Sunday, October 12, 2008

What IS a good part-time program?

Over on my own blog, I've talked a bit about the new part-time program rankings that USNWR is proposing and the new part of this year's questionnaire that asks voters to name up to 15 "good" part-time programs (see here). Setting aside the misnomer--most of the students in the part-time programs work about full-and-a-half-time, between their "day jobs" and studying for law schools--I have to wonder what constitutes a "good" part-time program.

Is it the availability of good teachers for the program? A good selection of classes? Mentoring for the part-time students? The ability to provide the students with some semblance of the extracurricular activities that the full-time students experience? How well the graduates perform? Whether enough of the graduates get plum jobs after graduation?

This question is timely for two reasons: because it's the right question for educational reasons and because other USNWR voters are filling out their ballots now. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a evening law student, I'm torn - would bringing the rankings to bear on part-time programs introduce the all-to-familiar distortion of incentives or the disinfectant of sunlight? Very little information presently exists to allow evening students to evaluate programs. It's also the most vulnerable to change and compromise on the part of administrators.

While I've been very happy with my experience - I've had all the opportunities as a day student - I've talked to folks in programs at other schools who don't have access to journals, moot court, mock trial, clinics, etc. And of course there's always the challenge of getting profs to teach at night. Equality of opportunity would be the baselines in my decision.

10/17/2008 11:06 AM  

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