“This is a watershed moment for the LSU Law Center,” said Chancellor Jack Weiss, shortly after the LSU Board of Supervisors voted to approve a number of important changes to the LSU Law curriculum during its December meeting. “These are extremely positive reforms, and we reached out for, and were guided by, input from our students, a number of interested alumni, and adjuncts who teach at the Law Center.”
“The goals of the curriculum proposal are pedagogically sound; increase the competitiveness of our students in the job market; enhance the competitiveness of the Law Center in attracting students; and enhance our institutional reputation,” Weiss noted during the December 2009 meeting of the Board.
Among the important changes approved by the LSU Board of Supervisors are:
- Elimination of the seventh semester (summer school) requirement
- Note: Retains a summer school offering for students wishing to take summer school courses
- Consolidation of the upper-level course requirements or “baskets”
- Note: The change reduces the required number of hours of study from 97 hours to 94 hours (an elimination of only one upperclass course). LSU Law still requires a 60 minute “class/credit hour” compared to the more common 50 or 55 minutes per class. The added minutes per class give LSU Law students 78,960 minutes of total instruction in a 14-week semester. This equates to as many as 17,360 minutes, or 22% more, class time (even with the change to a 94 hour curriculum) when compared to numerous peer schools. The ABA requires 58,000 instructional minutes for a degree program.
- Changing the name of the Graduate Diploma in Civil Law to Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law, in recognition of the merger of the upper-level course requirements.
- Note: The dual degree remains a signature feature of the Law Center’s academic program.
The recommendations were developed after a comparative review of the policies and practices at peer law schools and developed after an extensive study of the Law Center’s own historical data. The Law Center’s students had significant input into the proposal sent to the LSU Board of Supervisors. The Student Bar Association crafted an extensive white paper addressing many of the curricular and policy issues. The faculty reviewed and adopted the recommendations during its October 2009 long-range planning meeting.
“I am extremely proud of our faculty for formulating and endorsing these progressive actions. Our students also deserve great credit for the important role they played in the process,” noted Chancellor Weiss.
In addition to the changes approved by the Board of Supervisors, the faculty also endorsed bringing the Law Center’s grading system into line with peer law schools, making compliance with the approved grading system mandatory on the part of all faculty, and moving from one year to two year advance planning of the curriculum. “The recommendations are pedagogically sound and, we believe, in the best interest of our students,” concluded the Chancellor.