In June, AALS welcomed more than 130 new law school faculty to a virtual version of the specialized AALS Workshop for New Law School Teachers, which supports faculty in their transition into full-time teaching as they learn to balance and embrace the competing demands of teaching, scholarship, and institutional service required in an academic career.
Programming officially began on the morning of Thursday, June 3 with an information session with the AALS Section on Minority Groups chair Emile Loza de Siles, Duquesne University School of Law, to spread knowledge about the section and garner new members to the section.
Vincent D. Rougeau, AALS President and then-Dean of Boston College Law School, Association of American Law Schools provides welcoming remarks to attendees of the AALS Workshop for New Law School Teachers
The section information session was followed by welcoming remarks from the AALS President and then Dean of Boston College Law School. “The workshop you’re attending today is a great example of the work we do at AALS to support law professors, across the arc of their careers,” said Dean Vincent D. Rougeau in his address. Dean Rougeau encouraged attendees to take advantage of the experience of the presenters and to bring up the concerns they have as they start their careers. “You’re going to meet a wonderful group of colleagues who are also starting out who you can call and check in with, who are going through similar experiences but at different places,” Rougeau continued, reflecting on his own experiences as a workshop attendee.
Brian R. Gallini, Chair of the Workshop for New School Teachers and Dean of Willamette University College of Law, provides a conference overview to attendees of the AALS Workshop for New Law School Teachers
The workshop welcome was followed by an overview provided by the Chair of the Workshop for New School Teachers and Dean of Willamette University College of Law, Brian R. Gallini. Dean Gallini introduced the day’s schedule and gave advice to attendees. “We’re here to troubleshoot and help you to develop your craft… we’re all artisans trying to learn the tools of the trade and figuring out how best to mold the minds and talents of our next generation,” said Dean Gallini.
Participants then spent the afternoon in breakout sessions on teaching with sessions on effective teaching inside/outside the law school classroom and teaching with technology.
During the Outside the Classroom breakout session, the presenters provided methods in which the incoming teachers could use to set appropriate boundaries. “Begin thinking about where and how to set appropriate boundaries with the people around you, including the need to protect junior faculty from being inundated with student or institutional requests requiring significant student interaction,” said Professor Mai Linh Spencer, University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Anthony Paul Farley, Albany Law School, presents during the Thursdays General Session on Race in the Classroom with Susan S. Kuo, University of South Carolina School of Law, Tamara F. Lawson, St. Thomas University School of Law, and Russell A. McClain, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
Thursday closed with small groups discussion related to the topics on teaching, race in the classroom, diversity, assessment, and service.
Friday afternoon’s breakout sessions on teaching included sessions on course design, effective teaching inside the classroom, mentorship and research supervision outside the classroom, teaching legal writing, and teaching with technology.
The time during the final day of the workshop was spent in concurrent sessions on scholarship, the sessions offered a focused discussion on a variety of topics important to legal scholarship like designing your research agenda, building a scholarly community/network, and engaged scholarship and advocacy.
The workshop also included information sessions with volunteers from AALS sections including the Section on Minority Groups, the Section on Sexual Orientation and Identity Issues, and the Section on Women in Legal Education. The workshop concluded with an Informal Happy Hour with different subject matters line Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Reasoning and Research, Property, or Torts.
“We prioritized seeking out voices from a wide range of people from a broad range of representation in the academy like faculty of color, seniority in rank, or geographic location to provide the new teachers with an expansive range of perspectives in the classroom,” Dean Gallini said in discussing the planning committee’s approach to developing the workshop.
As part of the networking opportunities provided for junior faculty through this workshop, attendees are invited to participate in a reunion at the 2022 AALS Annual Meeting this January to reflect on their first semesters in the academy.
“The NLT conference is kind of conference that everyone should go to every year regardless of whether or not they are new to the profession, it’s a high-energy environment with lots of idea sharing happening in those spaces,” said Dean Gallini.
The planning committee for this year’s workshop was chaired by Brian R. Gallini (Willamette University College of Law) and included Bridgette Baldwin (Western New England University School of Law), Leslie P. Culver (University of Utah S.J. Quinney College), Amy E. Sloan (University of Baltimore School of Law), and Laurie B. Zimet (University of California, Hastings College of Law). AALS is thankful for their service and leadership.