Menu Close

New Scholars Committee

Mission Statement

The SEALS New Scholars Committee coordinates the SEALS New Scholars Workshop, which provides opportunities for New Scholars to interact with their peers and experts in their respective fields at the SEALS Annual Meeting. For over a decade, the New Scholars Workshop has provided new scholars with the opportunity to present their work in a supportive and welcoming environment. The New Scholars Committee accepts and reviews nominations to the program, organizes new scholars into colloquia based on subject matter, and coordinates with the Mentors Committee to match each new scholar with a mentor in his or her field. We also hold a New Scholars Luncheon at the Annual Meeting at which New Scholars and their mentors can get to know one another and the members of the New Scholars Committee. To ensure that the annual program runs smoothly, members of the New Scholars Committee attend the colloquia and, following the conference, survey the New Scholars to solicit their feedback and comments on the program’s success. Additionally, the Committee traditionally has organized at least one substantive panel or discussion group on a topic of particular relevance to new law teachers, including navigating the tenure track; balancing the demands of service, scholarship, and teaching; and effective self-promotion. In recent years, the Committee has organized a social function at which New Scholars could meet and interact with one another at the Annual Meeting. We also draft an annual report on our activities.

Committee Members

  • Melissa Lonegrass (Louisiana State) (Chair) mlonegrass@lsu.edu
  • John Anderson (Mississippi College) (Vice Chair) jpanders@mc.edu
  • Atiba Ellis (Marquette)
  • Leslie Francis (Utah)
  • Chris Lund (Wayne State)
  • Seema Mohapatra (Indiana)
  • Ed Rubin (Vanderbilt)
  • Kenya Smith (Southern)
  • Karen Sneddon (Mercer)
  • Timothy Todd (Liberty)
  • Howard Wasserman (FIU) wasserma@fiu.edu

2018 New Scholars Papers

Important Links

Reports

2020 Annual Report

The following is a report of the activities of the New Scholars Committee. This report summarizes both the 2019 New Scholars Program and the 2020 New Scholars Program.

2019 New Scholars Program: Highlights

The 2019 New Scholars Program included 26 participants. This represents a slight uptick from 2018, in which we hosted 22 participants. The panels generally went well with few technical or other issues. Audience attendance at these panels was increased slightly through a new initiative of the Committee, which was to appoint “discussants” to each panel – that is, one designated audience member per panelist, each of whom was asked in advance to commit to attend a particular panel. Another new initiative of the Committee was the development of a discussion group opportunity for our New Scholars. New Scholars were asked to participate in one of two discussion groups, both titled “The Next Article,” at which New Scholars and other attendees pitched new article ideas and received feedback and guidance on their future project. Both discussion groups were well-attended and well-received.  The Happy Hour and New Scholars luncheon were both well-attended.

Survey of 2019 New Scholars

Soon after the 2018 Conference ended, the Committee prepared and circulated its annual New Scholars 2019 in cooperation with the Mentors Committee. We have remained committed to sending our survey out immediately after the conference in order to get the best response rate possible. We have also continued to use an online survey format with much success.  We received 14/26 survey responses, which is a slight decrease in terms of a percentage from the past year.  New Scholars who participated in the 2019 program generally reported that the SEALS New Scholars Program was a positive and enriching experience.  Those results were in line with results from past surveys.

2020 New Scholars Colloquia

Beginning in the fall and extending into the spring, the Committee accepted nominations to the 2020 New Scholars Program and organized participants into panels.  The 2020 New Scholars Program had 28 participants lined up just prior to the onset of the pandemic. We worked very hard to get the number as high as it is, including by reaching out directly to newly hired faculty. Between the onset of the pandemic and the date of the conference, the number of New Scholars fell to 20. Most of the New Scholars who dropped out of the program asked to be included in the 2021 program.

New Scholars panels were scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 2 and Monday, August 3. All panels took place from 8:00-10:00 a.m., with the exception of one panel on which several panelists or mentors were located on the West Coast. That panel began at 10:15 a.m. (Eastern time) to accommodate the time difference for those panelists. As usual, we did our best to organize the papers thematically. Other than a few technical glitches related to the virtual format of the conference, the New Scholars panels ran smoothly. We continued our “The Next Article” discussion groups in 2020.  As of the drafting of this report, one of those discussion groups had taken place. It was well-attended (12-14 discussants) and well-received. For obvious reasons, our usual socializing and networking opportunities for New Scholars (the New Scholars Luncheon and the New Scholars Happy Hour) did not take place in 2020.

2019 Annual Report

The following is a report of the activities of the New Scholars Committee. This report summarizes both the 2018 New Scholars Program and our plans for the 2019 New Scholars Program.

2018 New Scholars Program: Highlights

The 2018 New Scholars Program included 22 participants organized into 6 panels. This represents a sharp decline from 2017, in which we hosted 37 participants organized into 10 panels. The panels generally went well with few technical or other issues. Audience attendance at these panels was relatively low (as it has been in past years), but participation among audience members in Q&A was high (again, as is usually the case). The Happy Hour was fairly-well attended, although it was scheduled at a time during which there were other conflicting events scheduled, leading to lower participation than usual.

Survey of 2018 New Scholars

Soon after the 2018 Conference ended, the Committee prepared and circulated its annual New Scholars 2018 in cooperation with the Mentors Committee. We have remained committed to sending our survey out immediately after the conference in order to get the best response rate possible. We have also continued to use an online survey format with much success.  We received 14/22 survey responses, which is a slight uptick from the past year.  New Scholars who participated in the 2018 program generally reported that the SEALS New Scholars Program was a positive and enriching experience.  Those results were in line with results from past surveys.

Development of 2019 New Scholars Colloquia

Beginning in the fall and extending into the spring, the Committee accepted nominations to the 2019 New Scholars Program and organized participants into panels.  The 2019 New Scholars Program has 29 participants organized into 8 panels. This is a higher number than last year, but still a lower number than “usual” for us. We worked very hard to get the number as high as it is, including by reaching out directly to newly hired faculty on the 2018 lawprofblog new hires list. We can only continue attribute the relatively low participation to continuing decreases in travel budgets and the general lull in faculty hiring.

New Scholars panels are scheduled on Monday, July 29 and Wednesday, July 31. The Monday panels are scheduled to take place from 8-10 a.m., while the Wednesday panels are scheduled to take place from 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Last year, we experimented with holding some of our panels at 10:15 and found that this timeslot allows us more flexibility and also holds promise to help us increase our attendance at New Scholars panels. Unlike last year, we did not limit the 10:15 panels to 3 panelists, but took up to 4 panelists per panel. This slightly decreases the time for each panelist to present (from 30 minutes to roughly 26 minutes), but also helps us avoid smaller panels (2-3 panelists), which are traditionally very poorly attended. As usual, we did our best to organize the papers thematically.

 New Scholars Committee members will be reaching out to a number of individuals and groups in an effort to increase audience size and participation at our panels. We will reach out to former New Scholars, mentors, and other subject matter experts and ask them to sit in on one or more panels as an audience member. We also intend to contact the chairs of the Prospective Law Teachers Program and ask them to encourage the participants in that program to attend New Scholars presentations. We hope that all of these measures will increase audience size and provide New Scholars with ample questions and feedback on their papers.

Substantive Panels/Discussion Groups

Traditionally, the New Scholars Committee has hosted one or more substantive panels and/or discussion groups as part of its program. In 2018 New Scholars Committee took a hiatus from this tradition to rethink the necessity of this programming in light of the Newer and Beginning Law Teachers programming, which overlaps quite a bit with our substantive programming. We have decided to experiment with discussion groups aimed at helping New Scholars brainstorm about their scholarly agendas. We will hold two discussion groups, one on Monday, July 30 and another on Wednesday, July 31, each titled “The Next Article.”  Our New Scholars have responded well to this idea, with most participants in the program signing up for one of the discussion groups. The groups will be led/moderated by members of our New Scholars Committee.

Socializing and Networking Opportunities

The New Scholars luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, July 30. We anticipate that it will be well-attended, especially since the New Scholars program is only two days long and falls at the beginning of the conference. We anticipate that most New Scholars will be in attendance at the conference on Tuesday. Consistent with this, we have scheduled the New Scholars Happy Hour for the evening of the same day. As usual, each New Scholar is invited to bring a guest, and mentors are welcome.

2018 Annual Report

The following is a report of the activities of the New Scholars Committee for the 2017-2018 academic year:

2017 New Scholars Program: Highlights

The 2017 New Scholars program included 37 participants organized into 10 panels. The panels generally went well with few technical or other issues—with the exception of two missing mentors and one very late moderator. Audience attendance at these panels was relatively low (as it has been in past years), but participation among audience members in Q&A was high (again, as is usually the case). Our substantive panels (Getting Out There and Inside the Mind of the Outside Reviewer) went smoothly and were well attended. The New Scholars Happy Hour was the best-attended ever.

Survey of 2017 New Scholars

Soon after the 2017 Conference ended, the Committee prepared and circulated its annual New Scholars Survey in cooperation with the Mentors Committee. New Scholars who participated in the 2017 program generally reported that the SEALS New Scholars Program was a positive and enriching experience. Those results were in line with results from past surveys. We received 20 out of 37 survey responses, which is a slight uptick from the past year. The survey was circulated immediately following the conference (consistent with last year).

Development of 2018 New Scholars Colloquia

Beginning in the fall and extending into the spring, the Committee accepted nominations to the 2018 New Scholars Program and organized participants into panels. The 2018 New Scholars Program has only 21 participants—the smallest number in recent memory. We can only attribute the relatively low participation to continuing decreases in travel budgets and the general lull in faculty hiring. We may want to think critically about how we can increase participation among member schools.

New Scholars panels are scheduled on Monday, August 6 and Wednesday, August 8. The Monday panels have been scheduled for 10:15 rather than during the traditional 8:00 time slot in an effort to determine if scheduling the New Scholars panels later in the day might increase attendance. Later scheduling has come with a slight downside: each panel has room for only three participants (rather than the traditional four). We did our best to organize the papers thematically, but given the low number of participants some of the panelists are rather imprecisely grouped.

New Scholars Committee members will be reaching out to a number of individuals and groups in an effort to increase audience size and participation at our panels. We intend to contact subject matter experts whose expertise aligns with New Scholars’ presentations and encourage them to attend panels in their fields. We intend also to coordinate with the chair of the Moderators Committee (as we have in past years) and ask her to encourage moderators to ask panelists in the New Scholars program to sit in the audience (as a means of increasing audience size and facilitating conversation among panelists). We also intend to contact the chairs of the Prospective Law Teachers Program and ask them to encourage the participants in that program to attend New Scholars presentations. We hope that all of these measures will increase audience size and provide New Scholars with ample questions and feedback on their papers.

Substantive Panels

The New Scholars Committee took a hiatus from its tradition of organizing substantive panels on topics of interest to new scholars. We intend to return to this practice in 2019.

Socializing and Networking Opportunities

The New Scholars luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7. We anticipate that it will be well-attended, especially since the New Scholars program is only two days long and falls at the beginning of the conference. We anticipate that most New Scholars will be in attendance at the conference on Tuesday. Consistent with this, we have scheduled the New Scholars Happy Hour for the evening of the same day.

Summer Communications

Last year we communicated with the New Scholars during the summer primarily through the use of an online Newsletter. We included dates and times of New Scholars panels, substantive programming, and social events. We also included at-a-glance information about how the program and panels are conducted, a link to the New Scholars guidelines, and a reminder to look for and attend New Law Teachers Workshop programming. While a few of our surveyed participants said that they found the newsletter quite helpful, it is apparent that most of our New Scholars did not read the newsletter. We intend to revert back to traditional (text-based email) communications with New Scholars this summer to ensure that participants have complete information about the program.

Testimonials from New Scholars:

Victoria S. Sahani (W&L)

The 2014 SEALS New Scholars program was a phenomenal experience for me.  Early in the summer, I received detailed feedback from a very senior faculty mentor (who later became a Dean) on an early stage draft of an article.  In August, I presented the article at SEALS to a wide-ranging audience and received excellent feedback that I incorporated when I reworked my draft.  I recently published that article in the UCLA Law Review.  I am truly grateful for the New Scholars program’s invaluable contribution to improving my scholarship.

Christopher K. Odinet, Southern University Law Center:

The new scholars program was immensely helpful to me. It is often difficult as a new professor to develop relationships with senior scholars in your field who will read your work and give detailed feedback. This program at SEALS connected me with a knowledgeable senior faculty mentor who sat down and gave me substantive critiques and line-by-line edits. I attribute the success of that article largely to tremendous help I received in the New Scholars Program.

JoAnne Sweeny, University of Louisville School of Law:

Being at SEALS helped me make contacts with people at various points in their careers.  Not only did I get to present my research to an engaged audience, but I was able to talk to them in a relaxed atmosphere that made connecting easier and a lot more fun.

Michael T. Morley, Barry University School of Law:

The SEALS New Scholars program was one of the most useful opportunities I’ve ever had to present my work.  I received thoughtful feedback from a committed mentor that greatly improved the quality of my draft, and the insightful questions I received from the audience helped me recognize issues I had overlooked.  Particularly as a young scholar, it is rare to have an opportunity to receive such extensive, thorough feedback.

Andrew Wright, Savannah Law School:

The SEALS New Scholars program has been instrumental in my launch from government into academia.  Making a commitment to present a paper topic during the summer has sharpened my focus on scholarship during the hurly-burly of teaching classes.   The panel discussions are lively and the New Scholars Committee does a great job of matching mentors and providing constructive feedback.  SEALS has been my primary source of mentors, not to mention friends, in the academy.

Messages

Welcome to the SEALS New Scholars Program. We are thrilled that you will be participating in this year’s exciting program. We look forward to learning more about you and your area of scholarship interest. Please look at the New Scholar Guidelines, which should address most questions that you may have about your presentation.

We try to organize the panels of New Scholars at least loosely by subject matter and to schedule them near the times of other panels in related subject areas. We do this to allow you to meet other New Scholars in similar areas and to make it easier for more seasoned scholars to tell which panels they might attend to hear about new work and to offer advice based on their areas of expertise. While the diversity of subjects and last minute substitutions can make subject matter groupings difficult, we have done the best we can. All New Scholars are also assigned a mentor.

If you have not done so already, please make sure to register for the conference, pay the required registration fee, and arrange for your rooms soon. Some people attend the whole week-long conference, while others attend just a few days centered around the time that they are speaking. Information for registering is also on this website.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference.

Warmest regards,

SEALS New Scholars Committee

css.php