The American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar has put proposed changes to the ABA law school accreditation standards up for comment. We know that there has been ongoing debate about securityof prosition provisions and the ABA has put up two different variants of this - summarized in the cover memo this way:
Alternative 1 requires, in 405(d), that all full-time faculty have a form of security of position sufficient to ensure academic freedom and to attract and retain a competent full-time faculty. It does not require that all full-time faculty have the same form of security of position, and it does not require tenure. Proposed Interpretations 405-1 and 405-2 provide that a tenure system is a safe-harbor for satisfying the security of position required in Standard 405(d). For full-time faculty positions not covered by tenure, the law school must establish that its policies establish conditions sufficient to attract and retain a competent full-time faculty and protect academic freedom.
Alternative 2 requires a law school to maintain conditions adequate to attract and retain a competent full-time faculty sufficient to permit the law school to comply with the Standards. It requires policies to protect academic freedom of its faculty and provide for meaningful participation of full-time faculty in the governance of the school. Alternative 2 does not require tenure or security of position for any full-time faculty. Proposed Interpretations 405-1 and 405-2 provide that a tenure system is a safe-harbor for satisfying the attract and retain provision and the academic freedom provision of Alternative 2. For full-time faculty positions not covered by tenure, the law school must establish that its policies establish conditions sufficient to attract and retain a competent full-time faculty and protect academic freedom.
Although this aspect of the standards review has received some attention already, other aspects have been (comparatively, at least) under the radar. They include:
1. Increase in the number of permitted distance education credits to 15, with no per-semester limit.
2. Requirements that schools adopt learning outcomes and implement both formative and summative assessment throughout the curriculum.
3. A requirement that all students complete at least six credits of experiential education, defined fairly broadly.
4. Elimination of the 20 hour weekly cap on term-time student employment.
There are other changes as well - worth perusing if you find such matters interesting.