International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Friday, January 20, 2017

Did Wealthy Donors Buy Admission for Non-Qualified Applicants From UT and its Law School?

Forbes reports that "Kroll issued its report on February 6, 2015. Based on an inspection of admissions records over six years, the researchers concluded that there had in fact been favoritism by president Powers towards well-connected Texans who wanted their children to get into UT as undergraduates or into its law and business schools."

"Watchdog’s Jon Cassidy calculated that 746 students (not 73 as Kroll had said) with grades and scores that would otherwise merit prompt rejection were admitted to keep legislators and wealthy university supporters happy."  

Read the investigative story here.  (Wonder if these under-qualified matriculants were reported to US News for ranking purposes?)

January 20, 2017 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

University & College Enrollments Decreasing. Smaller Potential Pool of Graduate and Professional Studies Applicants?

National Student Clearinghouse® Research Center™ of the National Student Clearinghouse Full Report here

Table 1: Estimated National Enrollment by Sector (Title IV, Degree-Granting Institutions)

  Fall 2016 Fall 2015 Fall 2014
Sector Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment % Change from Prior Year
Total
Enrollment, All Sectors
19,010,459 -1.4% 19,280,473 -1.7% 19,619,773 -1.3%
Four-Year, Public 8,100,118 0.2% 8,086,448 0.8% 8,020,444 0.7%
Four-Year, Private Nonprofit 3,788,980 -0.6% 3,811,176 -0.3% 3,823,465 1.6%
Four-Year, For-Profit

970,267

-14.5%

1,134,974

-13.7%

1,315,167

-0.4%

Two-Year, Public

5,721,676

-2.6%

5,875,163

-2.9%

6,052,069

-4.4%

Unduplicated Student Headcount (All Sectors)

18,663,617

-1.4%

18,929,736

-1.7%

19,258,730

-1.3%

Estimated Undergraduate Enrollment at Four-Year Institutions by Classification of Instructional Program Family

    Fall 2016 Fall 2015
CIP Family Code CIP Family Title Enrollment % Change from Prior Year Enrollment
52 Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support 1,639,373 -1.2% 1,659,647
24 Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities (includes undeclared) 1,289,296 4.7% 1,231,558
51 Health Professions and Related Programs 1,142,636 -0.6% 1,149,576
26 Biological and Biomedical Sciences 601,572 1.6% 592,175
14 Engineering 601,119 4.0% 578,127
13 Education 481,740 -3.2% 497,775
42 Psychology 438,391 -3.2% 452,941
45 Social Sciences 427,572 -1.5% 434,159
11 Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 406,889 -0.2% 407,834
50 Visual and Performing Arts 394,347 -3.9% 410,464
09 Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 325,973 -2.9% 335,815
43 Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting, and Related Protective Services 300,666 -6.0% 319,872
30 Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 245,247 -3.0%  252,876
31 Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies 234,763 -0.6% 236,219
40 Physical Sciences 153,082 -1.6%  155,605
23 English Language and Literature/Letters 146,898 -3.9% 152,822
44 Public Administration and Social Service Professions 144,546 -0.8% 145,750
15 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields 108,420 -14.5% 126,768
19 Family and Consumer Sciences/Human Sciences 100,552 -7.0% 108,103
01 Agriculture, Agriculture Operations, and Related Sciences 93,442 1.2% 92,358
27 Mathematics and Statistics 87,164 1.4% 85,958
54 History 85,302 -3.3%  88,243
03 Natural Resources and Conservation 77,542 2.5% 75,647
16 Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 54,919 -6.1% 58,503
04 Architecture and Related Services 39,253 4.1% 37,725
38 Philosophy and Religious Studies 33,056 -5.6%  35,017
39 Theology and Religious Vocations 30,335 -4.8% 31,858
49 Transportation and Materials Moving 26,571 -2.6% 27,279
22 Legal Professions and Studies 24,793 -10.9% 27,824
12 Personal and Culinary Services 23,651 -17.8% 28,774
05 Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies 23,083 -2.7% 23,729
10 Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services 18,296 -8.2% 19,930
47 Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 17,226 -8.4% 18,810
46 Construction Trades 7,418 -0.6% 7,465
41 Science Technologies/Technicians 7,316 15.9%  6,310
48 Precision Production 5,663 -1.6%

5,755

 

January 4, 2017 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 2, 2017

College Accreditor ACICS Files in Court in Last Ditch Attempt To Keep Its Accrediting Power Over 320,000 students

Politico reports that "Lawyers for the accreditor filed nearly 1,000 pages of court documents and exhibits, outlining why they believe the department’s decision was unfair and inappropriately politicized. But the documents also lay out in stark terms the existential threat to the accreditor of losing its federal recognition. And they underscore the messy and unprecedented process of possibly shutting down an accreditor that says it currently oversees nearly 690 branch and main campuses that collectively enroll some 320,000 students.  — Read the full ACICS court filings here and here."    

(Read the full story at Politico by  with help from Kimberly Hefling and Caitlin Emma).

January 2, 2017 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas for DeVry Students - University Agrees to $100 Million Refunds and Student Loan Repayment

DeVry University and its parent company have agreed to a $100 million settlement of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit Devry_infographicalleging that they misled prospective students with ads that touted high employment success rates and income levels upon graduation. The FTC settlement secures significant financial redress for tens of thousands of students harmed by DeVry’s conduct.

Under the settlement resolving the FTC charges, DeVry will pay $49.4 million in cash to be distributed to qualifying students who were harmed by the deceptive ads, as well as $50.6 million in debt relief. The debt being forgiven includes the full balance owed—$30.35 million—on all private unpaid student loans that DeVry issued to undergraduates between September 2008 and September 2015, and $20.25 million in student debts for items such as tuition, books and lab fees.

“When people are making important decisions about their education and their future, they should not be misled by deceptive employment and earnings claims,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The FTC has secured compensation for the many students who were harmed, and I am pleased that DeVry is changing its practices.”

The FTC’s complaint charged that DeVry misled consumers in violation of the FTC Act by claiming that 90 percent of graduates actively seeking employment landed jobs in their field within six months of graduation. Advertisements making these claims appeared on television and radio, as well as online and in print and other media.

The complaint further alleges that DeVry misled students by claiming that graduates with bachelor’s degrees, on average, had 15 percent higher incomes one year after graduation than the graduates with bachelor’s degrees from all other colleges or universities.

The proposed federal court order requires DeVry to notify the students who will receive debt relief, and to inform the credit bureaus and collection agencies of the debt forgiveness. All loan and debt forgiveness will occur automatically. DeVry will also release transcripts and diplomas previously withheld from students because of outstanding debt and will cooperate with future requests for diplomas and transcripts and related enrollment or graduation information.

The settlement also includes provisions designed to prevent DeVry from misleading consumers in the future. Among other things, it prohibits DeVry from misrepresenting the likelihood that graduates will get a job as a result of their degree. It specifically prohibits DeVry from including jobs students obtained more than six months before graduating whenever DeVry advertises its graduates’ success in finding jobs near graduation. The settlement also prohibits DeVry from misrepresenting the compensation or compensation ranges that students or graduates have received or can be expected to receive.

The FTC also has a new consumer blog that describes how the refund process was developed and implemented.

The FTC would like to thank the Department of Education and the Department of Veterans Affairs for their cooperation and collaboration.

For more information about the refund and debt forgiveness program, visit ftc.gov/devry or call 844-578-2645. Sign up to get email updates about the FTC’s DeVry refund program.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 3-0. The FTC filed the proposed stipulated order in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

NOTE: Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

December 23, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

AALS Jan 4 Wed in San Fran "Practical Approach to Developing and Assessing Experiential, Meaningful Placements for Incoming and Outgoing Students"

AALS 2017 Wednesday Jan 4th 13:30 16:30

A Practical Approach to Developing and Assessing Experiential, Meaningful Placements for Incoming and Outgoing Students

This ½ day panel will be a well-attended because it is a joint panel with many co-sponsors: Sections on International Legal Exchange and Post-Graduate Legal Education, Co‐ 2000px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svgSponsored by Clinical Legal Education, East Asian Law & Society, and Graduate Programs for Non‐U.S. Lawyers. 

(register separately Joint Section Breakfast on Thursday Jan 5th 7:00am – 8:30am w/ Post-Grad Legal Education). 

JD Panel A 13:30 - 14:50 A practical approach to developing and assessing experiential, meaningful placements for incoming and outgoing JD law students.

Moderator: William Byrnes (Chair, International Legal Exchange): Texas A&M Law

  • Jessica Burns: Director of Operations, Global Experiences (15,000+ externship placements)
  • Gillian Dutton: Seattle University Law, Externship Program Director and Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills
  • Carole Silver: Northeastern University Law School Professor of Global Law & Practice
  • Charlotte Ku: Texas A&M Law, former director of ASIL and of Lauterpacht Center (Cambridge)

LLM Panel B 15:00:16:20 A practical approach to developing and assessing experiential, meaningful placements for incoming and outgoing LLM law students.

Moderator: Aric Short, Chair, Post Graduate Legal Education: Texas A&M Law

  • Jeff Thomas: UMKC (literature review, IDI competency index to contrast study abroad with overseas externship with outlook to develop instrument for assessment)
  • Susan Schechter: Field Placement Director and Lecturer-in-Residence, Berkeley Law
  • Sri Ragavan: Texas A&M Law, Director of South Asia programs

Synopsis

The ABA Section on Legal Education has, via its amendment of the Standards, required U.S. law schools to provide at least six credit hours of meaningful experiential opportunity for each student.  Some state bar authorities have considered adopting this new standard, have adopted it, or have adopted a rule exceeded the standard.  New York adopted §520.18 “Skills Competency Requirement for Admission” which requires applicants for the bar examination based upon having attended an ABA-approved law school or based upon their foreign legal education alone submit a certification from the applicant's approved law school confirming that the applicant enrolled in and successfully completed 15 credit hours of practice-based experiential coursework designed to foster the development of professional competencies, as defined by the ABA.

The ABA Section on Legal Education requires at least six credit hours of meaningful experiential opportunity for each student.  Some state bar authorities have considered exceeding this standard.  How are the International Legal Exchange and Post Graduate Legal Education coordinators and programs going to address these new challenges of providing meaningful experiential opportunities on a scale for all of their students?  How are these stakeholders working with the law school clinicians?

Experiential opportunities may include by example: local clinical opportunities for foreign law students and the equivalent for US law students in foreign countries, field placements, externships, student trainee exchange programs (STEP) pursuant to the ELSA model, among a host of other creative solutions, as well as include practice-based experiential coursework within the curriculum.  Challenges faced include by examples: (a) sourcing enough meaningful externships for incoming international and post-graduate students and securing for outgoing exchange JD students, and managing these and the other placement opportunities, (b) developing field placement templates that address labor issues within and outside the U.S., (c) outcomes and assessment for placements such as rubrics and other instrument for assessment among others. The panelist of this half-day program will share their secret recipes for addressing these issues.

The moderators will solicit and then prepare several questions from the two Joint sections and from the two co-sponsoring sections.  The moderator will then, for each question, seek responses to the questions from some or all of the 4 panelists, keeping response times to about 4 minutes so that the discussion moves among the panel members.  The panel should wrap up at 80 minutes to allow swap of panelists/coffee break.  The moderators will have worked with the panel beforehand to identify who is best to respond to which questions. 

Business meeting at end.

Program Chairs

Aric Short, Vice Dean of Texas A&M University Law, oversees new degree programs, academic collaborations with other schools, and an innovative Professionalism and Leadership Program. Dean Short also established and leads the law school’s annual pro bono summer trip to Costa Rica. He expanded experiential learning and professionalism training, including a skills-based winter term, building new clinical partnerships with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration, and helping implement an oral skills graduation requirement. Dean Short served on the ABA committee that revised distance-learning standards for legal education.  Prior to teaching, Dean Short practiced international law at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington, D.C.

William Byrnes (Texas A&M University School of Law) is the author and co-author of eight Lexis law treatises, a Kluwer 10-volume company and trust law compendium, three tax books for National Underwriter, and has authored the re-issue of 16 chapters for West’s Mertens Federal Taxation treatise.  Prof. Byrnes pioneered online education in the early nineties, for which India’s National Board of Accreditation recognized him with its 2012 Education Leadership Award, the chair remarking: “Professor William Byrnes’ leadership and contribution to the field of education is well known,” calling him a "role model" for innovation.  Fulbright and the State Department Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) selected him to its Specialist Roster for the areas of pedagogy and comparative taxation.  

Panelists

Jessica Burns is the Global Experiences Director of Operations responsible for all day to day operations, global partnerships, and program management. Global Experiences has been providing life changing experiences for thousands of young professionals since 2001. Through our years of experience, we have crafted an international internship program that has been recognized for its innovation and high-quality programming by the higher education community.

Srividhya Ragavan is a Professor of Law at the Texas A& M University School of Law.  Prof. Ragavan’s research emphasizes issues relating to international trade law and intellectual property rights. Ragavan’s monograph Patents and Trade Disparities in Developing Countries was published by the Oxford University Press. Ragavan’s co-edited book with Irene Calboli titled Diversity in Intellectual property was published by Cambridge University Press. Ragavan has served as a Fulbright Nehru Scholar affiliated with NLSIU in Bangalore.  She was a visiting faculty of the IP program at NALSAR in Hyderabad.  She hold the LL.B. (National Law School, Bangalore), LL.M. (Kings College, University of London), and S.J.D. (George Washington School of Law).

Carole Silver is Professor of Global Law & Practice at Northwestern University Law School. Her scholarship investigates the influence of globalization on the work and structure of law firms, on legal education and on regulation of the profession.  She teaches courses on business associations, globalization and the legal profession and professional responsibility.  Professor Silver served as a member of the ABA’s Ethics 20/20 Commission from 2009 – 2013, a group created by the ABA President to study the influence of globalization and technology on lawyer regulation.

Charlotte Ku is Associate Dean for International Programs and Professor of Law at the Texas A&M University School of Law. Previously, she was the Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Legal Studies and Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. She served as the Acting Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge following a twelve year term as Executive Vice President and Executive Director of the American Society of International Law.

Gillian Dutton is the Director of the Externship Program and Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills at Seattle University School of Law. She is a Korematsu Center Faculty Fellow and Faculty Advisor to the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project and the Access to Justice Institute Citizenship Project. She teaches four externship seminars (civil, criminal, judicial and international) and continues to work in the areas of language access, cross-cultural communication, immigrant benefits, human trafficking and refugee health. Professor Dutton has an M.A. in Chinese history and is a 1988 graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. She is a recipient of the 1999 Charles A. Goldmark Award for Distinguished Service and the 2005 Northwest Immigrant Rights Project Golden Door Award. A national expert on language access on the law, she served as a consultant on the ABA Standards for Language Access in Courts. Having lived abroad a number of years, she speaks Spanish, French, German and Mandarin.

Sue Schechter (Berkeley Law) for more than a decade has been teaching in and helping to administer field placement programs. She was an Adjunct/Clinical Professor at Golden Gate and is currently Boalt Hall’s first full-time Field Placement Coordinator working with students doing general field placements, judicial externships, and away placements.  Prior to her work at law schools, Schechter was the Project Director for the Public Interest Clearninghouse’s Public Interest Law Program in San Francisco; a Patients’ Rights Advocate/Attorney at the Mental Health Advocacy Project in Santa Clara County; and as a Campus Organizer/Staff Attorney with the National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL, now known as Equal Justice Works) in Washington, DC.

December 21, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One year post-BEPS: The OECD, EU, USA and Mexico perspectives - Monday, 28 November 2016, 8:00 – 13:00 (breakfast included)

Monday, 28 November 2016, 8:00 – 13:00 (breakfast included) at The University Club of Mexico - Salón Terraza, Paseo de la Reforma 150, 06600 D.F. Mexico city

http://universityclub.com.mx/ Limited seats available: RSVP required. Please email C.D.M.vandenBerg@uva.nl.

 During this morning-seminar, organized by the Amsterdam Centre for Tax Law (ACTL) of the University of Amsterdam, Texas A&M University  School of Law, IFA Mexico and Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), several aspects of anti-BEPS measures of States around the world will be highlighted. The discussion will be the OECD BEPS initiatives and the resulting EU-measures, USA measures and Mexican measures.

7:45 – 8:00 Registration and Breakfast

8:00 – 8:45 Keynote Practical Tax Information Exchange and Use: CbCR software application pilot for Mexico by Dr. George Salis (Vertex) and David Deputy (Vertex)

8:45 – 9:00 Welcome by Miguel Ortiz (President IFA Mexico; Ortiz, Sosa Y Asociados, S.C.)

9:00 – 10:30 Panel 1 One year post-BEPS What’s happening around the world?

Chair: Prof. William Byrnes (Texas A&M University School of Law)

EU anti-BEPS implementation: What can we expect?  Prof. dr. Dennis Weber (ACTL, University of Amsterdam)

The EU and non-EU countries: treaty abuse, EU blacklist Dr. Bruno da Silva (ACTL, University of Amsterdam)

Impact of BEPS in practice - Jeroen Janssen (Loyens & Loeff)

USA new MAP/competent authority procedures - Melissa Muhammad (OECD & U.S. Treasury, APMA Competent Authority)

Coffee break

11:00 – 12:30 Panel 2 One year post-BEPS The Mexican perspective

Chair: Prof. Gabriela Rios (UNAM)

Anti-BEPS measures in Mexico Manuel E Tron (Manuel Tron, SC)

Making dispute resolution mechanisms more effective (BEPS Action 14) Armando Lara (Chevez, Ruiz, Zamarripa)

Disclosure of Tax Arrangements (BEPS Action 12) Jorge Correa (Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez)

Challenges for the government to implement anti-BEPS measures Juan Carlos Perez Pena (Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico)

12:30 networking until 13:00

November 23, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 7, 2016

DOE Terminates ACICS' Accreditation Authority. 800 institutions and 800,000 Students Impacted

Founded in 1912, ACICS is the largest national accrediting organization, accrediting over 800 degree granting institutions with over 800,000 students.  These 800+ institutions must now DeptOfEducation-Seal scramble to find another accreditor or the 800,000 students will lose access to Title IV federal student loans.

The DOE (Department of Education) announced on September 22, 2016 its decision to terminate recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). ACICS on September 23, 2016 announced its decision to appeal, stating that it can mend its many deficiencies.  ACICS, if it loses its appeal, can seek appeal to the district court.  If ACICS loses its court appeal, ACICS-accredited institutions then would have 18 months to find a new accreditor and then Title IV will be withdrawn for their students. 

DOE has published a blog of FAQs for the 800,000 students who may lose Title IV access and the 800+ institutions who may find themselves without the minimal accreditation that ACICS provides.

October 7, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Accreditation Reform Legislation Introduced in Senate

On September 22, 2016, three prominent Democrat Senators (Warren Massachusetts; Durbin Illinois; and Schatz Hawaii) announced the introduction of the Accreditation Reform and Enhanced Accountability Act of 2016.  Click here for a copy of the bill and click here for a fact sheet.  While it is too late in the political season to see any movement on the bill this year, it is a foreshadow of next year's education legislative agenda for a Clinton administration.

The provisions include:

  • Require the Department of Education to establish standards for student outcome data (e.g. loan repayment rate, loan default rate, graduation rate, retention rate, student earnings, job placement rate, etc.) that accreditors must use when evaluating colleges, including minimum baseline thresholds for select outcomes metrics that colleges must meet in order to remain accredited.

  • Safeguard access by giving accreditors the ability to evaluate college affordability and Pell student enrollment levels.

  • Strengthen consumer protections by forcing accreditors to respond quickly to federal and state investigations and lawsuits regarding fraud, and by requiring accreditors to take action to protect students in the face of other warning signs of institutional instability.

  • Increase transparency around accreditation decisions for students, families, and regulators.

  • Clean-up conflicts-of-interest in college accreditation between accreditors and the colleges they accredit.

  • Increase accountability by giving the Secretary more authority to terminate or fine accreditors that fail to do their job.

October 6, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

OECD Research on Education

 

More information
Educational Research and Innovation
Innovating Education and Educating for Innovation
The Power of Digital Technologies and Skills
OECD’s Innovation Strategy calls upon all sectors in the economy and society to innovate in order to foster productivity, growth and well-being. Education systems are critically important for innovation through the development of skills that nurture new ideas and technologies.
 
More information
Making Education Count for Development
Data Collection and Availability in Six PISA for Development Countries
This report provides a systematic review of the collection, availability and quality of metadata as well as data regarding education, at the system level, for countries participating in the PISA for Development (PISA-D) project: Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Senegal and Zambia.

 

More information
Education at a Glance 2016
OECD Indicators
Education at a Glance: OECD Indicators is the authoritative source for information on the state of education around the world. It provides data on the structure, finances and performance of education systems in the 35 OECD countries and a number of partner countries.
More information
Educational Research and Innovation
Education Governance in Action
Lessons from Case Studies
Governing multi-level education systems requires governance models that balance responsiveness to local diversity with the ability to ensure national objectives.

October 6, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Admissions and Career Services Positions Avaliable

Besides new faculty positions, Texas A&M also has new staff positions that have recently been posted.  One is an Admissions Recruitment Coordinator  and the other is a Career Services Assistant Director. 

Please pass along the link to interested parties for the Admissions position "Admissions Recruitment Coordinator" https://jobpath.tamu.edu/postings/101061

September 26, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Texas A&M School of Law Seeks To Hire Several New Law Professors

These are exciting times at Texas A&M University School of Law! Since the university acquired a law school in August of 2013, the law school has embarked on a program of investment that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; hired 20 new faculty members, including thirteen prominent lateral hires; improved its physical facility; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff.

And now, we are again hiring additional faculty. Texas A&M University School of Law now seeks to expand its academic program and its strong commitment to scholarship by hiring TAMU-Law-lockup-stack-SQUARE (1)multiple exceptional faculty candidates for contract, tenure-track, or tenured positions, with rank dependent on qualifications and experience.  Candidates must have a J.D. degree or its equivalent.  Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills.  Successful candidates will be expected to teach and engage in research and service.  While the law school welcomes applications in all subject areas, it particularly invites applications from:

1)      Candidates who are interested in expanding and building on our innovative Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic (with concentrations in both trademarks and patents), or in one of our other acclaimed clinical areas, including Family Law and Benefits Clinic, Employment Mediation Clinic, Wills & Estates Clinic, Innocence Clinic, and Immigration Law Clinic; and

2)      Candidates with an oil and gas law and/or energy law background, either domestic U.S. or international, who are interested in interdisciplinary research, teaching, and programmatic activities.

3)      Candidates with strong classroom skills and scholarly achievement interested in teaching in our exceptional Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program.

While the law school is primarily interested in entry-level candidates for the above positions, more experienced candidates may be considered to the extent that their qualifications respond to the law school’s needs and interests.

In addition, the law school welcomes lateral and highly experienced professionals for the following positions:

1)      Candidates with experience in IP licensing and technology transfers, with relevant academic and/or professional science background, and who are interested in working and building synergies with the Texas A&M University’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

2)      Candidates in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service, and with an interest in building our nationally ranked dispute resolution program;

3)      Candidates in any field with a national or international reputation and stellar credentials in scholarship, teaching, and service;

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member.  The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures.

Texas A&M School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country.  The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living, a strong economy, and access to world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at appointments@law.tamu.edu.  Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.

September 23, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Combatting Corruption of Higher Education

Absenteeism, Appropriation, Bribery, Cheating, Corruption, Deceit, Embezzlement, Extortion, Favouritism, Fraud, Graft, Harassment, Impersonation ... UNESCO

An ABC of dishonest practices – usually referred to more coyly as misconduct or misrepresentation – is undermining the quality and credibility of higher education around the world. We shall use ‘corruption’ as a general term to designate such malpractice and make the academic operations of higher education institutions (HEIs) our primary focus.

Alarmed by the increasing frequency of press reports on corrupt practices in the higher education sector, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the International Quality Group of the US Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA/CIQG) joined forces to convene an expert meeting in Washington, DC, on 30/31 March 2016.  Corruption in higher education is a dynamic phenomenon. The Expert Group is publishing this Advisory Statement as a wake-up call to higher education to fight academic corruption more aggressively. The sector’s quality assurance systems must take a leading role in this battle.

read the Advisory Statement for Effective International Practice Download Advisory-statement-unesco-iiep here

September 16, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Seeking Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program Faculty Candidate

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW seeks a full-time faculty candidate to fill a tenure-track or contract position in its Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program. From its tenure-track positions to its expanded writing center, Texas A&M University School of Law prioritizes legal analysis, research, and writing. Our program consists of eight required credit hours of first year and upper-level specialized drafting courses.

Candidates must have a minimum J.D. degree or its equivalent. Preference will be given to those with demonstrated outstanding scholarly achievement and strong classroom teaching skills. Additionally, while the law school primarily is interested in entry-level candidates, more experienced candidates may be considered to the extent that their qualifications respond to the law school’s needs and interests. Texas A&M Law School has a unified tenure track system that requires all tenure-track and tenured faculty to engage in scholarship in addition to teaching and service.

Texas A&M University is a tier one research institution and American Association of Universities member. The university consists of 16 colleges and schools that collectively rank among the top 20 higher education institutions nationwide in terms of research and development expenditures. As part of its commitment to continue building on its tradition of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service, Texas A&M acquired the law school from Texas Wesleyan University in August of 2013. Since that time, the law school has embarked on a program of investment that increased its entering class credentials and financial aid budgets, while shrinking the class size; hired nineteen new faculty members, including thirteen prominent lateral hires; improved its physical facility; and substantially increased its career services, admissions, and student services staff. 

Texas A&M School of Law is located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth, one of the largest and fastest growing cities in the country. The Fort Worth/Dallas area, with a total population in excess of six million people, offers a low cost of living, a strong economy, and access to world-class museums, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor activities.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, Texas A&M welcomes applications from a broad spectrum of qualified individuals who will enhance the rich diversity of the university’s academic community. Applicants should email a résumé and cover letter indicating research and teaching interests to Professor Gabriel Eckstein, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at appointments@law.tamu.edu. Alternatively, résumés can be mailed to Professor Eckstein at Texas A&M University School of Law, 1515 Commerce Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6509.

August 18, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Who Trains the Compliance Cops ?

In a field paying anywhere from $75,000 to $250,000 in annual salary for qualified compliance pros, staffing is one of the biggest challenges for firms today.  New York Post story here

see previous post: HSBC hired 4,500 new compliance professionals (why aren't law students preparing for AML careers?)

 Shortage of Financial Advisors For Increasing Client Pool - Are the Law Students Prepared For This Career?

August 17, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Combatting Corruption and Enhancing Integrity: A Contemporary Challenge for the Quality and Credibility of Higher Education

Absenteeism, Appropriation, Bribery, Cheating, Corruption, Deceit, Embezzlement, Extortion, Favouritism, Fraud, Graft, Harassment, Impersonation ... An ABC of dishonest practices – UNESCO usually referred to more coyly as misconduct or misrepresentation – is undermining the quality and credibility of higher education around the world. We shall use ‘corruption’ as a general term to designate such malpractice and make the academic operations of higher education institutions (HEIs) our primary focus.

Titled Advisory Statement for Effective International Practice: Combatting Corruption and Enhancing Integrity, the publication is a call to action that highlights the problems posed by academic corruption in higher education and suggests ways that quality assurance bodies, government and higher education institutions around the world can combat corruption.

The term “academic corruption” as used in the advisory statement refers to any prescribed action in connection with, for example, admissions, examinations or degree awarding that attempts to gain unfair advantage, including cheating, plagiarism, falsification of research, degree mills and accreditation mills.

The advisory statement grew out of an expert meeting held 30-31 March, 2016, in Washington D.C., that addressed quality assurance, accreditation and the role they play in combatting academic corruption. The two-day meeting brought together representatives from accrediting and quality assurance bodies, colleges and universities and higher education associations in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

Download Advisory-statement-unesco-iiep

August 14, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Is UNT Collateral Damage of the DOE's Rebuke of the ABA? ABA Accreditation Committee Rejects UNT Law School Accreditation, Graduates Bar Exam Eligibility in Jeopardy.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the ABA Legal Education Committee reported  in June 2016 that it lacked confidence in the University of North Texas' (UNT) law school because "the school is not enrolling enough students capable of completing J.D. degree requirements and passing the bar exam."  The Accreditation found that UNT is not in substantial compliance with the "obligation to maintain sound admissions policies and practices" nor that "its present and anticipated financial resources are adequate to sustain a sound program". ABA Report is available here

Even with the lowest in-state tuition in the state of Texas ($16,000), according to the ABA report, application to the school dropped and its median LSAT fell from 147 to 146. According to the 2015 State of Legal Education Report that studied LSAT scores and student success in law school and on the Bar passage, students with a LSAT of 146 and are in the "very high risk" category.

The law school responded that it would seek to overturn the ABA Accreditation Committee decision at the ABA Full Council in October 2016.  Without ABA accreditation, UNT law graduates will not be eligible to sit for a bar exam.  UNT replied "If we do not get accredited, we will immediately petition the Supreme Court of Texas in order to request approval for our graduating students to take the Texas State Bar", but cautioned "There is no guarantee that the Court will grant such a request...". 

My comment...

The ABA's approach to UNT appears to follow its approach to three other newly established law schools within the past five years - Lincoln Memorial, Concordia and India Tech.  The ABA rejected initial accreditation of each of these schools, requiring each to address concerns about student quality and financial resources.  Then the ABA relinquished and accredited each.  Is UNT collateral damage of the ABA's own problems?  

The Department of Education (DOE)'s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) rebuked the ABA this past summer for laxity in its accreditation process.   Inside Higher Ed reported that the DOE's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) panel "rebuked the American Bar Association, in part for its 2000px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svglack of attention to student achievement." Inside Higher Ed reported that "the NACIQI, after three contentious votes, recommended that the department suspend the association's ability to accredit new members for a year.  The panel said the ABA had failed to implement its student achievement standards and probationary sanctions, while also falling short on its audit process and analysis of graduates' debt levels."

Also as an element of the DOE rebuke, the ABA withdrew from its scope of recognition "distance education".  The DOE NACIQI stated: ".... The Department also expects that all of the personnel involved in accreditation activities will have received training regarding the accreditation and evaluation of distance education programs.  As noted previously the agency provided no evidence of those involved in accreditation activities regarding distance education."

Most 4th tier law schools admit a majority of "very high risk" applicants based on LSAT scores.  It may be a matter of school survival, may be a mission to serve applicants who do not test well on standardized, multiple choice (timed) tests, and may be a combination.  Many 4th tier law schools charge tuition twice, even thrice the price, of UNT.  Yet UNT, with its very low tuition is denied ABA accreditation while the other law schools are periodically re-accredited every fifth year.  For the "very high risk" applicant seeking to prove the ability to succeed beyond the expectations of standardized testing, a risk of a tuition of $16,000 is far better than a risk of a tuition of $45,000.  

A critic will retort that the Multi-State Bar Exam (MBE) is a standardized test, and that if one cannot overcome the hurdle of the LSAT, then how can one overcome the higher hurdle of the MBE?  I am not an expert in understanding the science of standardized examination.  But I do know that at least some low LSAT scoring students pass the MBE and become attorneys (curious what the actual percentage is).

Leaving the employment after school discussion aside, these students who do not perform well on the LSAT want a low-cost option to seek a first-year attempt at the law school curriculum.  Given the new 2-year, 75% bar passage standard likely coming down the pipeline - schools will be forced to attrition out low-performing students after first semester or first year.  

Thinking out loud, perhaps the ABA needs to consider an accreditation category ("accreditation light") that focuses on these students and allows a low-cost version of legal education?  Thus, relaxed input approach for an actual accreditation category such as "Access Approval" versus "Full Approval".  All the output assessment will remain, including bar passage requirement, employment reporting, debt reporting.  

Pandora's Box?  I'll await your emails.

August 11, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Student Loan Forgiveness for School's Misleading, Deceitful, or Predatory Practices - DOEs Proposed Regulations

The purpose of the borrower defense regulation is to protect student loan borrowers from misleading, deceitful, and predatory practices of, and failures to fulfill contractual promises 2000px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svgby, institutions participating in the Department's student aid programs. Most postsecondary institutions provide a high-quality education that equips students with new knowledge and skills and prepares them for their careers. However, when postsecondary institutions make false and misleading statements to students or prospective students about school or career outcomes or financing needed to pay for those programs, or fail to fulfill specific contractual promises regarding program offerings or educational services, student loan borrowers may be eligible for discharge of their Federal loans.   Download DOE Proposed Regs for Student Loan Forgiveness

The proposed regulations would give students access to consistent, clear, fair, and transparent processes to seek debt relief; protect taxpayers by requiring that financially risky institutions are prepared to take responsibility for losses to the government for discharges of and repayments for Federal student loans; provide due process for students and institutions; and warn students, using plain language issued by the Department, about proprietary schools at which the typical student experiences poor loan repayment outcomes—defined in these proposed regulations as a proprietary school with a loan repayment rate that is less than or equal to zero percent, which means that the typical borrower has not paid down at least a dollar on his or her loans—so that students can make more informed enrollment and financing decisions.

The Department also proposes a regulation that would prohibit a school participating in the Direct Loan Program from requiring, through the use of contractual provisions or other agreements, arbitration to resolve claims brought by a borrower against the school that could also form the basis of a borrower defense under the Department's regulations. The proposed regulations also would prohibit a school participating in the Direct Loan Program from obtaining agreement, either in an arbitration agreement or in another form, that a borrower waive his or her right to initiate or participate in a class action lawsuit regarding such claims and from requiring students to engage in internal institutional complaint or grievance procedures before contacting accrediting or government agencies with authority over the school regarding such claims. The proposed regulations also would prohibit a school participating in the Direct Loan Program from requiring, through the use of contractual provisions or other agreements, arbitration to resolve claims brought by a borrower against the school that could also form the basis of a borrower defense under the Department's regulations. The proposed regulations would also impose certain notification and disclosure requirements on a school regarding claims that are voluntarily submitted to arbitration after a dispute has arisen.

Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action: For the Direct Loan Program, we propose new regulations governing borrower defenses that would—

  • Clarify that borrowers with loans first disbursed prior to July 1, 2017, may assert a defense to repayment under the current borrower defense State law standard;
  • Establish a new Federal standard for borrower defenses, and limitation periods applicable to the claims asserted under that standard, for borrowers with loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2017;
  • Establish a process for the assertion and resolution of borrower defense claims made by individuals;
  • Establish a process for group borrower defense claims with respect to both open and closed schools, including the conditions under which the Secretary may allow a claim to proceed without receiving an application;
  • Provide for remedial actions the Secretary may take to collect losses arising out of successful borrower defense claims for which an institution is liable; and
  • Add provisions to schools' Direct Loan program participation agreements that, for claims that may form the basis for borrower defenses—
  • Prevent schools from requiring that students first engage in a school's internal complaint process before contacting accrediting and government agencies about the complaint;
  • Prohibit the use of mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements by schools;
  • Prohibit the use of class action lawsuit waivers; and
  • To the extent schools and borrowers engage in arbitration in a manner consistent with applicable law and regulation, require schools to disclose to and notify the Secretary of arbitration filings and awards.

The proposed regulations would also revise the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations to—

  • Amend the definition of a misrepresentation to include omissions of information and statements with a likelihood or tendency to mislead under the circumstances. The definition would be amended for misrepresentations for which the Secretary may impose a fine, or limit, suspend, or terminate an institution's participation in title IV, HEA programs. This definition is also adopted as a basis for alleging borrower defense claims for Direct Loans first disbursed after July 1, 2017;
  • Clarify that a limitation may include a change in an institution's participation status in title IV, HEA programs from fully certified to provisionally certified;
  • Amend the financial responsibility standards to include actions and events that would trigger a requirement that a school provide financial protection, such as a letter of credit, to insure against future borrower defense claims and other liabilities to the Department;
  • Require proprietary schools with a student loan repayment rate that is less than or equal to zero percent to provide a Department-issued plain language warning to prospective and enrolled students and place the warning on its Web site and in all promotional materials and advertisements; and
  • Require a school to disclose on its Web site and to prospective and enrolled students if it is required to provide financial protection, such as a letter of credit, to the Department.

The proposed regulations would also—

  • Expand the types of documentation that may be used for the granting of a discharge based on the death of the borrower (“death discharge”) in the Perkins, FFEL, Direct Loan, and TEACH Grant programs;
  • Revise the Perkins, FFEL, and Direct Loan closed school discharge regulations to ensure borrowers are aware of and able to benefit from their ability to receive the discharge;
  • Expand the conditions under which a FFEL or Direct Loan borrower may qualify for a false certification discharge;
  • Codify the Department's current policy regarding the impact that a discharge of a Direct Subsidized Loan has on the 150 Percent Direct Subsidized Loan Limit; and
  • Make technical corrections to other provisions in the FFEL and Direct Loan Program regulations and to the regulations governing the Secretary's debt compromise authority.

Costs and Benefits: As further detailed in the Regulatory Impact Analysis,the benefits of the proposed regulations include:

(1) An updated and clarified process and the creation of a Federal standard to streamline the administration of the borrower defense rule and to increase protections for students as well as taxpayers and the Federal government;

(2) increased financial protections for the Federal government and thus for taxpayers;

(3) additional information to help students, prospective students, and their families make educated decisions based on information about an institution's financial soundness and its borrowers' loan repayment outcomes;

(4) improved conduct of schools by holding individual institutions accountable and thereby deterring misconduct by other schools;

(5) improved awareness and usage, where appropriate, of closed school and false certification discharges; and

(6) technical changes to improve the administration of the title IV, HEA programs.

Costs include paperwork burden associated with the required reporting and disclosures to ensure compliance with the proposed regulations, the cost to affected institutions of providing financial protection, and the cost to taxpayers of borrower defense claims that are not reimbursed by institutions.

August 11, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dept of Education Proposes Rule On State Authorization Of Postsecondary Distance Education And Foreign Locations

CHEA reprts that on July 25, 2016, the USDE published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register clarifying the state authorization requirements for postsecondary distance education. Currently, the law requires institutions to have state authorization where they are physically located but does not require authorization in states where the institution has no physical presence. These rules would supplement the state authorization rules negotiated in 2010 and implemented last year.   Download DOE proposal

The HEA (Higher Education Act 1965) established what is commonly known as the program integrity ‘‘triad’’ under which States, accrediting agencies, and the Department act jointly as gatekeepers for the Federal CHEA logostudent aid programs.  Many States and stakeholders have expressed concerns with these unique challenges, especially those related to ensuring adequate consumer protections for students as well as compliance by institutions participating in this sector. For example, some States have  expressed concerns over their ability to identify what out of State providers are operating in their States, whether those programs prepare their students for employment, including meeting licensure requirements in those States, the academic quality of programs offered by those providers, as well as the ability to receive, investigate and address student complaints about out-of- State institutions.

While the regulations established in 2010 made clear that all eligible institutions must have State authorization in the States in which they are physically located, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia set aside the Department’s regulations regarding authorization of distance education programs or correspondence courses, and the regulations did not address additional locations or branch campuses located in foreign locations. As such, these proposed regulations would clarify the State authorization requirements an institution must comply with in order to be eligible to participate in title IV programs, ending uncertainty with respect to State authorization and closing any gaps in State oversight to ensure students, families and taxpayers are protected.

 

Summary of the Major Provisions of This Regulatory Action

  • Require an institution offering distance education or correspondence courses to be authorized by each State in which the institution enrolls students, if such authorization is required by the State, in order to link State authorization of institutions offering distance education to institutional eligibility to participate in title IV programs, including through a State authorization reciprocity agreement.
  • Define the term “State authorization reciprocity agreement” to be an agreement between two or more States that authorizes an institution located and legally authorized in a State covered by the agreement to provide postsecondary education through distance education or correspondence courses to students in other States covered by the agreement.
  • Require an institution to document the State process for resolving complaints from students enrolled in programs offered through distance education or correspondence courses.
  • Require that an additional location or branch campus located in a foreign location be authorized by an appropriate government agency of the country where the additional location or branch campus is located and, if at least half of an educational program can be completed at the location or branch campus, be approved by the institution's accrediting agency and be reported to the State where the institution's main campus is located.
  • Require that an institution provide public and individualized disclosures to enrolled and prospective students regarding its programs offered solely through distance education or correspondence courses.

Costs and Benefits

The proposed regulations support States in their efforts to develop standards and increase State accountability for a significant sector of higher education—the distance education sector. In 2014, over 2,800,000 students were enrolled in over 23,000 separate distance education programs. The potential primary benefits of the proposed regulations are:

(1) Increased transparency and access to institutional/program information through additional disclosures,

(2) updated and clarified requirements for State authorization of distance education and foreign additional locations, and

(3) a process for students to access complaint resolution in either the State in which the institution is authorized or the State in which they reside.

The clarified requirements related to State authorization also support the integrity of the title IV, HEA programs by permitting the Department to withhold title IV funds from institutions that are not authorized to operate in a given State. Institutions that choose to offer distance education will incur costs in complying with State authorization requirements as well as costs associated with the disclosures that would be required by the proposed regulations.

Public comments may be submitted by email until August 24, 2016. After reviewing comments received, USDE will work to publish a final regulation by November 1, 2016, to take effect on July 1, 2017.

August 9, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 1, 2016

Vote for Financial Law Professor Blog for ABA 100 List!

The ABA is collecting votes this week for its 10th annual list of the 100 best legal blogs, and you can vote!

Use the form below to tell us about a blog—not your own—that you read regularly and think other lawyers should know about.  If there is more than one blog you want to support, feel Abajournal_weblogo_2015free to send us additional amici through the form. We may include some of the best comments in our Blawg 100 coverage. But keep your remarks pithy—you have a 500-character limit.  Friend-of-the-blawg briefs are due no later than 11:59 p.m. CT on Aug. 7, 2016.

Vote for the Financial Law Prof blog for top ABA 100 list here: http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/blawg100_submit/
 
link to Financial Law Prof blog: http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/

August 1, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Department of Education Releases Critical Report on ABA's Continued Recognition as Accreditor, ABA Withdraws Distance Education From Its Scope of Recognition

Inside Higher Ed reported that the DOE's National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) panel "rebuked the American Bar Association, in part for its 2000px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svglack of attention to student achievement."  Inside Higher Ed reported that "the NACIQI, after three contentious votes, recommended that the department suspend the association's ability to accredit new members for a year.  The panel said the ABA had failed to implement its student achievement standards and probationary sanctions, while also falling short on its audit process and analysis of graduates' debt levels."

Distance Education

The ABA, the staff reports states: "In response to the draft analysis, the [ABA] agency withdrew distance education from their scope of recognition."

The agency needs to provide documentation that would attest to the qualifications of site team members to serve in their respective roles. ... The site evaluators training materials include distance education. However, formal training on distance education was not evident in the meeting agenda or materials. .... The Department also expects that all of the personnel involved in accreditation activities will have received training regarding the accreditation and evaluation of distance education programs.  As noted previously the agency provided no evidence of those involved in accreditation activities regarding distance education.

Staff Recommendation:   Continue the agency's recognition as a nationally recognized accrediting agency at this time, and require the agency to come into compliance within 12 months with the criteria listed below, and submit a compliance report due 30 days thereafter that demonstrates the agency's compliance.

Issues or Problems:   It does not appear that the agency meets the following sections of the Secretary’s Criteria for Recognition. These issues are summarized below and discussed in detail under the Summary of Findings section.

-- The agency must provide the twelve resumes of staff with responsibilities for accreditation activities, as listed on the submitted organizational chart but not included as evidence, to be assessed for this criterion. [§602.15(a)(1)]

-- The agency must provide the resumes for the four Council members and the one Data Policy & Collection Committee member not included in the documents provided for this criterion. [§602.15(a)(2)]

-- The agency must amend its standards, policies and procedures to include an academic and an administrative member in its composition of the Appeals Panel and provide evidence that an academic and administrative member serves on the Appeals Panel in the one defined role to demonstrate compliance with this criterion. [§602.15(a)(3)]

-- The agency standards, policies and procedures must be amended to clarify the requirements of the site evaluation questionnaire in lieu of the self-study. The agency must also provide evidence of these approved changes from the decision making bodies. [§602.16(a)(1)(viii)]

-- The agency standards, policies and procedures must be amended to clarify the requirements of the self-study and the site evaluation questionnaire. The agency must also provide evidence of these approved changes from the decision making bodies.
[§602.17(b)]

Download DOE Report on ABA NonCompliance

(2) Competent and knowledgeable individuals, qualified by education and experience in their own right and trained by the agency on their responsibilities, as appropriate for their roles, regarding the agency's standards, policies, and procedures, to conduct its on-site evaluations, apply or establish its policies, and make its accrediting and preaccrediting decisions, including, if applicable to the agency's scope, their responsibilities regarding distance education and correspondence education;

 

The agency states that the accreditation processes are performed by the council, accreditation committee, managing director, and appeals panel. The council has primary authority to determine compliance with agency standards; the accreditation committee makes recommendations to the council on various issues; the managing director oversees and reports all accreditation matters to the council and assures legal requirements are followed for law school accreditation; and the appeals panel considers appeals on denial or withdrawal of accreditation.

The agency's bylaws, standards, and rules of procedure for approval of law schools describe the criteria and composition of the Accreditation Committee, Council, appeals panel members, on-site evaluators, and team chairs. The rosters included as evidence identify the selection of qualified evaluators and decision makers as described in the written policies and procedures, however no curriculum vitae have been included demonstrating the qualifications via education and experience for the decision making bodies (which include the Accreditation Committee, Council, and appeals panel) for Department staff to review to ensure compliance with this criteria. The agency needs to provide documentation that would attest to the qualifications of site team members to serve in their respective roles.

The site evaluation teams consist of legal educators, practitioners, and a judge as demonstrated during the site visit observed by Department staff in February 2016 and within agency policies. The agency provided the internal operating practices as evidence which specifically outlines the qualifications needed for and the training of site team members, as well as the evaluation of site team reports by the managing director.

The agency provided training materials for the aforementioned groups as evidence. The materials are created to ensure understanding of the standards, policies, procedures in their perspective roles as a decision and policy-makers as well as the evaluators reviewing the application of standards, policies and procedures during site visits.

The site evaluators training materials include distance education. However, formal training on distance education was not evident in the meeting agenda or materials. In accordance with 602.27(a) (5) the agency notified the Department on June 16, 2014, requesting that the accreditation of distance education programs be included in its scope of recognition. As noted in aforementioned criterion such an expansion of scope is effective on the date the Department receives the notification. At the next full recognition review the Department expects the agency to demonstrate its ability to evaluate distance education. The agency has not provided evidence of such a review. The Department also expects that all of the personnel involved in accreditation activities will have received training regarding the accreditation and evaluation of distance education programs. As noted previously the agency provided no evidence of those involved in accreditation activities regarding distance education.

Also, the Data Policy & Collection Committee is introduced as part of the accreditation internal operating practices for legal education and admission to the bar. The role of the Data Policy & Collection Committee is not defined within the bylaws or standards and rules of procedure for approval of law schools, yet internal operating practices submitted as evidence by the agency states that the committee operate under the accreditation domain. The qualifications and the definition of the Data Policy and Collection Committee must be explained as it relates to accreditation


Analyst Remarks to Response:
In response to the draft analysis, the agency withdrew distance education from their scope of recognition and provided additional information and documentation to address the previous concerns related to competency of representatives as evidenced in Exhibits B-C and F-G in addition to further explanation of exhibits 10-11, 15, 17-19 and 21. Specifically, the agency included in the response resumes of the members of the Appeals Panel and Accreditation Committee but only some of the resumes for the Council and Data Policy & Collection Committee members (exhibits B-C and F-G). The agency also provided additional detail on the training of all entities involved in accreditation activities outlining the focus of these training workshops.

Finally, the agency clarified the role of the Data Policy & Collection Committee as it relates to the accreditation process of the agency. The agency attest s that the Data Policy & Collection Committee role is to continue a dialogue between the schools and the Council on the most effective and efficient ways to collect and report the data that is required to operate the agency’s accreditation process which falls under the Special Committees of Article X, section 2 within the agency Bylaws (exhibit 15). The agency provided the roaster for the Data Policy & Collection Committee members and all but one of the resumes for the members (exhibits 21 and G).
However, the exclusion of the resumes causes the agency to remain out of compliance with the criteria.
§602.16 Accreditation and preaccreditation standards
(a)(1)(viii) Measures of program length and the objectives of the degrees or credentials offered.

 
The agency’s measures of program length and the objectives of the degrees or credentials offered are found in standards 301 and 311. Standard 301 requires law schools to establish and publish learning outcomes while maintaining a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students for admission to the bar and effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession. A description of learning outcomes is also required for distance education. Standard 311 requires not fewer than 83 credit hours for graduation of which 64 of these credit hours require attendance in regularly scheduled classroom sessions or direct faculty instruction; completion no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months; do not permit a student to be enrolled at any time in coursework that exceeds 20 percent of the total credit hours required by that school for graduation; and credit for a J.D. degree is only given for course work taken after the student has matriculated in a law school. Description of learning outcomes is also required for distance education.

The agency submitted documentation on standard 204-self study, which is submitted six weeks prior to the on-site review. The agency has adopted the site evaluation questionnaire to serve as a form of the self study. The agency submitted as evidence a guidance memo regarding compliance with Standard 204 and site evaluation workshop training materials on the self-study requirements.

The agency provided SEQs and site visit reports demonstrating the review of these criteria in addition to Department staff’s observation of an on-site evaluation. The agency has not provided a self-study demonstrating the changes mentioned in standard 204. In section 602.16(a)(1)(i), the agency narrative states that each law school is required to complete the SEQ (which now serves as the self-study), six weeks before its site visit. However, the agency’s standards and rules of procedure for approval of law school standard 204 states that a self-study is comprised of (a) a completed site evaluation questionnaire, (b) a statement of the law school’s mission and of its educational objectives in support of that mission, (c) an assessment of the educational quality of the law school’s program, (d) an assessment of the school’s continuing efforts to improve educational quality, (e) an evaluation of the school’s effectiveness in achieving its stated educational objectives, and (f) a description of the strengths and weaknesses of the law school’s program of legal education. The agency indicates distance education as part of their scope of recognition, but has not provided evidence of a review of distance education program for Department staff to assess. Also, the agency narrative indicates the inclusion of decision letters A and B (exhibit 31 and 32) demonstrating the results of this standards review, but is not included as evidence.

As noted previously, in accordance with 602.27(a) (5), the agency notified the Department on June 16, 2014, requesting that the accreditation of distance education programs be included in its scope of recognition. As noted in aforementioned criterion such an expansion of scope is effective on the date the Department receives the notification. At the next full recognition review the Department expects the agency to demonstrate its ability to evaluate distance education. The agency has not provided evidence of such a review. The agency needs to inform the Department if it still has a need or desire to accredit programs via distance. The agency also needs to inform the Department when it will be able to demonstrate to the Department (through its evaluation of a distance education program) that it has the ability to evaluate such programs and that all entities involved in accreditation activities have been trained in the accreditation and evaluation of distance education programs.

Analyst Remarks to Response:
In response to the draft analysis, the agency withdrew distance education from their scope of recognition and provided additional information and documentation to address the previous concerns related to the criteria as evidenced in the submitted exhibits. Specifically, the agency has updated standard 204 for law schools when submitting a self-study as evidenced in the agency memo (exhibit 73) announcing new interpretations for the standard as to rid the agency of duplication of efforts by the law school. The agency now requires law schools to submit a comprehensive site evaluation questionnaire in lieu of the separate self-study document, which must include all of the parts of standard 204. The agency has provided a site evaluation questionnaire, now entitled self-study (exhibits S, T and U) as part of the full cycle of review for this criterion. However, the agency standards do not reflect this new requirement. Standard 204 and the subsequent sections of the agency standards still identify the self-study and site evaluation questionnaire as separate requirements with separate definitions as sited in 602.17(b).

Initially, the agency submitted decision letters 31 and 32 to the Department a month after the renewal petition submission. The Analyst discovered discrepancies within the documents that were submitted late, thus finding the agency out of compliance with the criteria, which was discussed with the agency during follow up communication. The original agency documents were heavily redacted which made it unclear to the Department the connection between the documents to assess them for compliance with the criteria. The agency response has now included a table outlining the documents submitted as they relate to the redacted name of the schools designating all documents affiliated with schools A, B, and C. The documents submitted now contain full cycles of review for these schools, including a decision letter from April 2016 for school C, to demonstrate compliance with the criteria.

June 28, 2016 in Education | Permalink | Comments (0)