Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stroke Play

In a prior post I suggested that the quest to determine what makes for a MoneyLaw law school was, using a tennis analogy, too focused on the final score and not enough on hitting each stroke perfectly. If the strokes are right the score will follow. If they are not, there is not much you can do.

Strokes in the case of a law schools means what happens on day to day basis within the life of the school. So here are some different strokes that I think make for a Moneylaw school. Please answer with respect to your school with the number of the correct answer and add them up. Higher numbers are better. (I know there are other questions but let’s start here.) Please fill in the poll with your school’s score at the bottom.

1. What percentage of the faculty are in their offices at 10:00 AM Monday morning?

5. 80% or higher
4. 60% to 80%
3. 40 % to 60%
2. 20% to 40%
1. under 20%

(Higher is better if only because presence has an impact on norms and makes a law school feel more alive.)

2. What percentage of the faculty are in their offices at 10:00 AM Friday morning.

5. 80% or higher
4- 60% to 80%
3- 40 % to 60%
2- 20% to 40%
1– under 20%

(Higher is better for the same reasons in number 1. In addition, it is indicative of faculty who really enjoy their work and their work environment.)

3. What is the difference between the answers in 1 and 2?

5- 0%
4 – 20% - 40%
3 – 40% - 60 %
2 - 60-80 %
1 – over 80%

-(Lower is better)

4. How many hours per week does the average faculty member spend on scholarship independent of class preparation?

5. 40 hours or more
4. 30- 40 hours
3. 20 -30 hours
2. 10 – 20 hours
1. Under 10 hours

( Higher is better)

5. When there is a guest speaker, what is the percentage attendance?

5. 80% or more
4. 60 -80%
3. 40- 60%
2. 20 -40 %
1. Under 20%

(Higher is better)

6. Are guest speakers told that they may send a paper in advance but they should not assume it has been read.

5. Never
4. Rarely
3. About half the time
2. Most of the time
1. Always

-(The answer to this should be never.)

7. What percentage of the faculty regularly ask more that 2 or 3 others to read drafts of articles.

5. Most.
4. About 75%.
3. About half.
2. It’s rare.
1. Never

-(Higher is better because it indicates comfort with asking more than close friends)

8. What is the average time between when the request is made and the comments are returned?

5. A week or less.
4. 10 days
3. Two weeks
2. Three weeks
1. A month

(Lower is better. Not doing it for a month is like not doing it at all.)

9. Is your dean or associate dean interested in “ideas” and actively involved in discussions about scholarship?

5. Attends most talks and faculty presentations and asks questions
4. Attends some talks and faculty presentations and asks questions
3. Attends some talks and faculty presentations but rarely says anything.
2. Rarely involved
1. Invisible

(Deans lead in a variety of ways when they choose to and this is one way that counts especially at mid or lower level schools.)

10. What percentage of your faculty attend meetings and conventions at which they are not delivering a paper.

5. Very few
4. About 75%
3. About 50%
2. About 25%
1. Under 25%

(Lower is better. Its fine not to present a paper but if very few ever do, it’s hard to believe they are all there for the right reasons.)

11. Are there some topics that people are afraid to raise in faculty discussions?

5. Talk about controversial issues is valued.
4. No, as long as one is reasonable
3. You can talk about these issues in small groups
2. It can be a minefield
1. Talk about these issues has been effectively silenced.

(No is the better answer here. If your faculty can talk openly about race, gender, and class issues calmly you are in a special place in terms of faculty trust.)

12. How many hours per week, on average, are faculty available to students.

5. 30 hours or more
4. 20 -30 hours
3. 10- 20 hours
4. 5-10 hours
5. Rarely

(This is an average. Not all teacher have the same demands for their time.)

13. How often to you perceive that other faculty ask the administration for special treatment – reduced teaching; special teaching schedules, i.e. two days a week; extra travel money – that may make them fall into the category of “high maintenance.”

5. There are strong norms against this behavior.
4. Once in a while
3. There are a handful of repeaters
2. Several do this on a regular basis
1. It’s a free for all.

(A few high maintenance people can lower the quality of life for everyone.)

14. How often to faculty ask secretaries and librarians to do things that seem like they should be part of the professor’s job.

5. There are strong norms against this.
4. On occasion.
3. There are a handful of faculty who do this.
2. Several do this on a regular basis
1. Staff people do everything short of grading papers,

(Highly subjective but lower is better.)

15. If a legitimate request for materials is make the library or to someone in charge of internet data bases, how fast is the response?

5. No more than a day.
4 No more that 3 days
3. A week on average
2. More than a week.
1. What response.

(Lower is better.)

Ok, there are 75 total point possible. Rank your perception of your school and fill out the following poll.

My school's score is:
Free polls from


60-75: MoneyLaw ribbon. Getting the most out of what you have. Sounds like your school is hitting on all cylinders.
45-59: Not bad but short of a MoneyLaw award. Maybe a little adjustment or a trade could put you in the first division.
30-44: Sounds like a pretty crazy place where the sum of the parts is way less than the whole.
15-29: It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it. People are uninvolved for a reason but their lack of involvement helps produce a fairly miserable place to work.
0-14: I am just wondering --- what is it that people do at your school?


Blogger Nancy Rapoport said...

Love these questions, Jeff! The only issue that I want to raise is the one about deans, and this is because (of course) I was guilty of not going to very many (read: hardly any) presentations, which tended to be timed for noon (prime $$$-raising time for deans). I felt very guilty about not going to more of these presentations, and I agree w/you that it's important for a dean to go, to set a symbolic tone that these presentations are important. But if a dean can't go, would you amend to let the Assoc Dean for Academic Affairs go instead?

1/24/2007 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At many law schools, particularly at the top, there are now at least five or six workshop series, one of which is general and the rest specialized. They are often offered as part of classes or centers. Faculty are very well prepared for these and faculty attend in their area of interest, but no one goes to all of them. The general faculty workshops are probably the focus of your inquiry, but the fact that a school only has a general faculty workshop is indicative of a more modest scholarly posture.

1/25/2007 5:56 PM  

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