Law school professors start blogging

Looking to further classroom discussion and connect with students, professors at the GW Law School created a series of faculty blogs this fall.

The law school is promoting 11 blogs on its website, covering topics from contemporary America and American law, Chinese Law and Presidency and developing technology.

“Ideas often stem from classroom discussion, but blogging is also a great way for us to bring new ideas, research, policy and practice from experts and academics back to the students,” said Paul Butler, the school’s associate dean for faculty development.

The pervasiveness of the Internet and its use by younger generations led law professors to seek a way to discuss their ideas openly online.

“The open format allows not only for the sharing of ideas and the opinions of the faculty, but also for students to comment and become part of the ongoing discussion,” Butler said. “The Internet is just the way people communicate now and it’s important for the faculty to reach the students, and the public, where lots of people go for information.”

The blogs not only host discussions, but also share “links, articles, media, and the opinions of other experts,” said Gregory Maggs, the senior associate dean of the law school.

“Blogs present new possibilities of communication in that there are no time limits involved,” he said. “The posts and comments can continue to have a life of their own well after a lecture ends or office hours are over.”

With a faculty comprised of authors like Naomi Cahn and scholarly researchers like Butler, the law school is one of the most “media-cited faculties in the nation,” said Laura Ewald, a director in the communications office.

“The opinions of our professors are highly sought after by students, members of the media, academics, and policymakers,” she said. “Having access to these opinion leaders is a huge advantage for GW law students.”

Some students, like Giri Iyengar, said that the blogs humanize the faculty and allow students to get to know a professor’s academic approach and personality better than in a formal lecture.

“[The blogs] in turn make them more approachable on campus,” Iyengar said. “They also give students some degree of insight into these professors’ minds.”

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