Prof. Melissa Kidder

Law professors from across the country got a glimpse into the unique collaboration between Ohio Northern University and the College of Law at the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning Conference in Sacramento, California.

At the conference, Associate Professor of Law Melissa Kidder, JD ’08, B.A. ’05, shared her insight into how graduate and undergraduate programs can effectively align their assessment strategies and techniques to improve learning outcomes and measures for all students. “It’s really a win-win for ONU. Both the university and the law school have to demonstrate that every program is meeting their student learning objectives for higher learning accreditation,” explains Kidder.

“It’s a way for us at the law school to internally reflect on what our students are learning in the classroom and ensure that we are adjusting accordingly to meet their needs,” she says.

In the College of Law, faculty assess six distinct student learning objectives. They include knowledge of substantive and procedural law, competency in research skills, legal analysis, written and oral communication, practical lawyering skills, and ethics and professionalism, explains Kidder.

“At ONU, all academic programs take assessing student learning objectives seriously, and as a teaching-focused institution, we are always looking for ways we can better measure how we are doing that and ensure we are helping our students succeed academically,” she says.

Dustin Johnston-Green, JD, Taggart Law Library director and associate professor of law, assisted Kidder in preparing the presentation. Their presentation covered three key areas: 

  • Overview of ONU’s university level assessment practices that others can use to aid in their assessment process’
  • Examples of how Professor Kidder used these collaborative efforts with the University to embed similar processes in the law school; and 
  • Illustrations of how the collaboration with the University has helped the law school accreditation process over the last several years.