Academic Support Programs: Effective Support Through a Systemic Approach

Adam G. Todd, Northern Kentucky University, Chase College of Law


The article examines academic support programs at American law schools and argues that academic support programs need to go beyond limited programs such as one-on-one counseling of students in academic difficulty. Academic support programs, it argues, must have a broader mission of engaging the faculty and administration of a law school in the "academic support mission." The adoption of academic support teaching and assessment methods throughout a law school is the true measure of an academic support program's success. The article asserts that a weak or marginalized academic support program can, in fact, have the detrimental effect of "enabling" a law school in continuing a dysfunctional teaching and curricular structure that creates barriers for many students and prevents their ultimate success.

The article adds its voice to a growing body of scholarship in the area of academic support and learning theory in law schools. In addition to a theoretical discussion of academic support, the article provides concrete suggestions for improving academic support programs and critically examines specific programs at Northern Kentucky University's Salmon P. Chase College of Law.