Travel is an exciting and artistic expression of life-long learning, but, for me, it extends to giving back through teaching and sharing knowledge. Looking back on 2016, I was very fortunate to travel to New Zealand and Australia to direct and take part in teaching WMU-Cooley Law School’s Down Under Study Abroad program. I also got to travel to Toronto, Charlotte, N.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, and my home state of Michigan to participate in educational conferences.
Beyond travel, I believe an educator should do these three things:
- Teach what they know to the public and lawyers, as well as to their students
- Learn best practices in their fields so they can teach best practices
- Connect with professionals to better educate their students
Conferences can be a great way to give back while learning. At the summer 2016 International Journal of Clinical Legal Education conference in Toronto, I got to present and meet up with my fellow Monash clinical professors I met during my time earlier that year in Australia. The conference, The Risks and Rewards of Clinical Legal Education Programs, allowed me to share what I have learned as a clinical professor, while learning from other clinical professors around the globe of their experiences.
In the fall, I presented a paper, along with colleague Professor Mabel Martin-Scott and law school professor Joni Larson, at the Southern Clinical Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. The topic of our presentation was “Mapping the Learning Outcomes to the Law School Curriculum Using Case Progression.” We outlined how a law school can create learning outcomes based on a student’s ability to represent a client, rather than on more traditional academic goals.
Later that fall, I presented an ethics topic to legal services lawyers in Michigan, along with co-presenter Alison Hirschel, director of the Michigan Elder Justice Initiative. The two of us, along with Syracuse University School of Law faculty Mary Helen McNeal and Nina Kohn, then presented that same topic to lawyers at the National Aging and the Law conference in Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. Our topic, “Three’s a Crowd: Representing Clients with Legal Representatives,” tackled a difficult ethics topic and gave elderlaw attorneys an opportunity to apply the information we provided to real-life scenarios.
I am proud to say that all WMU-Cooley faculty are active scholars and educators, at the law school and in the community of lawyers and professionals.
WMU-Cooley Law School Professor Kimberly E. O’Leary is back this year in New Zealand and Australia to direct law school’s Study Abroad program in New Zealand and Australia after teaching the program last year. The experience was unforgettable for all, and she will again share her students experiences Down Under in 2017!