Miami Law Academic Achievement Program

FAQs: How Do I Apply For and Become a Dean's Fellow

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1. When and where should I apply?
Applications are available during the final 4 weeks of each semester. All applications should be submitted to Joanne Harvest Koren, Director of the Academic Achievement Program in room F-202.

2. How are Dean's Fellows selected?
Students who wish to apply for a Dean's Fellow (DF) position must complete a one-page written application and submit it along with a current law school transcript and resume. The applicant must then schedule a personal interview with the AAP Director, in her office, room F-202. After interviewing all applicants, the Director meets with each sponsoring Professor. The Professor and Director review all applicants who have indicated an interest in working with that Professor. A Professor may, occasionally ask to meet with one or more applicants. The Director and Professor then jointly select a student Dean's Fellow to work with the 1L students in that Professor's class.

3. Must I have received an "A" in the class?
No. We want to select Dean's Fellows who have solid academic records, but an A in the class is not required, with the exception of Writing Dean's Fellows, who should have earned an A in Legal Communication & Research Skills. A Dean's Fellow applicant must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and must have earned a B or better in the course for which the applicant is applying (for example, a student who is applying for a position as a Torts Dean's Fellow must have earned a B or better in Torts and must have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher). Dean's Fellows are not selected solely because they have earned "good grades." We are looking for 2L and 3L students who also have good interpersonal skills, patience, maturity and a genuine willingness to work with students who may be confused and overwhelmed. Dean's Fellows do not "teach" substance. Rather, their job is to help facilitate the 1L's independent learning, by focusing on learning strategies, organization skills, time management and exam preparation.

4. Must I have had this professor for this class?
No. Although that is generally preferable, it is not a requirement. Some Professors may be teaching this class for the first time. Other Professors may ask the Director to select a Dean's Fellow who is not a former student. Applicants should note, however, that many Professors do prefer to select a Dean's Fellow who was a student in that Professor's class.

5. How many hours per week do Dean's Fellows work?
Generally 10-15 hours per week:

  • 3-4 hours attending the First Year class
  • 1-2 hours in weekly DF workshop and meeting with AAP Director (Mondays 12:30-1:30pm)
  • 2-3 hours prep for 1L class
  • 2-3 hours prep for DF Study Groups
  • 2 hours conducting AAP/DF Study Groups
  • 1 hour meeting individually (office hours) with students (some weeks more, some less)
  • 1 hour meeting individually with Professor (varies from one Professor to another)

Time commitments may vary slightly from one week to another. DFs must turn in weekly Time Logs, lesson plans and attendance records to the AAP Director. Writing Center Dean's Fellows generally work 4-5 hours per week. Writing Center hours are scheduled in collaboration with the Dean's Fellows.

6. When will my study groups meet?
You must schedule 2 one-hour groups each week. DFs have discretion, with the AAP Director's approval, but must avoid conflict with the 1L schedule, Legal Communication & Research Skills classes, all other Dean's Fellow study groups for that section and the DFs own schedule, while also considering classroom availability.

7. When will I be notified of my selection as a Dean's Fellow?
Every effort will be made to notify applicants by the end of Exam period, although some Dean's Fellows may not be selected until later. All interviewing should be completed by the start of the Reading Period. Unfortunately, the selection process takes more time than one would expect. Be assured, the Professors and Director carefully select each DF. All applicants, selected or not, will be notified.

8. Can I apply for a future semester, if I am not selected this semester?
Yes, and please do! In past semesters, there have been more than 60 applicants for the 12 substantive Dean's Fellow positions and the 10 Writing Center Dean's Fellow positions. Obviously every applicant cannot be placed. Do not be discouraged. The AAP is as good as its DFs, and if you are committed to this Program, we want you to be a part of it.

9. How will I be trained, if I am selected?
Each DF works closely with the AAP Director, so Study Groups remain focused on the goals of the Program. All DFs must attend weekly DF Training Workshops, taught by the AAP Director. These are traditionally scheduled on Mondays from 12:30-1:30pm. Initial intensive training workshops are held at the beginning of the semester. Dean's Fellows are also encouraged to work closely with other DFs, with the understanding that each can learn from the other. In addition, each DF is expected to schedule and keep regular appointments with the Professor who teaches the class to which the DF is assigned.

10. May I be selected as a Dean's Fellow for more than one semester?
Yes. Having experienced DFs work in the Program lends valuable insight. All Dean's Fellows must re-apply every semester.

11. Are Dean's Fellows paid? Will this affect my scholarship?

  • DFs are paid a fixed semester stipend, based on the hourly rate of research assistants.
  • Paychecks are issued through the University of Miami on a monthly basis.
  • This does not affect any financial aid or scholarship.

Note: ABA rules limit hourly work for full-time law students to 20 hours per week. DFs may not work in excess of those limits (This applies to Research Assistants as well as outside employment).

12. I am thinking about submitting an application to transfer or visit at another law school next semester. Can I still apply for a Dean's Fellow position while I make my decision?
No. Do not apply for a Dean's Fellow position unless you are going to be here next semester. By submitting an application you are indicating your willingness to accept a position if one is offered to you. If you are not sure you can make the commitment, please wait and apply in a subsequent semester when your plans are certain.

For more information, contact:

Joanne Harvest Koren, Esq., Director
Room: F-202
Phone: 305-284-2281
jkoren@law.miami.edu