In the last issue of Pro Se, the question of whether the school needs formal academic advising was raised, and one of the issues noted was student’s inability to find relevant information on the school’s new website. With these issues in mind, the Law School plans to update the website, addressing both content and structural deficiencies.
Currently, when you search UConn specifically, either through Google or directly with the school website, a search for “academic advising” turns up the “Academic Success” page. The first three paragraphs of the page contain essentially brochure language, seemingly tailored to prospective students outside the law school community, and yet it’s located under “student services.” The rest of the content relates to different areas of support (Advising, Workshops, Academic Support, Time Management Counseling), with a quick blurb, a point person, and contact information.
The page is not entirely useless, but it lacks any substantive information regarding credit requirements, year-by-year breakdowns, concentrations offered, graduation requirements, or generally, a roadmap through a students three or four years here.
If you want to find general information about graduation requirements on the current school website, you must go to the Admissions section, select the “Juris Doctor” program on the left-hand side, and then you can browse through the various sub-headings: Overview, How to Apply, Degree Requirements, Course of Study, Certificates, and F.A.Q.’s. Somewhat counterintuitively, this information seems most useful for current students, yet it is targeted at prospective students. Students looking for detailed information about graduation requirements should consult the Academic Regulations, located in the Student Portal, under the “Academic Life” sub-heading.
The school is aware of some of the problems. In April, new content will be released to aid current students in navigating through the Law School online. Assistant Dean of Students Karen DeMeola said students can expect the role out of two new components meant to step students through each semester and into their careers. The first piece will be centered around students’ time here at UConn Law, and the second, overseen by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Leslie Levin, will focus on practice area specific content, with the goal of helping students better navigate career paths.
The first piece will live in the Student Portal. DeMeola said that it will contain links for each year (e.g., 1L, 2L, 3L), containing information regarding deadlines for financial aid, clerkships, add/drop, etc., along with other useful information, like when to do a degree audit, all broken down by semester.The second piece, with a concentration on practice areas, won’t just highlight the clerkships and certificates that students may already be aware of, it will also look at concentrations students might not know about. Further, this piece will try to help students better utilize the school’s offerings in the pursuit of specific career goals.
DeMeola stressed that students are encouraged to offer input at any point. If you believe content is missing or could be better expressed or organized, or if you’re simply unclear about information provided, you should contact her with your comments or ideas. She is very receptive to any input, whether by email, phone, or in person. You may even anonymously slip ideas under her office door after work hours, if you are so inclined.