Archives for the month of: January, 2009

Today was the official state and federal Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. There was no school, but it was the birthday of our own Emmy Bullock. Happy Birthday, Emmy!

That evening the 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recommitment Community Banquet was held at the Fayetteville Town Center.  The theme for all the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King activities was “Realizing the Dream by Embracing Change.”  The activities were sponsored by the Northwest Arkansas MLK Planning Committee whose mission statement is “To continue to advance and promote the dream, life, and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. which emphasizes love and action.”  The Committee’s purpose is “to promote awareness, education, and unity throughout the Northwest Arkansas community.”  A few of the other events the Committee sponsored included:  January 17, Service of Praise and Reflection; January 19, MLK March/City Awards Program; January 20, Film: “King,” a biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.; January 23, The Honorable Marion Humphrey, lecture and reception; and January 28, Dr. Pearl Ford, “African Americans in Politics,” brown bag discussion.

The Masters of Ceremonies were Rafael Arciga Garcia and Ana Aguayo from the League of the United Latin American Citizens.  The program consisted of:  Invocation – Pastor Charlie Brown, Ridgeview Baptist Church; “Negro National Anthem”; Greetings – Mayor Lioneld Jordan, City of Fayetteville, and Dr. Bob McMath, Interim Provost, University of Arkansas; Dinner; Introduction of Speaker – Angela Monts, University of Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas MLK Planning Committee; Keynote Speaker – Dr. Gene C. Young, Jackson, Mississippi; followed by the Awards Presentation.

(Left to right):Judy's husband, Bob's wife, Bob, Don Bland (Senior Managing Directory of Outreach), myself, and Judy

Left to right: Judy's husband, Bob's wife, Bob, Don Bland (Senior Managing Directory of Outreach), myself, and Judy

Right before the “Negro National Anthem,” I realized that our own Associate Dean Judith Kipatrick was receiving a Lifetime Achievement award and she wasn’t there.  As it turned out, no one had told her that she had won the award!  So, I left the banquet and zoomed over to her house to pick her up.  I banged on her door and caught her by surprise, but she was able to get dressed in a flash and we rode back and arrived in time while the dinner was still going on.  We missed the greetings from Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Dr. Bob McMath.  Angela Monts, Associate Director of Northwest Arkansas Alumni Programs, introduced the speaker.  She is also a member of the Northwest Arkansas MLK Planning Committee.  She and Dr. Young have a very warm, personal relationship.  In fact, it is that friendship that got Dr. Young to agree to speak at our Martin Luther King Banquet.  (He mentioned several times the fact that he wanted to make sure that he was able to leave in time to be present at the inauguration the next day.)  Dr. Young joined the battle for civil rights in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963, at the age of 12.  He took part in the March in Washington and was in the audience for King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  He has remained active in the movement throughout his life.  He earned his doctorate at the University of Connecticut, was director of the Black Studies program at Bradley University and later taught at Jackson State University.

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Sunday began with church at 8:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church followed by breakfast with the Breakfast Bunch.  This afternoon I worked on my speech for the University’s MLK Commemoration on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.

Saturday I did one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world and that was to have dinner with Kitty Gay, one of my very best friends. She has been very supportive and nurturing of me as I’ve worked in this role, so that was a lovely way to end the week.

The next day I met first thing in the morning with Michele Payne and our development fellows as well as Andy Albertson, our Communications Director. We talked about a number of upcoming events to make sure we began to plan for them. That afternoon I was supposed to have some visitors for a tour of the law school and lunch, but they never showed up so that became found time to catch up on work.

Dean Nance with

Dean Nance with Clarence Jones

On the 15th, I was invited to attend Wal-Mart’s 13th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The theme was “Realizing the Dream: A Call to Action.” I have come to enjoy my visits to Wal-Mart’s Home Office because so many of our alums work there. It’s always fun to see them and to catch up with what’s going on in their lives. So in addition to what is typically a very good program, it’s a really wonderful time to reconnect with our alums. I was scheduled to arrive at the Wal-Mart Home Office lobby at 10:00 a.m. so that I could be signed in as a guest and escorted to my seat by Jasmine Gregory. I had a tough time finding a parking space, so I didn’t get there until about 10:15 a.m., but the program didn’t start until 11:00 a.m., so that was okay. The program consisted of: Welcome -Josephine La Fayette, VP, Diversity Programming, Wal-Mart; Special Performance -Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir; Introduction of Speaker -Sirtric Dilworth, Audit Committee Liaison, Wal-Mart; Speaker – Mr. Clarence B. Jones, Civil Rights Advocate; Special Performance -Arkansas Gospel Mass Choir; Introduction of Speaker -Raymond House, Compensation Analyst, Sam’s Club; Speaker -Dr. Fitzgerald Hill, President, Arkansas Baptist College; and Occasion – Mike Duke, Vice Chairman, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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The next day I had a series of meetings, in between which of course, there was the inevitable onslaught of e-mails as well as informal visits with colleagues. The first scheduled meeting was with Michele Payne in our Development and Alumni Relations Office and Susan Williams who is our Pro Bono Coordinator. That was a very pleasant meeting during which we planned an event to recognize our many students who participate in the pro bono program. Later in the afternoon I attended a meeting with the campus diversity evaluation team. This was a group of three academicians from other campuses with special expertise in the area of diversity. They were helping the University of Arkansas look at its programs and think strategically about how we might advance our diversity initiatives in a more structured and systematic manner. The team members were: Dr. Charlie Nelms, Chancellor and Professor of Education at North Carolina Central University; Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barcelo, Vice President and Vice Provost for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota; and Dr. Lester Monts, Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

I have to say that when I saw the meeting on my calendar I thought, “Oh, no, not another task force,” but they were very, very sharp. They asked insightful and pointed questions and shared their insights from other campuses. It turned out to be a much more focused and interesting meeting than I had anticipated and I was really glad I was able to attend. The folks who were in my session included Dean Allen, Dean Beene, and Dean Collis Geren, along with Nancy Barcelo. Our meeting started a little bit later and ran a little bit longer than anticipated, so I missed the Faculty Senate meeting that day.

I think I mentioned in the blog posting about the trip to San Diego that while there I needed to go and get a conditioner because I’ve been losing hair. Well, I have a wonderful woman in Rogers at the salon in J.C. Penney, Lora, who is helping me both to keep and regrow my hair, so after the diversity meeting it was time to scoot out for that.

Mary Herrington

Mary Herrington

Sunday was church as usual followed by breakfast with the Breakfast Bunch at Sunset Grill in Springdale, which I’ve described before in previous blog postings. It was also a day spent unpacking from the previous week’s trip and preparing for Monday.

The next day, Monday, January 12, began with Claudia and Pilates first thing in the morning at 7:00 a.m. It was also Mary Herrington’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Mary! During the day I returned a number of phone calls because the messages had accumulated over the break and while I was on vacation. We had a faculty meeting at noon during which it was our pleasure to host John Mayer, Executive Director of the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI). He gave the faculty a terrific presentation on the way that technology is being used in legal education. For example, he talked about podcasting class lectures. Most of the students who’d used this technology indicated they found it helpful. It’s more flexible than videotaping because students can listen at any time rather than having to sit in front of a screen to watch the lecture. He also mentioned the movement towards digital textbooks. Lulu is a program that can print a 500 page book for about $19 shipped. John also demonstrated software called Instapoll which can be used in class to obtain students’ votes on various responses. It was great to have him share his knowledge of teaching technology with us. Read the rest of this entry »


Panel on "The Role of Law Schools in the Promotion of Human Rights and Legal and Curricular Reform Abroad."

Saturday morning I attended a session sponsored by the Committee on International Cooperation Program entitled, “The Role of Law Schools in the Promotion of Human Rights and Legal and Curricular Reform Abroad.”  I have to say that one of the striking things about the panelists was that they were all guys.  There were no women who could address this topic?  It made me wonder.  Some of the other audience members noticed the lack of diversity on that panel, too.  Nevertheless, I did stay for the entire session which ended at noon.  The panelists shared some very interesting stories.  They talked about the role of law schools in the promoting of values of human dignity in the international context as well as the role of U.S. law schools in participating in international efforts to promote curricular reform and provide assistance to improve the legal system abroad.

The first panel was “Should Law Schools Have a Role in Developing Fundamental Rights and Democratic Values?”  The panelists were Douglass W. Cassel, Notre Dame Law School; Michelo Hansungule, University of Pretoria, Faculty of Law, South Africa; Jennifer P. Lyman, American University; Nicolás Espejo Yaksic, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile; and the moderator was Claudio Grossman, American University.  This panel addressed whether law schools had a role in the international context in promoting fundamental values of human dignity.  Some of the issues included activism and direct participation in policy debates; the promotion of human rights and democracy and the North-South tension, litigation and the promotion of grassroots efforts, and the role of NGOs and governments; and the role of experiential learning, doctrine and theoretical studies. Read the rest of this entry »


Left to right: Professor Melling, Professor Christopher Cameron, Professor Joseph Slater

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the fact that there was a breakfast for law deans at the same time as the Labor and Employment Law breakfast.  As it turned out though, I ran into a number of deans who sat down with me, and shared the information that was given at the Deans’ breakfast.  Next year I’ll have to be careful to monitor for that, but as I mentioned at the outset about this conference there are so many events at the same time that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of them.  The Labor and Employment Law breakfast is always a treat (if you can imagine breakfast at 7:00 a.m. being a treat) because these are my colleagues from the very beginning of when I entered the academy.  They have nurtured and supported me both in my role as a junior faculty member and now as dean.  One of the topics of discussion was the Restatement of Employment Law and some of the debate going on in ALI.  A number of us are ALI members and I encouraged others to attend to take part in those discussions and in shaping the restatement.  Other topics included an upcoming program this summer

Professor Paul Secunda

Professor Paul Secunda

(which unfortunately I will have to miss because it’s at the same time as the Arkansas Bar Association) and the election of new officers for the section.  It was great comradery, informal conversation, and catching up on what’s going on in the labor and employment law world of the legal academy.

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Panel left to right: de Haven, Cantalupo, Rothstein and Dickerson

Today was the third day of the AALS Conference.  The first session I attended was sponsored by the Section on Education Law and co-sponsored by the Sections on Law and Mental Disability and Student Services.  The program was entitled, “Campus Violence: Prevention, Response and Liability.”  The members of the panel were Dean Darby Dickerson, Stetson University College of Law; Laura Rothstein, University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law; Nancy Cantalupo of Georgetown Law; and Helen de Haven, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.   While I was wandering around trying to find the session as it had been moved at the last minute to accommodate the large crowd interested in this topic, I ran into one of our alumna, Felicia Branch, who is now a member of the North Carolina Central University law faculty.  Felicia was a third year student the very first year I started teaching here.  During my tenure at the Law School, she’s the first of our alums to go on to teach in the legal academy.  It was great to see her and though she’s a Facebook friend, we hadn’t seen each other since she graduated.   So back to the panel . . . I finally (after wandering around a while) found where the session had been located.  As it turned out, it was downstairs, way back in

Dean Nance and Professor Felicia Branch

Dean Nance and Professor Felicia Branch

the corner, which is a bit strange for a panel on this topic, don’t you think?

The first speaker was Dean Dickerson and she took the approach that this is a risk management issue which has both law and policy aspects to it.  Her model called for identification of risks, researching the various options, and gathering data on the options and potential risks, evaluating the options, selecting the best one, implementing a plan, and then evaluation.  After each evaluation, the school should cycle through again to look at new issues that need to be addressed.  Before selecting a plan schools should remember that they will have to evaluate whatever plan is adopted and that the evaluation can be built into the plan. She shared a website with us that explains violence prevention using an environmental management model and told us about a recent report on student mental health and the law which can be found at

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