Monday, March 20, 2023
Why was last week called spring break when it wasn’t spring yet? Technically, it was a late winter’s folly or perhaps a mid-semester break, but spring, not so much. Before we took our week off, I met with numerous students and asked them about their plans for their time away from school. They mainly responded with the following:
- Outlining: “I am going to catch up and make sure they are all up to date.”
- Reading: “I am going to get ahead in my reading so that the week we return isn’t stressful.”
- Practice questions: “both multiple choice and essay!”
To which I said, “fabulous, and?” They scrambled a bit to find the one aspect of studying they had not mentioned that would be what I wanted to hear. They asked, “what else should I be doing?”
I was worried that these students wouldn’t take some time to do something fun, do something restorative, or disengage from being a law student for at least a few hours. We all know that after the break, the semester has turned a corner and started running downhill to finals. There are no other breaks (except here in Massachusetts, we have one long weekend for the marathon) until exams.
Yes, outlining, reading, and practicing are exactly what students should be doing at this time in the semester, but not taking care of body and soul for at least some of this time seemed like a lost opportunity to be in the right space to start the downhill run. I prescribed some discrete fun: walk down to the aquarium and watch the harbor seals for a few minutes, take the commuter rail somewhere new for an afternoon, cook a meal/dessert or better yet, a pie for Pi day, look at the ocean, really anything. It didn’t have to be an all-day event, and there is a lot of free fun to be had in Boston if you are a student. I stopped short of making them swear an oath to loaf a bit, but I did stress the importance of a little downtime.
Sure, I will encounter students who come in for their meetings this week tan, or on crutches from ski-related injuries, who will say they did nothing but have fun over the break. I wish them well. Me? I did class prep, grading, laundry, and baked the most heavenly fluffy peanut butter and chocolate pie for Pi day. And I wore sweat pants. Every. Single. Day.
March 20, 2023 in Exams - Theory, Miscellany, Stress & Anxiety, Study Tips - General | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Advice from a Part-time Student
As a parent, I usually know what is best for my kids. That isn't always what they think is best, and that is when conflict arises. However, sometimes they find a way to get to the right conclusion without my guidance. I just have to get out of the way, which is not my strongest quality.
Many of our students are the same way. With space and information, they can find a way to the right conclusion, even if it requires help from their peers. I was incredibly proud of one of my part-time students a couple weeks ago. A student asked me in class about potential job offers and what to do if they required working during the summer. I give my standard answer about working the least amount possible and exhaustion, but students legitimately worry about a job as much as bar prep. That is when one of my part-time students spoke up. She said the hardest part for her during law school wasn't the actual number of hours each week. Finding those hours is hard, but she could find hours in the day. She emphasized the hardest part was the mental exhaustion from getting everything done. She worked hard and did the vast majority of the work during her time, but she reiterated that the mental load was enormous. The load was so large, that she found a way to not work during the summer after working full-time for four years of law school. The impact she had on the entire class was obvious. I just had to sit back and let the discussion happen. That may have been the most productive fifteen minutes of the entire class period because I let the students lead.
I won't always let the students provide advice because sometimes it isn't ideal. However, many students can find their way to the right answer with only slight direction and hearing from peers. Teaming up with a good group of third-year students to pass along a message could make a big impact in bar prep programs.
March 19, 2023 in Bar Exam Preparation | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Call for AASE Award Nominations!
AASE provides awards to acknowledge excellence in the academic support field at the annual conference. Click here to see the history of the awards, beginning with the 5th Conference in 2017.
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 2023 Awards committee, Melissa Hale (Chair), Megan Kreminski, and Ashley London, are soliciting nominations for contributions by individuals, or in appropriate circumstances, groups, in any of the following areas:
- Specific ideas or innovations—whether disseminated through academic writing, newsletters, conference presentations or over the listserv
- Specific services to the profession—e.g., advocacy with the NCBE, etc.
- Providing services to students
- Promoting diversity in the profession and expanding access to the legal profession
- 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 Melissa Hale at MHale@lsac.org, by April 3rd, 2023.
AASE Awards Committee 2023
March 15, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, March 13, 2023
Academic Support and Bar Prep educators are among the hardest working people I know. We are selfless student supporters. We are scholars. We are generous with our work, praise, and time. As a group, we would probably be voted “Most Likely to go Above and Beyond” in a fictional law school yearbook. However, one accolade we are not going to get in this fictional yearbook (at least at this moment) is “Most Likely to get Tenure.”
We need to go above and beyond on our own behalf to gain the job equity, security, and salary that recognizes the work we do. We need to take a small fraction of our focus and use it for ourselves and each other.
In about two weeks, you will get two surveys from AASE. One is for you individually, and the other for your institution. If you are the director of your program, you should fill out one of each, if not, please only fill out the individual survey and nag your director to fill out the institutional survey for your school. If you don’t see the survey by April 1st, please contact AASE at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the surveys.
Here’s the thing, we all need this data. We need to know who we are and how we are doing as a group. We need to know what job security looks like for us --or if there is any at all. We need to know how much we are being underpaid compared to other groups of law school faculty. Knowing what we all do both in and outside of the ASP realm is important. Knowing what we teach, how often, and when we teach it, is incredibly valuable information. I know it seems intrusive, and my mother would often say that asking about salary is just “tacky,” but our institutions will be looking for this information when we propose a change.
Data is how the legal writing community successfully waged their tenure battles. Numbers seem like unlikely armaments, but at the moment, they are the tools we need. When the results of the survey are presented at the AASE conference in May, please do not be the person listening and thinking, “they haven’t captured my situation.” We want to capture you (not in a kidnapping or any other creepy way, you know what I mean….hopefully…). We want the team photo of "ASP educators with tenure" to be big enough to need a full page spread in future yearbooks.
Getting the appropriate and earned equity, security, and pay for our community will be a numbers game. Please play.
March 13, 2023 in Encouragement & Inspiration, Professionalism, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Assistant Director of Academic Support at USC
USC Gould School of Law is hiring an Assistant Director of ASP. The link to apply and a job description are below. Please direct questions to Vice Dean Lybby Carroll (email@example.com).
Here is the link to the posting:
And here is the description:
Assistant Director of Academic Success Program
USC Gould School of Law seeks applications for a full-time Professor of Lawyering Skills, who will serve as the Assistant Director of the Academic Success Program (ASP). The position will begin in the spring or summer of 2023. This position is an open rank, meaning that we may hire a full, associate, or assistant professor depending on experience. Professor of Lawyering Skills is a year-round Research, Teaching, Practitioner, or Clinical (RTPC) faculty position. RTPC positions are non-tenure track positions.
The Academic Success Program
The mission of the law school’s ASP is to ensure that all JD students have the support they need to succeed academically and be prepared for the legal profession. The program has a Director and Assistant Director. The Director reviews the program regularly and modifies it, in collaboration with the Dean and the faculty, to ensure that it continues to offer services and support that meet the needs of our students and address the current requirements and demands of the continually evolving legal profession. The Assistant Director assists the director in teaching courses, counseling students, and developing and running program events.
In the spring of the first year, ASP offers a one-credit course, Topics in Legal Analysis, for invited JD students who want to improve their analytical and exam-taking skills. Topics comprises three sections, one for each 1L supersection, and typically enrolls up to 30 students total (around 10 per supersection). Students who take the course practice outlining legal concepts in 1L courses and writing essay-exam questions that call for an analysis of legal issues raised by a hypothetical fact pattern. The program also offers a two-credit course, Legal Analysis of Evidence, to a segment of JD students during the fall of their second year. Legal Analysis of Evidence typically enrolls between 20 and 30 students and analyzes the rules of Evidence using weekly problems, multiple-choice questions, and essay exams designed to improve analytic skills and problem-solving.
Upper-division students in ASP receive one-on-one academic counseling to help them achieve academic success, success on the bar exam, and success in the practice of law.
ASP also offers a full range of programming for 1Ls, including workshops about academic skills and a simulated practice exam. ASP also organizes and leads Gould Preview, a pre-orientation program designed to provide additional transitional support to a segment of incoming 1Ls (seehttps://gould.usc.edu/about/news/?id=5002). Gould Preview takes place two weeks before fall classes begin and requires planning and preparation during the summer.
The Assistant Director Role
The Assistant Director assists and collaborates with the Director in providing ASP offerings to students. The responsibilities of the position include the following.
The Assistant Director is expected to keep abreast of developments in ASP pedagogy and bring fresh ideas to the program with the goal of assisting the Director in optimizing the program and its offerings and making any needed modifications.
The Assistant Director is responsible for teaching one ASP course (either one of the existing ASP courses (Topics in Legal Analysis or Legal Analysis of Evidence) or another three-unit ASP course), as well as a second three-unit course.
The Assistant Director meets regularly with students and counsels them regarding academic, analytical, and study skills, as well as course selection and preparation for the Bar Exam.
The Assistant Director is responsible for assisting the Director in developing and running ASP programming, including 1L workshops and practice-exam sessions. The Assistant Director also helps the Director organize and run the Gould Preview program and support other 1L orientation activities.
Collaborating with Others Who Support Students
The Director and Assistant Director collaborate with the Dean of Students and the first-year faculty to identify students in need of academic support and other resources. The Assistant Director and Director also communicate regularly with the Registrar’s office concerning academic scheduling issues that arise in student counseling sessions.
Participating as a Faculty Member
The Assistant Director participates in committee work and other service activities expected of Gould faculty.
A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and prior law teaching experience are required. Substantial experience in academic support or teaching legal writing and familiarity with academic support pedagogy are strongly preferred.
The Assistant Director must have a keen interest in academic support and bring energy and innovation to the program. The Assistant Director must also have excellent oral and written communication skills with strong attention to detail; excellent writing and editing abilities; sound legal skills and knowledge; an affinity for counseling and mentoring students; strong people skills; cultural competency; strong public-speaking skills; and excellent time-management and organizational skills. The position requires the ability to establish and maintain cooperative working relationships within a diverse environment, including the ability to work productively with the Director and others at the law school who support students. Relevant teaching experience (e.g., legal writing) and experience as a practicing attorney are strongly preferred.
Compensation and Benefits:
The University of Southern California offers a competitive salary within an academic environment based on the candidate’s experience and accomplishments. The university also offers excellent benefits, described here: https://employees.usc.edu/full-time-faculty-staff/
Applying for this Position:
Please submit a CV/resume, statement of interest, one or more sets of sample teaching evaluations, and names and contact information for three references. Applications should also include a succinct statement on fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion.
Applicants are encouraged to include in their statement of interest their own vision for ASP.
Equity, diversity, inclusion, opportunity, and access are of central importance to the Gould School of Law. Gould holds a unique position in society, and within the university, as every aspect of these principles are influenced by and can be protected through legal rules and institutions. At Gould, we are proudly committed to maintaining a community in which each person respects the rights of others to live, work, and learn in peace and dignity, to be proud of who and what they are, and to have equal opportunity to realize their full potential as individuals and members of society.
March 11, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
AASE as Building a Community of Scholars and Advocates
This post is third in the series discussing the origins of the Association of Academic Support Educators, founded in 2013. Written by Louis Schulze.
My first academic support conference was in Miami, hosted by UM Law’s legendary Joanne Harvest Koren. I had been hired for my first ASP position maybe a month earlier, so I had no idea what to expect at an LSAC Training. Always abiding by the adage of “better to be overdressed than underdressed,” I brought a suit.
I was overdressed.
But who could have predicted that Brooks Brothers would not work well in Miami in late May?
While removing my tie in a futile effort to blend in, I started to realize that a gathering of academic support educators came with a unique feel. In place of academia’s penchant for contrivance, I found authenticity. In place of academia’s tendency to instill impostor syndrome, I found a community fostering growth. My entire experience at that first conference can be summed up by my memory of being forcibly yanked onto a dance floor jam-packed with a sea of my new ASP colleagues participating in a salsa dancing lesson. I cannot imagine a better introduction to what “ASP-ish” means.
Over time, as more law schools implemented academic support programs, the LSAC trainings grew larger. As they grew, one could hear yet more voices echoing the concerns we all seemed to feel. Coming from what was then a one-person ASP, it was a revelation for me to hear others describing the exact frustrations I experienced in my work but could not quite explain to non-ASP colleagues. It became clear that many members of our community had stories to tell, and those stories had a lot to do with how unnecessary obstructions got in the way of supporting students’ success.
As a result, one of the reasons why AASE came about was to create a space for scholarship and status advocacy. Because those issues were understandably outside the scope of LSAC trainings, AASE provided a venue for our community to crowd-source ideas that could be shared externally so as to move the field forward and reposition academic support educators into circumstances more likely to lead to success. For instance, an early venture included conversations with the ABA regarding what would become Interpretation 501-1 of Standard 501, providing that the effectiveness of a school’s academic support program would be a factor in assessing compliance with admissions standards. Scholarly work at that time analyzed previously unchartered territory on crucial topics like stereotype threat in law school and equity in licensure. AASE provided an environment for scholarly presentations during which writers could sharpen their ideas through discourse with others in the field.
Ten years later, our ASP community has built a canon of scholarship that has defined not only the details of what we do but also the ways law schools can do better. When I began teaching in the field, the number of for-credit academic support courses could be counted on one hand, and bar support courses were impermissible by rule. But through the scholarship and advocacy of so many AASE members, these and other obstacles have faded.
May we never stop salsa dancing.
(If you want to find someone that will drag you out on to the dance floor, both literally and metaphorically, join AASE for the 10th Annual Conference in Santa Clara - Registration now open! https://associationofacademicsupporteducators.org/events/2023-10th-annual-aase-conference/)
March 8, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Director of Academic Success at UNLV
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas invites applications for Director of the Academic Success Program and Assistant/Associate/Full Professor-in-Residence, William S. Boyd School of Law [R0135427].
ROLE of the POSITION
The Director oversees and is responsible for all Academic Success Program (ASP) programming and initiatives in support of the law school’s full-time, part-time day, and part-time evening students. The Director is a full-time non-tenure-track faculty member as an Assistant, Associate or full Professor-in-Residence (title will be dependent on relevant experience) with administrative responsibilities. The Director works closely with law faculty and administration to develop and implement programs to support student achievement in law school, help students and alumni pass the bar examination, and develop the habits and skills required for professional success. The Director interacts with students in formal and informal classes, conducts workshops and outreach on essential law school skills and bar exam preparation, and meets individually with students seeking to improve their academic performance and to develop strategies for bar exam study and success. The Director is expected to identify students who are likely to benefit from ASP resources and encourage their participation in ASP programming. The Director plays a prominent role in developing and planning the new (and transfer) student orientation by introducing students to legal reasoning and analysis, task and time management, and the services provided by ASP.
The Director, who is expected to be familiar with national bar exam standards and trends in bar exam administration and assessment, and serves as the law school’s authority on the Nevada bar examination, its content, and trends in that content. The Director works directly with students and alumni individually and in groups on bar preparation and with the law school faculty and administration on analysis of bar examination results and strategies for maximizing bar passage for Boyd graduates.
The Director supervises an Assistant Director and paid upper-class student mentors and leads their deployment in meeting ASP objectives. The faculty and administration expect that the Director will be a resource for its members to increase teaching effectiveness. Given the nature of the position’s responsibilities and the composition of the student body, the Director will be required to work evening and weekend hours as necessary. The Director is expected to teach one three-credit course each semester.
Provide individual feedback and assessment to help students improve academic performance, study skills, and bar exam preparation
Create and teach regular group sessions to help students improve academic performance, study skills, and bar exam preparation
Teach Bar Exam Foundations, Performance Tests on Bar Exams, and other courses based on curricular needs
Supervise the Assistant Director of Academic Success and upper-class student mentors
Work with Associate Dean for Student Affairs to prepare and deliver academic content to incoming students during the summer and law school orientation (Intro to Law)
Work with Career Development Office and Lawyering Process faculty to help students improve their legal writing and create writing samples for job and clerkship applications
Contribute to the national academic success and bar preparation community
PROFILE of the DEPARTMENT/COLLEGE
The William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV is a leading public law school founded on a commitment to public service and community engagement. With its nationally ranked Lawyering Process Program, Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution, and the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic, Boyd offers a dynamic curriculum designed to teach students critical thinking and lawyering skills. Boyd has an LL.M. in Gaming Law and Regulation and a variety of distinctive Programs in Health Law; Indian Nations Gaming and Governance; International, Transnational, and Comparative Law; and Race, Gender & Policing. Through its J.D. curriculum, students can pursue academic concentrations in Business and Commercial Law, Dispute Resolution, Health Law, Intellectual Property, and Workplace and Employment Law. The law school is located at the heart of the UNLV campus. UNLV is an R1 research university that is among the most diverse campuses in the nation and is also the state’s largest comprehensive doctoral degree granting institution with Schools of Business, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Hospitality, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, among many others.
This position requires a J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school college or university as recognized by the United States Department of Education and/or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), membership in a state bar with successful completion of a state bar examination, 1-3 years of experience, and 1-3 years of supervisory experience.
3-5 years of prior experience working at a law school, preferably in the context of a law school academic success program
Prior experience in teaching or instruction
3-5 years of supervisory experience
Excellent project management skills
A record of strong academic performance in law school
Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Strong interpersonal skills
A demonstrated commitment to public service
March 4, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
We Do Not Stop Playing
We Do Not Stop Playing1
Another in our series of AASE 10th Anniversary posts! Thank you Kris Franklin!
- a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.
- eager or willing to do something new or challenging.
The first AASE conference was organized by an ad hoc committee of ASP professionals from around the country. We worked together to construct a conference representing an organization which did not yet exist. That meant we had no real requirements or guidelines, but also quite concretely that we had absolutely no resources. Nonetheless, the very first AASE conference in Las Vegas featured a hotel party in connecting hotel rooms with dozens of participants—seemingly more—playing board games together for hours. We could barely afford nametags, so what prompted us to spend maybe $100+ dollars to purchase candy and board games strewn around the hospitality suites we had negotiated for in our hotel and invite everyone at the conference to come and play?
In part this was an intentional nod to our longstanding history of fun and games at collegial gatherings (shoutout here to the team-building scavenger hunts at the St. Louis LSAC asp conference, and the jocular sit-in staged to protest its judging). There had also been a longstanding history of ASP folks using games in their teaching. Knot tying, Jeopardy, Taboo, Apples-to-Apples had all featured prominently in memorable presentations past by important figures in the founding of our discipline.
But the strains run deeper than mere surface callbacks.
ASP work can be about achievement, about equity, about (in)justice, about intellect, about ideas, yet in its soul it is always also about people. About building and celebrating a community of devoted educators. About getting to know one another, working in newfound teams, pushing each other to do our best, meeting each other’s families, seeing what made each other laugh and what made each other think. Crammed in those ridiculously overcrowded hotel rooms, we connected. We enfolded new members into already-existing friend groups. We reminded ourselves that amid the demands of our jobs we still needed to have fun. And fun often happened best together.
We were game. Eager to do something new. Or challenging.
Ten years on, we still are.
1. We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. -Benjamin Franklin
March 1, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, February 27, 2023
ChatGPT, Assessments, and Cheating: Oh my!
Last week I gave a quiz to my undergraduates: 14 multiple choice questions plus a short answer question. It was an open note, open book quiz. I had an honor affirmation at the start of it for those using their laptops for e-textbooks and notes. And there was still cheating. And I am not surprised that there was, but I was surprised at how it happened.
ChatGPT (and other forms of AI bots) are almost all we are talking about as a faculty these days. A student could very easily use one to answer a question on an exam, or to organize and write a paper, and it is extremely difficult to police. Additionally, at my school, we have recently begun slowly switching our platform from BlackBoard to Canvas-and our pilot version of Canvas does not have any anti-plagiarism software attached to it yet. (I miss SafeAssign.) I have asked the bot to do all my written assignments and have them handy for comparisons (and will add them to my platform’s institutional database when we have the software). But here is the real conundrum for law schools: is there any way to assess students that cannot be hacked at this point other than an old school closed book exam? Not every class can use the OG exam format for assessment.
There are, of course, two sides to the debate here: on the one hand, resourcefulness is a skill that we want students to have. We want them to ask the right questions in order to get answers that solve problems. Using a bot certainly can improve those skills. We do not actually have lawyers that to go into any form of legal employment where they will be given three hours, a water bottle, and a proctor in order to resolve a client’s case. We are not sure that the NextGen bar exam will ask anyone to memorize vast swaths of law anymore either. So, if there is a resource that can be helpful (and it seems at the moment to be free-ish), why not train students to use it? If we are in front of the use --and behind it as well-- then we can frame the appropriateness of the use and have more control over it.
On the other hand, is this what we want our profession to be? Should we aim to be a group of educated and licensed typists? How can we assess learning about the law separate from learning how to use the legal resources available? In some ways, I suppose we all fear being replaced by machines. It is a common science fiction trope. A computer, however, no matter how sophisticated, may never be able to see the nuances of the human condition that a well-trained attorney can. A bot would probably not make a creative argument for a change in the law since they are limited to the existing law and interpretations of it. Can we teach a bot to think like a lawyer? Probably. Can we teach it to have an off the record conversation with opposing counsel that hammers out a better deal because of something that cannot be said in court? Doubtful. There are unique spaces for human attorneys, even in this brave new world.
I suppose we could always ask ourselves how we would feel if our doctors typed our symptoms into a computer and then used what was spit back as a basis for treating us. I’m not sure I would still need a doctor to do that for me. I could also game the system by avoiding telling it about things where the answer they give might frighten me. I could, in short, lie to the bot and get the answer I wanted if I asked it often enough and changed the variables I share. My doctor sees through my bullshit-and that is why I trust her. She knows that I am more than the sum of my parts. Perhaps this gestalt is why human lawyers will always be superior.
In all honesty, I am not sure what the answer is here-there has to be a balance and there also has to be some nimbleness on the part of law schools in finding it-and soon. In the meantime, I keep telling students that I am assessing their knowledge of what we discuss in class rather than their ability to look it up. And that is what I told the student who copied their short answer on the quiz (verbatim) from the textbook. I wasn't expecting outright handwritten plagiarism. I guess we still need to be vigilant at all levels of technology. I told the student that I enjoyed pg. 104 of our textbook as much as they did (which is why it was assigned), but just being able to identify these words as correct is not the same as understanding why they are correct. Parrots may make lovely pets, but they do not make good lawyers.
February 27, 2023 in Exams - Studying, Exams - Theory, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, February 26, 2023
Assistant Director of Academic Achievement at Oklahoma City University
OCU School of Law is conducting a search for an Assistant Director of Academic Achievement to with a flexible start date, but preference for no later August 1. This position will have an opportunity to teach classes, provide voluntary workshops, and work individually with at-risk students. The Department will have 3 ASPs with programming from pre-matriculation to bar passage. The AASE disclosure form is attached. The position description and place to apply is copied below. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Posting and Application Portal: https://careers.okcu.edu/jobs/assistant-director-of-academic-achievement-law-school-oklahoma-city-oklahoma-united-states
The Assistant Director supports the Academic Achievement department to train law students for the rigor of law school, the bar exam, and the practice of law with academic workshops, courses, and individual coaching. The Assistant Director will primarily design and implement workshops for students from pre-matriculation through the second year, supervise Academic Fellows, and provide individual tutoring throughout law school and preparation for the bar exam.
The Assistant Director reports to the Director of Academic Achievement and collaborates with the Student Success Team in other law school departments. The Assistant Director is a member of the School of Law staff. Qualified candidates will be eligible for a faculty appointment as an Instructor.
The planning start date for this position is August 1st.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Demonstrate an attitude that reflects the mission and values of the University and School of Law.
- Collaborate with the Director of Academic Achievement to refine, improve, coordinate and direct the program of academic achievement including, but not limited to the summer admissions program, the academic support program, and the bar preparation program.
- Design and implement academic support programming for first-year students, including skills workshops, the academic fellow program, and outreach to at-risk students.
- Collaborates as a member of the Student Success Team to provide programming and support for the overall goal of improving student success.
- Work with the faculty to integrate academic support programming into first-year classes.
- Coordinate and provide tutoring to students in one-on-one and group settings.
- Develop, coordinate, evaluate, and monitor remediation/study plans and activities for individual students.
- Develop, evaluate, and administer the Academic Fellow program, including supervising the academic fellows.
- Coordinate with other departments on student success initiatives, including implementing individual student success plans.
- Teach skills-focused courses as assigned by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Excellent academic record (transcripts will be submitted with application materials)
- Superior written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills (writing sample will be submitted with application materials)
- Excellent organizational skills
- Demonstrated proficiency with technology including MS Office Suite, Internet, common software/applications, and the ability to acquire new technology quickly
- Commitment to working with a diverse population of students, faculty and staff
- Sensitivity to students with varied learning styles, disabilities, backgrounds, etc.
- Ability to work under pressure
- Ability to build and maintain a rapport with students
- Skill in presenting information, presentations and delivering instruction
- Ability to collaborate effectively with School of Law faculty and administrators
- Proficiency at project management, planning, and developing goals.
- A Juris Doctor degree from an ABA-accredited law school is required.
- A minimum of six months of experience is required. Experience should be in the areas of academic advising, academic support, teaching (adjunct instruction accepted), and/or tutoring within an ABA-accredited law school.
- A suitable combination of education and experience may be substituted for minimum requirements.
February 26, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, February 23, 2023
You took the bar exam! And now . . . the real work begins: Figuring out what to do with your days that are not filled with lectures, reading, practice, and review. Your path moves forward, but for academic support teams at law schools everywhere, we move in circles, in some ways. We are back in the office, continuing with our semesters, and as of this morning we are planning for July.
My law school has an inspiring motto: "protect it, improve it, pass it on." And in that spirit, I ask all who just sat for the bar exam what advice would you pass on to future law students? To current 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls? What do you wish someone told you (or wish that you had listened to when someone told you) as you began or progressed through your law school career? Everyone has helpful advice to share, and so I encourage you to email your school’s academic support team, or maybe the student class leadership, with advice to help smooth the road for those who are coming behind you.
For now, rest, and reflect on the notion that you have achieved something that is the privilege of only a tiny fraction of people on Earth: you completed your undergraduate education, you gained admission into law school, you graduated with a JD, and now you have completed the bar exam. As the dust settles, take a moment to reflect on all your accomplishments, the enormous opportunity you now have to serve the people in your community, to do some good. You are forever an ambassador of your law school and your profession. And no matter what school you attended, law school academic support professionals across the country can’t wait to see what you do next, and all the ways you will help the profession shine.
February 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
2023-2024 AccessLex/AASE ASP Faculty Scholarship Grants - Apply Now!
AccessLex and AASE are pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for the 2023-2024 AccessLex/AASE ASP Faculty Scholarship Grants. Grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded to up to five AASE members to jump-start their scholarly careers. Please apply here by describing your proposed scholarly article in as much detail as possible. The deadline is April 24, 2023.
Full Call for proposals below. Also, if you are hesitating because you are not sure if your idea is fleshed out enough, or maybe you are worried that you haven't published before - please still think about applying! Part of the process includes a mentor that will HELP you start the process!
If you have any questions, please reach out to Ashley London or Cassie Christopher!
AccessLex-AASE ASP Faculty Scholarship Grant: Up to $5,000
Call for Proposals
Due April 24, 2023
AASE and AccessLex are dedicated to the academic and bar success of law students across the nation. An important point of this collaboration is to support the scholarship of academic support educators, especially those who are newer to the discipline and face various challenges in getting such support. Launched in 2021, this grant supports scholarship by ASP faculty in any area, with academic support-related articles preferred.
Selection of Scholars:
Scholars will be selected through an application process where applicants must describe their writing topic and explain how the writing relates to their career advancement (directed toward getting tenure, seeking tenure track positions, contributing to ASP scholarship, or other considerations). Applicants need not have a track record of publications; this grant may be used to jump-start an applicant’s scholarship. Applicants must be members of the AASE organization.
The grant subcommittee will use a blind review policy. At all stages of the process, voting committee members will not know the identity and institutional affiliation of grant applicants. Only a designated non-voting person will know the identity of the applicant and will handle applicant communications. You will be asked three questions related to your identity (name, email, and institution) which only the designated person will know. For all other questions, please do not disclose any identifying information.
Fellowship Program for Scholars:
Upon selection, all scholars will participate in an approximately one-year fellowship program. The fellowship will include two mentors for each scholar to assist the scholar in completing a draft of an article. Scholars will be publicly announced at the annual AASE meeting in May 2023. The culmination of the fellowship will be a “Works-In-Progress” presentation at the May 2024 AASE Annual Conference, with a final draft for publication by December 31, 2024.
Applications are now open to all AASE members, who can apply here. Applications will be due on April 24, 2023. Grant recipients will be announced at the 2023 AASE Annual Conference. Recipients will present their works-in-progress at the May 2024 AASE Annual Conference. Recipients will have a publishable law review draft on or before December 31, 2024. Grant funds will be awarded to recipients as follows: $2,000 on or near July 1; $1,000 after presenting the work-in-progress at the 2024 AASE Annual Conference, and $2,000 upon submission of a completed article draft in publishable form. (Grant recipients who receive an award but do not complete their project may be required to return the funds to AccessLex and/or AASE.) Grant recipients will be paired with mentors to meet with throughout the process.
For more information, please contact Cassie Christopher at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ashley London at email@example.com, or Joel Chanvisanuruk at JChanvisanuruk@accesslex.org. Apply today!
(Melissa A. Hale, Ashley London, Cassie Christopher)
February 22, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Assistant and Associate Professor Positions at Liberty
While these are not specific to Academic Support, they sought applicants with our experience.
Associate Professor of Law
Liberty University School of Law invites applicants for a full-time associate professor in the residential Juris Doctor program. The most competitive applicants will demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and possess a strong Biblical worldview. Additionally, faculty need to passionately support our mission to equip future leaders in law with a superior legal education in fidelity to the Christian faith expressed through the Holy Scriptures. Liberty University School of Law is part of the broadest community in the world, namely the kingdom of God which encompasses every nation, ethnic group, and language. Accordingly, we welcome and encourage faculty candidates from across this diverse spectrum to apply.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Teach first-year, upper division required, and elective classes
- Engage in scholarship
- Mentor students
- Provide timely feedback in the form of assessments, grading, and other requested formats
- Follow guidelines, policies, and procedures as outlined in the faculty handbook
Education and Experience
- J.D. Degree from an ABA accredited law school
- Recognized academic and professional background
- Must give unmistakable promise of ability for excellent teaching, scholarship, service, and ability to work as part of a team.
- At least three years of prior law school teaching experience or at least seven years of practice experience required.
- Clear demonstration of commitment to the mission as evidenced by past scholarship
- Commitment to student mentoring and professional development
- Enthusiasm for working with law students
Interested parties should submit an application here: https://careers.liberty.edu/?job_posting=R0000843
Assistant Professor of Law
Liberty University School of Law invites applicants for a full-time assistant professor in the residential Juris Doctor program. The most competitive applicants will demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching and possess a strong Biblical worldview. Additionally, faculty need to passionately support our mission to equip future leaders in law with a superior legal education in fidelity to the Christian faith expressed through the Holy Scriptures. Liberty University School of Law is part of the broadest community in the world, namely the kingdom of God which encompasses every nation, ethnic group, and language. Accordingly, we welcome and encourage faculty candidates from across this diverse spectrum to apply.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Teach first-year, upper division required, and elective classes
- Engage in scholarship
- Mentor students
- Provide timely feedback in the form of assessments, grading, and other requested formats
- Follow guidelines, policies, and procedures as outlined in the faculty handbook
Education and Experience
- J.D. Degree from an ABA accredited law school
- Recognized academic and professional background
- Superior scholarly promise
- Practice and/or judicial clerkship experience
- Experience teaching in legal education is preferred, but not required
- Commitment to student mentoring and professional development
- Enthusiasm for working with law students
Interested parties should submit an application here: https://careers.liberty.edu/?job_posting=R0000657
February 18, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)
Friday, February 17, 2023
Assistant Professor of Teaching at Memphis
Memphis is currently hiring an Assistant Professor of Teaching (non-tenure track) to teach academic success and bar support courses and work within our programs. Please see the job description below. They are also hiring for a legal writing professor. I have included the link for that position below.
Please submit applications via the links below. The primary contact for potential candidates for both positions is the Chair of the Faculty Recruitment Committee, Peter Letsou (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Assistant Professor of Teaching - Academic Success and Bar Support:
The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law invites applications for a professor to offer programming and teach courses related to Academic Success and Bar Support. The professor will join a collaborative environment and work closely with the Director of Academic Success, the Director of Bar Preparation, and others teaching in the Academic Success and Bar Preparation Program to enhance the associated programming and to develop and/or enhance the curricula for Academic Success and Bar Preparation courses. The professor will teach Academic Success courses and Bar Exam Preparation courses and offer academic advising.
The salary will be $85,000 for a twelve-month appointment. Tennessee has no income tax, and in several different surveys, Memphis consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. cities for low costs of living.
The Law School encourages expressions of interest from candidates whose backgrounds will contribute to the diversity of the faculty.
The position is non tenure-track.
Candidates should have an outstanding academic record and excellent communication skills. Candidates must have a J.D. and bar admission. Candidates should have a strong desire to teach and provide support to first-year and upper-level law students, as well as a desire and ability to work collegially in a collaborative environment. Teaching experience is desired but not required.
Assistant Professor of Teaching - Legal Writing:
February 17, 2023 in Jobs - Descriptions & Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
To honor AASE's 10th Anniversary, we want to host some guest blogs about the founding and history of AASE. It seemed only fitting that the first guest blog would go to AASE's very first president, Jennifer Carr!
It was after an LSAC-hosted conference that we first started kicking around the idea of starting our own professional organization. The whole idea was pretty daunting but when someone said that LSAC likely would stop hosting conferences sometime soon, that (plus a few drinks) encouraged us to dream big. What if it was a place to present? What if it was a place where we could be mentored, so that we became better presenters? What about publications? Could we have some sort of publication someday? Oh! We need an advocacy arm—folks to interface with the National Conference of Bar Examiners, to ask questions and advocate and learn from. Wait! What about state bar examiners? Should we interact with them too? And what about advocacy with our faculty and our status? Out of this brainstorming meeting came a plan to have a conference call soon.
Our first order of business was to come up with a name for ourselves. We knew we wanted something about academic and support. But what else? Not all of us have the professor title. What about professionals? Well, that didn’t sound quite right. Professionals…of what type? We settled on “educators” because we were all educating, in some way or another. And then were we an organization? Association? Ultimately, we decided on the now-familiar Association of Academic Support Educators, AASE for short. We pronounced it “Ace” and I think a lot of people were thinking of those top pilots from World War I. Maybe we imagined ourselves advocating for our students, dogfighting for them the way the flying aces did back in the day. I, however, born and raised in Vegas, was thinking of playing cards and the image of the ace as the top or best card. And I wanted our organization to be the best of its kind. (This didn’t stop folks from switching the letters around and asking if we’d really named ourselves “Ass-E”.)
The next year was filled with conference calls as we pulled in more ASP’ers and our ideas and plans grew over time. First up was our conference. I went to my boss, Dean Nancy Rapoport, who agreed we could host a conference. We kicked around ideas of things we’d seen at other conferences to get ideas about how we’d like our conference to look. We talked to various vendors to set up a venders area. We put together little goodie bags. We agreed we wanted some times together (plenaries) and some sessions for new ASPers specifically, along with some for more seasoned ASPers, so we had tracks. But we also wanted community building activities, since we all agreed that some of the most useful parts of conferences past had been the connections we made and the chance to ask a quick question. We hoped to make the conference a yearly thing.
And when the conference was over, we didn’t want our work to end. We wanted to continue with a salary and title survey, so we could get a sense of positions, titles, and pay across the nation. What about a website with a repository of ASP resources? We were partly borrowing from other similar organizations (What was LWI doing?) but we were also unfettered by previous traditions and willing to try just about anything.
Over time, I’ve watched as this organization that was thrown together with a willingness to try things, see if they’d fly or fail, comprised mostly of hopes and dreams, has grown to—and beyond—what we’d hoped of it. And I couldn’t be prouder of it, or us.
February 15, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, February 13, 2023
37 Pages of Love
I have spent the last few months helping to draft an internal document for my law school that is supposed to evaluate the current state of the entire upper-level curriculum and make some recommendations based on those assessments. I will preface my list below by stating that my school has been amazingly cognizant of the issues we’ve raised, but my little committee also did some outside research that identified these general issues. Writing this report has been both an overwhelming and incredibly nebulous task, but here are some things I’ve learned on the way to dropping off those 37 pages of love off to the higher powers:
- Some of our recommendations aren’t going to matter much if the NextGen bar exam is adopted by our state bar. No one will need to take Secured Transactions anymore….
- Students in academic distress will tend to stay there (Newton’s Law of Academic Warning?) because while we are (understandably) concerned about them passing the bar, we are sending them to classes that are quite similar to the ones that caused the initial distress. More big classes where the curve is required are not the answer to doing poorly in big classes where the curve is required. It is like giving students who are stuck in a ditch a shovel rather than a ladder.
- We should try to ensure that every student, and especially those in academic distress, has as many different types of legal instruction as possible: doctrinal, skills-based, experiential, transactional, etc. Students who are limited will not see themselves as lawyers, just mediocre law students. This isn’t good for their confidence while still in law school and it could honestly exacerbate mental health issues. If a large class, with a curved exam, that employs lectures doesn’t work for a student, why make that a big chunk of what they need to take to continue in law school?
- Smaller classes would most likely benefit both students and faculty. I think this is particularly true of classes required for students in academic difficulty, but I do not want my report to be the reason our Dean is sneaking out of the building to buy lottery tickets. Sure, more funding for all of this would be great, but then law school tuition would be out of reach for most and that is exactly what we are trying to avoid.
- While writing this report was time-consuming and sometimes frustrating, it is worthwhile to take the time to see where we are and make recommendations (big and small) that can take us to a better place. Sure, some of what we recommended was purely aspirational, but if the Dean gets the Powerball jackpot, you never know what is possible….
February 13, 2023 in Bar Exam Preparation, Encouragement & Inspiration, Learning Styles, Program Evaluation | Permalink | Comments (0)
Sunday, February 12, 2023
Lone Star Regional Writing Conference Proposals
February 12, 2023 in Publishing | Permalink | Comments (0)
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Grace, flexibility, and accountability
I've recently experienced that sense of wasted opportunity and loss that comes from learning way too late that a student missed an assignment for a reason that would have warranted an extension to make it up, if only the student had let me know what was going on. The pedagogical moment has passed, and accepting the make-up work for points does not really make sense. Shortly after, I received Inside Higher Ed in my morning inbox, with a relevant opinion piece, Balancing Self-Care With Accountability, by Betty-Shannon Prevatt and Pamela Norcross.
Not everything in the piece is strictly applicable to law school academic support, but the general concepts spoke to me. In particular I was struck by, "Faculty members can help students by reinforcing the ideas that grace and flexibility are often the by-products of good communication and early effort." A concept so simple, so easy to reinforce in class, and with so much potential to serve our students.
February 9, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Academic and Bar Support Scholarship Spotlight
Some very important work recently uploaded to SSRN:
1. Salinas, O.J. (UNC), Secondary Courses Taught by Secondary Faculty: A (Personal) Call to Fully Integrate Skills Faculty and Skills Courses into the Law School Curriculum Ahead of the NextGen Bar Exam, 107 Minn. L. Rev. __ (2023).
From the abstract:
Using the casebook method as the primary teaching tool for training future lawyers, particularly during the first year, encourages ostracism. It can create a situation where students feel quickly separated into a “you do belong here” or “why are you here?” bucket. Those students who are strong oral communicators that can think quickly on their feet, or those whose identities and perspectives mirror the majority, can feel somewhat empowered and further accepted. They are placed into the “you do belong here” bucket. Those who are not are left on the sidelines watching the law school game and questioning whether law school and the legal profession are right for them. I felt like I was on the sidelines when I was in law school. And, like many faculty who teach skills courses in the legal academy, I have experienced what seems like teaching and working from the sidelines.
This semiautobiographical Essay provides an opportunity for faculty and administrators to better recognize when they may be working with students who feel like they are on the sidelines. The Essay also encourages law school faculty and administrators to reevaluate how they support skills training and treat and value faculty who teach skills courses.
Part I of the Essay summarizes my personal experience and struggles in (A) the traditional law school classroom, where only certain skills and experiences seemed to be valued and appreciated, and (B) the legal academy, where I may often be considered a secondary faculty member teaching secondary courses. Part II of this Essay discusses how the increased efforts by law schools to expand experiential learning created more opportunities for students to connect doctrine to the practice of law while, unfortunately, solidifying the disparate treatment of skills faculty. Part III concludes that the incorporation of skills assessment into the NextGen bar exam is an appropriate time for law schools to reevaluate and restructure how their law school curriculum advances the training of practical lawyering skills and how their law school administration and doctrinal faculty value and support faculty who teach skills courses.
2. Szto, Mary (Mitchell Hamline), Barring Diversity? The American Bar Exam as Initiation Rite and its Eugenics Origin, 21 Conn. Pub. Int. L.J. 38 (2022).
From the abstract:
According to the 2020 census, the US population is over 42% minorities. However, only 14% of the legal profession is. In 2020 the American Bar Association released data that the first-time bar exam pass rate was 88% for Whites, 80% for Asians, 78% for Native Americans, 76% for Hispanics, and 66% for Blacks.
Initiation rites often involve a separation from society, a liminal period, an ordeal, and then reincorporation into society. The bar exam follows this pattern. However, many minority candidates cannot afford months of unpaid isolated study, much less further bar attempts.
Racial disparities in first time bar passage rates are not coincidental, but rooted in the eugenics origin of the bar exam. Bar admissions standards arose amid teachings about Anglo-Saxon white supremacy in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Eugenics theory was then mainstream science and held that non-whites should be denied access to property ownership, education, and the legal profession. Minorities were excluded from most law schools, and there was widespread fear of immigrants diluting the US white population and the legal profession.
Eugenics-inspired federal redlining policies from the 1930s also led to huge racial wealth gaps then and now. Homeownership is the chief way Americans build intergenerational wealth. Redlining prevented non-whites from owning homes by blocking access to federally subsidized home mortgages. Thus, in pre-pandemic 2019 White families had eight times the wealth of Black families and five times the wealth of Hispanic families. Therefore, to diversify the legal profession, we must acknowledge this eugenics history and racial wealth gap and institute the diploma privilege, or create sequenced open book bar exams or other alternatives that do not require costly isolated study and bar preparation courses. Healing reform will help all candidates, and the public we serve.
[Posted by Louis Schulze, FIU Law]
February 7, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)
Monday, February 6, 2023
Here we go again...
This morning I got an email saying. “In 1 week, your Dependent child will reach the age limit for Health Care. At this time, you will be asked to remove them from your benefit elections.” Sigh. Considering it has been exactly thirteen years since this child’s Bat Mitzvah (the coming of age of her coming of age?), I guess I shouldn’t find this email surprising. But I am a little gutted nonetheless.
This past weekend, in the final year of a twelve year run at our local high school, I was in the auditorium catching another great musical while thinking, what will I do with myself when I really don’t belong here anymore? I have worked on the after the prom party for ten years. I have fed student journalists, actors, fencers, runners, swimmers, and field hockey and ultimate players. I have organized carpools, box offices, galas, and bake sales. I have driven around the area a million times with a car full of kids (and swords!).
I think that is why I like teaching. I never need to leave school if I work here. I also teach undergrads, and in the moments when I wonder how I will manage when my youngest, currently a senior in high school, is in another faculty member’s class somewhere, I am grateful for their energy-even if it can be annoying sometimes. Actually, maybe especially when they are unruly, or they roll their eyes at me.
What does this have to do with academic support? Not much, except I am an ASP professional who now gets teary when I get the weekly PTO emails from the high school. I know that the cost of caring about students (or a school) is letting them go at graduation. To quote ABBA, “Mamma mia, it's a game we play/Bye-bye doesn't mean forever.”
Maybe I’ll get a puppy….
February 6, 2023 in Miscellany, Music | Permalink | Comments (0)