantasy Island.

Winchell, like Edgar Bergen, had inexplicably found national renown as a ventriloquist on a radio show, and later hosted TV series with his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. From the 1960s onward, Winchell would be better known for his voiceover work: he gave life to chronic Smurf-hater Gargamel, to the leader of the Scrubbing Bubbles, and, most memorably, to Winnie-the-Pooh's elastically hyperactive friend Tigger. Perhaps his latent inner Tigger gave him an edge in the dance competition, because he defeated Montalban and took home the Buick (which sounds like a euphemism, but the car really was the grand prize).

Talented as he was as a performer, Winchell’s earliest career ambition was to become a doctor; but, when he was a youth, his family could not afford medical school. He retained a lifelong interest in medicine, though, even earning a degree and working in acupuncture in the 1970s. It was therefore quite natural that Winchell should form a connection with Arthur Murray’s son-in-law, a man named Dr. Henry Heimlich, when they met during the taping of the Winchell/Montalban dance-off. Around the time Winchell was going to acupuncture school, Heimlich would be lauded by some (including himself) as the most well-known physician in America, after his article in Emergency Medicine introduced the life-saving technique he termed “the Heimlich maneuver”. But in the 1950s, he was a more-or-less ordinary practicing surgeon, and Winchell was delighted to make his acquaintance.

Over the next several years, Winchell and Heimlich stayed in touch, and Heimlich even invited Winchell to join him several times in the operating room as an observer. It was during one of these operations that Winchell came up with an idea for a functional, implantable mechanical heart, one that could theoretically be used to replace a diseased human heart. He drew up the plans, consulting with Heimlich on the medical details, and in 1956 applied for a patent on the device he had invented. By 1963 he had been granted the first patent in the United States on a fully implantable artificial heart. Eventually, Winchell would contribute this patent to the University of Utah for use in its artificial organ design program — the same program from which Dr. Robert Jarvik produced the first successfully implanted artificial heart. That device, the Jarvik-7, formed the basis of the Syncardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, which has been used in more than 800 patients.

So. Tigger faced the wrath of Khan on the dance floor and, as a result, met The Most Famous Doctor in America, who helped him invent and patent the world’s first bionic heart, contributing at least in a small way, to saving the lives of 800+ people.

Could Winchell have predicted this when he agreed to participate in The Arthur Murray Party, or when he made the acquaintance of strangers like Heimlich backstage?  Of course not.  Nor can our students predict who they will meet, and what they may take away from those meetings, when they put themselves out there among alumni, practitioners, judges, and clients.  And that's the beauty of being open to such experiences.  You literally cannot imagine all the good things that may come of them.

March 5, 2019 in Advice, Encouragement & Inspiration, Meetings, Professionalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Recap of AccessLex Regional Workshop

I attended the Houston session of the 2019 AccessLex Institute Regional Workshops for Law School Administrators. The workshop title was "The More You Know: Delivering Student Success." The one-day workshop was very interesting and worth attending.

This workshop topic is being repeated three more times in different locations: March 19 (Boston), March 21 (New York City), March 26 (Chicago). You can find out more about these events at the AccessLex website under the events tab: www.accesslex.org.

The workshop covered a variety of topics - some directly related to academic support and bar while others gave interesting information that provided institutional and higher education context. The workshop was attended by a diverse group of law school administrators from academic affairs, admissions, financial aid, academic support, bar preparation, career services, and more. The speakers from AccessLex Institute were very knowledgeable and well-prepared. There was plenty of time to ask questions and for members of the audience to comment and share.

The first session presented by Keinan Thompson updated us on the political landscape and legislative proposals. It gave a big picture context to our discussions for the remainder of the day. I had not been following the Prosper and Aim proposals at all closely, so this session gave an interesting background on the Congressional hot spots.

Laura McGhee then discussed the diversity pipeline and its impact on legal education. As the coordinator for my law school's pipeline program with a local high school, some of the data in this session was familiar, but the LSAT and merit scholarship information was particularly interesting. Also some of the resources on the AccessLex website may be helpful to readers: Roadmap to Enrolling Diverse Law School Classes; Diversity Pipeline Research Grant information.

The third session led by Tiffane Cochran was on the importance of data (even for non-data persons) was good information on sources. The Technology Tour over the lunch period also provided addition information on websites that could be helpful for data. AccessLex's Analytix is just one of the databases discussed.

Rob Hunter's session on Raising the Bar was a good reminder for those of us in academic support and bar preparation and a good primer on the challenges for others in attendance. Remember that AccessLex is now providing the Raising the Bar newsletter that is a good resource for ASP/bar professionals.

The financial aid session that Lyssa Thaden presented was informative for context regarding our students' financial challenges. Although I had worked in financial aid a number of years ago, the landscape has changed greatly. I benefited from the information about the student loan ins and outs. You may want to visit the website to learn about the Max financial education program and its resources if you are unfamiliar with that extensive information and partnership.

If you have a chance, make sure you check out resources and events from AccessLex. Many of you will remember Sara Berman, our ASP/bar prep colleague for many years, who is now the Director for Programs for Academic and Bar Success at AccessLex. (Amy Jarmon)

 

March 3, 2019 in Bar Exam Issues, Diversity Issues, Meetings, Miscellany | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Call for Proposals for 2020 AALS Section on Academic Support

Call for Proposals
AALS Section on Academic Support
January 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC
"Access to the Legal Profession as a Pillar of Democracy: Bar Exam Cut Scores and the Future of Diversity."


As a community, we are aware that bar passage rates are falling in some jurisdictions, and the ABA recently proposed a change Standard 316 on Bar Passage, which would require schools to achieve 75% bar pass rate within two years of graduation. While this proposal did not pass, the current passage rates still have the potential to severely impact law schools that prioritize a mission of diversifying the legal field by preparing lawyers from underrepresented groups. Moreover, in the profession itself, access to legal education, and the profession, is a pillar of democracy. This program will focus on how to better support students who are at risk of not passing the bar exam.

Topics might include, but are not limited to: student engagement on the bar exam, the impact of the UBE on cut scores, programming to support diverse students in their law school courses, programming to support diverse students while preparing for the bar exam, the role of stereotype threat on the bar exam, and the impact of the changing ABA rules on a diverse student population. Proposals should reflect presentations that will be 25 minutes in length.

Proposals should contain a detailed explanation of both the substance of the presentation and the methods to be employed. Individuals as well as groups are invited to propose topics. The Committee would prefer to highlight talent across a spectrum of law schools and disciplines and is especially interested in new and innovative ideas. Please share this call with colleagues—both within and outside of the legal academy and the academic support community.

Proposals must include the following information:
1. A title for your presentation.
2. A brief description of the objectives or outcomes of your presentation.
3. A brief description of how your presentation will support your stated objectives or outcomes.
4. A detailed description of both the substantive content and the techniques to be employed, if any, to engage the audience.
5. Whether you plan to distribute handouts, use PowerPoint, or employ other technology.
6. A list of the conferences at which you have presented within the last three years, such as AALS, AASE, national or regional ASP or writing conferences, or other academic
conferences. (The Committee is interested in this information because we wish to select and showcase seasoned, as well as fresh, talent.)
7. Your school affiliation, title, courses taught, and contact information (please include email address and telephone number).
8. Any other information you think will help the Committee appreciate the value your presentation will provide.

Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so please send yours as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, May 1st at 5pm to Melissa Hale, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, mhale@luc.edu. If you have any questions, please email Melissa Hale.

The Section on Academic Support Program Committee:
Melissa Hale, Chair
Robert Coulthard
Maryann Hermann
Twinette Johnson
Jamie Kleppetsch
Danielle Kocal
Susan Landrum
Courtney Lee
Laura Mott
Zoe Niesel
Goldie Pritchard
Louis Schulze
Joni Wiredu
ASP Section Chair: Jennifer Carr

February 10, 2019 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0)