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Teaching Resources

Contact Information for Law Center Liaisons

For J.D. Adjunct Faculty
          Sarah Hulsey, Assistant Dean, sjh52@law.georgetown.edu
          Kara Passmore, Assistant Director, kep68@law.georgetown.edu
 
For LL.M. Adjunct Faculty
         Tiffany Joly, Director, tmj40@law.georgetown.edu
         Allison King, Assistant Director, ajk107@law.georgetown.edu 
         Sarah Kinney, Assistant Director, sk1323@law.georgetown.edu
 

Best Practices for Course Design and Management

Designing and teaching a course or seminar for the first time or tenth time is a project that demands significant attention and advance planning. To guide you in that project, we have collected here our basic guidance on drafting course syllabi and related teaching issues. We hope both new and experienced teachers will find this guidance helpful.

Academic Calendar/Class Periods

In the 2016-2017 academic year, there will be 13 full weeks of class in both the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. This does not include weeks scheduled for examinations. The first week of the Spring semester (January 9-12, 2016), known as Week One, is devoted to an intensive course for first-year J.D. students (which is optional to first-year students beginning in 2016), as well as a number of week-long elective courses for upperclass J.D. and LL.M. students. Please note that for Spring 2017 Week One courses will be held over four days, with the Spring 2017 semester starting on Friday, January 13.

NOTE: Courses normally scheduled for one day of the week will occasionally meet on a different, designated day. This is to ensure that each class has the full number of meetings per semester. For example, in the Fall 2016 semester, Monday classes will meet on Tuesday, October 13 due to the Columbus Day holiday. There is a corresponding “legislative” Monday in the Spring Semester. Please mark these “legislative days” on your personal calendar now to avoid missing any class sessions.

Georgetown Law’s class schedule is divided into 55-minute segments. Day classes generally begin at 9:00 a.m. and may be scheduled through 5:30 p.m. There is a 10-minute period at the end of each class hour to allow for room changes. Two-hour classes include one 10-minute break; three-hour classes take a 15-minute break. Evening classes begin at 5:45 p.m. and 7:55 p.m. and include a 10-minute break in the middle of each two-hour period. For those of you teaching in the evening, please note that the Market Café closes at 7:00 p.m. so students appreciate if the break is given before that time.

Some Saturday classes and other “book-end” courses have longer class periods and meet for fewer than 13 weeks over the course of the semester.

For more information about key dates and deadlines and links to the academic calendars, please click here.

Teaching Seminars

There is a wealth of teaching information available at Georgetown Law. The Office of J.D. Academic Services and the Office of Graduate Programs sponsor seminars each academic year on various aspects of legal pedagogy that are aimed at helping new faculty prepare to teach and at helping established faculty fine-tune their teaching goals and strategies. These seminars, which bring together small groups of full-time, visiting, and adjunct faculty members, are taught by presenters who lead discussions or give demonstrations of classroom teaching techniques. Recent seminars focused on the following topics:

  • preparing to teach
  • using technology in the classroom and library resources
  • supervising and evaluating seminar papers
  • fostering student engagement
  • course organization and material selection
  • drafting and grading exams
  • teaching foreign-trained students

You will receive email invitations to these teaching seminars several weeks in advance, but last minute registrants are welcome as well. The teaching seminars are also recorded. You can access these recordings and copies of any handouts that were circulated here. If you would like to suggest a topic for a future seminar, please contact Sarah Hulsey at sjh52@law.georgetown.edu.

Law School Textbook Publishers  

To review casebooks pertinent to your course, you may request a complimentary copy by contacting the publisher of the book. We encourage you to also request a teacher’s edition. We have compiled contact information for publishers frequently used by Law Center faculty and posted that information here. Copies of some casebooks currently being used at the Law Center are in the Course Reserve section of Williams Library at the circulation desk.

Cancelled and Rescheduled Classes and Review Sessions

Faculty members are expected to attend and be on time for each scheduled class session. If you cannot hold your class at the scheduled time, the class should be rescheduled. In the event you must cancel a class, please inform your class and complete a Rescheduled Class Notification form. The Office of Student Life will notify the Office of the Registrar of your plans for a make-up class. The Registrar’s Office will record the information on the Class Cancellation message line that students can access at (202) 662-9446 and online. If you find you must cancel a class at the last moment (less than 24 hours in advance), please call the main telephone number for the Office of the Registrar at (202) 662-9220 or email lawreg@law.georgetown.edu. When a class must be cancelled on short notice, the Office of the Registrar will try to contact the students in your class by email. If you need to give notice of an unplanned cancellation of a class while the Office of the Registrar is closed, please contact the Registrar at (202) 681-1288. Even if you email each of the students in the class yourself, this is not a substitute for letting the Registrar know first of the cancellation. Additionally, if you must cancel or reschedule your course more than twice in a semester, please be sure to notify your Law Center liaison.

To schedule a make-up class, it is usually advisable to consult the students to ascertain what the best time will be for the majority of the class. No regular classes are scheduled on Wednesdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. or on Saturdays after 2:45 p.m. in the Fall semester and after 4:35 p.m. in the Spring semester. Very few classes are scheduled on Fridays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Very few Graduate courses are scheduled on Friday evenings. These are good times to schedule make-up classes. If your cancelled class falls during the Add/Drop period, we encourage you to reschedule the class before the end of the Add/Drop period. Note that the 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. timeslot on Wednesdays is also used for events by the Dean’s Office and other groups and student organizations. There are a few events during which faculty are prohibited from scheduling make-up classes. For more information on those events, contact the Office of Student Life at lawstudentlife@georgetown.edu or (202) 662-9292. Some professors extend classes for 15-30 minutes for as many sessions as are needed to make up a missed class. If you wish to extend your class, please check with the Office of Student Life at (202) 662-9292 to see whether your regular room is available or if another room must be assigned.

Once you have decided upon a time and date, please complete a Rescheduled Class Notification form. Some faculty members contact their students directly with rescheduled class information. If you prefer that the Office of the Registrar contact your students, please check the box on the form labeled “Email Notification Requested.” If you would like your rescheduled class to be audio-recorded, please check the appropriate box on the form. If you teach a distance course, please be sure to note that on your form so your make-up is schedule in a distance-compatible room. Completed forms may be delivered to the Office of Student Life, 212 McDonough Hall, faxed to (202) 662-9261, or emailed to lawstudentlife@georgetown.edu. Whenever possible, your regular classroom will be assigned. If your regular classroom is not available, a comparable room will be assigned or you will be contacted and advised of other options. Once your Room Reservation Request form has been processed and confirmed, the Office of Student Life will forward your room assignment to the Audiovisual Department and to the Office of the Registrar. That Office will record a notice on the class cancellation telephone line and will place a notice on the Georgetown Law website, informing students of the rescheduled date. For review classes, please submit the Review Session Request Form. Please note that during exam periods, room reservation requests should be sent to the Office of the Registrar.

Substitute Professors and Guest Speakers

On occasion, when a compelling reason necessitates your absence from a class session, substitute professors may be brought in to teach a class. Such arrangements should be rare and, in every case, should be brought to the attention of your Law Center liaison as far in advance of the class as possible. When substitutions are not members of the faculty, such as partners or associates in an outside firm, your Law Center liaison must be made aware of the substitute selection.

Although carefully chosen outside speakers can be a useful tool in teaching your class, do not make excessive use of such speakers as the students will not be pleased with too many war stories. In addition, the students think most highly of a professor who develops an intellectual relationship with them. Temporary parking hangtags may be available for guest speakers under certain circumstances; please contact the Parking Office several days in advance at (202) 662-9330 or (202) 662-9331 or lawfacilitiesmgmt@georgetown.edu for more information.

Inclement Weather Policy/Instructional Continuity

The Law Center will make its own determination separate from that of the Main Campus regarding closings, cancellations, and late openings due to inclement weather giving primary consideration to the safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Announcements regarding Main Campus do not apply to Georgetown Law. Criteria that may be considered in making such determinations include condition of area roads and ability of faculty, staff, students, and visitors to get to campus; status and schedules of public transportation; and forecast of coming weather. All efforts will be made to post the announcement regarding closing or delayed opening by 5:00 a.m. on weekdays and by 6:00 a.m. on weekends on the day of the closing or delayed opening. When the Law Center announces a delayed opening, the announcement will include the time that the Law Center will open and personnel are expected to arrive. In such instances, all classes with start times before the announced opening time will either be held using remote teaching technology (such as Zoom) or will be canceled and rescheduled. Announcements will be posted to the Georgetown Law main website and recorded on the main switchboard number (202) 662-9000 and the class cancellation line (202) 662-9446. An announcement will also be sent by email and text message via Georgetown’s Emergency Notification System (HOYAlert) and by email via the Law Center’s email system. When the Law Center is closed due to inclement weather, it is expected that only designated emergency employees will come to the Law Center to fulfill their responsibilities. All other members of the Law Center community – including students, staff, faculty, and visitors – are expected not to come to the Law Center, which will not be staffed to support anything other than essential life safety and snow/ice clearing functions.

When the Law Center announces a closure, all classes will either implement one of the remote teaching options or be rescheduled. All activities and services other than classes (i.e., student organization meetings and events, CLE, and conferences) will be canceled. All administrative offices will be closed. The food services operation, fitness center and Early Learning Center will be closed. The library will be presumptively closed. Because the library in some instances may not be closed, its operating status will be posted with the announcements.

The University has recently adopted a policy that intends to ensure instructional continuity even when the University is closed due to inclement weather. The Law Center uses teleconference and web conferencing tools for instructional continuity. We ask that you plan ahead in order to be ready to teach remotely so that classes do not need to be cancelled during those times. Instituting this policy necessitates some advance planning in order to teach from alternate locations. You will always have a choice of holding a make-up class; however, we hope to move towards a practice of instructional continuity and avoid the complicated rescheduling process that often follows a closure. More information about the instructional continuity policy and options for teaching remotely can be found here. We highly encourage you to review the information and to decide in advance which option you prefer. If neither teleconference nor web conference tools will suit your needs, you may choose to reschedule the class at a later date.

Other Teaching Resources

A new webpage with teaching links and resources for all faculty members is now available here, and includes general pedagogy resources and best practices; resources related to diversity and cultural competency in the classroom, teaching foreign students, and learning goals, outcomes, and assessments; and technology teaching tools.

Below is an additional teaching resource from Judith Perez Caro, Director of Equity, Community and Inclusion:

Incorporating Community Norms into Your Teaching Practice: A Tool for Community Building and Cultural Competence

On The Web

Maps & Directions

Google Location Map Georgetown University Law Center 600 New Jersey Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001