Pivoting with excellence: Law assistant dean forges new digital connections

January 06, 2021

by Frank Garza

Alan Haynes_G&B_Web
Alan K. Haynes, J.D.

In some ways, going virtual has made it easier for the Office for Law Student Affairs to meet with students, said Alan K. Haynes, J.D., Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs.

Setting up meetings with students before could be difficult, especially if they lived outside San Antonio. Even if it’s just a conversation, Haynes will use Zoom instead of the phone to talk to the student. 

“You get a better sense of what’s going on if you’re talking to someone you can actually see,” Haynes said. “You get a better sense of what it is you need to do. You can share your screen, you can share documents, which is easier especially if it’s related to registered student organizations.”  

Even before COVID-19, Haynes used Calendly — an automated scheduling software — to set student appointments. After the pandemic hit, he worked with Felicia Cruz (B.A. ’12, M.A. ’14), Ph.D., Director of Online Learning and Curriculum Innovation, to set up a system through which students could reach him at any time.  

“Even after we get back to normal, whatever that will be defined as, it’s going to be easy to connect with a student, even if they’re in Austin,” Haynes said. 

More about how the St. Mary's University School of Law community responded to the pandemic:

Pivoting with excellence: All-star professor leads the way for national virtual advocacy competitions

The day that A.J. Bellido de Luna, J.D., Hardy Director of Advocacy and Service Professor, was supposed to cancel the St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Lone Star Classic for the fall, three other advocacy competitions had been canceled.

Pivoting with excellence: Law associate dean brings legal topics into focus through online instruction

Even before COVID-19 hit, Colin P. Marks, J.D., Associate Dean for Graduate and Summer Programs and Ernest W. Clemens Professor of Law, was certified to teach classes online. So, when he pivoted his approach mid-semester last spring, his students continued to learn through short video lectures with quizzes and a once-a-week Zoom session to discuss learning objectives and questions.

Pivoting with excellence: Law externship director helps prep students for virtual practice

Hustling to move the law school’s Externship Program online by summer, Amanda Rivas (J.D. ’09), Director of Externships, said her main focus was on supporting externship supervisors and externs as they switched to remote working environments, ensuring that students would continue to receive challenging work and feedback.

Pivoting with excellence: Law associate dean hones sense of gratitude through online transition

This fall, Ramona L. Lampley, J.D., Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, kept students engaged through a hybrid of synchronous and asynchronous components, coupled with multiple assessments and a flipped classroom model.

Pivoting with excellence: St. Mary’s Law adapts in response to pandemic

This year, the St. Mary’s University School of Law community joined together as never before to meet the needs of its student body and the San Antonio region.

Pivoting with excellence: Law students and alumni unite to provide remote services to health care workers

Several St. Mary's Law students and alumni joined an effort by the San Antonio Legal Services Association (SALSA) to draft wills for health care workers battling COVID-19 on the frontlines in San Antonio this summer.

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