TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Harrison:  Academic Freedom And The Scheduling Of Law School Classes

Florida Logo (GIF)Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), Those Bastards!!:

Yes, it's that time of year again — teaching schedules for the  next two semesters. And, as usual, when I filled in the form asking for my preferences, I gave the Deans all kinds of options. I am willing to teach Monday-Wednesday at 1-2 or Monday-Wednesday 1:05-2:05.  Mornings are out! I spend the morning reading the Times until my massage at 11. Lunch is at noon.  But what do they give me? Monday-Wednesday 2-3. These people do not know who I am. Do they have me mixed up with someone who went to a state school?

And what lowlife did they give my times to? I will find out and, when I do, that person will pay especially if he or she is untenured. Geez!

Thursday and Friday are off limits because I am expected to spend those days at my condo on the beach when I am not consulting, that is. I mean, otherwise, why have a condo on the beach? It just would not pay. I cannot possibly teach later than 2:30 the other days because I need to wind down after a hard day and  how can I do that in the mere hour between 3 and 4, when I have to leave for my personal training. If I do not get the training in by 5, I can forget about making it to the club in time for cocktails.

Jeffrey Harrison (Florida), The Dean's Parking Spot:

Today I parked in the Dean's parking spot. Her car was not occupying it at the time so I thought to myself "Isn't it time you put some of your academic freedom to use?" ...

I kind of feel the same way about the times I teach class. My time, or should I say the time I feel most free, is 1-2 Monday - Wednesday. Assigning me any other time is an infringement on my academic freedom as, I might add, is the requirement that I give my exams on certain days. I'll give them when I am good and ready. In fact, part of my academic freedom extends to my teaching — including whether I choose to meet class — and most definitely to the type of exam I give and even more most definitely to the day I give the final exam and most, most definitely to whether I will allow the students to use number 2 pencils on their multiple choice exams. So what if the machines will not read anything other than number 2 pencils? Pencil choice is a critical part of my pedagogical divinity.

Thank goodness for academic freedom or we professors might be discouraged from doing research and expressing views that cause others to think. You can imagine the profound message inherent in my pencil allocation decision. Sadly, one of the things that most gets in the way of academic freedom is teaching or, even worse, teaching something just because the students need it or it is on the bar exam.

Life is hard when you deserve everything and only get 99%.

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Comments

You teach three days a week. That is outrageous. I thought you had tenure. Why not a Monday, Wednesday schedule with 75 minute classes?

Posted by: Bill Turnier | Apr 5, 2017 10:24:59 PM