Menu Close

Mentor Committee

Mission

The mission of the SEALS Mentor Committee is to match each SEALS New Scholar with a faculty mentor in her or his subject matter area at another SEALS member or affiliate school. Mentors provide their New Scholars with advice and guidance on their presentations and their article drafts. The mentors also attend their New Scholars’ presentations at SEALS and provide them with feedback afterwards, often over coffee or a drink. New Scholars and Mentors find the experience a very rewarding way to develop new (and often lasting) relationships within the legal academy. We also draft an annual report on our activities.

Committee Members

  • Jasmine Abdel-Khalik (UMKC) (Co-Chair)
  • Catherine Hancock (Tulane) (Co-Chair)
  • Cynthia Alkon (Texas Tech)
  • Todd Berger (Syracuse)
  • Teneille Brown (Utah)
  • Donald Campbell (Mississippi College)
  • Katerina Lewinbuk (S. Texas)
  • Suparna Malempati (Atlanta’s John Marshall)
  • Marc Roark (Southern)
  • Donald Tibbs (St. Thomas)

Important Links

2018 Annual Report

We love the process of finding and guiding mentors for the new scholars and commentators for the works-in-progress panels. We think those panels—and the matching of mentors/discussants with new or seasoned scholars—are the heart of the SEALS experience.

Our process for matching each new scholar with a mentor is now routine: each member of the Mentor Committee locates mentors for one or two panels. Members each choose the panel or panels for which they wish to locate mentors, based on their own areas of expertise. This year presented a few challenges in that fewer prospective mentors will be present at the conference for many days than in past years, but we still had an abundance of people to ask. We always face the challenge of late cancellations or additions, but we have managed to handle those relatively efficiently by keeping a roster of emergency mentors for these occasions.

We keep a list of mentors, identifying their subject areas of expertise, and we also track which mentors have worked well or not so well on our “naughty or nice” list. As per usual, we are very grateful to the Chair of the New Scholars Committee, Missy Lonegrass, who is a wizard of panel creation and is always a pleasure to deal with.

2017 Annual Report

We love the process of finding and guiding mentors for the new scholars and commentators for the works-in-progress panels. We think those panels—and the matching of mentors/discussants with new or seasoned scholars—are the heart of the SEALS experience.

Our process for matching each new scholar with a mentor is now routine: each member of the Mentor Committee locates mentors for one or two panels. Members each choose the panel or panels for which they wish to locate mentors, based on their own areas of expertise. We always face the challenge of late cancellations or additions, but we have managed to handle those relatively efficiently by keeping a roster of emergency mentors for these occasions. Our work with the scholars presenting at the works-in-progress panels is handled similarly, primarily by the co-chairs.

We keep a list of mentors, identifying their subject areas of expertise, and we also track which mentors have worked well or not so well on our “naughty or nice” list. As per usual, we are very grateful to the Chair of the New Scholars Committee, Missy Lonegrass, who is a wizard of panel creation and is always a pleasure to deal with.

Testimonials from committee members past and present:

  • Professor Benjamin Barton, University of Tennessee College of Law:

I first served as a SEALs mentor in 2004 and I have served as a mentor every year since.  I love getting the chance to meet a new colleague every summer.  I love getting to read and comment on a draft and see the draft improve over time.  I love attending the presentations and then meeting for coffee or a drink afterwards.  I love that so many of my “mentees” have become SEALs regulars and dear friends.  Every SEALs is now like old home week for me, as I happily watch junior scholars become senior scholars.  Being a SEALs mentor is among the most gratifying experiences of my career and I look forward to it every year.  Being on the Mentor Committee makes it all the better, as I get to help bring mentors and new scholars together year after year.  We always say that the mentor/new scholar program is the pumping heart of the SEALs experience and that has certainly been true for me.

  • Professor Kathy Cerminara, Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law:

SEALS mentoring is the most rewarding of my service endeavors. Way back in 1999, I served as my school’s “young scholar” at what was then called the “SEAALS Young Scholars Workshop.” There were only a few of us, and a warm, supportive audience gave us helpful feedback. Fast-forward to today; not only has the New Scholars Program grown exponentially, but the Mentor Committee also now assigns each new scholar a mentor to provide individual feedback in addition to the audience’s. Each mentor-new scholar matchup embodies the same camaraderie and nurturing spirit as that 1999 meeting did, despite the increased number of participants. Like many mentors, I have become close friends with some of my “mentees,” and I have remained in touch with many more of them. There’s nothing like it.

  • Professor Caprice Roberts, Savannah Law School:

At the heart of SEALS is a genuine commitment to bring new scholars into the broader academic community. With a well oiled mentorship matching program and guaranteed new scholar panels, new scholars experience a welcoming environment to showcase works-in-progress, engage in meaningful debate, and receive productive feedback from experts in the field. The SEALS new scholars program also fosters genuine relationships that last. The mentorship and feedback I received as a new scholar altered my view of the academy for the better and inspired me to become a mentor each year as well as serve on SEALS committees that promote the advancement of new scholars. The SEALS new scholar program is a gamechanger for the development of ideas and establishment of critical connections. I wouldn’t miss SEALS for the world.

  • Professor Nancy Levit, UMKC School of Law:

I first served as a SEALs mentor in 2004 and I have served as a mentor every year since.  I love getting the chance to meet a new colleague every summer.  I love getting to read and comment on a draft and see the draft improve over time.  I love attending the presentations and then meeting for coffee or a drink afterwards.  I love that so many of my “mentees” have become SEALs regulars and dear friends.  Every SEALs is now like old home week for me, as I happily watch junior scholars become senior scholars.  Being a SEALs mentor is among the most gratifying experiences of my career and I look forward to it every year.  Being on the Mentor Committee makes it all the better, as I get to help bring mentors and new scholars together year after year.  We always say that the mentor/new scholar program is the pumping heart of the SEALs experience and that has certainly been true for me.

Messages

Greetings. We are back from another wonderful SEALS Conference, and the Mentor Committee would like to thank all of this year’s mentors, mentors-at-large, and new scholars. We’re also starting on next year’s program already. The New Scholar program continues to grow in popularity, and in order to make it as strong as possible it’s important for us to maintain a list of existing mentors, as well as identify new mentors who are committed to enhancing the quality of this program. If you were not a mentor this last year, you did not sign up during SEALS this year to be one, and would like to be one, please email bbarton@utk.edu with your name, your area(s) of expertise, and your contact information (phone, email, address). If you signed up to be a mentor at SEALS this year, you do not need to resend your information. If you have been a mentor, but don’t want to be one again, you can also email us that information. Again, thanks for making the SEALS New Scholar program such a big success. We think it’s one of SEALS greatest strengths.

css.php