Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm confident that many law schools do value teaching, but I'm equally confident that its value, in practice, doesn't suit that rhetoric. That is, I no longer believe what I was told -- that teaching is first among equals at law schools,,, in the context of the three traditional tenets of higher education: teaching, research and service. Indeed, it seems that teaching has assumed redheaded stepchild status, behind the favorite child: scholarship.
[A]bsent an economic incentive [for good teaching], teaching will remain a distant second to scholarship, in light of the pressures created by scholarship-heavy P&T criteria and the pressures created by the rankings.
The legal academe cannot continue to incentivize faculty to be better than bad, but not necessarily to be good; to take its cues from the rankings; and overall to marginalize the importance of teaching.
It should go without saying, students deserve better than that.