University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog

U of L land use planning & law students' urban tree plan basis for Louisville's Urban Forest Action Plan


Law & urban planning students in my Spring 2011 Land Use & Planning Law course prepared an Urban Tree Canopy Plan as a service learning project for the Partnership for a Green City, the Louisville Metro Parks Department, and Community of Trees, an association of government agencies, organizations, and individuals.  This plan and its recommendations will be a base from which Community of Trees develops an "Action Plan for Louisville's Urban Forest."  A meeting to consider my students' recommendations and to select recommendations for near-future action will be held Wednesday, June 22, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. at 415 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard, Louisville, KY.  The students' Urban Tree Canopy plan can be downloaded at: 

This was one of 3 service learning projects prepared in the Spring 2011 offering of the innovative and interdisciplinary Land Use & Planning Law course at the University of Louisville.

Kissinger on China

There is an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about his secret trip to China in 1971, and the challenges of US-China relations today.

Librarians are REAL Faculty

At a recent conference that I attended, Jennifer Bartlett presented “You’re Not REAL Faculty! The Issue of Librarian Image on the College Campus”. Unfortunately, the relevance of her presentation was made all too apparent at our recent faculty meeting. On the agenda, were proposed changes to the faculty’s governance documents. Section 5 of the bylaws details the voting rights of the various faculty groups. Full-time permanent tenured or tenure-track librarians essentially receive the same voting rights as Visiting Faculty, Adjunct Faculty, Term Faculty and the Student Bar Association representative. The debate that ensued after one of my law library colleagues proposed a discussion was divisive and derisive. The strongest opponent wasn’t even aware that half of the law librarians teach credit-based, ABA-required courses at the law school.

Librarians have always had to advocate for recognition of their education, skills and services, especially during today’s tough economic climate. According to Ms. Bartlett’s research, the library profession’s push towards attaining a higher status began in the 1930’s. Today, most colleges and universities provide faculty status for their librarians and require that they possess a MLS or MLIS, which is the terminal degree in library science, from an accredited institution. I’m no exception. I received my Masters in Library Information Science from the University of Hawaii, which is accredited by the American Library Association.

At the University of Louisville, where I’m employed, librarians have faculty status and though we do have a separate governing document, we are held to similar rigorous standards pertaining to our tenure. Those include: 1) teaching, 2) research and publication, and 3) professional development. Each of the law library’s six faculty members possess a MLS or MLIS, half have a second Masters degree in another subject, and three have JDs.  Fifty-percent of the law library’s faculty teaches courses at the law school including all of the Basic Legal Research classes, as well as Advanced Legal Research, Legal History, Computers and the Law, Copyright, and even Domestic Relations. For the three of us that don’t possess the Juris Doctorate, our teaching comes in the form of reference and bibliographic instruction. For the purposes of attaining tenure, we too are required to publish our research in peer-reviewed journals. One of my colleagues has had his research published in journals outside of the legal and library professions. Another maintains a blog that’s considered one of the premier resources for Brandeis scholars. And yet another is the editor of the state library association's quarterly publication. Lastly, we must engage in professional development. We attend conferences, enroll in webinars, teach continuing education courses and hold board positions in our professional organizations.

There are of course fundamental, educational, and administrative differences between the teaching faculty and library faculty. For example, the teaching faculty receives 10-month appointments, while the librarians work year round. The teaching faculty is required to have a JD, which is reflected in their compensation. The salaries of permanent teaching faculty range from $65,000-$260,000, while librarians’ salaries range from $38,000-$151,000. Despite my substantially smaller salary and lack of a JD, I find it offensive to be considered “second class faculty”, as was the sentiment that was expressed at our meeting. Therefore, I wonder if this isn’t really a debate about professionalism, but instead one of classism.

In her presentation, Bartlett advocated that librarians and teaching faculty be “integral partners in the education process”. I also assert that an environment that fosters collegiality and one that is built upon mutual respect better serves the entire community. By working together collaboratively and cooperatively, we can supply our student body with the education, skills and experience that they need to be successful in their chosen careers and as leaders in their communities, which is a common thread that unites us all in academia.

Workplace Privacy and Monitoring

I recently posted the materials from my lecture "Workplace Privacy and Monitoring:  The Quest for Balanced Interests."  You can now watch the video of the lecture in synch with the slides here!

Rolling Stone Takes on Billion Dollar Bailouts, Risk-Free Loans and Subsidized Tax Evasion by Uber-Wealthy


"Perhaps the most irritating facet of all of these transactions is the fact that hundreds of millions of Fed dollars were given out to hedge funds and other investors with addresses in the Cayman Islands. . . . It's one thing for the federal government to look the other way when Wall Street hotshots evade U.S. taxes by registering their investment companies in the Cayman Islands. But subsidizing tax evasion? Giving it a federal bailout?"

Read more:

Vanity Fair: Nobel in Economics Winner, Stiglitz, Decries Growing Income Inequality


Is it ironic or perfect that this article was published in "Vanity Fair"?

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

Read More


Twenty-Five Years

On April 7 I was one of the University of Louisville faculty honored at a dinner hosted by the University provost for at least 25 years teaching there, in my case 25 years.  While this is a milestone for any faculty member, it is incredibly meaningful for me.  As someone who has suffered from the second most severe mental illness for his entire professional career, I feel truly blessed that through the efforts of my doctors, therapists, family, friends, and myself I can realistically look forward to celebrating 30 years in 2016.

Workplace Privacy and Monitoring: The Quest for Balanced Interests

I had the wonderful opportunity to give The Littler Mendelson Employment and Labor Law Lecture on "Workplace Privacy and Monitoring: The Quest for Balanced Interests" at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (Cleveland State University) on the evening of Thursday, March 31, 2011.  I am attaching copies of the handouts.  

Springsteen Lauds Reportage Contrasting Budget Cuts and Tax Breaks


Bruce Springsteen Letter to the Editor of Asbury Park Press: Story on poverty, aid cuts gives voice to voiceless


"Thank you for your March 27 front-page story by Michael Symons, "As poverty rises, cuts target aid." The article is one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts, on the one hand, and cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions, on the other.

(Click here to see the article: As poverty rises, NJ cuts target aid.)

Also, you've shone some light on anti-poverty workers and analysts such as Adele LaTourette, Meara Nigro, Cecilia Zalkind and Raymond Castro, among others, all of whom have something important to add to the discussion: real information and actual facts about what is happening below the poverty line.

These are voices that in our current climate are having a hard time being heard, not just in New Jersey, but nationally. Finally, your article shows that the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years. I'm always glad to see my hometown newspaper covering these issues."

Bruce Springsteen


Blogging backlog in China


I hope to catch up blogging abou the details of teaching and lecturing in China. However, if you are interested, we have been maintaining a family blog about our personal experiences, here. Make sure to look at the archives, to catch the early part of our Fulbright experience in China.