It’s Time to Transform Legal Education

Podcast

It's Time to Transform Legal Education

Episode 71. September 14 2021.

Welcome to the Office Hours with EAB podcast. You can join the conversation on social media using #EABOfficeHours. Follow the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud and Stitcher or visit our podcast homepage for additional episodes.

EAB’s Amy Luitjens is joined by Brian Gallini, Dean of the Willamette University College of Law, for a discussion on the state of U.S. law schools and attorney licensing.

The two touch on everything from the lack of transparency in law school admissions, to pandemic impacts on legal education, to the perennial question of how to standardize and update licensure across the U.S. legal profession.

Transcript

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0:00:12.1 Speaker 1: Hello and welcome to Office Hours with EAB. On today's episode, we'll explore pandemic impacts on law schools and legal education. We'll also examine the dreaded Bar Exam and the current process by which practicing attorneys in the US get licensed, which has changed a lot less than you might think, over the past 100 years or so. Finally, our guests address issues of access and equity in law school admissions, and why the status quo needs to change now. Thank you for listening and enjoy.

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0:00:49.4 Amy Luitjens: Welcome to Office Hours with EAB. I'm Amy Luitjens, a consultant and principal with our Adult Learner Recruitment Group. We partner with institutions on marketing and strategy, in support of their enrollment goals for adult learners at large, across bachelor’s degree completion, graduate and professional programs. And today, I'm excited to welcome Brian Gallini, who is the Dean of the College of Law Willamette University in Oregon. We'll be talking today about a number of changes impacting legal and professional education and innovations institutions can and should be thinking about in this rapidly shifting landscape. Hi, Brian.

0:01:24.0 Brian Gallini: Hi, Amy. Thank you so much for having me.

0:01:26.7 AL: It's our pleasure. I'm wondering if you could tell folks just briefly, a little bit about yourself and the College of Law.

0:01:33.1 BG: Sure. So, we are in Salem, Oregon. We have a student body roughly the size of give or take, 450, somewhere around there, students. We are the oldest law school in the West, having been established in the 1800s. And our general focus is kind of around five curricular areas of business law, public service, health law, international law, and advocacy, and we're really focused on developing the next generation of problem-solving lawyers and leaders. And in terms of me, I joined the College of Law formerly in July, but really kinda shadow started in the third week of March of 2020. And so, as you can imagine, it was quite an interesting time to start a deanship and kind of my goal has been to take every single issue you can imagine, that could come up in a deanship and jam it into the first year. So I think I've been quite successful in doing that. But humor aside, it's really been a privilege to lead during these times. And I'll just close by noting my scholarly and kinda background teaching focus is in criminal law and criminal procedure, so I'm lucky enough to also continue teaching the 1Ls last year in criminal law and currently teaching the upper levels in criminal procedure.

0:02:51.2 AL: That's great, that's great. Well, I'm excited to dig into all of those things, and I think that your rapid trajectory during such a busy time will be something that will really [0:03:01.2] ____ our full conversation, of course. So let's start there, let's start with sort of a reflection on the most recent past. Like many professional schools, of course, and as you well know, law schools have not been immune to the pressures and the pivots that have impacted higher ed during the pandemic. And today, we'll talk a lot about the potential changes that kind of have occurred in that time in legal education, ranging from licensure to access and inclusion in the admission process, and then of course, in the profession. But for starters, again, I think we'd be really remiss if we didn't mention how much has changed in the last 18 months, which of course, aligns with your tenure. So Brian, knowing that interest in law school increased exponentially in the last cycle, and schools are grappling with remote learning and other previously unanticipated changes, I'm wondering if you could reflect a bit on some of those key themes and others that have really shaped this moment in time and really perhaps accelerated changes that might have been on the horizon, but much further downstream?

0:03:58.3 BG: It's really well said, I guess just... But we have topics set and I think it's about helping legal education culturally understand that the world has changed, and that a lot of what we were doing before 20... March of 2020 remains relevant but needs to be contextualized within the framework of that change. And that word, change, is so loaded. I guess, I would take a run at maybe four broad buckets of where at least I see that change reflected. And the first is, and you pointed it out in the stem of the question, really thinking carefully about what the future of remote learning looks like, and sure, we might frame that along the lines of ABA accreditation and all law schools have to, but I think the better question is, how it serves students and how does it serve the market. How does remote learning help provide access to an education while a student is in the middle of their academic journey? And then what are the skills that we can help teach students, that are gonna serve citizens when they go out and practice? And is there a lens that we can think about, from an access to justice standpoint, that we really haven't focused on in the past?

0:05:08.1 BG: So that's kinda bucket one. And I think relatedly, bucket two; how can law schools best ensure some level of cultural competence throughout the curriculum, so that we're producing lawyers who have an equitable lens embedded in their cultural identity? And that might take a variety of forms. It might happen through co-curricular activities, it might happen through a particular class requirement, it might happen through a capstone. But I think we really need to challenge ourselves to think about what that looks like, both for the student and again, the public who they'll serve, upon graduation. And then third, and I suppose speaking of identity formation; how are we gonna help students and assist students in creating a professional identity in a new reality of law practice, that just in the last several months, talking with alums who are dealing with the practice that includes remote depositions, phone or Zoom negotiations, phone or Zoom job interviews, for that matter?

0:06:08.9 BG: So all these kinds of things, where we're not... We might be at home, but we have to help our students understand that being at home is also now for better or for worse, sort of being on call and bringing your A-game to those various professional settings. And then I guess, in bucket four, I would close by just saying, we've really gotta make sure that we bring faculty and staff along in a hybrid tech and facilitating the continued learning in those spaces, which also has to challenge us to think about what our hiring practices look like. Are there ways to leverage hybrid and remote technology, to rethink with an equity lens, a broader way of accessing potential faculty and staff?

0:06:54.4 AL: Right, right. And it's interesting because it really takes employment law, for example, and puts it in action. So I think given the intersection that legal education always sort of sits in, with regard to how our practical day-to-day work plays out, that's a great example of that exact thing. So, let's start with thinking about... Let's start with where we end, which is to say, when we think about the end of law school, when we think about students entering the profession and the steps that kind of exist between completing their formal education and moving into the world of being a practicing attorney. And I know, Brian, for you, that the issue of alternative licensure is something you've thought a lot about, and you've even testified in front of the Oregon Supreme Court with recently. And so I'm wondering if you could tell me a little bit about that work and sort of what your thoughts are on it? What drives you? I think we've already gotten a bit of a glimpse of that. And I guess, also just, why now? Why not before now, perhaps, but then also what is the urgency now, to be thinking about alternative licensure for students?

0:07:58.9 BG: Yeah, this is, as you know, a monstrous topic, and so I think... I guess I'll first answer of the why now question and speaking just through the lens of my experience. So in the summer of 2020, the Oregon State Supreme Court granted emergency one-time diploma privilege by 4-3 vote, to graduates of the class of 2020, across all three Oregon law schools. And after that happened, I'm proud of our class of 2020, for being part of the only... We were the only law school across the five states that granted diploma privilege to actually say, "Alright, let's get to work and let's not take the bar summer 'off.'" And so, we had about 20 graduates who formed what we called a racial justice taskforce, and they studied a narrow issue... Excuse me, of implicit bias in criminal jury selection, which has led to some really interesting law reform conversations that we could talk about maybe outside the scope of this conversation.

0:08:52.8 BG: But sort of the point is that, there were low murmurs that emerged as the students or the graduates were doing that work, as they produced their report that we're... Hey, this seems to more correlate strongly to what attorneys do. Things like critical thinking, things like evaluating equity and practice, teamwork, negotiation, building consensus with those who you might disagree with, not to mention research and writing, and then producing a report collaboratively. People took notice and those murmurs gradually, I think, became a bit of a dull roar that then Chief Justice Walters and to the court's credit, the State Supreme Court level charged an alternatives to exam taskforce to really concretely think about whether that diploma privilege order could be durable. Is there something else.

0:09:45.3 AL: And Brian... I'm so sorry to interrupt. For some of our listeners perhaps who are not as familiar with it, I wonder if you might talk just a bit briefly about Diploma privilege and what it is, so folks have that context?

0:09:57.1 BG: Yeah, so the True Diploma Privilege is as straightforward as you graduate from an in-state law school and you're immediately licensed to practice in that state, you're done. So the idea being curricular pathway, without any collaborative examination with the Board of Bar Examiners. And for those who are wondering, "Well, has this ever been done before?" Wisconsin has been doing it forever, and so there is an example out there. I think that's the example or the best answer for the why now. I think though, to be fair, there are a lot of folks much smarter than me, who've been thinking carefully about this for much longer than me, and I think channeling some of what they would say is that, the Bar exam, which is our traditional measure of competence... Minimum competence in protecting the public, they might point out that that exam has been around for roughly 100 years, and as much as we might update our phones or update our vehicles or remodel our homes, we haven't done any of that when it comes to attorney licensure.

0:11:00.5 BG: And alongside, kind of observing that absence or that absence of update or that stagnation, we have the ABA come out and release long promised data around the differential bar pass outcomes for White bar takers versus students of Color. And very briefly, we found, kinda painting with a broad brush here, that there's roughly a 15% differential between white bar takers and examinees of color. The other thing I might point out is, it's a really confusing landscape to figure out, "What do we mean, when we say, pass the bar?" And so, there's this thing out there, called the Uniform Bar Exam, that not every state, despite the name uniform, not every state is opted into. So, I might sit for the uniform bar here in Oregon and earn a score, that's called the cut score, that allows me to practice here in Oregon, but may not allow me to practice in the State of Alaska. Or I might fail the cut score in Oregon, which is to get something below a 270, but I could practice in New York, in Connecticut, in Missouri, etcetera.

0:12:07.4 AL: Right. Right.

0:12:08.4 BG: I only pointed those examples, it's just a note that we're in a licensing scheme right now, where the word pass or fail is not as binary as we might think, along the lines of the public narrative. So all of those things, I think, have come together in a rising tide, where now there really is an appetite to ask, "Could we do better?"

0:12:29.6 AL: And where do you see this going in practical terms, maybe over the next six to 12 months in your state in particular?

0:12:35.5 BG: So here in Oregon, after the State Supreme Court charged the alternatives to exam Task Force. Kinda fast forwarding roughly 10 months of work, the task force recommended two alternative pathways for in-state licensure, and the first, which had been dubbed the Oregon experiential pathway, and the one most likely impact law school curriculum, is designed to be an experiential curriculum in collaboration with the board of bar examiners, that upon completion of that curriculum, which is heavily focused on experiential learning, would produce a capstone project that would then be evaluated by the Board of Bar Examiners. So hopefully, quite obviously, this is distinct from the Wisconsin model, it's not merely... And I don't mean merely, but sort of working in the spirit of that word, but it's not curriculum only, it is a true partner partnership with the Board of Bar Examiners. And then the second proposal that's out there and in front of the State Supreme Court at present is the SPP, the Supervised Practice Pathway, which for attorneys who would come from out of state and seek to practice here in state, they would complete roughly 1000 to 1500 hours of in-state practice.

0:13:49.9 BG: And so when we step back, we would have this kind of holistic framing for licensure, where we wouldn't seek to disturb uniform bar exam that would be out there, but we would add on an in-state pathway for those who would attend Oregon law schools and for those who wouldn't attend Oregon law schools, who would seek to come in state. And so there would be this kind of three ways of attacking licensure.

0:14:14.1 AL: That's great. Well, and so we could take this in a couple of different directions, but one of the things that I'm thinking about, knowing that some of our listeners may be leaders in other professional school or graduate school settings that are thinking about innovation like you, but within their specific context. I think one of the thing that's front of mind for so many leaders in academia right now is, we know students are looking ever more urgently for how they can drive to the outcomes they're looking for, as quickly as possible with the knowledge that they need, at an affordable price point. And I think legal education and other very well-articulated professional pathways have a number of steps that make a whole lot of sense in order to make sure that the professionals of the future are being trained appropriately. And yet, when we think about this innovation and we think about what you're talking about specifically and how it might translate across other professional schools or other graduate schools, I'm just wondering if you have any words of advice or suggestions that you might impart to your colleagues and peers, who fulfill those roles in other types of institutions, as they think about sort of meeting the needs of students based on where they are right now and the needs of the marketplace, without proposing too rapid or too dramatic shifts in what it is that they're trying to teach.

0:15:36.6 BG: I think the short answer to that is, focusing concretely on an increase in experiential learning opportunities. I think we know that students want these opportunities, they wanna learn by doing, they want consequential learning opportunities. We know that the ABA is interested in this, as we've seen an increase in the requirement for experiential learning as a graduation requirement. We also know that employers want this. We know that employers most commonly, will complain, "Well, I want practice ready graduates. I want graduates who understand how to file a press, how to draft a complaint, how to take a deposition." But when we think about the current licensing scheme, law schools are not incentivized to engage in a curriculum that's responsive. What they're incentivized to do is, help students pass the bar. So we have, to this point, a bit of a chicken or the egg. Do we wanna engage and invest in the space that may help prepare students for practice, but could actually tangibly harm their ability to become licensed? And that's a very difficult pathway or tight rope, I should say, to walk.

0:16:46.0 BG: So I guess my guidance is that, I think change happens at the margins and looking at some of the blueprints that are out there and continuing to push these conversations at levels that we know they're happening in California, we know that they're happening in Washington, we know that they're happening in New York. So again, these are spaces that the tides are rising and looking at what seems to be replicable from those conversations and really bringing them to the forefront.

0:17:14.0 AL: That's great. So in thinking about those experiential learning opportunities and how they may not, as they currently exist in many cases, align most clearly perhaps, with the path to licensure, I wonder if you have any thoughts on examples of ways in which they might... So for example, how might you take the existing clinical education model, where students are working in a clinic setting, to do any number of different things that give them access to what it might be like to be a practicing attorney, how that might translate to the alternative pathways to licensure we talked about.

0:17:50.9 BG: So in the experiential pathway model, the thinking... In response to your question would be, if I complete a certain number of credit hours in my clinic, that counts definitionally for a piece of my experiential learning credit requirements. And so, that leads us to maybe back up just a moment and kinda define what would we mean when we use that term, experiential learning. And as you point out, clinics are one way of doing it, externship are a second way of doing it. But when we really wanna focus on the potential for law school innovation, it's in the third category, which is simulation learning. And right now when we look across at law school websites, we see law schools touting simulation learning along the lines of things like legal research and writing, trial advocacy, and of course, clinics and externships, all of which are appropriate to celebrate and to recognize and highlight. But the question is, what else can we do?

0:18:46.7 BG: And what else is, to really challenge ourselves to think about converting traditional stand and lecture and stand and deliver classes and converting those into meeting students where they're at, which is to force them to engage with the material, to roll their sleeves up, and really think about how they can do that in a way that challenges them to wrestle with the material in a way that produces a result. So is it through a case file? Is it through an argument? Is it through a plea negotiation? A negotiation and interview. The examples are, I would submit, boundless. But we're gonna have to think about teaching differently and incentivizing faculty to stand up their courses differently.

0:19:27.6 AL: Great. Well, so I think that having covered all of that, what I keep coming back to is, knowing not only as we've reflected on what students are looking for right now, but then our imperative for how we serve them and meet them where they're at, in order to build a workforce that really is in a position to best serve the community in a very meaningful and authentic way, in a very representative way. So I'm wondering, speaking of representation, if we could take a minute to talk a little bit about the start of the process that folks go through when they're thinking about going to law school, which is to say, thinking about recruiting students to law school, starting early on in their undergraduate experience or perhaps even before, and sort of tracing that all the way up through, when folks are thinking about sitting for the Bar.

0:20:14.4 AL: And I think, knowing that now, more than ever, we need more, broader, authentic representation in practice, and knowing that as you shared, there is absolutely a stark difference in Bar pass rate between White students and students of Color and historically excluded students, and then thinking backwards through the admission processes, of course, most institutions are hoping to diversify their student body. But of course, the path that folks have to walk, in order not only to do that, but then retain students and help them feel as if they are a part of a community that is truly inclusive and growing their expertise set in a meaningful way, so that they then can go out into the community. I'm wondering if we could talk a bit about how you personally see that imperative within the context that you live every day, both at Willamette, and then more broadly, of course, across... In legal education, and I'm wondering maybe, if we can start with thinking about this in practical terms. So that is to say, how is that playing out and how is your thinking on this informing policies and practices at your law school in particular?

0:21:23.7 BG: I think, number one and the most important thing to thread the connective tissue between whether it's licensure or admissions, we have to approach this by being willing to wrestle with inequity, and we have to approach it in a way that understands, that our inability to wrestle with inequity has reached a place where it's no longer tolerable to avoid it. And when we accept that as a cultural challenge, it really opens up these kinds of opportunities to ask questions about whether there are better ways to license, or now, to think about admitting.

0:21:58.3 BG: And I think, in the admission space, we have to recruit differently, we have to admit differently, we have to scholarship differently, and we have to retain differently. There are huge conversations behind all four of those things, but just very briefly, to frame this, in the last application cycle, so in 2020, only 45% of applicants who identify as Black or African American, received an offer of admission, compared to 70% of those who identify as White matriculants. That's stark. And there're, again, so many other examples, but it's very difficult for me personally, to look at that and say, "Well, let's just keep doing what we're doing." And so, here at Willamette, we're really trying to do a handful of things that regardless of the initiative, they turn on transparency and access. Those two words are the key to address inequity.

0:22:53.1 BG: And so just one illustrative example; we are trying to bring out the admission criteria from the back of the stock room, so to speak, to the front and to be very direct with students and explain, "This is what it takes to be admitted," and then correspondingly, "Once you're admitted, this is what it takes to earn a particular scholarship," and we wanna be very direct about the terms of that scholarship, so that students have a clear understanding when they come to law school, both on the application front and then on the financial front. And then the last thing I would say, and we can kinda dive in, if you desire is that, on the pathway to those two things, transparency and access, we've really gotta think about advising students differently, because it serves surely not the case that... To go back to that one illustrative example in the 2020 cycle, that White matriculants are somehow more academically credentialed than Black matriculants. That's not what we should get out of this, we need to be thinking about the systems behind how we provide access to how to even get into law school. How do I start a law school essay? How do I even sit for the LSAT? How do I register with LASC? And we can't assume that all undergraduate applicants have the same access to that pre-law advising.

0:24:17.0 AL: That's right, that's right. So one of the reasons I was so excited to have this conversation today is, knowing that to address those very things, you all are thinking about this in a range of different ways. That really opened the doors to a much broader community of students who might consider you. And so I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing with us just a little bit about some of the things that you're doing in practical terms to get at some of these really challenging issues.

0:24:40.8 BG: Sure. So we have launched what we call, a series of four plus three direct admission pipeline programs, and they are data-driven initiatives that seek to look around at schools that do not have law schools attached, and they have variable levels of pre-law advising and there are opportunities for us to serve those undergraduate institutions. And along the way, of course, we hope that they choose Willamette, but if they don't, we really want to live this mission of access and transparency. And so the four-three programs very, very briefly, make clear, what the LSAT is required to gain admission, they also, I should point out, offer an alternative exam metric which is the GRE, then they also make clear what the undergraduate GPA is for admission, and then as part of that, they make clear what scholarship amounts are available, based on those transparent metrics.

0:25:37.7 BG: And then the other thing that we're really proud of in these initiatives is that our own admissions office serves the undergraduate population by providing pre-law advising to those undergraduate populations. And so actually next week, we will Zoom in... Unfortunately, we had to cancel our plans to be there in-person, thanks Delta, to a University of Alaska campus where the students themselves will be in person, we will be on a remote screen, we've shipped Willamette law swag to them, plus, we'll be providing the food and we'll just be there on Zoom, talking through some of the basics. So you're thinking about law school. Now what? Just really trying to meet students where they're at, assuming they've never even considered beyond being interested in the idea of law, what it would look like to take that first step. That's a little bit about the programmatic and a little bit about us taking that first step in the journey to rethink the recruiting facet.

0:26:36.1 AL: That's great, that's great. Well, and I love your lens of transparency and access across all things. And I know, earlier in our conversation you mentioned making meaningful change within the context of the curriculum, and so I'm wondering if you might take a minute to talk a little bit about how that spirit of transparency and access in your mind, is infused into plans you're making, both from a curricular perspective and then from a student experience perspective, at your law school, so that students, of course, hopefully are going through this recruitment process that feels very inclusive, very welcoming. If they do come to you all, what is their experience like then as students?

0:27:17.7 BG: The short answer is, everything's on the table, from rethinking how our building presents to students when they walk in the door, and we can talk about that, as we're in the middle of a four-phase renovation, to, "How do we think about supporting them in professional identity formation?" which we've touched on a little bit, but also in academic skill building. And so right now, in our curriculum, we're really thinking about how to bring some of that skill building to the very first touch point that they might have with us. So instead of waiting around for students to get a particular GPA and then saying, "Oh, we need to think about remedial curricular work. We need to provide these classes," which then have not surprising community downstream implications that may influence students negatively and enhance imposter syndrome and contribute to an absence of growth mindset. We wanna bring all of the skills that we might teach in those so-called remedial classes, normalize them, let's be clear that we're...

0:28:17.8 AL: We're all students. Sorry. All students.

0:28:22.0 BG: A 100 percent. We wanna do it before even day one. So we wanna think about chunking this into what I might call Zero L programming, so from August 1 through the first day they set foot for residential orientation. And so, that Zero L will conclude with a capstone experience at the end of orientation, and then we think about the second chunk as re-thinking a little bit about the 1.0 curriculum, and then we wanna think about the baton that gets passed, metaphorically, from that Zero L, to One L, to the upper level identity formation, academic skill building, licensure, and then employment.

0:29:00.0 BG: And when we think about those large scale of almost boxes that we would help support students, it's really about creating the synergies of support throughout each incremental step and making clear what you said, which is, it's about the entirety of the community. It's not about segmenting off, based on a GPA or based on a particular academic performance. It's really about bringing those skills to the forefront because we believe that all of the graduates, to adequately serve the citizens, whether it's here, as Oregonians or it's across the country, we wanna be leaders, thought leaders in how we serve those citizens.

0:29:41.1 AL: That's great. Well, I think we've covered a lot of ground. I think we could talk all day. There's a lot of different things that we could touch on here, that I wish we had the opportunity to go even deeper on, and I would imagine that folks listening may wanna continue the conversation. So if that's the case, certainly, we're open to that and would love that.

0:30:00.9 AL: But I'm wondering, as we start to close our conversation today, if following what you just talked about, which is sort of thinking holistically about reshaping the institution to be more transparent, to be more accessible and inclusive, thinking about your colleagues at other institutions and knowing that as we saw in a recent survey that the tenure of deans is... The average tenure of deans is on the decline right now, and it's just an average of three years, and folks are noting that they're increasingly burned out, which of course we're seeing across not only academia, but all other sectors right now. Thinking about how much energy you have around all of these different initiatives and a holistic change agenda what would you say... What sort of encouragement might you give to your fellow leaders in legal education or in academia generally, about how to maintain that energy and how to support these strategies at a time when folks are challenged by so many different pressures?

0:31:04.9 BG: I guess I would take that in two ways. One, in kind of a personal level and then the other, kind of an institutional level. I think, at the personal level, I think normalizing vulnerability and normalizing struggle and acknowledging, which we don't do, we have a pretty bad track record in the law, of doing that, but just owning that leadership, even on the best days is hard, and giving yourself some space and grace to acknowledge that, so that you can do that for your community. And then relatedly, I've been thinking a lot, about intentional practices for recovery. It's interesting, we recover from a hard workout or from a long run, but we don't really think about recovering mentally from the expenditure of energy and some of these really difficult conversations or cultural narratives to advance. And so, I think we've gotta think differently about how we recover, from a leadership standpoint.

0:32:02.1 AL: I'm sorry. Particularly when there's no necessarily finite end to things. So for example, if you think about the pandemic, I think we all had hoped and dreamed that there would be this moment in time, where we all went, "Oh my gosh, thank goodness it's over." As we're seeing, that's unlikely to be the case. So I think what you're saying resonates even more, potentially, with folks because it's... Maybe you're doing an Iron Man, to use that as an analogy, and sort of what do you do in between the run and the bike ride. Maybe that's one way of looking at it. I love your recovery lens here.

0:32:33.4 BG: It's such a good way of looking at it. And actually, one of the things that we've been talking a lot about, just one-on-one conversations, and they're not easy, but you're so right, that last year, we thought, "Well, if we just get here, then we'll be over this. If we just get there, then we'll be over that." And we're now, not talking about getting over it, we're talking about living with it, and that causes a lot of different reactions, as you might imagine. But giving people the space to grieve that, and that's not an easy conversation to have, but it's a necessary one. Because I do think we have to change the lens around the way that we're supporting one another at the professional level and how we're supporting students, because if we don't show up for our students, we're not giving them the best chance. But I think the silver lining, it's cliche to say, but it's true, is that we're all in it together, that the pandemic doesn't care about whether you're faculty, staff, dean, student. What it cares about is whether we can come together as a singular institution to reach some common understanding of what's gonna create the best learning environment for our community, which maybe is the way to transition it to shut down a little bit, subject to your guidance.

0:33:45.6 BG: But in terms of institutional advice, boy, there are a lot of different ways to think about that, but I guess the core one I would say is, assessing institutional responses to equity in a data-driven manner. So it's one thing to talk about a lot of the things that we've been discussing, but it's another thing to assess them. And so, where do you find yourself? That's the baseline. How are you going to measure it? And then how are you going to assess it? I think that's the way that we make change, and it may not happen in one deanship.

0:34:18.5 BG: I'll just close by saying, a lot of what I talk to my team about is, we're leading for the people who sit in our seats after us. So we may not see the change that we wanna see in the moment that we seek to make it, but what we're trying to do is provide opportunities for durable change over the course of years, that again, may come after us.

0:34:41.8 AL: I think that's really powerful and something that likely resonates with most of our listeners, so I really appreciate sharing your thoughts on that and how you all are thinking about it, at Willamette in particular. And I know we said this at the outset, but Brian, it's really been such a pleasure to have you on. So thank you so much for being our guest. And for our listeners, thank you for joining us. I hope that if, like we said, you have follow-up questions you'd like to dig into further, if you'd like to continue the conversation, I think we'd certainly be eager to do that. But again, Brian, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it.

0:35:17.6 BG: Well, thank you for having me and for the opportunity.

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0:35:26.4 Speaker 1: Thank you for listening. Please join us next week, when our guests explore findings from a new paper that examines channel overload; a condition that can paralyze enrollment leaders, as they attempt to engage prospective students on an ever-expanding list of digital platforms. Until then, thank you for your time.

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