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Academic Programming: Feedback Wanted!


The Student Government executive board will be meeting with Vice Dean for Academic Programming Andy Kaufman and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Catherine Claypoole in the next couple of weeks. These are the people that have the most direct influence and information on curriculum here at HLS, and we’d love to provide them with as much student feedback as possible! What kind of curriculum questions, concerns, or feedback do you have for us to share with them?

Feedback can be posted here on the blog or emailed to  studentgov at law.harvard.edu. Thanks and we hope to hear from you!


Academic Advising


We’ve heard from a lot of students lately that would like to see a different academic advising program in place here at HLS.  Obviously, this is an issue of great importance and the administration is willing to talk with us about it, but before we get too involved in the conversation, we’d first like to hear from you.  What would you like to see in an academic advising program at HLS?  What do you like about what is in place now?  Please leave your comments below, or if you’d like them to be more private, send an email to studentgov@law.harvard.edu.

Your Student Government At Work


A quick look at our recent accomplishments:

  • Student Government Pub Nights: very popular weekly happy hours for students, with free beer and wine (starting this year on Thursday, Oct. 1!)
  • Faculty-Student Lunch Program: every year, we arrange for students to have free lunches with distinguished HLS professors.
  • Organize and distribute Unofficial Course Evaluations each semester.
  • Solicited, collected, and presented student feedback regarding the grade change to Dean Kagan.
  • Solicited, collected, and presented student feedback regarding the switch to the Early Interview Program to Office of Career Services.
  • Formed and headed a student committee to meet with President Faust on the new dean search.
  • Changed news@law in order to allow students to plan their weeks more conveniently.
  • Convinced administration to buy toasters for the 2008-2009 free Monday morning bagel breakfasts.
  • Obtained Splenda, strawberry cream cheese, and Heinz ketchup in the Hark.
  • Worked with Restaurant Associates to respond to vegetarian students’ needs, including increased quantity of vegetarian sushi and better vegetarian labeling.
  • Increased quantity of sweat towels at the Hemenway gym.
  • Successfully advocated to see the Hark re-open from 2:30-5:00 to serve students’ needs in 2009.
  • Distributed bags filled with candy and faculty advice to the 1Ls when they received their grades.
  • Created a database of 3Ls willing to give 2Ls advice on applying to law firms.
  • Dodgeball tournament (co-sponsored with HL Central and the intramural sports).
  • Approved of many new students groups in 2008-2009.

Cross-Registration Feedback Wanted


As many of you know, Harvard has been working hard to unify the different schools within the university. (This is the reason for the changes in the academic calendar this year). In order to help the administration with this goal, we would love to hear how your experiences have been with cross-registration. Please be as specific as possible so we can try to streamline the process (aka what elements have and have not worked for you).


Visiting Committee Feedback


Last week we sent out the following email seeking feedback for the Visiting Committee.  We’re still looking for more feedback.  See the email below for details.

Hello fellow students,
As you may have seen in a previous email from Catherine Claypoole, the Visiting Committee will be coming to HLS on March 5 and 6.  The Visiting Committee reports directly to the Harvard University Board of Overseers, and this yearly visit is a great way for students to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the state of HLS.  If you have an opinion about what the school is doing well, what more they can do, or what you would like to see changed, these are the people to share those thoughts with.
We highly encourage you to share your thoughts about the current state of HLS with the Visiting Committee.  Representative of the Student Government will, of course, be meeting with the Visiting Committee, and we want to be sure we have as much information from you – the students – as possible to bring to that meeting.
Please email us at studentgov@law.harvard.edu with any thoughts or concerns you may have.  We will be compiling the comments anonymously and presenting the compiled document to the Visiting Committee in March.
The Committee is especially interested in hearing any thoughts you have on next year’s early interview program and early fly out week, but any other comments you have would also be welcomed.  Some other possible significant areas of interest could be the new grading system, the status of the HLS faculty under the Obama administration, the curriculum in general, any opinions about Restaurant Associates, or anything else that affects your life here at HLS.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t want the Student Government to compile your comments anonymously, you are certainly still welcome to email the Committee directly at viscom@law.harvard.edu.
This is a great chance to ensure that your voice is heard.  We hope you will take maximum advantage of it.  Please try to get your feedback to us as soon as possible so that we can include as much of it as possible in a packet being sent to the Committee on 2/24.
Thank you for your time.  We look forward to hearing from you.
Your Student Government
(Comments are disabled for this post.  If you have feedback please email it to us at  studentgov at law.harvard.edu.)

Howell Jackson’s Town Hall Meeting


Today Howell Jackson, prospective interim acting Dean, hosted a town hall meeting with HLS students. Because some students were unable to, we wanted to fill you in on some highlights:

  • Faculty departures for DC: All courses this year were covered by HLS faculty or visitors. Next year’s curriculum will feature many great visiting professors (especially in environmental law), and there should be no significant effect from the faculty departures.
  • Curriculum in general: Along with picking classes this Spring, students will be able to fill out a poll about which courses they’d like to see offered. Some of those courses might be added by next year, but some certainly will be added by the year after.
  • OCI will be the week before school starts. Flyout week will be the week of September 14th. There may be events for 3Ls during that time, such as symposia on research opportunities or empirical methods classes. In addition, the school will celebrate Columbus Day, creating a small break later in the fall.
  • Financial crisis: HLS’s three priorities are “building a terrific faculty, having terrific teaching, and honoring financial aid commitments.” There may be cuts in other “not central” areas (but not coffee). In addition, the NW Corner project will proceed as planned. Furthermore, Harvard University is working with JP Morgan to ensure that all international students have access to loans similar to those that were suspended because of the financial crisis.
  • The search process for a permanent Dean, led by President Faust, has begun. She will likely reach out to students, staff, alumni, and even employers during the process.
  • 2L Mixed Transcripts: 2Ls will graduate with Latin honors, based on an averaging of their A/B/C and HP/P/LP grades. The algorithm for that weighting is not public, however.
  • Next year’s academic calendar has almost no time between Winter Term and Spring Term. On the other hand, synchronizing with the rest of the University allows for much better cross-registration opportunities. 
  • The “Programs of Study” are in beta-test mode now. They will become more significant in the future.
  • MyPlan will be fixed, but slowly.


Taping Classes on Inauguration Day


Some students have contacted us to ask if we could inquire about having classes taped on Inauguration Day so that people are free to celebrate this historic day as they see fit.  As important as this day is, it is also a poltically sensitive request.  The Administration has to be careful about doing things that can be perceived as politically motivated, and we don’t want to put them in an awkward position.  In order to avoid that, we did not ask the Administration to support a school-wide authorization of class taping on election day.

However, we did ask them about other options.  Any professor can have any class taped that they wish, at any time.  If you really want to go to/see the Inauguration, you are more than welcome to talk with your professor and they can have the class taped if they so choose.

If you have any concerns about that, or think that the Student Government can help you with that request in some way, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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