The UNM School of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Aliza Organick has been selected to be one of the first UNM Teaching Fellows by the UNM Center for Teaching Excellence. Organick was selected due to her commitment to teaching, the quality of her proposed teaching project, and the recommendation of Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs April Land. She will be joined by Fellows from many disciplines and colleges, including Engineering, Nursing, Law, Education, Honors, and Arts and Sciences. As the Center for Teaching Excellence explains, "We anticipate many rich, interdisciplinary discussions of teaching."
Nationally, as law schools look more closely at alternatives to the traditional classroom pedagogy and the requirement of more lawyering skills courses, it is critical to develop tools for assessing the quality of those courses and the transfer of skills from the classroom to the actual representation of clients in clinical programs and the practice of law. There is general consensus that clinical legal education, in which students are directly engaged in the practice of law, remains the gold standard for preparing students for practice. However, there remains a gap between standard legal education and student preparedness for clinic.
The opportunity to work with experts and to collaborate with colleagues on main campus is a first step toward shared goals at the School of Law. Within the context of these national and local goals, the focus of the Fellowship is to develop a skills based, pre-clinic course and assessment tools to measure whether the proposed course effectively teaches those skills in a manner that creates the pathways for high-level transfer of those skills into the clinic and law practice context.
Organick's work and her selection as a UNM Teaching Fellow follows the lead of Law School Dean David Herring, who has been on the forefront of the national movement to develop learning assessment models in law schools and is encouraging the law faculty to engage in the creation of meaningful learning assessment tools.