The Need to Understand Course Material

[Editor’s Note: This month, faculty members are posting on their exam taking tips. This is the second post in the series.]

Law students dread the exam process. This feeling is no surprise given the fact that in many courses examination grades become final grades. Unfortunately, agreement on a simple technique that maximizes effective learning does not exist. But there is some agreement on pitfalls that every student should avoid during times of study and review. One pitfall is failing to process and understand course material. It is so easy to simply turn the pages of a textbook or stare at a course outline that appears on a computer screen and then conclude: “I understand this topic. It’s clear as can be and I don’t need to review it again.” 

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Diversity in Legal Education

[Editor’s Note: This month, we asked a few veteran faculty members to share their reflections on what has changed the most in legal education since they became law professors. The first two posts in the series are here (Kossow) and here (Bradford).]

In the early 1970’s, the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools were prodding law schools to diversify their faculties and their student bodies. Indeed, many schools did not provide equal opportunities to diverse groups in either admissions or in employment. The consequences of such discrimination were harmful to legal education and to the profession. The demands of the ABA and AALS created a sense of urgency and law schools quickly responded. Initially, the response focused on the need to provide access to women and to racial minorities. This focus was not surprising given the strength of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s and the momentum of the women’s movement in the early 1970’s.

Prior to 1970, Marquette University Law School adhered to the traditional pattern of the academic community. Diversity, in any meaningful sense, simply did not exist in the student body or on the faculty. But the administration and the faculty were not indifferent to the urgent need for change. I was offered a teaching position at the Law School in the fall of 1974 and was the first woman appointed to a full-time tenure-track faculty position.  

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