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Faculty Making a Difference

February 4, 2010 | Faculty

You already know how terrific our faculty are in the classroom, and they continue to engage students in the process of learning how to think like lawyers. This process, however, is far more complicated than it used to be. Although the use of the Socratic Method continues, the faculty continue to implement new and creative ways of teaching students. Many faculty have embraced different types of teaching technologies in the classroom, from interactive devices to the use of presentation technology. Our faculty are leaders throughout the nation in developing new and innovative teaching methods. Professors Deborah Merritt and Ric Simmons recently published what they refer to as an “uncasebook,” which is titled Learning Evidence: From the Federal Rules to the Courtroom. The text is innovative and offers a new pedagogy for teaching a basic evidence course. The book has become extremely popular and students rave about its clarity and ingenuity.

Outside the classroom, faculty members continue to make an incredible difference. They are serving or have recently served in important government posts and are making a significant difference in the debate on state and national issues. Professor Dan Tokaji’s work was cited by Justice Paul Stevens in his January dissent to the ground breaking Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Prof. Merritt was also invited by the Supreme Court to defend the lower-court judgment in Reed Elsevier v. Muchnick. Other faculty have recently filed amicus briefs in state and federal court involving significant constitutional issues.

Our faculty also make a difference by writing books that bring scholarship to people throughout the country. Professor Michelle Alexander recently published The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The book examines incarceration of people of color in the United States and argues that Jim Crow rules have been replaced by mass incarceration of people of color. Professor Sharon Davies’ book, Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race, and Religion in America, also hit shelves in January. The book traces the tale of a couple who marry, a priest who is killed for performing the marriage, and the trial that ensues after the murder. The book is a story about love, hate, and the prejudices that surrounded our country at that time. Both books have received wonderful reviews, and I recommend them to you as a way of experiencing firsthand what our faculty are doing.

I joined The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law nine years ago. It has been a joy and an honor to teach here, and I hope this glimpse of the goings on at the College gives you an idea of why this is such a special place.

Donald B. Tobin
Associate Dean for Faculty and
Frank and Virginia Bazler Designated Professor in Business Law