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February 11, 2014

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Gibby

I do not like the ala carte pricing of luggage on the airlines. Don't want to pay for checking your luggage? Then carry everything on. So you drag your stuff through the airport. Then there are too many carry on bags so they need to check stuff anyway, and it takes a lot longer to load the plane.

Did the consumers make out any better from this? Did the price of a ticket go down now that customers are paying ala carte for luggage? It is hard to tell the way airline pricing works, but I think it was just a way to sneak through a price increase.

Same for schools. "Our tuition went down $3000" "Yes, but I am now paying $5000 in additional fees, and if I do not pay the career services fee the career services office will be working against me and try to get firms to hire those that paid their fee over me."

TWBB

It's not a bad idea, as long as it extends to classes. Maybe you pay more with a tenured professor, slightly less with a tenure-track professor, and the least for an adjunct professor.

TWBB

Gibby:

Side note, my experience and the anecdotal evidence I've heard from others is career services does not actively try and get you employment unless you don't really need their help. If you are top 5% they will go out of their way to find positions, but everyone else gets a standard lecture about sending your resume everywhere and pushed out the door. In my cynicism I suspect they are frequently more interested in both taking credit for easy successes, while also making successful graduates feel indebted to them in case they can personally benefit down the line.

Steve Black

You're looking at it wrong. =)

Tuition covers the cost of a "basic" legal education. If you want the advanced specialty classes, then you can add them a la carte.

$500 x 20 students = $10,000 to teach my specialty classes. Pay per view, meet the classroom!

anon

Can I deduct the cost of producing academic scholarship (say $20-30,000 per year) from my tuition bill if I swear to never read any of the law review articles written by my professors?

Jeff Redding

anon: I think this is a problem of the commons… but one idea would be to offer different pricing based on "adjunct-taught" versus "professor-taught," etc. (see TWBB's suggestion above). But then again, there is already essentially that choice, embedded in the choice between different law schools. In other words, some schools are known to rely much more heavily on adjuncts than others. Choose wisely!

anon

Jeff: Right. Adjuncts are worth far less! When TWBB made that risible suggestion, it didn't mean much. Now, you have repeated it.
Proud and happy we are! Only tenured (or soon to be tenured) profs should teach law! Those interested in something else, go to trade school!
Speaking of which, looking at the Adjunct Faculty at SLU, it seems probable that they will fully understand and agree with your disparaging and insulting implications! Yes, indeed, I'm very sure that they will agree that they are worth far less to students than you!
You clearly would be worth far more in a "market" for law teaching, and SLU students could and would and probably do immmediately so judge. One would imagine that your students would be very willing to pay far more to hear your insights about Civil Procedure than the insights about the subjects taught by all those "adjuncts"!

Jeff Redding

anon: If you would care to look at the 'salaries' of adjuncts, then you might understand the suggestion. I think it's possible that students may desire adjuncts and, if so, perhaps that's a way to 'bid up' how much they are paid. From what I have heard from several of my friends who have done adjunct teaching, however, is that they feel that it's impossible to provide a really good education to their students because of the day-to-day struggle of their own poverty. That's maybe not the case with legal adjuncts (though it may be). Certainly, it's generally understandable that if someone is being paid very little, that there are fewer incentives to go all out with teaching, and perhaps then students should have the option of paying less for that kind of teacher. In any event, you need to just relax for a minute or so. Timeout time.

anon

"That's maybe not the case with legal adjuncts (though it may be)."
Perhaps, Jeff, before you speculate about students paying less to take courses from adjuncts, you should find out a bit about their circumstances, other than the all too typical "I heard from someone" that too often passes for investigation, research and intellectual rigor on law school faculties. The fact that you say you don't know about the circumstances of the adjunct faculty at your own law school, but yet speculate about the "fact" that their classes are worth "less" to students is a sort of attitude that should not pass unnoticed, IMHO.
"Certainly, it's generally understandable that if someone is being paid very little, that there are fewer incentives to go all out with teaching, and perhaps then students should have the option of paying less for that kind of teacher."
What kind of teacher are you talking about? Do you actually claim that "adjuncts" don't go "all out with teaching"? Worse, do claim that tenure track and tenured faculty universally do? These sorts of vague and unsupported disparging and unfounded inferences reflect an attitude that is just very unbecoming.
"In any event, you need to just relax for a minute or so. Timeout time."
Really? Condescending though this comment may be, it is of a piece with the rest of your disparging comments about adjunct faculties in general, and apparently, at SLU in particular.
I suspect they might find your comments worthy of a "time out." Or, perhaps you believe your fellows on the adjunct faculty would appreciate this:
"I don't really know, but I hear that you find it impossible to provide good education to our students because of the day to day struggle caused by your poverty. Therefore, I find it perfectly understandable that you don't go all out to educate our students. I do think, however, that our students should have the option of paying less for your kind of teacher."

Ellen

This is a terribly flawed idea. First, no matter how you slice it, the cost of full-time faculty (salaries, stipends, research and travel support, administrative support is by far the highest cost at most law schools. It is not uncommon for the faculty costs to be 50% or more of the total budget, based on my experience at several law schools and serving on more ABA site visits than I can count. So if you want to cut costs in any meaningful way -- start there. How about charging faculty for admin assistance, library assistance, make them pay their way to all conferences, buy their own computers, research materials and take a pay cut.

Beyond the faculty, isn't there the issue of the greater good? Students who do not want to pay for career services might not get jobs thus impacting the schools ranking and reputation. Same for students who do not want to use the library resources or IT resources, for example -- are they going to be good practitioners and reflect well on the school? Alumni relations brings in scholarship money that benefits students and allows the school to make offers to higher credentialed students who improve the school's rank and reputation.

To your point about paying more for tenured profs -- they were among the worst teachers I had in law school -- and your attitude reflects why there is such distain for tenured faculty among the legal community and why so many people take glee in seeing faculties like those at Albany sweat.

TWBB

Wow, I have definitely been misinterpreted here; I proposed paying less for adjuncts as a means of institutional reform. I think most professors after first year should be adjunct practitioners, because they provide superior training. By funneling students into adjunct classes I think that would result in positive cost reforms among tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries, simply due to reduced demand for their services.

anon

TWBB
Reading Jeff Redding's comments, do you think he would:
a.) agree that adjuncts provide superior training,
b.) agree that reduced teaching loads for tenured and tenure track profs should result in reduction of their salaries?
Do you think ANY law prof would agree? Jeff's haughty and superior attitude (he isn't even aware of it, one supposes) isn't unique or unusual. That smug sort of arrogance is common and typical. No respect: for the adjuncts with whom he serves, for the students who commonly prefer the adjuncts, for the service performed by adjuncts who, in the main (and looking at teh adjunct faculty at SLU) are not, as he stated, "struggling with their poverty" but rather teaching out of a sense of duty and desire to serve. Their compensation is unfair by any standard (but, set to assuage and reassure the mighty egos who share the attitudes expressed by Jeff).
As a final note, do you seriously contend that adjuncts should be paid LESS as a means of INSTITUTIONAL REFORM?
If you advocate reducing faculty salaries, so be it (I'm not sure that is the answer: I would advocate better decision making in hiring and retention). But, reducing the pitiful sums paid to adjuncts, in the present climate, would achieve nothing, IMHO.

Jeff Redding

Ellen: Thanks for your input here. The suggestion was never that this would be the *only* way to reduce costs, and the caveats were stated front and center. FYI, I buy my own computer. :-)

anon: Thank you for all you do to make the situation of adjuncts better.

Jojo

I observed a bimodal distribution of faculty quality during law school. One bump was centered on the top tenured profs that Chemerinsky was talking about- the true stars who love both law and teaching. I'd say circa 20 percent of the tenured faculty. Not just scholars, but also teachers, and almost universally practical. The other bump in the distribution were the adjuncts. Fun, knowledgeable, and could actually tell you how the lessons would pop up in practice. The rest were more useless than bull's tits and at caviar prices to boot. I can honestly say without hyperbole that 2 classes made me a worse lawyer later on b/c I actually attempted to think as I was taught before realizing that the prof was full of it in practice. I purged my brain of the lessons got a commercial outline and learned it the right way.

TWBB

anon:
I could not speculate as to what Jeff Redding thinks about this, though I can safely assume that I would probably disagree with him. I agree there is a great deal of (undeserved) arrogance in the legal faculty. I didn't advocate paying adjuncts less, but simply charging less for their classes. Since most receive basically a nominal salary anyway, this would not require a reduction in pay.

anon

Jeff: No thanks to you for deriding your fellows on teh faculty. You should be apologizing to them, not trying to make cute quips in a weird attempt to put me down.
You said, basically, this:
"I don't really know, but I hear that you find it impossible to provide really good education to our students because of the day to day struggle caused by your poverty. Therefore, I find it perfectly understandable that you don't go all out to educate our students. I do think, however, that our students should have the option of paying less for your kind of teacher."
These are YOUR WORDS. They are terrible. I'm not doing anything to "make the situation of adjuncts better." I'm simply pointing to the absurd grounds for the point you were advocating. I would hope that your words are remembered. They speak volumes about the attitude that undermines so many efforts of so many to try to "make the situation better."

Jeff Redding

anon: God bless!

JillyfromPhilly

"In other words, some schools are known to rely much more heavily on adjuncts than others. Choose wisely!"

Jeff,

Given the trend in SLU Law's enrollment, it may become one of those adjunct heavy schools out of economic necessity.

2010: 334
2011: 295
2012: 205
2013: 127

http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=slu
http://slu.edu/Documents/law/ABA509InfoReport2014.pdf

Jeff Redding

JfPh: Sorry that your comment took so long to post… Typepad's new super-strong spam filter is directing things to spam that should not be there. In any event, I'm not sure if we are counting things the same way, but I think the # for 2013 should be 145 (127 full-time, 18 part-time). All of the other years that you have up there count both full- and part-time, so the last year should too. This probably doesn't change your analysis, but I thought I would just correct the factual record.

JillyfromPhilly

Jeff,

My mistake. After further review, SLU Law looks to be in tremendous shape and should have no problem retaining its entire faculty should the drastic decline in its enrollment continue.

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