There's an interesting conversation going on at Madisonian.net.
There's usually an interesting conversation going on a Madisonian.net, but this week they're having an especially promising 'Moblog' on legal education.
My biggest cheer so far goes to Nancy Rapoport's What kind of faculty would I want in the ideal law school? which I think hits a series of nails right on the head with this advice for what law faculties should do:
- cheer successes,
- be engaged,
- don't let up after tenure,
- “addresses conflict head-on and not in a passive-aggressive (or aggressive) manner” — but also stomp on bullies [hmm, some tension there?],
- set high standards for students, provide them with support to enable them to meet those standards, and hold them to those standards,
- model professional behavior by your actions,
- value those who teach in the clinic and those who teach legal research and writing,
- have fun.
We do some of these things better than others. And I'd love it if we did each of these things better than we do now — and with a Dean search going on, we're certainly entitled to dream. But what Rapoport doesn't say enough about is how you do all those things at once. Yes “it takes hard work to create such a community and to keep it thriving. ” I get that. But are these things that require a Dean to push them? Or are they things that only work as organic change bubbling up from below? Or do both sets of stars have to be aligned?
More prosaically, as we interview Dean candidates in the next weeks, how on earth to detect which ones are likely to help foster these tendencies?