Summer is a unique time for the College of Law. Without the students, the corridors are quiet; the Pit is empty; the vending machines are full (a happy thing); and the classrooms have a distinct echo. As Dean of Student Affairs, I really miss the students – their smiles, their crazy cellular ringtones, new fashions (often perplexing), and even their aversion to reading emails from me.
Strangely, many students think that the administration does not work in the summer. On many occasions, students will see me around and about in Tulsa and ask me how I am enjoying my summer off. Oh how I wish this was true! NOT. The reality is that the quiet summer atmosphere lends itself to preparation. We prepare for our new entering class; we update documents; we plan events for the upcoming year; we strategize about our long term goals; we tweak new policies; and we make old policies better. In short, our focus in the summer is committed to making the student experience better for the next year.
Just last week we had a photographer take pictures of our students for the View Book, a recruiting piece that is specifically used to spark an interest in TU LAW. This is probably the most important printed piece that we produce for our students. It is also a difficult piece to produce in that our goal is to “capture” the essence of our everyday life here as well as the core of what it means to be a TU law student. Of course, this is particularly hard to do in the summer when students are sparse and all the trials and tribulations of the last year are a distant memory. However, our students always seem to rise to the occasion, volunteering to help us create those “perfect” photos that can only have a mesmerizing effect on every prospective student who sees them.
For a summer photo session, we had a great turn-out, which I can’t help but believe is a testimonial to how important TU LAW is to them. Our goal was simple: to portray the “truth” of our community here. Because great minds think alike, all of us who participated were in consensus. We believe our law school is welcoming, desirably small, academically challenging, diverse on many levels, and most of all civil. We have been told, particularly by our students who transfer in, that most law schools don’t care about our students the way we do. I like to think that what they are telling me is true. For all the unpleasantness of learning the law, students seem to be happy here.
This leads me to beg the question, “What is it that makes a law student happy in their studies and experiences here at TU?” Is it the camaraderie, the faculty, the challenging academics, the practical experiences, the opportunities for leadership, or is it a little of everything? Would students from other law schools be happy here too, or is our TU Law community uniquely designed for a certain type of person? What gives our law school a “flavor” that no other law school has? Having gone to another law school for my law degree, I have an opinion, but I welcome yours. If you are a current student, a prospective student or alumni, tell us what attracted you to us. For most of you, we are the only law school you have ever considered, but for others, your decision to come here may have been very deliberate.
As we continue through the summer months preparing for the next academic year, I hope you all picked the right “family” for your law school community. Based on the smiles, the energy, and the excitement of all those students who participated in last week’s photo session, I think that TU law students have found the best home for their academic growth, their personal relationships, and their professional pursuits. I thank you, TU Law students, for making my community here feel like home.