Friday, September 2, 2011

Effectiveness of Track Programs: University of West Georgia

The following is a response from Robert Lane, Associate Professor of philosophy at West Georgia University. It's a response to some questions I had regarding their Pre-law track program. 
Some interesting tid bits: over 1/3 of their philosophy students are Pre-law. 15 have already graduated, 6 of which applied to law. No other faculty were required, and no classes had to be added. 
This is very close to the story about University of Alabama's Pre-Law Track program. Basically they were able to increase enrollment, with no major change to their department structure. Perhaps a shift into track programs will not increase jobs or solve other problems as I had hoped. It defiantly seems like a viable plan for increasing enrollment and by so doing increasing departmental funds. 

See also 

Effectiveness of track programs: University of Alabama

List of Issues/Changes for Professional Philosophy

Dear William,

My profuse apologies for taking so long to respond to your questions about the creation of our pre-law concentration at the University of West Georgia. "Respond to William Parkhurst" has been on my "to do" list since February, and it's only just now bubbled up to the top. I should have made it a higher priority and responded much sooner.

To your questions:

How many students are in your department total

As of this date (May 23, 2011), we have 62 philosophy majors.

How many students are now in philosophy with a pre-law concentration?

Of those 62, 24 are in the pre-law concentration.

How many that joined were already in the philosophy department?

We added the pre-law concentration in fall 2005; none of our current majors have been around that long.

How many came from other majors or were undeclared?

I don't have an exact number, but I can say that nearly all of our philosophy majors, whether or not in the pre-law concentration, start as undeclared students or as majors within some other discipline. Very very few start at UWG as philosophy majors.

How many have gone on to law school?

Since we established the pre-law concentration, we have graduated 15 philosophy majors in that concentration. Of those 15, only six have actually applied for admission to law school. Of those 4, were accepted at accredited law schools, and 3 of those decided to attend. (Of the 15 who finished in the pre-law concentration, another three are pursuing graduate degrees in other fields.)

How did you build the core requirements?

If by "core requirements" you mean are Core (General Education) Curriculum, it is the same for the Philosophy:Pre-Law degree as for all of BAs at UWG. If you mean the upper-level electives that are specific to the Phil:Pre-Law major, we selected as requirements the upper-level PHIL class that were already on the books the contents of which are most relevant to law:

Professional Ethics (about 1/3 of which is currently devoted to legal ethics)
Philosophy of Law
Political Philosophy

- Did you get in contact with other undergraduate institutions which
already had a pre-law track?

So far as I recall, we did not.

- Did you have to recruit another teacher?

No; we were able to cover the aforementioned upper-level courses with the faculty members we already had.

- Did you get in contact with law schools to see what they wanted?

So far as I recall, we did not.

- Do you put students in contact with specific departments whose
requirements you meet?

No. However, we encourage all of our Phil:Pre-Law majors to become involved in the Pre-Law Society, a student organization that is advised by Dr. Thomas Hunter. He is a professor in UWG's Department of Political Science & Planning, which has it's own "pre-law" concentration (a political science degree). Dr. Hunter is the official LSAC-designated "pre-law advisor" for UWG and the best source of information about specific law schools.

How did you purpose the pre-law concentration? Is there a standard procedure?

Not sure I understand the question. If you are asking how we proposed it, the answer is that we made a formal request to institute this concentration (as well as our religion concentration, which was established at the same time), which request was approved by our University's Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee and our Faculty Senate. I believe it was then approved by a state-level committee of the University System of Georgia, although I'm not positive about that (I was a relatively new assistant professor at the time and was not involved in tracking these changes through the approval process).

Was there any documentation from previous departments which was used
to support the creation of a pre-law track?

Not so far as I recall.

Are there any resources for creating track programs nationally or on the web?

Not that I'm aware of.

Are there any other department you know of which have recently
established a concentration or track program?

No (sorry I can't be of more help here).

I hope at least some of this information is helpful to you.

Best regards,

Join me on Twitter or Facebook for updates. Please email suggestions, links and questions to

No comments:

Post a Comment