Friday, September 25, 2009

What's the Deal With This "New" Paper Deadline?

This isn't new news, but it was reiterated in an electronic mail sent to students earlier this morning.
Paper Deadline: All fall papers are due no later than 5:00 p.m. Thursday, December 17, unless the instructor/supervisor imposes and an earlier deadline. One-time exception: Spring/fall 2009 yearlong independent research papers are due no later than 5:00 p.m. January 18, 2010. Students who submit late papers will receive F grades. If requested in advance, deadline extensions can be granted with good cause. See section V., pages 27-28, of the online Academic Policies for details.

Man, what? For those who are unaware, students were often (but not always) allowed all of winter break to finish their papers. The putative rationale: it's unfair to require a student to write a 30-40 page paper, which is ostensibly supposed to be something approaching publishable quality, while they're trying to study for three or even four other exams. (Here's something I have found to be incontrovertible: you *will* spend more time writing that 30-40 page paper for three credits than you will studying for that three credit exam).

We took a class last year where the Professor required the paper to be due at the end of the finals period. Yea, it was nice to get it done . . . but it was an unpleasant two weeks (and our performance on finals suffered).

So what's the point of this new regulation? Is it to help Professors return grades more quickly? Or just a clever scheme to help students multitask better. Anyway, students take heed, if you're at all concerned about this, the best thing to do is to put of your paper until you are a 3L, when those pesky things like "exams" and "grades" won't mean much anymore.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

A school that took the academic interests of its students seriously would:

1) allow them to work on the paper over winter break, and

2) allow for-credit papers to be turned into notes

It's crazy to expect students to put a solid effort into more than one publication-worthy piece during their law school careers. And for students who only write one piece, the limitations on the amount of credit you can get for a given piece (ie, either it's a Note, or it's for credit-- but not both) substantially reduces the quality of output. Independent study is only a partial solution.

Sure, most of us will work for firms and never publish more than a few very short practitioner guides / client advisements. But UVa Law isn't just a professional school. Surely there's more to the academic experience here than how it trains us to be lawyers in private practice.

I know Professor Kraus had said that encouraging students to pursue their academic interests even if they weren't pursuing a career in academia would have been a goal of his had he become dean.

Perhaps the current administration should follow his vision instead of slowly crushing it with idiot moves like this end-of-exam-period paper deadline.

Anonymous said...

5:31,

Your (2) is incorrect, if I'm reading it accurately. See http://www.law.virginia.edu/pdf/studentrecords/policies/cod_all_web0910.pdf on page 33-35. I know a lot of VLR members who get credit for the Independent Research they do in order to write their Notes or for the papers they write in seminars, and then (after the paper has been submitted for a grade) publish the paper as a Note in VLR or some other journal. This is expressly allowed in the UVA Law Academic Policies (URL above).

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the scope of your (2).

Anonymous said...

5:31,

Your (2) is incorrect, if I'm reading it accurately. See http://www.law.virginia.edu/pdf/studentrecords/policies/cod_all_web0910.pdf on page 33-35. I know a lot of VLR members who get credit for the Independent Research they do in order to write their Notes or for the papers they write in seminars, and then (after the paper has been submitted for a grade) publish the paper as a Note in VLR or some other journal. This is expressly allowed in the UVA Law Academic Policies (URL above).

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the scope of your (2) if you're referring to plagiarism or other (?) concerns.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Anonymous said...

waa waa waa, a lot of profs didn't give you all of winter break to write the papers anyway/