I'm home – for a bit over a day. Then it's the car train to DC…and onwards to other points afterward.
But I've done my raw grading. Now to curve the first-year's grades.
Meet me at Five Guys in the National Press Building. I may even buy!!
Brief visit to see family – maybe on the next, slightly longer, flyby in mid-July?
While you might have finished your 1L grades, a huge portion of “graduating” 3L’s have not even begun to receive their Spring 2009 marks, putting them at substantial risk of being automatically disqualified from sitting for certain states’ bars. In some cases, deadlines for dean’s certifications of graduation come due in a matter of days. Dean V has done a remarkable job (as always) of obtaining special extensions (in the case of NY for one), but the fact that UM has even had to take such measures adversely affects the school and the faculty, and scorns the newly minted JD’s who might be a source of future alumni contribution (assuming any of us actually end up with jobs in this economy). So, if you wouldn’t mind hurrying along your colleagues, we’d greatly appreciate it. Whether knowingly or not, they’re putting our careers on the line.
Pat White: take note. This problem isnt new and it won’t clear up without strong leadership. A six week deadline (and yes, I know it’s not June 22 yet) for submitting grades has unreasonable consequences for graduating 3L’s in Spring Semesters.
I’ll be in Atlanta in mid July for a family reunion. Maybe next time.
Um, allow me to suggest that your complaints are a whole can o’ junk.
Thank you. Good luck.
Are you serious? If you walk around the campus right now the one consistent topic you will hear discussed are student gripes about the lack of grades submitted. Not only are they running dangerously close to bar deadlines, there are other reasons students are waiting to see their grades, 3L’s in particular. For example, I overheard 2 students today discussing how their mortgage applications are being held up because they cannot show proof of graduation – a relevant factor apparently for first time home buyers basing their mortgage rates on prospective incomes.
This has been a recurring issue for UM since my 1L year. Explaining to employers why grades for multiple choice exams have not been posted for 5 weeks is something students should not have to endure. Let’s face facts: Professors have a pretty easy gig. They teach subjects they know by heart, and while I know they have to prepare, they aren’t agonizingly reviewing materials before class. (If they are, I think the end product has been less than stellar) The least they can do is have the courtesy to turn in the grades within a reasonable time.
I’m not sure who would use the phrase “whole can o’ junk” but allow me to suggest that you become a bit more informed about the process before insulting others.
Its hard to understand how an uninterested observer could reasonably take issue with the suggestion that a six-week grade submission deadline that already runs into bar certification dates is unreasonable, much less call the claim a “can o’ junk.”
I have to say that law students really are a piece of work. LOL. Get over yourselves guys.
I like many of our faculty and wish them well.
However, the irony is that law school professors love making students jump through hoops, ie making them do tedious work. It reminds them of how well they jumped through hoops 30 years ago (before realizing that the big law firms didn’t care that they memorized a sweet mnemonic advice for the elements of adverse possession). But now, for whatever reason (I think I know the reason but will keep the discussion civil), they cannot buckle down to do the only tedious thing that requires a few weeks of their time.
Also, I tend to ignore advice to “ger over yourselves” from someone with their fraternity name in their email.
Touche. The email address is a left over from heavier drinking days. I use it mostly to sign up for services that will likely spam the crap out of me, and to remain anonymous on the Internets while still being able to communicate privately if people wish to do so.
That said, you are wrong to compare law profs to law students. Law profs are not there to jump through hoops, law students are. It is not an equal relationship.
I think one thing that students don’t appreciate about the May/June grading period is that this is also prime conference season. I’ve just been to two, and there were three or four others I would have liked to attend in the same 4-week period. If you want to have a faculty of national stature, doing the sort of things that build a national reputation (and thus the value of the degree), visibility — ideally presenting papers or being a discussant — at conferences is an important part of the strategic package for a law school.
That doesn’t excuse missing deadlines, but it does offer one more reason why they are as long as they are.
Michael, I understand that concern. How then, are other schools able to get grades completed in such a quick manner? Students at schools like Columbia are able to receive grades in a remarkably quick manner and have thus already received a certification of graduation.
Just wanted to add that I appreciate that you let us air our academic concerns on your blog and we know that you are not the culprit. However, after 3 years of “don’t worry, we’ll fine them for every day that they are late,” when no one has ever been fined, leads to the ill will displayed on your blog from time to time.
Although you are up on the cutting edge of the law, and the prime conference season may slow some profs down, I doubt that the professors we are talking about could even remember the last summer conference they attended. If this truly were a sytematic problem, why is it the same esteemed professors over and over?
This school is on the rise. There is no doubt. However, the reason our backs were against the wall is that the old guard has a hostile and somewhat lazy disposition. The old guard’s power (which is waning), allowed an institutional groupthink of laziness (and hostility to any challenges of that laziness) to develop at our school. The vestiges of that groupthink come out in issues like not getting grades in on time.
Query – I don’t know, but I would guess Columbia has three advantages over UM as regards speedy grading:
1. Fewer classes per prof per year. (This I know is a fact.)
2. Fewer students per class. (I’m guessing, but I’m fairly confident.)
3. Lot of events are in or near NY so conference travel is quicker and less disruptive.
Actually, Columbia is not alone. Grades were distributed prior to graduation at schools with larger graduating class sizes than Columbia, including the University of Maryland School of Law, the University of Baltimore School of Law, the University of Florida School of Law, and the Florida State University School of Law, just to name a few.
I can neither speak to the amount of classes taught by professor per semester at the above institutions, nor to the location of “conference events” for professors, but it seems that several non-NY law schools have accomplished grade distribution prior to graduation – two of which happen to be in Florida.
I realize there are a variety of factors that can either accelerate or decrease the rate at which grades are returned; however, to a graduating 3L, these factors are irrelevant. To them, it is about the bottom line: getting grades before graduation. Perhaps some measures should be taken at UM to ensure that professors provide priority grading for classes including 2nd semester 3Ls. If such a policy already is in place, perhaps an earlier due date should be implemented.
If I had a choice between banning multiple choice exams and shortening deadlines, I’d ban the non-essay exam, which I think fails in most cases (code courses perhaps excepted) to test the skills a good lawyer needs.
I would have no objection to shorter deadlines (at least for everyone not teaching two monster classes in the same term) so long as it was coupled with something that would prevent an increase in multiple choice exams.
You could have all the grades in in 48 hours if we just stopped having essays, after all.
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