What follows is an account of the goings-on at Charlotte School of Law by a former lawprof there. It will be published in two parts --today's post concerns the treatment of faculty and staff; the second and final post will concern the treatment of students.
Charlotte Law, of course, occupies a special place within the law school scam as one of only six accredited law schools that are run on a for-profit basis, and one of three (soon to be four) owned by InfiLaw (aka "The InfiLaw System"). All InfiLaw schools, in the words of Paul Campos, "feature atrocious employment statistics, sky high tuition, enormous class sizes, and graduates with massive debt loads." Perhaps opposition to InfiLaw's astonishing version of legal education is an area of common ground for scambloggers and law professors.
I agreed to teach full-time at Charlotte Law, after having been lured with promises of great opportunities for faculty members who take initiative. This all proved to be a lie, as only faculty and staff members who are insiders with the InfiLaw power players can get ahead. Excellent teaching evaluations and scholarship record are utterly irrelevant to the school administrators in their reviews. They seem only concerned with whether or not the school is the right "culture fit" for its faculty members.
With soaring enrollment, sub-par and steadily decreasing bar pass rate (near the 60% mark right now), and poor career placement rate, Charlotte Law feeds on students who were not accepted into any other law schools and who are foolish enough to pay (or take loans) to cover the high tuition fees. Making money for the top administrators of the school, as well as for its investors (in InfiLaw), is the only thing that matters. Many faculty members had admitted to me that what the school is doing is not ethical, but have not left due to the abysmal academic market right now.
Faculty is not treated well. The school does not hire tenure-track faculty anymore. Instead, faculty must choose a teaching track (which entails teaching about 8-9 credits per semester), or an alternative track (which entails teaching the traditional 2+2 classes, at about 2/3 of the normal salary). Most faculty chooses the teaching track, which can be overwhelming at times, especially given how much harder that student population is to teach. This increased teaching load results in overworked faculty, who are not able to attend to the students as much as they should. Furthermore, the school just changed its curriculum, infusing it with tons of required skills-oriented courses. The courses are repetitive and offered before students have the substantive background to be able to tackle them. Furthermore, faculty has no experience preparing or teaching the new courses.
The reason for this curriculum change has been tacitly acknowledged as a method to make it harder for students to transfer out. Even core courses have been renamed, and students do not complete all the typical core courses until their 2L year because the 1L curriculum is peppered with practice-oriented classes that take away from their ability to actually focus on learning core legal concepts. Furthermore, the new curriculum prevents students from taking any electives until the end of their 2L year or their 3L year.
All new faculty and staff members are required to attend 4 full days of Emotional Quotient training. Instead of focusing on their students or scholarship, faculty is forced to share their personal issues and bond superficially. I have heard participants mock what others had shared behind their backs. Notices about these training sessions are always last-minute, and typically scheduled during religious holidays or vacation breaks. Those who are unable to attend are threatened with termination.
Faculty is given very little opportunity to voice their opinions. Voting on faculty appointments is not anonymous. Frequent faculty handbook changes are likewise voted on publicly. The administration had even put forward proposals for IT to have access to faculty's personal smart phones if they also contained Charlotte Law email accounts, and the ability to wipe out ALL the data on them. Weekly faculty meetings are mandatory (an attendance sheet used to be passed around), and there remains huge pressure to conform and attend them all, no matter how much that interferes with teaching preparation or scholarly pursuits. Most faculty meetings do not seem to have a purpose, aside from reciting the three mission pillars, brainwashing the faculty, bemoaning low applicant numbers, and putting a rosy spin on falling bar passage rates.
Scholarship is ignored or even actively discouraged. The library does not even have any secondary sources. Thus, all books faculty uses for research need to be requested via interlibrary loans. At least some of the librarians make it clear how helping faculty is at the bottom of their list of priorities.
The school has been continuously creating new assistant dean positions that are unnecessary. It has several InfiLaw insiders in dean positions that are superfluous. No one seems to know what it is that they do. The new administrative posts are all filled with people who support InfiLaw’s ideology, even though most of the could not have even gotten adjunct jobs at decent law schools (as indicated by the schools they attended, lack of scholarship, and no law teaching experience).
The whole institution is like a cult, always reciting their three mission pillars (skills preparation; being student-centered; serving the community) before the beginning of any faculty meeting. Unfortunately, these ideas are paid lip service only; the only mission of the school is increasing the student pool to make bigger profits for its administrators and investors.