The Academic Core Enrichment (“ACE”) program was started in 2007. Its objective is to help first year students transition from college or work to law school, to develop and improve their study techniques, learning skills, and law school academic performance.
The program is open to all first year students (and to the international LL.M. students) on a voluntary basis. Students may attend any, all, or none of sessions, they may seek individual counseling, etc, but no one is required to participate. Sometimes, when suggested by the Office of Students Affairs or by first year faculty, we do encourage particular students to attend ACE sessions or to receive individual counseling by an appropriate ACE Counselor. We also assign faculty mentors and ACE Counselors to first and second year students who are academically at risk or having academic difficulties. Ultimately, it is up to the students whether and how much to take advantage of these opportunities.
The ACE program provides several talks by law school faculty, both in the day and the evening, throughout the fall and spring semesters, on topics such as introduction to law school and tips for success in the first year (during orientation); reading strategies and case briefing; classroom dynamics (class preparation and participation, note taking, Socratic dialogue); time and stress management; learning styles and how they can affect law studies; reviewing, outlining, and flowchart making; and exam skills and strategies. In addition to these day and evening sessions that are open to all first year students, we also hold ACE Counselor panel discussions on each of these topics for each of the first year sections including the evening section. The Counselors who participate in these section specific sessions had in their first years the faculty teaching that section this year, so that they can talk specifically about study skills and techniques geared to particular courses and professors.
Critical to the program is the participation of more than thirty day and evening division upper level students who serve as ACE counselors. The Counselors’ participation allows first year students to hear from successful upper level students about how they succeeded during their first years and their tips and ideas about the different techniques that have worked for students in the past. The Counselors are hired after a careful review, based on recommendations from their first year professors, and their academic records, diverse backgrounds, different learning styles, personalities, and interest in helping their new colleagues. In addition to participating in the section specific skills sessions, the counselors are available to provide individual counseling to any students who wants that.
There is an ACE program site on Blackboard to which all first year students have access. Among the information posted on the site are the schedule of ACE sessions; biographies, learning style information and tips for success from the Counselors; articles about study skills and learning styles; sample study materials; power points from and podcasts of all the ACE sessions; and other useful materials.
If you have any questions about ACE, you should feel free to ask the Office of Student Affairs or Professor James Shellenberger, who directs the program.