Hello, and welcome to my first blog entry for the Executive LL.M. Program! It is my intention that this will become a long-standing, vital and vibrant component of the website. The historian in me sees this as an opportunity to chart the development and rolling-out of the Program, while also providing useful information and showcasing some of the many reasons why we at BU Law are so excited about this initiative.
To quote T.S. Eliot, “And how shall I begin?”
I rejoined the BU Law community this past December. The Law School has changed so much and yet so little since my time here as a student (Class of ’95)– many of the faces of the faculty members remain familiar to me after fifteen years, including Stephen Marks, the new Academic Director. I had the pleasure of taking Law and Economics with him as a student in 1994, and he is typical of the teaching faculty here– both engaged as well as engaging, a thought leader in his field with a passion and talent for teaching. Mark Pettit, who will teach Contracts, is another such faculty member: I had the ‘singing professor’, as he is sometimes known, in my first year of law school. Everyone has favorite courses: mine tended towards the esoteric (Civil Law, Trials in American History, English Legal History, Supreme Court Decisionmaking, and the like) rather than subjects like Contracts, but Professor Pettit made it come alive. I have had the pleasure to meet the other faculty members who will be teaching the first few modules of the Program and they all share a paltable sense of excitment about what lies ahead. (You can read short bios on our Executive LLM faculty at http://www.bu.edu/law/prospective/llm/intlbuslaw/faculty.shtml). The Office of Distance Education and our faculty are already at work designing the course modules for the March and July 2011 sessions, and as that process unfolds during the summer I look forward to adding some video content to our website.
The past several months have been spent having meetings with different departments at the School and across BU (“Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’/Let us go and make our visit.”) in order to implement policies that work University-wide. Distance Education is working on course maps with the faculty; the University Registrar and the Law School Registrar are working on registration protocols, course coding and the like; Systems Technology is putting together a database and applications portal for us; Marketing and Communications have been working wonders in transforming the content I have provided them into a snazzy website design. And this doesn’t even include the assistance we’ve been getting from the Office of Graduate Education, Admissions, Finance, as well as some of the other LL.M. Programs at the Law School and other degree programs at the University. Truly a tandem effort, that has the happy result of bringing the Program closer to fruition week by week (“Time for you and time for me…And for a hundred visions and revisions/Before the taking of a toast and tea.”)
One of the most gratifying things has been the buzz of excitement that is being generated around the Program. Just today the National Law Journal mentioned us in their article “Online Master of Laws Programs Proliferate at Traditional Law Schools”. While I might take issue with their characterization of our Program as “primarily” online — it is in fact blended learning, with all credit hours being granted on the basis of in-classroom instruction — it is one more example of the press we’ve been receiving. Every day brings more inquires from prospective applicants, with an impressive range and diversity of experience that bodes well for our applicant pool. I can’t yet answer all of their questions about all facets of the application process or programming (“And time for all the works and days of hands/That lift and drop a question on your plate”) but I’m enjoying the long-distance interaction with them. So far, our many inquiries have come from more than sixty countries– most encouraging for a program that is still ten months away from launch! I look forward to seeing some of the inquiries materialize into applications, and eventually being able to put faces to the names once they’ve matriculated as students. “There will be time, there will be time….to meet the faces that you meet.”
Eliot wrote, “Time to turn back and descend the stair”, and so I will oblige. I look forward to sharing with you some important announcements in the coming weeks; in the meantime, thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!