Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tough Love in the Law School

From the syllabus for Garrett Epps' Con Law class at the University of Baltimore Law School:Class attendance and participation:

(1) Attendance in this class is required. Students with more than two unexcused absences may be denied permission to take the examination. Under law school policy, five or more absences for any reason require withdrawal.

(2) Class participation is (a) in small assigned groups that will consider specific problems and (b) in the larger class in which we will discuss the problems you have worked through in your small groups. Neither the small-group nor the full class participation is optional. I will not accept an answer of “pass.” Students who are unprepared on a specific day should notify the instructor before class begins; they may be called on at the next class session. Students who are stumped by a question from the instructor may ask for help from other members of their small group.
Class time will often be devoted to discussion rather than lecture and summarization of cases. During discussion of hypotheticals or policy issues, there is to be no use of laptops. Laptops may be used during lectures. However, “laptop use” denotes only taking of notes or consulting casebriefs you have prepared. It does not include any use of the internet during class. Students who do use their computers for non-class uses may be asked to leave the class, as these uses are distracting to both their fellow students and the instructor.
(My God) one of my colleages asks, reverently, does he get any students?  I don't know but my guess is yes.  He is teaching a glamour subject.  He's  telling you the price of the ticket before you get on the bus.  My guess is that he might have made his into a glamour class.  Maybe there are "I survived Garrett" tee-shirts.

FWIW, I've never met that guy.  I found the syllabus on the web, and he graciously assented to my request to excerpt it.   He came on my radar because he provided some of the best, or at least the funniest, commentary I read during this week's Supreme Court oral arguments; see e.g., here.

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