A PROFESSOR PREPARES. There was great emphasis on teaching when I was in law school, and that still seems to be true today. (Mary Jane and I went to a Parents Day at Fordham Law School in Nick’s first year, and attended a mock contracts class taught by Professor Nicholas Johnson, using the Socratic Method. It was terrific. Mary Jane was impressed, and I was happy to tell her that that was what law teaching could be.)

I had Professor Chadbourne for evidence. Over the years he had developed sure fire material, reported cases that perfectly illustrated, often amusingly, points of law. People looked forward to his classes. Yet I knew his secretary, and she told me that he spent over an hour before each class pacing and preparing his presentation, in the same way that an actor will prepare before a stage performance.

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  1. Dick Weisfelder says:

    Many faculty would like to do that. But when teaching three classes a semester, meeting service requirements and doing required publishable research, it’s not always possible. I note that he had a secretary. In my 40+ years of teaching, I always shared a secretary with at least 12 other faculty and never once had a research assistant.

    At elite universities, the teaching load is often one course per semester, never more than two with lots of support. PBS News covered adjuncts a few nights ago, who now do as much as half the teaching at a wide range of universities. Around here such a person might have two classes each at the University of Toledo, Bowling Green and Owens Tech and make about $12,000-14,000 per semester with no benefits. Unfortunately it’s part of a trend to keep tuition under control and retain flexibility reduced when you employ tenured faculty. As the program pointed out, no limit however to the proliferation of deans, assistant deans, provosts, assistant provosts and a host of administrative units to house them! So the pattern seems to be rampant exploitation of part time faculty who can’t find regular positions juxtaposed to soaring salaries for administrators. The new business model for higher education!!!

    Some adjuncts from the community do bring needed valuable experience and expertise to professional programs. But the majority are teaching the basic courses for lots of beginning students with no support for grading and counseling students.

  2. Nick says:

    I was spared much of the stereotypical cold-calling/brutal law professor stereotypes, although the difference between the excellent professors I had and the ordinary/mediocre/poor ones was absolutely drastic.

    For the most part I was spoiled at Fordham.

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