UDM Law administrators and professors supported students and alumni throughout their July Bar Exam preparations, from mentoring, to hosting Q & A sessions, right on down to serving them lunch on test days.
Academic Support Director Nancy Omichinski and Assistant Director Charisse Heath worked with Professors Cara Cunningham and Karen Henning to create a program called "Rock the Bar." This collaborative effort involved twenty of the School's thirty-one full-time faculty members, two Professors of Practice, one visiting professor, and even one retired professor serving as mentors assigned to individual students, consultants available for Q & A, and faculty available for hands-on help during "Walk-In Wednesday" sessions. The School's Kresge Law Library joined in by putting up study carrels for reservation and setting aside a study room specifically for Bar Exam takers.
The program, which ran from late May through July, supported students and recent alumni as they prepared to take the grueling two-day Bar Exam. The UDM Law Academic Support department created a web page to host information, keeping the students up-to-date on upcoming "Rock the Bar" events, and enhancing the sense of community brought about by the program. Faculty mentors reached out to their mentees to offer regular encouragement. Students also received contact information for the professors involved, organized by area of expertise. Those faculty experts were available to consult on specific questions about any number of Bar Exam topics. With a focus on helping the students to regulate their own learning, professors who participated in "Walk-In Wednesdays" mentored students on such topics as creating a study plan, evaluating progress, and essay-writing strategies.
The hard work put into developing this program was not in vain. "Students told me repeatedly that they felt more confident just knowing that help was available via the Walk-In Wednesdays and the list of experts that they could ask questions of," said Assistant Professor Karen Henning. "They appreciated the contact from faculty mentors. They said the contacts provided them with both moral support and helpful study tips."
The support did not end on test day. The Bar Exam was held in Lansing, Michigan on July 30 and 31. UDM Law students who left the Breslin Center during the lunch break were greeted outside by faculty and administrators from the School of Law, there to cheer them on and provide healthy boxed lunches to keep up their energy for the second half of each day.