Monday, March 06, 2006

Student Feedback

At our law school, the dean has a "town meeting" each semester. It's actually run by the Dean of Students, but the Dean and Associate Deans attend, and all the various adminstrators also attend. Students are invited to come and ask questions, air their concerns. The administrators are supposed to be ready to answer questions on the spot, or, if necessary, to gather information and get back to the inquiring student or organization. We have been doing this for about five or six years now.

The curious thing is how poorly attended it is by the students. We hold it at 5-6 PM, to make it more accessible for our evening students. Year after year, there are more adminstrators than students. There is always somebody taking notes from the law school newspaper, and somebody at least from the Student Bar Association. But beyond that, there just is not a lot of attendance. Yet, you hear that students do have concerns that they feel are not being heard.

I am not sure if it is the array of law school personnel that makes it an intimidating place to come and complain. Or maybe the timing is not as good as they hoped for either the day or evening students. Maybe they ought to hold two sessions. Or maybe they don't really want to hear from the students, and just want to look like it's been open. I don't understand quite what is going on with this. But year after year, I attend, and wait for any library complaints. It used to be a regular complaint that we were open to the public and medical students from a nearby medical school were coming in on a regular basis. They did not get upset about the students from nearby law schools (who really were competing much more directly with them), but just could not abide somebody with a Gray's Anatomy on the desk! Some kind of inherent cat and dog thing between lawyers and doctors, I guess. We closed the access, and I am not hearing a lot of library complaints now. We'll see tonight...

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