Criterion 1: “Demonstrated ability to teach effectively and/or perform effectively in other current assignments.”
Due to my teaching duties within the Department of History and Legal Studies as well as my administrative duties as director of the Legal Studies program, Criterion 1 is by far the most significant of the five.
Effective Teaching: I am going to continue my goal of continued excellence in the classroom. This will be accomplished by continued evaluation of my classes via Qualtrics.
WSU Digital Faculty Fellow: As part of my role as a WSU Digital Faculty Fellow, I will teach HIST 151: United States Since 1865 in the Spring 2019 semester. I will continue to use the adaptive online learning technology CogBooks. This will be the second semester I have used this in my HIST 151 class. At the end of the course, I will be preparing data and making comparisons to past online HIST 151 course I have taught. This data and my conclusions will be presented to our department, as well as to the provost.
Survey/Lower Division Courses: Currently, I am teaching HIST 150: United States to 1865 for the first time. It has been quite an enjoyable experience thus far, and I am willing to teach it as long as there is a departmental need. I also plan on continuing to teach LGLS 101: Introduction to American Law.
Upper Division Courses: I will continue my regular schedule, teaching HIST 365: American Legal History, a writing intensive course, in the fall, and HIST 488: American Constitutional History, an oral intensive course, in the spring.
Legal Studies Director: As director, I will continue to perform the assessment and administrative duties of the Legal Studies program. Growing enrollments presents our program with challenges, especially considering that I am the only full-time Legal Studies professor and our dependence on adjunct faculty. Per semester, our regular assessment of the program, including but not limited to current students, recent graduates, past graduates (three years post-graduation), internships, the legal community, and employers of our program continues. Each semester, a regular meeting of the Paralegal Advisory Board, as well as a meeting of the Legal Studies faculty, will take place. I will also continue to advise more than fifty-nine legal studies majors and minors and prelaw majors.
Legal Studies/Paralegal Focused Conference Travel: I plan on attending the National Conference of the American Association for Paralegal Educators (AAfPE) in each fall, as well as the regional meetings in the spring. I was also nominated for the position of National Director of Baccalaureate Programs on the national board for AAfPE. This represents a great opportunity for our Legal Studies program to gain national recognition among paralegal and Legal Studies programs.
Prelaw Advisor: As Prelaw Advisor, I will continue to assist students of all majors with their decision to attend, application, and admission into law school. This fall, a group of students will be attending the Upper Midwest Law School Fair at St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Additionally, I will be giving another mock LSAT exam to interested students. Prelaw students are always welcome to visit me anytime they have a question or concern, and they are also welcome to make a regular appointment with me during advising time.
Criterion 2: “Scholarly or Creative Achievement or Research.”
Manuscript Project: Currently, my manuscript is still under review at the University of North Carolina Press. Initially, I submitted it to the “Justice, Power, and Politics” series of the press. The editors of that series, however, determined that it not be a good historiographical fit with that series. The editor in chief of the press, still bullish on the project, has decided to send it to readers in the larger press. Within the next few weeks, the readers along with the editor will create a status report. From this, we can determine whether we should continue with the UNC press or move in another direction. Other university publishers expressed interest in the project, such as the University of Georgia Press and the University of Arkansas Press.
Justice Harry Blackmun Research: As part of my Professional Improvement Grant, I spent one week researching the papers of Justice Harry Blackmun at the Library of Congress. I focused on his work in criminal areas of law, and the research led me to focus on his work within the realm of capital punishment. I have started preliminary work on a journal article that is going to utilize this source as well as other sources from the former associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Death Penalty Moratorium in Louisiana Journal Article: My work with Justice Blackmun’s paper led me to revisit my masters’ thesis. My thesis focused on the self- imposed moratorium on the death penalty in Louisiana during the 1960s and 1970s. I am currently working on revising the thesis into a journal article, and I hope to have a draft of the article ready for submission by the early Spring 2019 semester.
Admittedly, in my increased focus on Legal Studies areas, my attendance of history conferences has slowed considerably. I am hoping to attend more meetings as well as seek out opportunities to present my recent scholarship.
Criterion 3: “Evidence of Continuing Preparation and Study.”
Keeping Current with Historiography and Scholarship: As usual, I intend on keeping up with the current scholarship in my areas of interest, including, but certainly not limited to, US and Constitutional history, history of the carceral state, criminal law and procedural history, and southern history. My memberships to organizations such as the American Historical Association, the Southern Historical Association, the American Society for Legal History, and the Louisiana Historical Association all grant me access to their journals, which helps me keep current with historiographical trends. I also make regular use of the databases provided by our library, including America: History and Life, JSTOR, and Westlaw Next, to remain up-to-date.
Attending the AAfPE national and regional meetings have helped me continue my preparation for my leadership role within the Legal Studies Program. It has helped me in understanding our program’s crucial connection to the American Bar Association.
Membership of Minnesota Bar: The Minnesota State Board of Continuing Legal Education requires that practicing lawyers earn a minimum of forty-five credit hours every three years. Three of these hours must focus on ethics or professional responsibility, and two must include the elimination of bias credits. Many of these hours will be beneficial to my work as a professor and director of the Legal Studies program. I can also earn a number of these hours by performing pro bono legal work. I discuss this more in criterion five below.
Criterion 4: “Contributions to Student Growth and Development.”
I continue my role as the faculty advisor of student organizations, including Phi Alpha Theta and the Legal Studies Association. As part of my rejuvenated efforts with Phi Alpha Theta, I have been working with President Tori Senica to help increase enrollment in both the History Club and Phi Alpha Theta. Not only did we have over twenty interested students at our organizational meeting, but we will be inducting six new members into Phi Alpha Theta. This will represent the most Phi Alpha Theta students on campus at one time in quite a while, which will help us promote the benefits of that organization. I also continue to work with the Legal Studies Association, which includes students of all majors interested in law. I have helped them coordinate the regular trip to the Upper Midwest Law School Fair as well as helping them coordinate a new Chili Cook-Off major fundraiser. I also plan on getting them involved in the pro bono legal projects I take on in the near future.
While I am not the everyday coach of our Mock Trial Team, I am still the faculty advisor. Thus, I help them with administrative tasks, planning, and coordination of practices, competitions, and travel, etc.
Criterion 5: “Service to the University and Community.”
This year represents my fourth year serving on the Winona Area Humane Society Board of Directors. While I am not currently president, I continue to serve on the board as the secretary. I am also starting to wind down my time of the board, as I think it is best to begin exploring new avenues of service to our community.
My newly acquired law license has also helped me be a part of our community in ways unavailable before. I have worked with the Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services and offered pro bono assistance. I helped during a divorce clinic they held during the summer, and I hope to attend the next one and bring some Legal Studies students along as part of opening up their community service opportunities.
I have also been working with the Save Our Schools group, a group of concerned citizens that recently sued the Winona school board for due process violations in abruptly closing two elementary schools in Winona County. We have appealed the school board decision, and I have helped draft the filed briefs to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I will also be arguing the case in front of the Minnesota Court of Appeals as soon as the clerk places us on the argument docket, which should be late November/early December.