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Carnegie Report on Legal Education: Perspectives for Deans. Judith Welch Wegner UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law AALS, January 4, 2008. Premises: Professional Education. There is (or should be) a connection between professional education and the professions.

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Carnegie Report on Legal Education:Perspectives for Deans

Judith Welch Wegner

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law

AALS, January 4, 2008

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Premises: Professional Education

There is (or should be) a connection between professional education and the professions.

If so, professional education addresses cognition and substance, practice and skills, identity and values.

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Premises, Continued

  • Insights from “learning sciences” (e.g. development of expertise) are relevant to professional education. http://www.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/

  • Each area of professional education could learn from other forms of professional education.

  • Each area of professional education has a “signature pedagogy” with strengths and a “shadow” side.


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Carnegie Report: Key Findings

  • Legal education

    • Does a remarkable job in teaching thinking (“cognitive apprenticeship” through the signature “case-dialogue” method)

    • Incorporates practice skills most often as an “add-on” without integration

    • Does little (or does negative things) with professional identity and values

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Findings, Continued

  • Has little sense of progression across the three years

  • Doesn’t do very well in integrating all dimensions of learning.

  • Is significantly underdeveloped when it comes to assessment

  • Could do better


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Findings Based On

Field work at 16 diverse law schools (in spring 2000)

Observations of 200 classes

Interviews with faculty who were observed, traditional and clinical faculty, legal writing faculty, deans, admissions personnel, focus groups with faculty groups, focus groups with students

Comparative insights regarding engineering, clergy, nursing, medicine, Ph.D

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Challenges & Opportunities: First Year

  • Identity and values: missing pieces--why?

    • Faculty: backgrounds, interest, appropriateness, casebooks, time, competing demands on curriculum hours?

    • Options:

      • Professionalism add-ons: good, but limited

      • Pervasive method: honored in the breach

      • Integration with R&W?

      • New courses on “legal profession” and lawyers lives?

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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First Year: continued

  • Skills and Practice: Options

    • Separate but equal: legal research, writing, “lawyering”

    • Integration: faculty backgrounds, “teaming,” pro bono?

  • Changing Content & Prototypes:

    • Legislation, problem-solving, international views

    • Modulating: inter-sessions

  • Reminders:

    • Core of first year is developing analytical thinking and new epistemology; it’s not just about content

    • One size doesn’t fit all, since student backgrounds differ and student mix differs


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Challenges & Opportunities: Beyond 1L Year

  • Progression

    • Faculty and content focused: course clusters, augmentation (inter-disciplinarity), capstones

    • Practice skills: “clinic” for all--why and how?

    • Partnering with the profession(s): some models

  • Missing pieces: it’s the students!

    • Navigation: pathways and advising

    • Responsibility, choices, and the rising generation

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Challenges & Opportunities: Assessment

  • Basic truths:

    • Assessment drives learning, attention and action: student (in)attention, faculty scholarship, US News

    • Faculty and law schools don’t know much about assessment (in its many forms)

AALS Deans Section 1/4/07 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Assessment, Continued

  • Possibilities:

    • Learning from each other:

      • Campus institutional research offices

      • Scholarship of teaching and learning

      • LSSE

      • TAs and more

    • Expectations of students: “portfolios”

    • Reforming the bar exam: bifurcation & alternatives


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Challenges: Making Changes

  • Thinking about change

    • Change imperatives

    • Theories of change: leaders or the environment(s)?

    • Academic universe: special characteristics*

    • “Striving Institutions”**

    • “Systems thinking”***

      *Adriana Kezar: “Understanding and Facilitating Change in Higher Education” (ASHE/ERIC, Vol. 28, No. 4, 2001)

      **Kerry Ann O’Meara:“Striving for What? Exploring the Pursuit of Prestige” (Higher Education: Handbook of Research, 2007)

      ***Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline

AALS Deans Section 1/4/07 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Opportunities: Resources

  • Information and Assistance

    • CFAT: www.carnegiefoundation.org

    • “Best Practices Project”: http://bestpracticeslegaled.albanylawblogs.org

    • CALI: “e-Langdell” efforts with Harvard Berkman Center; A2J (access to justice) project: http://www2.cali.org/index.php?fuseaction=pages.news

    • AALS Resource Corps: http://www.aals.org/resources_resourcecorps.php

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08

Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Opportunities: Conversations

  • Legal Education At the Crossroads: Hosting?

    • University of South Carolina: Crossroads 1

    • Under consideration or in planning: Houston, Washington, William Mitchell

  • Individual Schools: share work in progress

  • Institutional Players:

    • Associate Deans, Bar Examiners, Law Librarians, More

  • “Legal Education Study Project”: Plenary

AALS Deans Section 1/4/08 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Opportunities: A Proposal

  • Building Institutional Capacity

    • Focus on institutions as well as individuals

    • Tools, templates, teamwork: knowledge about educational options, assessment, planning and change; targeted effort; “works-shopping” projects

  • Building Incentives:

    • recognition for excellence based on careful documentation, assessment, peer review

AALS Deans Section 1/4/07 Judith Wegner, [email protected]

15


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Critiques and Questions

  • Premises?

    • Link to professions? Professional education?

  • Competences?

    • What can and should be taught in school?

  • Profession(s)?

    • It’s too complicated?

  • Institutional Missions?

    • It’s about academic prestige?

    • It’s about US News?

AALS Deans Section 1/4/07 Judith Wegner, [email protected]


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Perspectives and Personal Choices

  • You and yours:

    • Creative acts

    • Opportunities for distinction

    • Leaving the world better than you found it

  • Changing Narratives: A Cherokee Story

  • Need help?

    • Contact Judith Wegner, Burton Craige Professor of Law, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, CB 3380, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380; 919-962-4113, [email protected]


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