The Duquesne University School of Law has received $85,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education for a second consecutive year to fund the school’s Academic Excellence Program. The program was launched during the 2010-11 academic year by the law school to provide one-on-one support to its new students who do not attain the anticipated high level of achievement after their first year.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to receive this second grant during our Centennial year,” said Law School Dean Ken Gormley. “It helps us to continue to be on the cutting edge in our field. A number of law schools in the United States are now looking into the concept of a program like ours.”
The Academic Excellence Program identifies and supports students with the goal of improving their performance and preparing them for the practice of law at the highest possible level. It dovetails with the law school’s Legal Research and Writing Program and also supports its Bar Exam Preparation Program. After its pilot year, the program received substantial positive feedback from students, according to Rob Perkins, director of the program.
“A primary goal of the program is to give our students the opportunity to get additional practice and feedback on their writing and advocacy skills,” said Perkins. “We achieved that by providing detailed feedback on hundreds of student-written memoranda, which students tremendously appreciated.”
Enhancements to the program include an increase in scheduled skills workshops for students enrolled in their first semester of law school.
“For many students, that is the most challenging time as they try to learn an entirely new way to think and analyze problems,” Perkins said. “We also will continue to work hard to integrate the program with other first-year courses so that the practice problems not only help students to strengthen their writing and analytic skills, but also help them to master the subject matter being taught in their other courses.”
Gormley has already begun preparing an application for a third grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to support the Academic Excellence Program during the 2012-13 academic year.