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Learning Communities and Dean's Fellows

Learning Communities

The University of Dayton School of Law is committed to providing all incoming law students with the foundational skills necessary for success through placement in a Learning Community. Each Learning Community consists of approximately 8 to 10 students and is led by Dean’s Fellows, upper-level students selected for their academic achievement, commitment to the Law School community, aptitude for expert learning strategies, and interest in education.

Dean’s Fellows work with the Law School’s Academic Success department and the 1Ls doctrinal professors and assist students in developing effective strategies to maximize the opportunity for academic success.

Throughout the semester, Dean’s Fellows facilitate a 60-minute session for their Learning Community. While not providing substantive legal instruction, Dean’s Fellows assist students in developing the five general skill areas that first-year students need to be successful in their studies: (1) time management; (2) note-taking; (3) reading and briefing cases; (4) synthesizing (weekly review and outlining); and (5) test-taking strategies.

The Learning Communities also encourage and promote students’ participation in various professionalism and career services activities and workshops to ensure that 1Ls are not just proficient in the classroom, but are healthy and well-rounded law students that the Law School cultivates and honors.

Participation in a Learning Community during the first semester of Law School is a graduation requirement for all students.

How can I become a Dean's Fellow?

2020 Dean's Fellows

The University of Dayton School of Law is proud to present the Dean's Fellows:

The Paul McGreal Fellow
Ashley Oravetz

Realizing that everyone in law school experiences challenges, inside and outside of the classroom, having the ability to be accessible and to provide emotional support is one of the most important aspects of being a Dean’s Fellow. Besides my ability to listen, one of the biggest strengths that I can bring to the Dean’s Fellow Program is my ability to be honest about my law school experiences and my willingness to share my knowledge. This knowledge includes information regarding the studying skills that I have developed over the past year along with additional tips for success such as the importance of cultivating relationships with professors in academic and personal settings.

Online Hybrid
Wendy Palmer

I am so very happy with the hybrid program and I want to see this program and the students in it succeed. I want to help the next class of hybrid students adjust to the demands of law school and the changes that the first semester will bring to their lives. The hybrid program is unique in that many of the students have had various life experiences before attending law school. Many will be juggling full-time jobs and/or family obligations, as I have done successfully this past year. I would like to use my many life experiences and my past year of experience as a hybrid law student to encourage and mentor the next class of hybrid students.

Fall
Lauren Devine

Law school is difficult for everyone. However, I think certain students face unique difficulties depending on their circumstances. I want to be of service to UDSL’s incoming students and to do what I can to ease the transition for those from diverse or non-traditional backgrounds, like myself. Ultimately, I think it is most important to impart the wisdom of my mantra. Law school is hard, but so is almost everything that is worth doing. Our time at UDSL is a special opportunity to embrace the challenges, lean into the opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and more simply, to “do the work.”

Deztany Johnson

When I came to UDSL, I was impressed by the fact they even had Dean’s Fellows and even more so by the caliber of people they were. I remember thinking right off the bat, “I want to be them my 2L year.” Coming into the unknown environment of law school and not knowing what to expect, the Dean’s Fellows were calming during a tumultuous time. While I have had many “learning opportunities” in my 1L year, I have had fundamentally more success. As a Dean’s Fellow, I want to help people navigate those “learning opportunities” and grow from them. Additionally, I want to take my experience and help them transition into their 1L year. But most of all, I want to provide 1Ls with a sense of reassurance that the Dean’s Fellows have given me. I will be honest with oncoming students that law school is not easy, and there is no one path to success. But I will promise them there is an individual who is willing to help them along the way if they are willing to put in the work.

Craig Looper

I have an understanding how difficult the school and family balance can be for certain students and am excited to work with them on time management and finding a good routine. Of course, that type of time management training will relate to all incoming law students who need to adjust to the workload and demands of law school. It would be a privilege to work to develop another generation of law students.

Kseniia Mironova

Achieving an appropriate perspective is important—errors in law school are minor compared to the consequences of errors in the professional arena. This is the time when we are free to question, make mistakes and learn the nuances of the law. As a Dean’s Fellow, I also bring my core values into the program. The University of Dayton has strong values of service and I think this inherently attracts people who strive to help others.

Ricky Murray

I believe that my skills in teaching will also enable me to lead with distinction. As a Student Pastor, there was no greater feeling than watching a student "get" whatever topic we were teaching about. In the same way, I want to assist incoming students "get" the hard topics that they will learn as a 1L. I don't believe in "spoon-feeding" answers to people, but rather, I believe in assisting them to dig deep and discover those answers for themselves. Not only does this assist them in learning the necessary topics, but it also empowers them to research and dig through case law themselves as they continue to study law at UDSL.

Emily Smith

My favorite part of law school is how it made me grow as a person, and how much fun it can be. Law school has already made such a huge impact on every aspect of my life. I want to help students grow and thrive, even through the trying times. I am enthusiastic about the idea of serving the UDSL’s Academic Success Program. I see how much potential the program has for our student body and want to offer my creativity and organization to make it better.

Jordan Staley

My 1L year turned out to be rather enjoyable, all I need was the right prospective, and I hope I can pass that along. UDSL is a special school, and I feel a passion to convey that to new students. Everyone should feel welcomed and invited to succeed here. If I could provide that feeling for new students, my contribution will be met.

Marcus Vickers

When I was in learning communities, I felt that the more open and receptive my Dean’s Fellow was, the more I benefitted. I would like to do that and more. As a non-traditional student, my experience in getting into law school had its own readjustment compared to other students. Thus, I feel that I would be able to share my unique experience with getting back to school with students. I’m excited about being a Dean’s fellow because I enjoy connecting with people and I like to help where I can. Ultimately, I feel the Dean’s Fellow program, when utilized to its full potential can really benefit the students 

Summer
Sarah Sparks

The most impactful thing I learned from my leadership training was that “[c]onnection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” Brene Brown, Daring Greatly. In law school it can be easy to forget about this because we are so focused on ourselves, on the curve, on the competition, and on studying the material. It can truly feel like a solo endeavor. But, I think the Dean’s Fellow program fosters connection and encourages students to reach out so that they do not feel like they have to handle this alone.

Mitchell Walton

I am excited by the opportunity to pay forward the assistance and understanding I was provided by my Dean's Fellows. I believe that my experience starting over from a fundamental level and learning quickly could be very helpful to those struggling to adapt. I also believe that having relatable pitfalls will help others manage the very same pitfalls.

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