Saturday, May 4, 2013

Only One Per Life Raft, Please

[Penn State Dickinson School of Law Dean Philip J.] McConnaughay proposed the step as a way to help Penn State's law school navigate through a prolonged period of declining applications for admission to law schools nationally. 

In an effort to help the school maintain its academic reputation during the slump, the dean initially proposed lowering enrollment and consolidating all first-year legal instruction at the University Park campus. 

After that plan ran into fierce opposition from Carlislers, many of whom saw it as a slow death sentence for the school here, McConnaughay came up with the separate accreditation plan. 

It will, he believes, give both campuses a chance to develop individual missions and rise or fall on their own merits. 

But the DLA board members - a vestige of the formerly independent Dickinson School of Law with rights to enforce the dual-campus agreement negotiated in 2005 - say they believe the proposed split violates the terms of that pact.

Penn State trustees have approved a plan to seek separate American Bar Association accreditations for its law school campuses in Carlisle and State College, setting the stage for their operation as two independent law schools beginning in 2014.
The plan is in response to what Dean Philip J. McConnaughay has called a "severe national contraction" in the pool of law school applicants over the last three years that has demanded a change in the current unified campus approach. 
The trustees vote came after little debate and saw no opposition. 
The board, in a narrative on the plan, noted that "it is possible that the Carlisle campus will pursue a more regional admissions and placement strategy than University Park, and an educational program emphasizing community-based law practice, public sector lawyering, public interest lawyering and other aspects of lawyering skills acquisition. 
"In this event," the narrative continued, "the law school's Carlisle campus is likely to emerge as the leading regionally-focused law school in the greater Harrisburg-Baltimore region, expanding legal education opportunities for Penn State undergraduates and others whose academic profiles reflect a wider range of LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs (than at University Park) but whose motivation and promise is demonstrated in other ways." 
The University Park campus, meanwhile, will attempt to compete with "the very best major research university-based law schools," with "rich international and interdisciplinary opportunities for students," the board narrative said. 
"Its admissions and placement efforts will be national and international in scope, with aggressive efforts to convince top-performing Penn State undergraduates to attend Penn State Law."
At least Dean McConnaughay will be around to oversee this transition to two law schools, right? [Wait for it...]


  1. Dude this is awesome!

  2. I love the euphemisms in the second article ("a wider range of LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs (than at University Park) but whose motivation and promise is demonstrated in other ways"). One will be the law school for the dumb kids, one for the less dumb kids.