Search the Lounge


« A Lesson In (In)credibility: LAPD Discovers It's Perfect | Main | Drexel Law Gets A New Name: The Earle Mack School of Law »

April 30, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Rick Garnett

So, there are a lot of interesting and important questions raised in this essay, but, I wonder, do people think the answers that (it seemed to me) the piece suggests, or the premises from which (it seemed to me) the piece proceeds are *right*?

For example, the piece seemed to cast doubt, during one exchange, on the idea that better, more productive, more engaged scholars will also be better, more effective, more engaging teachers. Do others share this doubt? I don't. I'm very skeptical about the "scholarship takes us away from teaching and helping students, which is, of course, our real job" and the "I don't write that much, but I'm doing what's really important, namely, teaching students?" stories. To be clear -- *of course* law professors should work to be, and in fact be, good teachers, and *of course* it matter that and what students learn. Still, I once heard it said of law faculties that "a third are good scholars, a third are good teachers, and a third are good citizens . . . the problem is, it's the same third". This quip strikes me as having a lot of truth to it. What do others think?


I think the play exaggerates the problems created by the desire for better rankings.

In my experience, faculty are more interested in students than appears in the play. Also, faculty desire to publish good work doesn't interfere with their teaching to the extent suggested in the play. However, as I think Professor Sovern acknowledges in a post-script, plays often contort reality to make their point.

William P

Rick, two years ago Benjamin Barton published an empirical study which found close to zero correlation between scholarly productivity/influence and teaching effectiveness for law school professors. His work pretty much replicated the earlier findings of Hattie and Marsh with respect to the correlation of research and teaching effectiveness across university disciplines.

If the findings of these "scholars" are accurate, the good news is that scholarship does not necessarily make one a less effective teacher. The bad news, of course, is that one cannot publish one's way to good teaching. Nor can law schools assume that those with the best publication records are (or will become) the best teachers. Deans and faculties, perhaps succumbing to the competitive pressures, are misguided when they consider publication record as a proxy for teaching excellence.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad