Town hall meeting with deans shows progress
When you hear “town hall meeting” these days, the image that pops into your head might be angry people yelling at each other in a futile attempt to be heard. But the town hall meeting hosted by JMBA on Tuesday was far Deanfrom it, as several deans of the law school, including Dean Robert Jerry, had a friendly talk with students about how to improve the law school.
Jerry started the discussion by sharing the recent results from the February Bar exam, which were much improved from last year’s results. The pass percentage for UF first-time takers was 81.1 percent (30/37) against an overall pass rate of 72.2 percent (586/812). Another product of the school’s hard work was the employment status of the UF Law class of 2009. As of February 2010, for graduates who wish to work and who are working or those pursuing a graduate degree from the class of 2009, the employment status was 99.5 percent; all but three members of last year’s graduating class are employed.
Jerry was pleased to be able to report the good news, and was very grateful for the help given by past graduates of the law school.
“Our alumni really stepped up in finding and helping create those positions for our students,” Jerry said.
Much of the meeting was devoted to issues that had already been raised, and while the solutions to many of them were still being sought, the issue of paying for exam-taking software had been solved.
Previously, students who wanted to use their computers to take exams were forced to pay a fee in the range of $25 to register the ExamSoft program. Jerry said that fee would soon be taken care of by the school.
“Starting next year, and I think this is the right answer, we are going to use private unrestricted gifts to pay for a school-wide licensing fee,” he said.
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Bill Page spoke on a range of issues, but most of his time was spent answering students’ questions about scheduling. Scheduling issues ranged from what to do with the noon period that is usually free, the possibility of more classes focusing on Florida law, and the possibility of a certificate program in criminal law.
Assistant Dean for Career Development Linda Calvert Hanson spoke to the school’s efforts to help students get jobs, externships and other opportunities. While Career Development does much to aid students, being perhaps the most rural of Florida law schools can make things more difficult, Hanson said. “One of the challenges that we have is the geographic limitations of Gainesville.”
Finally, Associate Dean for Students Rachel Inman discussed a few more issues, including the idea of introducing hot lunches to the cafeteria. Solutions discussed included getting the current vendor to add items, or have main campus vendors bring sandwiches or other items to the law school. While a final solution has not been reached, Inman said that they are committed to finding one, saying “We’ll do our best to have some sort of schedule for hot food options for you in the fall.