Student Voices

Sonia Zaheer

Sonia Zaheer
Year/Track: 2015
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Major: Kinesiology/Psychology

read more >

  • Print
  • Share
  • Questions

GLS — Looping Study

To provide a coordinated program of learning for our students, each Global Lawyering Skills faculty member teaches one section in the first year of GLS and one section in the second. This structure provides consistency from one year to the next and ensures high quality instruction to all of our students.

As part of the development and implementation of GLS, we are evaluating how the professors should be assigned to teach the GLS courses and whether or not we should use a "looping" model. Looping simply means that a teacher remains with a class of students through a period of two or more years. Looping also has been referred to as "continuous learning" or "multi-year groupings." To determine the best teaching model for GLS, we are evaluating whether or not students should be required to have the same professor for GLS I and GLS II, students should have a choice of professor in their second year, or students should be required to have a different professor for GLS I and GLS II.

In partnership with the University of the Pacific's Center for Teaching and Learning, we developed an empirical study to help us better determine the most effective and preferred delivery of instruction for GLS.

We divided our sections of GLS I into three groups:

  • The stay group is required to stay with their GLS I professor for GLS II. In the stay group sections, two professors have seven or more years of teaching experience; one professor has two years of teaching experience; and one professor who is teaching for the first time.
  • The change group is required to select a different professor for GLS II than they had for GLS I. In the change group, two professors have seven or more years of teaching experience; one professor with two years of teaching experience; and one professor who is teaching for the first time.
  • The choose group is allowed to choose to take their GLS I professor for GLS II or elect take a different professor for GLS II. In the choose group, one professor has seven or more years of teaching experience, two professors have three years of teaching experience (but are adjuncts), and two professors have only one year of experience teaching legal research and writing (but one of those has 20 years as a clinical professor).

The initial results tend to favor looping — keeping the same professor for GLS I and GLS II. In the stay group, only three students out of 80 made a formal request to be removed from the stay group (have a different GLS II professor). In the change group, 1 student from a change group made a formal request to stay with his GLS I professor. But, the most remarkable results are from the choose group. In the choose group, approximately 75% of students chose to stay with their GLS I professor.

For more information, please see our article Enduring Hope? A Study of Looping in Law School, 48 DUQ. L. REV. 455 (2010).