The Education and Curriculum Committee is hard at work on a number of initiatives designed to enhance the professional lives of judicial educators. The fifteen-member committee, co-chaired by Judith Anderson of Washington and Anthony Simones of Missouri, made the decision to split into three subcommittees in order to effectively achieve the goals of the group.
The first goal is to propose curriculum-based sessions for the 2017 NASJE Conference. The subcommittee that took on this task included Kelly Tait, Janice Calvi-Ruimerman, Marie Anders, Stephanie Hemmert, Dana Bartocci, Judith Anderson and Anthony Simones. After reviewing the sessions offered at recent conferences, a number of needs were identified. One session will examine why the curriculum designs were created and how they can be used by judicial educators to enhance the quality of their work. A second session will address the always-relevant topic of diversity issues. A third session will explore success in writing grant applications. Finally, a much-needed session will deal with the Human Resources Curriculum Design. Workgroups are currently creating proposals for these sessions to be submitted to the Conference Committee.
A second goal is to continue what has come to be known as the “Article Club.” Created last year, it was inspired by the success of book clubs throughout the nation. However, the idea of asking busy judicial educators to find the extra time to read a book to prepare for a single meeting struck the committee as unrealistic. On the other hand, simply asking them to read an article in preparation for a session was much more realistic. Thus, the initial idea of a “book club” became a much more practical “article club.” Another modification of the status quo involved the “webinar” format. The visual-heavy focus of webinars seemed ill-suited to what the committee sought to accomplish with these sessions: the simple sharing of ideas. It was decided that a conference-call format would be much more conducive to achieving this objective. Thus, the “callinar” was born. The two sessions were well-received last year and two more callinars will be offered in 2017. The subcommittee charged with offering the article club callinars includes Julie McDonald, Thea Whalen, Linda Dunbar, Judith Anderson and Anthony Simones.
A final goal is to identify and to lay the foundation for the creation of the next curriculum design: ethics. The subject of ethics is one that has permeated all of the existing curriculum designs. The committee concluded that rather than just occupy a small section of the various curriculum designs, this issue is one that justifies its own curriculum design. Jeff Schrade, Jesse Walker, Janice Calvi-Ruimerman, Ileen Gerstenberger, Stephen Feiler, Christine Christopherson, Judith Anderson and Anthony Simones comprise the subcommittee that will address this issue. The first step will be to develop a core curriculum on ethics. After this, the group will wrestle with a number of issues involved in the creation of the Ethics Curriculum Design, including the designation of an author, as well as the question of whether to continue the structural approach used in the past curriculum designs.
The agenda of the Education and Curriculum Committee has been characterized as ambitious. Given the importance of the issues this committee addresses, and the quality of the individuals who compose this group, it is difficult to imagine anything less than an ambitious agenda for this committee.