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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sovern on rankings and incentives

Over at The Faculty Lounge, Alfred Brophy has posted a link to Jeff Sovern's short play, "Rankings:  A Dramatization of the Incentives Created by Ranking Law Schools".  The piece is engaging and provocative and, like Alfred says, it touches on a lot of the rankings- and "whither legal education"- issues that people have been thinking about all around the blogosphere.  That said, 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?

Posted by Rick Garnett on May 1, 2008 at 11:10 AM in Life of Law Schools | Permalink


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Cute play but ending with desire to see a first cousin was weak.

Posted by: wannabeprof | May 1, 2008 11:34:54 AM

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