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Coronavirus Information and Updates for the Widener Law Commonwealth Community

Widener University and Widener Law Commonwealth are actively monitoring the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Law school information and updates about developments with the illness, Widener Law Commonwealth’s response to it, or any impact on law school classes or operations will be available here. Additionally, links will be provided to Widener University's coronavirus webpage and communications.

Important Information for Widener Law Commonwealth


A LOOK FORWARD TO FALL 2020: A LETTER FROM DEAN JOHNSON

Widener University Law School Dean Christian Johnson takes a look ahead to Fall 2020, sharing the recent recommendations made by the working group convened by the law school to prepare for eventual return to on-campus instruction.

Most Recent Law School Email Update

May 12, 2020

Dear Students & Graduates,

Congratulations on finishing your final exams and finding the strength and positivity to endure during this difficult semester.  I hope you enjoy your break.  If you are planning to take summer courses, click here to review the summer textbook and first assignments list—sorry for the sudden jolt back to reality.

As you know, I am a huge advocate for building a strong sense of community within our school.  Because of the challenging times in which we live, I believe this is more important than ever.  Do you have ideas on how you would like to stay connected over the summer?  Would you be interested in starting a virtual book group? Do you love to cook and are interested in leading a virtual cooking class? Would you participate in a virtual yoga class if it is offered?  Please let me know if you have ideas on how you would like to stay connected this summer.  Graduates are also welcome to participate.  We want you to stay in touch!

Please note that back in March, LexisNexis added additional study aids and casebooks to our current digital study aid library.  We have been advised that on May 18th, the additional content, including Carolina Academic Press legal eBook study guides and casebooks, will be discontinued.  If you would like to save any of your personal notes and highlights for future reference, you can easily export your work from the My Annotations page within the digital study aid library.  See the attached flyer for additional instruction.

Our graduates should note that Lexis Advance is offering continued free access until December 31, 2020. No additional registration is required. When you sign on after July 5, you will see a new Graduate Homepage with access to Law360, Lexis Practice Advisor, Lexis for Microsoft Office, and 13 LexisNexis eBooks.  In addition, access to Westlaw Edge has also been extended for graduates. To extend your access, you simply need to choose "Grad Elite Status" from your homepage and press the "Extended Access" button.

Please support our graduates this week. Do you have any fun throwback photos?  Please share on your social media using #WidenerLawCWGradReflections. Also, this week we are excited to feature on Facebook some of our graduates reflecting on their law school experiences.  Please be on the lookout for their words of wisdom!

My next e-mail update to our current students will be next week.  Please be sure to check your e-mail as it will feature a special message for you.  For our graduates, I will be sending you a separate e-mail today to provide information that is specific to you and the events of this week.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

Past Law School Updates

As new updates are sent, older updates will be moved to the bottom of this page and be linked to from above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I find out updated information about the law school?

Dean Teplitz and Dean Mandrell will continue to maintain close communications with students via e-mail throughout the summer. Please continue to check your e-mail. You can expect a campus communication a minimum of once per week throughout the summer. Those updates will be posted on this page as well.

What will happen with the graduation ceremony?

The Law School will honor all of the 2020 graduates with an in-person commencement ceremony at The Forum here in Harrisburg on Sunday, December 13, 2020. Click here for more details. 

What about the bar exam?

The Pennsylvania Bar Exam has been postponed until September 9-10, 2020.  Students who wish to sit for this exam must register by May 30, 2020. Students who are registered for the bar exam may be eligible for limited licensure. Click here for more details.

Students who are sitting for a bar exam outside of Pennsylvania, should check that jurisdiction's website for any changes to the planned schedule or registration requirements.

Will PMBR be offering live classes on campus?

PMBR will offer a live, synchronous, online  course to Widener Law Commonwealth students. The 7-day course will run twice. Session 1 will be May 18-24 and  Session 2 will be June 4, 5, and 8-12.  Between these 14 days of PMBR classes, you can pick and choose when you attend. For example, if you miss Contracts in the first session, you can pick it up in the second session. 

What should I do about my externship?

We expect that whether your externship is remote versus in-person will vary depending on the location of your site. Your schedule will be established by your site supervisor. Please stay in touch with Professor Simcox ([email protected]) and be sure to advise her if anything changes or if you have any problems concerning your externship. 

Will Summer Classes Be On-Campus?

Summer classes will be offered online. We have added additional summer course offerings so you can take advantage of being able to earn additional credits remotely.

What about the curve and grading?

Summer classes will be graded in accordance with our standard policies as set forth in the Student Handbook.

Will buildings on campus be open to students?

Students are not permitted on campus until further notice. We will update you when students will be allowed back on campus. If you must have access to campus for any reason, you should contact Dean Teplitz ([email protected]).

What's going to happen for Fall classes?

We are closely monitoring and planning for a safe environment that allows for robust and engaging course delivery.  We expect the semester to begin as scheduled. While we hope to offer our courses in person, we will be prepared to implement the curriculum online if public health and University guidelines necessitate that.  Read Dean Johnson's letter regarding the Fall 2020 semester planning process.

University Communications

All Widener University (main campus) communications are available at widener.edu/coronavirus. We encourage all members of the Widener community, including faculty and staff, to monitor widener.edu/coronavirus for important updates that may pertain to them. 

Additional Resources

Links are also available at widener.edu/coronavirus.

Past Law School Email Updates

May 8, 2020

Students:

Congratulations on wrapping up what has to be the strangest and most challenging semester of your education.  All of the faculty, staff, and administration are so proud of how you have risen to meet the challenges of these uncertain times.

As we wrap up the week, I wanted to share with you the following:

1.     I have attached the recently released NALP 2020 JD Advantage Career Guide.  The guide includes information about career paths you can take with your law degree.  Many of these are paths that our business advising alums take, and the guide contains a lot of great resources.

2.     We are putting together a panel of alumni who graduated in 2009-2010 to speak with 2L and 3L students about graduating during a challenging job market.  This is scheduled for next Thursday, May 14 at 12 noon.  Registration and Zoom information are available via the events tab on CORE.

3.     If you are planning on working this summer and would like to receive  academic credit for an externship, please contact Professor Simcox ([email protected]) as soon as possible.  Professor Simcox will let you know what you need to do in order to receive credit, even if the position is going to be remote/virtual.

4.     I will be holding office hours next week via a Zoom room.  I will have an open Zoom room on Monday from 3pm-5pm and Wednesday from 11:30am-1:30pm.  If you would like to meet, you can log on here.  You will be placed into a waiting room upon joining.

5.     Please continue to check CORE for new summer, fall, and post-graduate opportunities.  We are working with employers to identify opportunities for our students and alumni and will post them as they come in.

6.     Graduating students, please keep an eye out for an email from me on Monday regarding ABA/NALP employment data collection

Congratulations again to all of you on wrapping up finals and finishing the semester! 

May 6, 2020

Dear Students,

As we approach the end of finals week, I hope you have fared well and will be able to decompress following this challenging semester. I am so proud of you all.

I have received a few questions regarding the status of your school store orders. We checked with the vendor and it is anticipated that they will begin shipping this week. You should have your new Widener Law Commonwealth gear very soon.

I also thought it would be useful to inform you of a few items that we have been working on:

First, we have updated our COVID-19 web page. We have refreshed this page to include the most up-to-date information that is currently available--including an important message from Dean Johnson that discusses planning for the Fall 2020 semester. Click here to read Dean Johnson's message. Additionally, please review our updated FAQ page.

Second, we are aware that some of you had planned to sit for the New York bar exam and are disappointed in the decision that the New York Court of Appeals released earlier this week that gives priority registration to students graduating from New York-based law schools. In response, Dean Johnson has been working with a national coalition of law school deans to try to resolve this issue for our students and has signed on to a letter asking that this decision be revisited and offering proposals to resolve their concerns about meeting capacity. We are hopeful that the national outcry from law school deans will encourage reconsideration of this decision.

Third, for our students who will be studying for the bar this summer, please be on the lookout later this week for an e-mail from Professor Robinette that will include application information for our summer bar prep tutoring program. I hope you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Moving forward, you can expect that Professor Robinette will be your main contact regarding bar exam preparation issues and program updates.

I look forward to next week when we will celebrate our graduates at both the 3L Farewell and the Virtual Celebration. Please remember that the Virtual Celebration is asynchronous. While the program link will go live on Sunday, May 17th at 11:00 a.m., graduates can choose when they would like to watch it with their family and friends to celebrate. Let's show our graduates some love--please give them a virtual shout out on your social media channels next week!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Fondly,
Dean Teplitz

May 4, 2020

Students:

As we begin another week at home, I wanted to pass along some resources and updates which you may find helpful.

1.     We have created the “Widener Law Commonwealth Networking Group” on LinkedIn.  The group is open to students, alumni, and friends of the school, and was designed to provide a forum where students can virtually introduce themselves to potential mentors.  We’ve had a number of alumni register over the past few days and they look forward to meeting you on the site.

2.     I have attached a resource published by Baker Donelson, an AmLaw 100 law firm, titled, “Successfully Navigating the Legal Field in the Midst of COVID-19”. Written by some of the law firm’s associates, the resource provides advice on how to make the best of your summer experience; making the best of this time; and preparing yourself for any outcome. 

3.     Most of the GPALS-sponsored job fairs are being postponed until next January/February, including the Philadelphia Diversity Job Fair - PADJF (normally held in July), Delaware Minority Job Fair – DMJF (normally held in the summer), and the GPALS Job Fair (normally held in September).  Details will be sent out as they are finalized.  In the meantime, if you are interested in participating in DMJF, you can set up your account here.

4.     We plan to continue our regular Lunch & Learn series over the summer months.  These will be offered via Zoom and recorded for later viewing.  Alumni are able to attend as well, so those of you who are graduating, your ideas are very much welcome, too!  If you have any suggestions on topics you would like us to offer, please email me at [email protected]

5.     Please check CORE for new summer, fall, and post-graduate opportunities.  We continue to work with employers to identify opportunities for our students and alumni.  Additionally, please email me ([email protected]) if you would like to set up a time to “meet”, if you would like me to review your resume or cover letter, or if you would like to discuss your job search. 

Congratulations to those of you who have finished your exams and continued best wishes to those who have exams this week! 

May 1, 2020

Happy Friday!
I know I said my next e-mail update would be on Monday but I have some Bar exam information to share so Eden and I switched days. Please be on the lookout for her Career Development e-mail on Monday as she is developing a cool virtual networking opportunity for you.

As I mentioned earlier this week (in an e-mail to our graduating students), we reached out to the major commercial bar prep providers to see if there were schedule changes given the postponement of the Pennsylvania Bar. To date, we have connected with PMBR and Themis.

PMBR
PMBR has changed the dates for the live course. They have cancelled the 5/7 - 5/15 dates. Instead the first session will run 5/18 - 5/24. For the second session, PMBR is working on adding June 4th, 5th, and 8th through 12th. The second session dates should be confirmed in the next few days.

Themis
The schedule for Themis is determined by the start date of the student. The lectures are already “open”. Traditionally students are encouraged to start around May 18th
but in light of the delay the recommendation has changed to a June 15th start date.

Tips from Prof. Meadows on Staying Fresh
Take this opportunity to either do practice multiple-choice questions on a regular basis or review subjects that you feel particularly weak on. Use bar outlines if you have them or class outlines if you don't and, as a supplement to their written materials, reach out to your professors to strengthen you knowledge in your weaker subject areas.

I would also recommend that you use this opportunity to take a break, recharge, and regain your focus. Develop a study plan that is realistic and that you can stick to. Put it on your calendar to hold yourself accountable to that plan. Also, to build on Prof. Meadows' tips above, remember that you will still have access to the online library study aids until the Bar if there is an area of the law where you would like some extra resources.

Fingerprinting
I confirmed with the Bar Examiners today that Idemia/IdentoGO is permitted to operate in Pennsylvania as an essential business. While all of their facilities are not open, many are. (Check the IdentoGO website in order to confirm center closures/hours.) However, please note that in Pennsylvania, even though fingerprinting is an admission requirement, it is not an item that must be completed before the bar exam. So, you have many months to accomplish this.

Finally, on a much lighter and totally unrelated note, the Dauphin County Bar Association has cancelled its summer volleyball league. Instead, it will hold a volleyball tournament on Thursday, August 13 at 5:45 p.m. and if needed a second night on Thursday, August 20th. If you are interested in playing, please let me know and I will get back in touch once I have more details.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I hope final exams are going well.

Have a great weekend!

Best,
Dean Teplitz

April 29, 2020

Dear Students,
I hope your final exam period is off to a strong start! I am happy to report that from the administrative side of final exams, things are going very smoothly. Please remember that a Zoom room will be staffed from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (Monday-Saturday) during the exam period. If you experience any issues, technical or otherwise, please pop into the Zoom room so we can assist you in real time. You can access the Zoom room by using this link: https://widener.zoom.us/j/7175413956. Also, if you need assistance when the Zoom room is closed, please e-mail [email protected] so that there is a time stamp to document your issue. If you have a submission issue, you should also use this e-mail to submit your exam as an attachment.

Calling all volleyball players--we could still use a few more students to join our summer team. Our graduating students are also welcome to play on the team--it's a great stress reliever while you are studying for the Bar! The Dauphin County Bar Association runs a volleyball league on Thursday evenings throughout the summer (schedule to be announced but games are usually at 5:45 or 6:45). The volleyball league is a major part of the culture of the Dauphin County Bar Association. It draws a large number of attorneys, paralegals, (and judges) and will provide you with a fun and casual way to make connections in our local legal community. Beer, soda, and snacks will be provided and there is no cost to you. Last year, we had a Widener team and I think a great time was had by all. You don’t need to have experience or be a great athlete—you just need to be committed to showing up and having fun. While we currently have enough participants to form a team, there is not a lot of cushion if players need to miss a game and we do not want to forfeit because that impacts teams outside of our school. Please let me know by the end of the week if you are interested. I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.

Finally, as your are aware, the Pennsylvania Bar has been postponed until September 9 & 10th. The law school has reached out to PMBR, Barbri, and Themis to determine whether this will impact the bar prep course schedule. As soon as we have more details, I will pass them along to you.

Absent any emerging information that needs to be shared, my next scheduled update will be on Monday. Please be on the lookout for Dean Mandrell's Career Development weekly wrap-up this Friday.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Best,
Dean Teplitz

April 28, 2020

Dear Students,

I am writing to provide further clarity and updates regarding the administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam.

The Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners just announced that the July 2020 bar exam has been postponed until September 9 & 10, and the Court has approved a limited license for July 2020 bar exam applicants.

Attached is a press release from the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners and an Order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Please note that this Order supersedes the one that I sent you last evening. It appears that this new Order allows for more immediate limited licensure once the law school provides the necessary certifications upon your graduation.

More details will follow in the next few days but I wanted to provide you with this information as soon as it was available.

Best,
Dean Teplitz

Email 2 April 27, 2020

Good evening.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just released an Order related to the administration of the July Bar exam. I have attached the Order for your review. Because we just received this information, we still need to complete a thorough review of its contents to interpret how this impacts our bar takers. I will provide a more concrete analysis for you in the next few days. I apologize for the lack of details in this e-mail but I wanted to make sure that you had this information as soon as we received it.

I hope this Order helps to ease some of the uncertainty surrounding the taking of the Bar and your ability to practice law.

Best,
Dean Teplitz

Email 1 April 27, 2020

Dear Students,

I am thinking of you today as we kick off the Spring 2020 final exam week.  You have shown your determination and resilience over the last few weeks so I have no doubt that you are working hard and will finish the semester strong. I can also tell that you are working hard because my inbox has noticeably slowed down in the last few days.  I appreciate the patience that you have shown me over the last month as I have worked through your e-mails answering your questions and concerns. 

Tomorrow we will launch our first set of timed exams. I thought it would  be worthwhile to recap some of the exam FAQs that the Registrar sent out to you on Friday.   Please remember that a staffed Zoom room will be available from 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. (excluding Sundays)  during the exam period if you have any questions or problems.  Timely communication with the Registrar's Office is key to resolving any difficulties that you may encounter.  You can access the Zoom room by using this link:  

https://widener.zoom.us/j/7175413956

FAQ’s

How do I find the anonymous number I should use when submitting my exam?

  • You can obtain your anonymous number from MyWidener. Type “anonymous number” in the search bar, click on the Anonymous Number for SOL link, and choose the spring 20 term.

How do I find dates, times, and instructions on how to upload my exams?

  • You can locate the exam schedule and uploading instructions here – Exam Information

Am I typing my answers directly in to TWEN or submitting a separate document?

  • You should use a separate document.  Do not type your answers directly in TWEN - type your answers on a separate word document and submit as an assignment on TWEN.

What if I don’t receive the password email the night before the exam?

How will I know when to stop writing my timed exam?

  • You should regularly check the allotted time for each exam that is listed on the exam schedule You are responsible for tracking your own time and ensuring that you submit your exam in the appropriate time frame. Timing begins when you download the exam from TWEN and ends when you upload the answer file to TWEN.

What if I decide to take my exam after 10pm and before 7am and I have problems?  What should I do?

  • You should email any questions during that time period.  If you are having trouble uploading to TWEN after-hours, you can attach your submission and email it to [email protected]

What if I notice a typo in my exam or an issue with a question?  Should I contact the professor?

  • You should not contact the professor.  If you notice an issue, please contact the Registrar’s Office.  In addition,  if you find what you believe to be a mistake or an ambiguity, please identify it in your exam answer file, state how it affects your analysis, and list the reasonable assumptions you made to complete your analysis.

What should I do to ensure that my exam answers are saved and accessible if needed?

  • You should save your exam answers to the cloud via One Drive, or another cloud storage application, to prevent loss of information. It is highly recommended that you frequently back up your work product to the cloud to give you some extra insurance.

Congratulations to those of you who have conquered law school milestones in the last few weeks like your first oral argument or your final law school class--now it's time to conquer those exams!

Wishing you much success this exam period.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 24, 2020

Dear Students:

Congratulations on wrapping up classes for the semester.  You should be proud of your perseverance, tenacity, and resourcefulness.  Years from now, you will be able to tell potential employers that you were a {1L, 2L, 3L} during the pandemic, and the motivation and drive you exhibited during that time has shaped who you are and the attitude you bring to your practice.

I know most of you are focused solely on your finals, but I wanted share with you some information that might worth reviewing during a study break. 

·      For those of you who were unable to attend our Sports Law Lunch & Learn this week, the Zoom recording can be found here.

·      For those of you interested in learning more about the Inns of Court and were unable to attend the information session, the Zoom recording can be found here.

·      If you are a rising 3L and are interested in joining an Inn of Court as a student member (pupil), please send me a resume and cover letter no later than Thursday, May 7.  Please make sure you state whether you are interested in applying to the Lipsitt Inn (litigation) or Bowman Inn (administrative).  I will be sending the files along to the Inns on Friday, May 8.

·      I continue to be amazed at the number of networking opportunities and information sessions available to law students – particularly on LinkedIn.  If you haven’t yet “linked” to Alexander Su, please do asap.  He is a former BigLaw associate who graduated from law school during the last economic downturn.  He regularly provides opportunities for people to network in his post’s comment section.  Here is an example of what he posted this week. Another presentation about “Networking from a Distance” that may be worth checking out can be found here..

·      Per Professor Simcox, if you are rising 2L or 3L and planning to do an externship next academic year, please start looking for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 externships now.  Many employers have already set their sights on hiring for the fall and spring, so please consider reaching out to potential employers as soon as you are done with exams.  Prof. Simcox ([email protected]) is happy to discuss options with you, and I am available to review submission materials ([email protected]).

·      If you are interested in clerking, please consider some of the more remote counties in Pennsylvania.  Don McGahn, one of Widener Commonwealth’s more well-known alums, started his career as a clerk to Judge Charles Alexander, a Clarion County Court of Common Pleas judge.  Judges continue to seek clerks for one to two-year clerkship opportunities.

Congratulations again on finishing up strong this last week of classes.  Please remember that the CDO office remains open and is here to help. Best of luck on your upcoming exams.

Regards,
Eden Mandrell

April 23, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for a wonderful, albeit, challenging semester. I am so proud of you. I feel grateful every day for the opportunity to work with such a talented and kind group of students.

As you go into this final exam period, I know you are feeling exhausted and stressed, but you are in the home stretch. No matter what—DO NOT give up now! You can do this!

I know some of you are feeling uneasy about the logistics surrounding the administration of final exams. I understand that the new exam process, coupled with the high stakes of exams is unsettling, but I promise you that we got this. Molly, Jess, and Betty Ann in the Registrar's Office have been working very hard to make this as user friendly as possible for you. If there are bumps, we will fix them. Please do not panic-- just be sure to communicate with the Registrar's Office or me if you encounter any difficulties. Tomorrow, the Registrar's Office will be sending out FAQs regarding exams. Please be sure to review the FAQs and also the exam schedule and submission instructions (with screen shots) at this link: https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/academics/curriculum/class-and-exam-schedules/. This should provide you with all of the logistical information that you need. Also, as you are taking your exam, it is highly recommended that you frequently back up your work product to the cloud to give you some extra insurance.

If you are feeling anxious, deep breathing exercises are scientifically proven to help lower your stress level and help you to regain your focus. Here, are a couple of quick examples: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/anxiety-zen/201701/3-essential-exercises-calm-anxiety

Eat well, get rest, and take care of yourself . Take some time in the sun to re-focus yourself.

Be on the lookout for Dean Mandrell's Career Development e-mail update tomorrow. Beginning next week, you can expect e-mails from me on Monday and Wednesday and Dean Mandrell will e-mail you on Friday. However, please do not hesitate to reach out if you ever need anything.

I am very proud of you and will be rooting for you!

Best wishes for a successful final exam period! You got this!

Fondly,
Dean Teplitz

April 22, 2020

Dear Students,

Have you met Matt Kearns yet?  He is our new Associate Dean of Admissions.  Dean Kearns is a native Pennsylvanian who returns to Pennsylvania after most recently serving as the Assistant Dean of Admissions for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.  You may not have had the opportunity to get to know him because he joined us not too long before our operation were moved off-campus.  Dean Kearns has taken over the leadership of our Admissions Office, and while he obviously did not expect to be working remotely in his new position, he has embraced the challenge and has been doing a lot of creative programming to build the next class of students that we will welcome to our Widener Law Commonwealth family.

Since moving off-campus, the Admissions Office has had to cancel all on-campus events and stop recruitment traveling, however, the change has provided us with an opportunity to reassess the admissions processes and innovate our practices. Our Accepted Students Day moved online and we now have a hub of information and videos tailored to accepted students. We are hosting weekly virtual events to engage prospective students such as our Online Information Sessions, Preparing for Law School Faculty Panel, Class Sit-in, and Experiential Programs Panel. Twelve accepted students even attended Dean Moringiello's Bankruptcy class earlier this week!

Also, you may have noticed more current students highlighted on the website and social media. As part of our Student Spotlight initiative we are making a concerted and ongoing effort to highlight your good work and provide a platform to amplify your voices.  We have an amazing group of students and we want to publicly recognize the intelligent, driven, and energetic students that make our campus vibrant and our classes robust.   Admissions is always a team effort.  If you know anyone who is interested in attending law school or if you still have connections with your undergraduate pre-law advisor, please connect them with Dean Kerns at [email protected] so that we can continue to move forward and seat a strong 1L class this fall.

Many thanks to those who attended tonight's exam administration town hall.  In case you missed it, I have attached the Powerpoint presentation to this e-mail.  You can also find the final exam schedule and submission instructions at this link:  https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/academics/curriculum/class-and-exam-schedules/

I hope you are having a good week.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 21, 2020

Dear Students,

Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to participate in our virtual programming. We have placed a high priority on continuing to offer substantive forums that are of interest and I am glad that you have been taking advantage of these opportunities.    I understand that there was a great turnout today for the Sports Law Lunch and Learn and there was also a nice turnout for the Law Review Interest meeting and the Summer Financial Aid Town Hall meeting--that's a lot of programs and it's only Tuesday!  

If you missed the Law Review meeting, click here to access the recording.  Dean Mandrell will provide the link to the Sports Law program recording in her Friday e-mail to you.

Our busy programming week continues.  Please note the following upcoming events:

Wednesday, April 22 at 5:00 p.m.:  Exam Administration Town Hall facilitated by Dean Acri and me. 

Zoom access:   https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

Thursday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m.:  Law Student Hope, Health and Help During Quarantine.  Panel discussion featuring Laurie Besden from Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.  (Note the time that was on the flyer that I provided yesterday was incorrect.)

Zoom access:  https://zoom.us/j/98177268496

Thursday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m.:  Summer Financial Aid Town Hall with Allura Lawrence.

Zoom access:  https://widener.zoom.us/s/97770245330

Thursday, April 23 at 5:00 p.m.  Inns of Court Presentation.  Zoom link available in CORE.

Friday, April 24--LAST DAY OF CLASSES--but, I am guessing you do not need a reminder for that.

Wednesday, April 29 at 12:00 p.m.:  A Lawyer's Guide to Coping Stress and Anxiety During These Uncertain Times.  A PBA presentation featuring Laurie Besden from LCL.  

Zoom access information:  https://www.pabar.org/pdf/2020/CoronavirusLawyerWellBeing.pdf

Finally, I also wanted to send a reminder to our graduating students that the deadline to complete your slide for the virtual celebration is April 26th.  If you would like to personalize your slide, you must do it by the 26th.  In order to access the site, please refer back to the e-mail that you received last week from [email protected].  If you did not receive this e-mail, please check your junk mail and contact Molly Acri right away.  This e-mail contains a personalized link for you to use.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 20, 2020

Dear Students,

Happy Summer/Fall Registration Day!  Although much of our daily routines have been disrupted, we have been excitedly planning for our upcoming semesters and are looking forward to the day that we can welcome you back to campus.  I know that our newly elected SBA board is eager to hit the ground running, student organizations are electing their new leaders, and our Law Review is recruiting new members.  While we may currently feel stuck, life at Widener Law Commonwealth marches on.

We also want to support you during this time so that you can successfully move forward and plan ahead.  I know that there are still unanswered questions about the Bar Exam and this understandably creates a major obstacle in your future planning. I am hopeful that we will have some concrete information to share with you shortly.  We are still awaiting an update from the Bar Examiners.  For your reference, a list of the actions taken by various states on its bar exams can be found here: http://www.ncbex.org/ncbe-covid-19-updates/july-2020-bar-exam-jurisdiction-information/

I am also aware that many of you are suffering from unexpected financial losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore I wanted to remind you of some potential resources that may help to alleviate some of that strain.

Last week I informed you that we had created an emergency fund for our students in partnership with AccessLex.  This fund is designed to provide small, one time grants to students who have suffered unexpected expenses and/or job loss as a result of COVID-19.  We have already received numerous applications and our committee will be meeting later this week to review those applications.  We hope to have the first round of disbursements approved by the end of the week.  I am attaching the application and eligibility criteria to this e-mail in case you missed it. [Description & ApplicationI am further pleased to announce that Widener University has also created an emergency fund to which you are eligible to apply.  More information can be found at this link:  https://give.widener.edu/emergencyfundapplication

Also, on Friday, Dean Mandrell linked you to information related the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance fund that was created for people who may not normally be covered by Unemployment.  Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for temporary benefits. This program applies in situations, such as, where job offers have been rescinded and places of employment are closed due to a stay-at-home order.  Please click here for more information.

Please also remember that there may be additional funding options available by accessing financial aid budget increases or by applying for a private bar loan.  Please contact Allura Lawrence for more information as soon as possible.  If you are seeking an increase to your financial aid, those loans need to be certified by May 1st.

With final exams approaching, I know that even in the best of times, stress and anxiety is heightened.  Should you need assistance, you can access Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers’ 24-hour helpline at 1-888-999-1941 or you can schedule a virtual appointment by e-mailing [email protected].  Laurie Besden from LCL, will also be presenting two free programs that may be of interest.  First, on April 23rd, she will be on a panel discussing “Law Student Hope, Health and Help During the Quarantine.” I have attached the flyer to this e-mail for your review.    Then, on April 29th, Laurie will be presenting “A Lawyer’s Guide to Coping with Stress and Anxiety During These Uncertain Times.”  This program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.  Click here for more information.

Finally, please note that Molly Acri and I will be hosting a Zoom town hall to answer your questions about the administration of final exams this Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.  Please join us using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz.

I hope you are staying healthy and safe as we enter this final week of classes.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 16, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you are doing well as we approach our final week of classes for the spring semester--and what a semester it has been.

Today's e-mail update will focus on reminders and upcoming opportunities.  

First, if you did not register for PMBR last week but are still interested, please register as soon as possible.  Click here to access the registration link.  To the best of our knowledge, PMBR is still able to distribute the physical copies of the books so it is in your best interest to register sooner, rather than later.

Second, tomorrow, the ABA will be offering a free workshop on social media and personal branding.  This workshop comes highly recommended by Dean Mandrell. If you are interested in attending, you can register using this link:  https://www.americanbar.org/careercenter/career-development-series/linkedin-social-media-personal-branding/.

Third, please remember that summer and fall registration opens on Monday.  Please check tomorrow for final updates to the course offerings.   Please note that a Negotiations class has been added to the summer schedule and will run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  Also, there have been several questions about the Essential Legal Skills class that is on the schedule.  This class is a required course for the incoming 1L class; it is not a class that current students will take so please do not consider this as part of your course planning.

Finally, next week, Allura Lawrence from Financial Aid, will be hosting multiple town hall events to answer your questions about summer financial aid.  You can join us for this discussion on:

Tuesday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m.:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/99366619484

Thursday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m.:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/97770245330

Thursday, April 23 at 5:00 p.m.:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/92761798381

My next update will be on Monday.  Please be on the lookout tomorrow for an e-mail from Dean Mandrell who will provide an update from the Career Development Office. 

Stay well.  Please let me know if I can be helpful.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 15, 2020

Dear Students,

We know that times are difficult.  We know that many of you have lost paid employment and externship opportunities.  We know that you have health concerns, child care issues, and family worries.  We know that the uncertainty surrounding the bar exam has understandably created much anxiety.  We know that many of you are suffering.

While we have tried to alleviate as much of your anxiety as we are able to by adopting flexible policies, offering continuing programming, and providing daily communications, we know that this is only a small piece in a much larger puzzle and many of those puzzle pieces are simply out of our control.  Despite that fact, we work hard every day to try to find ways to make things a little better.  

To that end, in an effort to assist our students who have sustained unexpected losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am pleased to announce that we have established an emergency fund, in partnership with AccessLex, that will provide small one-time grants to students in need.  You will find the eligibility criteria and the grant application attached to this e-mail.  [Description & Application] Please know that the information in your application is strictly confidential and you should send your application directly to me.  Funding is limited, but we will disburse funds to as many qualifying students as we are able to until the fund is depleted.  If you are in need, I strongly encourage you to apply.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 14, 2020

Dear Students,

As we look towards summer/fall course registration which will open on Monday, it was important for us to make decisions on how summer courses will be administered so that you can plan your schedule accordingly.  To that end, out of abundance of caution, we have decided to move the summer session online.  We have also decided that it was important to increase our course offerings to give you additional credit bearing opportunities and thus we are adding experiential classes to the summer and pre-semester schedule.  To increase your schedule flexibility, some of these courses will also be offered during the day.  This amended schedule will be posted later this week.  Please note, however, that if you are a student accepted into the Civil Law Clinic this summer, you will be expected to participate in-person as soon as the Governor allows for us to re-open campus.  You should not expect that a position at the Clinic will be a remote working position—even if it begins that way.

We also recognize that final exams are quickly approaching and that there is still some outstanding logistical information that you need in order for our exam period to run smoothly.  While I expect and hope that your professors have already communicated with you about their exam format and expectations, we will be posting a master list tomorrow, as well as instructions related to exam access, timing, and submission.  Please remember that if you intend to handwrite your final exams, you must contact Molly Acri at [email protected] as soon as possible.

I have also received many questions about the status of exam deferrals.  It appears that most of those deferrals are no longer necessary. Generally, where you have a take home exam that is due on the same day as a timed exam, you are no longer eligible for a deferral as long as you have been given more than 24 hours to complete the take-home.  However, I will be re-reviewing each deferral request in conjunction with your exam schedule because I know there may be situations that still warrant a deferral.  I will address each request on a case-by case-basis based on your individualized schedule.  For those of you who have submitted deferral requests, we will confirm with you by early next week the status of your request.  Thank you for your patience as we work through this final piece of the exam process.

Lastly, in case you missed the Lunch and Learn today with the Lancaster County Bar Association, you can view the program at this link: https://widener.zoom.us/rec/share/ycZrF5PaqWVLRqvi0x72X4g9IYXZeaa81CAeqaAFzUqwH43YLOczfO7A6qbA_lZa

Also, don’t forget that the CDO has another program planned for next Tuesday at NOON on Sports Law. Larry Cohen, a sports executive and Associate Clinical Professor of Sports Management at Drexel University, will discuss the different career paths available to those who are interested in sports law.  Whether you are considering becoming a lawyer for a professional team or league, a sports agent, or pursuing any number of other sports law careers, you'll want to join in to hear about the steps you can take now to start down that path. Sign up through CORE.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Be well.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 13, 2020

Dear Students,

Many thanks to our students who attended the graduate meeting/listening session this afternoon.  It was amazing to see so many of you all at once.  I miss my students!

This e-mail serves as a recap of the meeting for those of you who were unable to attend.    While the information in today’s update does not pertain to all of our students, I think it is important for the entire campus community to be aware of information related to an event as significant as commencement. 

But, before I do that I wanted to take a moment to remind you that tomorrow the Career Development Office will be offering a Lunch and Learn at NOON in partnership with the Lancaster Bar Association.  Also, next Tuesday at NOON, there will be a Lunch and Learn offered on Sports Law.  Sign up for both events on CORE.

So, back to my meeting recap. . . As was previously announced, it was with sadness that we unfortunately had to make the decision to postpone the live commencement ceremony until Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.  This decision was made because of the uncertainty as to when the Governor’s stay at home order would be lifted, the recommendation to maintain social distances, and because the ceremony venue, The Forum, has been closed until further notice.  This was a University-wide decision.

While we are pleased that we have been able to reschedule the live commencement ceremony at the Forum, we collectively believed that it was important to commemorate your accomplishment on May 17th.  To do that, we are planning a virtual celebration that spotlights each of our graduates, our student award winners, and our graduating students who are working on the front lines of this pandemic from first responders to our military to our healthcare workers to our grocery store employees.  If you are a graduating student who has been working in a life sustaining position of any kind during the COVID-19 pandemic, please let me know so that we can recognize and thank you.

Also, in order to prepare our virtual celebration, you will be receiving an e-mail in the next day or so from [email protected] that provides instructions that will help us to personalize your slide.  You will have the opportunity to upload a professional headshot (or we can use your composite photo), provide the phonetic pronunciation of your name, and provide a 150 character “shout out” to your #1 supporter while in law school.  It is very important that you provide the phonetic pronunciation of your name this week as there is a lengthy lead time necessary to get your name recorded.  This virtual celebration is asynchronous and will open at 11:00 a.m. on May 17th.  You will be able to share this celebration with your family and friends.  Please check you spam folder and let us know if you do not receive this e-mail by Wednesday.

We also hope that you will join us on Friday, May 15th at 4:00 p.m. for the 3L Farewell.  We thought it was important to end your year with a synchronous gathering to celebrate with each other, particularly given the abrupt nature of the end of your on-campus experience.  At the 3L Farewell, we will have the “world premiere” of the 3L slideshow, drawings for Widener swag, and surprise guests.  

During our meeting we also discussed the importance of keeping us up to date on your current mailing and e-mail address.  In the coming months, we will be mailing you your diploma and your class composite photo.  (When this will occur, will depend on when we are permitted to resume operations on campus.)  We will also need to communicate with you about the logistics of the live ceremony such as the distribution of regalia and tickets.

For more information, you can access the recording of today’s program using this link: https://widener.zoom.us/rec/share/4eJ6LqzUpk1Ifq_n9n3dXYkwFNXVT6a8h3RN-PMKmBksHIiVJWAreFoP69R5SmIN (Access Password: H3^48$m7).  (Please accept my apologies as I did not hit record until about 5 minutes into the presentation.)

Thank you for your understanding as we continue to make this the best experience possible for you under less than ideal circumstances.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to either Molly or me if you have any questions or thoughts on how we can best honor you during the upcoming celebrations.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 9, 2020

Dear Students,

As we begin our long weekend, I hope you take an opportunity to go outside and take a breather.  Speaking of breathing, did you know we added a Law & Mindfulness elective to the Fall schedule?  If you have an open elective, I encourage you to check it out.  Click here to watch Alicia Keys discuss her use of meditation and demonstrate her technique.  The Harvard Business Review also discusses the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in this interesting article.

As we look towards summer and hopefully resuming our sense of normalcy, I wanted to inform you of a great opportunity for both networking and fun.  The Dauphin County Bar Association runs a volleyball league on Thursday evenings throughout the summer (schedule to be announced). The volleyball league is a major part of the culture of the Dauphin County Bar Association.  It draws a large number of attorneys, paralegals, (and judges) and will provide you with a fun and casual way to make connections in our local legal community.    Beer, soda, and snacks will be provided and there is no cost to you.  Last year, we had a Widener team and I think a great time was had by all.  You don’t need to have experience or be a great athlete—you just need to be committed to showing up and having fun.  We need about 15 people in order to register our team and the team needs to consist of both men and women—according the league rules at least one woman needs to be involved in every play.  I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.  If you are interested in signing up, please let me know by April 17th.    

My next update will be on Monday.  Enjoy your weekend.  Stay strong and motivated as we make this final push to the end of this crazy and historical semester. 

Please let me know if I can be helpful.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 8, 2020

Dear Students,

Today’s e-mail update is directed at our graduating students and provides an update as to the status of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam and the upcoming PMBR bar preparation program. Please be sure to read through to the end of this e-mail as it contains extremely time sensitive information.

As I have previously communicated, the Deans of the Pennsylvania law schools have been actively working to find meaningful alternatives for you in the event that the July Bar is postponed.  The Deans, with guidance from national and state stakeholders, have proposed to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, temporary licensure as one of those alternatives, similar to a plan that was adopted earlier this week in New Jersey.  Click here to review the order entered by the New Jersey Supreme Court.  These discussions are ongoing and we believe will be resolved in the near future.  Also, please note that today, the Bar Examiners extended the timely payment of the application fees to May 30, 2020.  Click here for more details.

I know there have also been many questions surrounding the administration of the PMBR course.  I am pleased that we now have some details that we can offer.  As of now, PMBR will offer a live, synchronous, online PMBR course to Widener Law Commonwealth students combined with another law school. The 7-day course will run twice. Session 1 will be May 7-8, and 11-15 and Session 2 will be May 18-24. Between these 14 days of PMBR classes, you can pick and choose when you attend. For example, if you miss Contracts in the first session, you can pick it up in the second session. If the PA Board of Bar Examiners changes the July bar, then the dates of one or both of these sessions may change.

The live online sessions will allow you to ask questions of the professor. PMBR will also have a teaching assistant attending each session to help with technical issues and to run a chat session that you can use to ask questions during the presentation.

PMBR is an effective, time-tested bar preparation and we highly encourage all students to enroll. Widener offers this program to you at the low cost of $35.00. The retail cost is around $800.00. It is imperative that you register by the end of this week—but, the sooner the better. PMBR is concerned that at some point it will be unable to ship the books because its warehouse may be shut down. If that happens, you will only have access to online versions of the PMBR books. I think you will benefit from having the paper books. In addition to the book for the 7-day program, you will also get the PMBR Redbook, which contains almost 700 additional practice MBE questions. Here’s the link to register for PMBR: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=FkeeUJeGJEeRadxzrg6Bosb4N1WoOH5GlSovD_mCncpUNjAzUERVRzU4SzBMUkpaMFIyNFQ0UkxEVS4u. Even if you don’t think that PMBR is for you, please fill out the registration so we can plan accordingly. If you have already registered for PMBR, you can disregard this information.

If you have any questions about the PMBR program, please reach out to Professor David Raeker-Jordan as soon as possible.

I hope this e-mail provides you with some additional guidance.  I will keep you updated as further information develops.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

April 7, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you to the 1L students who came to the 1L Registration Orientation earlier today.  If you missed it, you can watch the recording at this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/rec/share/ufVtDY3y51hJHYWRr0fBQYUEM4DAaaa803QYr6ELmEdia0nnambbowskm50-SUBT

Remember that Molly Acri and I will be holding an informal session for all students on Thursday at NOON to answer your registration questions.  Please join us using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

Need help with employment/externship issues?  Dean Mandrell is scheduling one-on-one appointments through CORE.  Sign-ups are now available.  Also, if your employment or externship plans have been disrupted, you may want to consider requesting a financial aid loan increase.  If you have not maxed out your loan for this year, you may be eligible to obtain additional funds.  Review your award letter and contact Allura Lawrence ([email protected])  to determine your eligibility.  Please note however, that May 1st is the last day that Allura will be able to certify loan changes.

Reminder—the school store is open until Friday.  Click here to make your purchases.  Also, don’t forget that SBA voting will open on Thursday at 5:00 a.m. and will close on Friday at 11:59 p.m.  Voting will occur on the SBA TWEN page.  Thank you to everyone who threw their hats in the ring.  Your commitment to our Widener community is appreciated.

The following races are contested:

Candidates for SBA President:  Calvin Pierre & Gabriella Romeo

*All students are eligible to vote for SBA President.

Candidates for 2RD Representative (2 openings & you select 2):  Oscar Collazo, Jessica Layton, Sean Peterson, Joelle Rolko, & Quinn Stasa

*Only 2RD students are eligible to vote in this race.

I hope you are well and staying safe.  Please let me know if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 6, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you had the opportunity to get outside this weekend and enjoy some fresh air.  I can tell you “What’s Not Trending at Widener”—my idea to compile a list.  But, no worries—not all of my ideas can be winners! J

First, please remember that Molly and I will be hosting Zoom sessions related to Registration this week on Tuesday and Thursday at NOON.  The Tuesday session is specifically geared towards 1Ls and we strongly recommend that all 1Ls  attend; Thursday’s session will be an open forum for anyone with questions.  You can access both sessions using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

Second, and more significantly, I wanted to provide you with an update related to the administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam.  Today, the Deans of the Pennsylvania Law Schools met with the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners.  Dean Johnson reports that it was a very productive conversation where everyone is working collectively to find a solution that best serves the bar takers.  The Law Examiners have agreed to pause and not make a final decision for at least 7 days to allow the Deans to submit specific tangible proposals for them to consider.  They have scheduled another meeting for next week to review the Deans’ proposals and continue the discussion.  We know this issue has been weighing heavily on your minds and we are closely monitoring the situation locally and nationwide.  We hope to get this resolved for you as soon as possible. 

Third, please remember that this Thursday is a make-up day for classes and there are no classes on Friday.  Enjoy the long weekend!

Last, but certainly not least, earlier this evening, Dean Johnson sent our graduating students an e-mail providing information about the unfortunate postponement of the May commencement ceremony.  Obviously, we are disappointed that we will not be able to celebrate as we had originally hoped.  However, we do not want your accomplishments to go unnoticed in May so we are planning virtual celebrations to recognize your achievements.  Please mark your calendars for these important dates:

Monday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m.:  Graduate Meeting.  We will answer questions and provide information about our virtual celebrations. Please join us using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/7175413956

Friday, May 15 at 4:00 p.m.:  3L Farewell Virtual Tribute—Details to be announced.

Sunday, Mary 17 at 11:00 a.m.:  Virtual Graduation Celebration—Details to be announced.

Sunday, December 13 at 11:00:  Commencement ceremony at the Forum.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 3, 2020

Dear Students,

As promised, I am happy to share with you some updates regarding the administration of final exams.  Please note that there are still some logistics that need to be worked out but we wanted to provide you with a general framework to assist you with your planning.  The faculty listened to your concerns and worked hard to find a solution that best serves the greater Widener student community.  I think the below parameters will serve you well this exam period.

First, we will not be administering exams using ExamSoft this semester; instead, we will use TWEN.  In TWEN, you will have the ability to download the exam, type your answers in Word and then upload the Word document back to the TWEN assignment link.  In addition, because all exams will be open book, using TWEN will allow you to access all of your outlines and course materials. 

Second, exams will be administered either as a take-home exam or as a timed exam.  Your professors will advise you of the assessment method that they have selected.  If the exam is a timed exam, you can expect that extra time will be provided to account for external issues that may interfere with your taking of the exam.  For example, you might be given 4-hours to take a 3-hour exam.  Exams will be self-timed and verified by the Registrar’s Office.

Third, you will also be given a 24-hour window in which to complete your timed exam.  However, once you start the exam you will need to complete it according the assigned time constraints.    For example, if you are scheduled to take a 3-hour exam (in which 4-hours are allotted) on May 10th, your exam window may open at 5:00 a.m. on May 10th and you will have until 4:59 a.m. on May 11th to complete it.  You can decide when within those 24-hours to take your exam, but once you start it, you will need to complete it.  So, if you choose to start your exam at 7:00 p.m. on May 10th you will have until 11:00 p.m. on May 10th to upload your completed exam.  Please note that the times in these hypotheticals are just for demonstrative purposes; we are still working out the actual time frames.

Fourth, if you are a student who chooses to handwrite final exams, we will be able to accommodate you.  Please contact Molly Acri ASAP at [email protected] to let her know that you intend to handwrite your exams and we will provide you with the logistical details.  I hope this alleviates the concerns that some of you have raised.

Finally, while your professors will be providing you with the details related to the administration of their exams, I expect that we will have a master compilation of each professor’s method of assessment and time frames available to disseminate to you late next week. 

I hope this gives you a good idea as to how we intend to approach our upcoming exam period.  Some of the fine details still need to be addressed but this overarching structure should serve as a solid guide. 

We appreciate your patience as we work through the remaining details.  We are trying to approach this methodically and thoughtfully so as to avoid unnecessary confusion and anxiety.

On a different note, if you missed today’s Employment Town Hall, you can watch the recording at this link: 
https://widener.zoom.us/rec/share/-pIoc7_orU9OWM_A2QLcC6QiG9_GX6a8hiAW_qJexE93nLsVstiLTXLoRjz8jVZQ

Also, this Sunday, you can access a free Zumba class offered by a Progress Fitness instructor using this information:

Topic: Zoom Zumba with Joy

Time: Apr 5, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/525203254?pwd=Wkh1Uk5QeFp0SG9nTTJ4Y3dpOUw5dz09

Meeting ID: 525 203 254

Password: 058046

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. 

Have a great weekend and don’t forget to send me your TV/movies/app/game, etc. recommendations for my “What’s Trending at Widener List.”

Stay well.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 2, 2020 

Dear Students,

As you know, one of the predominant themes of my daily updates has been to emphasize the importance in staying healthy and connected.  In that regard, I hope you will join us for the Employment Town Hall and Yappy Hour events that are scheduled for tomorrow.  Dean Mandrell is also planning a Lunch and Learn event for April 14th so stay tuned for more details.

Please join us for the Employment Town Hall at NOON using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/9351964736

Please join us for Yappy Hour at 4:00 p.m. (no pet required) using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

During this crazy time while it is important to focus on your academics, it is also important to focus on your physical and mental health.  What are you doing to take care of yourself?  Do we have any yoga experts who may be interested in leading a virtual yoga class?  Do you have any other ideas?  Dean Mandrell has also informed me that the Peloton app is offering a free 90-day trial.  Cycling bike is not required—they offer yoga, boot camps, meditation, dance cardio and more.  Click here if you are interested in checking it out.

Have any good TV or movie recommendations?  Any good games?  What are you binge watching?  Send me your recommendations and I will compile a “What’s Trending at Widener” list to disseminate.

If you are in need of some extra supportive resources, TrueNorth Wellness is still available for tele-counseling appointments.  Please contact me if you would like a referral.  Also, Laurie Besden at LCL is offering virtual student hours  via Zoom or FaceTime. Please e-mail Laurie at [email protected] if you would like to schedule with her.   You can also find LCL's law student brochure at  https://www.lclpa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/LCL-Student-brochure.pdf.  This brochure outlines all of their safe, free, confidential, and supportive services.

Tomorrow’s update will provide information about the administration of final exams.  (I saved this until the end to see if you really read my e-mails.) :)

Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be helpful.  I appreciate your understanding as I work through the high volume of e-mails that I am receiving (and am very happy to continue receiving). 

Stay well.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

April 1, 2020

Dear Students,

Did you know that today is National Census Day?  This is the date that is being used to determine who is counted and where they are living on April 1, 2020.  It is important that you be counted because shifting population numbers determine federal funding levels, congressional seats and more.  Click here to learn more about the census and to respond to the online census questionnaire.

I am happy to report that today is also Widener Law Commonwealth’s Summer/Fall Course Schedule Posting Day!  I have received many questions about whether we will run a Summer session if we are still practicing social distancing.  While it is our hope and preference to offer our summer classes live and on campus, we are preparing to run them remotely in the event that it is necessary.  Regardless of format, we will have a Summer session.  Please note however that we have decided to move ITAP to August in order to increase the chances that it will be able to be presented in a live format.

Registration opens on April 20th and we strongly encourage you to register during your assigned registration window to help improve your chances of getting the classes you need or want.  Also, please be sure to put yourself on the waitlist of any closed classes that you would like to take.  The waitlists tend to be very fluid so there is a good chance you will still get in from the waitlist.  We are also still exploring a few additional course options for Fall so stay tuned for possible updates.

If you are planning on doing an externship for credit this summer or fall, please reach out to Professor Simcox so that she can discuss your eligibility and the curricular requirements.  She can be reached at [email protected].  Also, be on the lookout for information about participating in our on-campus Civil Law Clinic if that might be of interest to you.

As previously mentioned, Molly Acri and I will be available via Zoom next week to address any registration questions that you might have.  We have scheduled Zoom sessions as follows:

1L Zoom Session:         Tuesday, April 7 at NOON:  We encourage all 1Ls to participate because the registration process is new to you.  If you are unable to attend, please let me know.  Please feel free to e-mail me questions in advance or ask them live.  Access this meeting using this link:https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

All other students:       Thursday, April 9 at NOON:  This is an optional session that is available if you have any questions.  Please feel free to e-mail me questions in advance or ask them live.  Access this meeting using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz

We are also happy to schedule individual Zoom appointments or you can e-mail us your questions and proposed schedules for us to review.  We thank you in advance for your patience as we work through your registration questions.

In response to your requests for Widener Commonwealth gear, our pop up school store went live today.  Click here to check out what is on sale this season.  Thank you to Gabby Romeo and SBA for pulling this together.

Finally, many thanks to those of you who have already sent me questions for Friday’s Employment/Externship Town Hall meeting.  Please keep those questions coming.  This forum is specifically designed to address what’s on your mind about the current employment climate so we want to hear from you!

I hope you are doing well and staying healthy.  Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if I can be helpful.

Best,

Dean Teplitz

March 31, 2020

Dear Students,

I love Tuesdays!  It is the day that I get to teach Legal Methods.    This week our 1Ls are finalizing their appellate briefs—they are in the home stretch of completing a major milestone in their law school careers.  It is inspiring to observe their dedication and drive to succeed even in these uncertain times.  I know that my Legal Methods class is just a very small snapshot of the commitment that is being shown by our students across their classes.  Kudos to you for rising to the challenge!

We understand that today’s uncertainty brings with it challenges and concerns related to securing internships and identifying long term career prospects.  To date, I know that Dean Mandrell and Professor Simcox have been fielding your questions and identifying creative solutions to help you with employment and experiential learning curricular challenges.  On Friday at NOON, they will hold a Zoom town hall to answer your questions related to the current employment climate. This session will be recorded to accommodate students who have a class conflict.  I will serve as the moderator.  Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions that you would like addressed.  We will get to as many questions as we can live and will follow up with those of you who have specific questions based on your individualized circumstances.  Student names will not be identified during the town hall unless you choose to ask your question during the live session.  You can access the town hall using this link:  https://widener.zoom.us/j/9351964736.  Thank you to the student who reached out with this idea!

Also, be on the lookout tomorrow as the Summer/Fall course schedule to be posted in the afternoon.  I also will be providing you with more details about upcoming registration information sessions in tomorrow's e-mail update.  Summer/Fall registration will begin on April 20th.

Finally, in the event that you received an e-mail from the Provost this afternoon regarding the University’s grading policy, I wanted to clarify that this is the policy that governs the programs on the Chester campus.  Both law schools are operating under different policies.  Please disregard the Provost’s e-mail as it is not applicable to us.  The policy that we previously communicated to you is the grading structure that we will be using for the Spring 2020 semester. I apologize if this created any confusion.

Please stay well and reach out if you have any questions or issues that I can assist with.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 30, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you had a nice weekend despite the dreary weather.  We celebrated my son’s 15th birthday which I am sure will be one that he never forgets.  I bet he never thought he would spend his birthday working on a 1,000 piece puzzle!  (He just finished it!) 

Staying connected is so important.  I am so glad to have connected with some of you on Friday for a virtual coffee date and again during Yappy Hour.  I hope we can continue to do this.  Please remember that there is another Yappy Hour scheduled for this Friday at 4:00—pets are not required to join!  If you didn’t join us last week, you missed meeting Prof. Kearney’s Great Dane.  You never know who will pop in during Yappy Hour!

Speaking of connecting, when you join your Zoom classes, please be sure to use your first and last name.  It can be difficult for professors to track attendance and encourage participation when there is only a first name provided—particularly in larger classes.

Last Friday, I promised that I would keep you up to date on the evolving information surrounding the administration of the July bar examination.  Some you may already be aware that late Friday, the New York Bar decided to postpone its examination to a date that has not yet been determined.  In response, the Deans of all of the Pennsylvania law schools, have united and drafted a letter to the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners urging them to look at creative alternatives and move forward with the July bar if it is practicable.  They have requested a meeting with the Bar Examiners and have also extended offers to aid with the administration of the exam like use of facilities, technology, and staff.  I will continue to keep you posted as this develops further.

On a lighter note, the SBA has been getting many requests for Widener Commonwealth gear so that have arranged for a pop-up school store that will go live this Wednesday and will run until Friday, April 10th.  At this time, the vendor believes that they will be able to fulfill your orders.  If they cannot, you will be refunded.  If you choose to place an order, items will be shipped directly to you (but note that shipping costs may apply).  I will provide the link tomorrow and it will also be posted on our Facebook class pages.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.  I appreciate your patience as I work through my e-mails but I am glad to hear from so many of you on a regular basis.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 27, 2020

Dear Students,

As our first full week of Zoom classes comes to a close, I hope you have made a smooth transition and are adapting as well as possible.  We know that this is tough both academically and emotionally which is why my daily communications with you are important.  I know I enjoy writing these updates because it makes me feel more connected to you.  I hope you will join us today at 4:00 for Yappy Hour.  You can access this event by using my Zoom link: https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz.  Laurie Besden from LCL and her dog Amazing, are also hoping to stop by to say hello.  Please do not ever hesitate to reach out if you need someone to talk to and remember LCL is a free, supportive resource that can be accessed 24 hours a day at 1-888-999-1941. 

Today’s update will focus on an issue that I know is weighing heavily on many of you (and us)—the Bar Exam.  As of today, this is what we know:

At this time, the bar exam remains scheduled for July 28-29, 2020. You should continue as usual in registering and preparing for the bar exam. The National Conference of Bar Examiners (NBCE), which provides the questions for the MBE and the UBE, announced that it will decide no later than May 5, 2020 on whether it will administer the bar exam in July 2020. Plans are underway to have an additional testing date in fall 2020 but no date has been selected yet.

In addition, all of the Deans of the law schools in this region met yesterday to discuss the administration of the Pennsylvania Bar Exam and to develop contingency plans if needed.  They are collectively uniting to engage with the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners in order to formulate a plan that will best serve our bar candidates.  However, those plans will ultimately hinge on whether the NBCE releases the MBE questions.  Dean Johnson will also be participating in a call later today with the NBCE.

Please proceed as if the bar is going to take place as scheduled.  I encourage you to register for PMBR if you have not already done so.  While we are unsure at this time if PMBR will be offered live, the course will still be available in an online format.  Questions about PMBR should be directed to Professor David Raeker-Jordan ([email protected]).

I will continue to provide you with updates related to the bar exam as the information becomes available.  Please also remember to check our FAQ page for updates at:  https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/coronavirus/.

Please continue to check your e-mail as I anticipate major news to report next week related to final exams.  Also, remember that the summer/fall course schedule will be available by April 1.

Have a great weekend.  Please let me know if you need anything.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 26, 2020

Dear Students,

I am very excited to invite you to a Zoom Yappy Hour tomorrow at 4:00 p.m.  Attached please find the event flyer.  Thank you to the Program for Health, Exercise & Wellness (PHEW) for organizing this event and recognizing the importance of our Widener community staying connected.

I have also appreciated connecting with many of you over the last few days to answer your questions related to the Spring 2020 grading policy.  For today’s update, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the commonly asked questions that I have received since the policy was released.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

See you tomorrow at Yappy Hour!

Best,

Dean Teplitz

CAN I ELECT TO TAKE GRADES V. CREDIT ON A COURSE-BY-COURSE BASIS?

Yes!  You do not have to choose one or the other.  You may make that determination on a course-by-course basis.  For example, if you have 5 classes, you can take 3 classes for the grade and 2 classes for credit.  You could also take 5 classes for a grade or 5 classes for credit.  You have the power to decide what is in your best interest.

HOW DOES THIS NEW POLICY IMPACT MY CUMULATIVE GPA (CGPA)?

Courses that you take for credit will not factor into your CGPA calculation.  So, if you take all of your classes this semester for credit, your CGPA will be the same as it was following the Fall 2019 semester.  Your CGPA will only be adjusted if you choose to take courses for a grade.

HOW MUCH WILL MY CGPA IMPROVE IF I CHOOSE TO TAKE GRADES FOR COURSES?

It depends.  There are a lot of variables that factor into this.  For example, choosing a grade for only 2 of your credits will have less of an impact than if you choose grades for 12 of your credits.  In addition, the number of credits that you have already accrued is a factor.  The more credits you have already earned, the harder it is to move your CGPA.  For these reasons, the answer will vary depending on your unique circumstances.  This is where Molly Acri and I can assist and provide you with options counseling following the release of grades.

HOW WILL MY RANK BE AFFECTED?

Class rank/percentages will be re-calculated following the Spring 2020 semester.  If you choose to take all of your courses for credit, even though your CGPA will not change, it is still possible for your rank to change.  This will depend on your classmates, particularly those with CGPAs close to you, and the choices that are made in taking grades versus credit.  The more grades a student takes, the more their CGPA will move.  By contrast, the fewer grades you take, the less your CGPA will move. This is why we encourage all students to persist and stay motivated so you can perform at the highest level that you are able given the circumstances. 

HOW WILL A CREDIT GRADE BE REFLECTED ON MY TRANSCRIPT?

Dean Acri is working with national registrar’s organizations to determine how this will be reflected on your transcript.  While we do not have the specific language yet, we expect that there will be a statement on your transcript that explains that the courses on your transcript for this semester were the taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This will provide context for the credit/no credit grade option.

IF I TAKE A COURSE FOR CREDIT, WILL IT MAKE ME LESS COMPETITIVE IN THE JOB MARKET?

Dean Mandrell does not believe that this will cause you to be less competitive in the job market. She has been involved in conversations on a national level and with local employers who understand that we are in the midst a situation that is beyond our control.  Employers will place more weight on your academic performance in the past and/or in the future.  Taking courses for credit this semester, should not significantly impact your competitiveness as long as you are able to demonstrate your performance under more normal circumstances.  If you would like to connect with Dean Mandrell about this or any other employment-related matters, please contact her at [email protected]

WHAT ABOUT DEAN’S LIST FOR SPRING 2020?

We will be suspending the Dean’s List for Spring 2020 semester.  There is no way to accurately calculate a Dean’s List given the grading choices that are available. 

I TOOK A PRE-SEMESTER COURSE, HOW WILL THAT GRADE BE CALCULATED?

While we recognize that the coursework for those classes was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, because those courses are considered part of your Spring 2020 semester, there is no clear way for us to differentiate those courses on your transcript.  For the sake of clarity and consistency, pre-semester courses will also be governed by the Spring 2020 grading policy and as such you may choose to keep the grade or convert it to credit or no credit.

March 25, 2020

Dear Students,

By now, with the exception of Wednesday only classes, you have likely attended all of your classes via Zoom.  Now that we are becoming more familiar with Zoom and its features, I think it is a good time to review some remote learning netiquette.  Please remember:

  • Turn on your camera—if you have an issue that precludes you from using your camera you must get permission from your professor to have your camera turned off.  You are required to turn your camera on and will not be counted as attending if it is off.
  • Point your camera at your face.  You continue to be a part of a classroom community.  It is hard to maintain a classroom presence if your professor and classmates can only see your ceiling or floor.
  • Set up your learning space prior to the start of class.  It is distracting to others if you are walking around with your webcam on while class is in progress.  We understand that many of you have learning environments that are prone to distraction; it is okay if you need to step away for a short time.  That is preferred to you taking the entire class with you.
  • Mute your microphone unless you are participating to reduce feedback and background noise.
  • Check your e-mail.  Some professors have set up recurring meetings that have generated individualized Zoom links that are different from the ones that were provided on the master spreadsheet.  In these instances, the links that your professor has e-mailed you will supersede the link on the master spreadsheet.  If you have not received information about this from your professor, you should use the link in the spreadsheet.

We appreciate your cooperation with the above guidelines.

Earlier this week, I provided you with updated information related to LexisNexis’ online resources and promotions.  Today, I will focus on Bluebook Online and West Academic Study Aids.

Bluebook Online.  Access keys for the online version of the Bluebook are available (although, the Legal Methods professor in me is wondering why you don’t have a Bluebook—just saying). That said, if you are interested in accessing the Bluebook Online, please contact Brent Johnson via e-mail and he will provide you with the access code and instructions on how to sign-up for this 60-day subscription.

West Academic is providing and adding additional content to our current study aid package.  

Our current study aid package includes a comprehensive digital collection of study aids, treatises, audio lectures, and newly added audio books totaling over 500+ titles.  Practice examsmultiple choice examplesessay questions/answers, are available within certain series of the study aids.  Interactive practice questions allow you to take self-paced quizzes and immediately see results with informative explanations.  The Exam Pro Series with quizzes include: Business Associations, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Federal Income Tax, Property, and Torts.  Supplemental practical skills, with titles from the Bridge to Practice Series, Building Skills Series, and Developing Professional Skills Series, allow you to supplement your core materials with skills exercises.  And audio lectures from the Sum and Substance and Law School Legends Series simplify difficult subjects and provide you with exam tips as you listen.

The new formative assessment content that has been temporarily added to our study aid package allows you to add quizzes to your eProducts bookshelf.  The following topics are available:  Administrative Law, Business Organizations, Civil Procedure, Comml Law-Sales And Leases, Comml Law-Secured Trans., Comml Law-Survey, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Procedure – Adjudicative, Criminal Procedure – Investigative, Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, European Union Law, Evidence, Legal Writing, Professional Resp/Ethics, Property, Remedies, Tax-Income, Torts, and Trusts and Estates.

Students that already have a West Academic study aid account, will simply be able to "toggle" back and forth between the study aids and the assessment platform.  One side will say, "Access my Digital Study Aids," the other will say, "Access My eProducts Bookshelf."  All others will need to create an account with their Widener email.

Also being provided by our vendors:

Westlaw Edge is currently offering national webinars geared towards helping students with their assignments, as well as those from its Prepare to Practice series. Students can register for these webinars at lawschool.thomsonreuters.com.  They are also providing free access to some of their CLE programs, events, and skills courses from West LegalEdcenter.  For more information, view the course list here: WLEC Academic Outreach Course List.  They will also continue to offer a robust collection of assignable online legal research training and certification materials within its Knowledge Center.  This collection ranges from research process tutorials, demonstration of key functions within Westlaw and Practical Law, as well as skills in transactional and litigation research. You can see a list of their current offerings here.

Lexis Advance is doing a "Prepare to Practice" certification with several modules to complete: https://tinyurl.com/sdlv33r

We hope you take advantage of these additional supportive resources.  Also, please do not hesitate to contact or amazing library team if you need assistance.  They are fully operational from their remote locations and are happy to help.

Susan Giusti:            [email protected]

Brent Johnson:         [email protected]

Ed Sonnenberg:       [email protected]

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I am always very happy to hear from my students!

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 24, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for your feedback over the last week about the Spring 2020 grading policy.  Dean Johnson just sent you the details of the policy that was passed by faculty earlier today.  While it is impossible to please everybody, I think this policy represents a fair compromise and gives you the ability to self-determine how you would like your grades to be counted.  This structure gives you the power to choose what is best for you given your unique and individualized circumstances. 

As we get closer to grade release, I will provide you with more details about how to convert your grades.  Also, after grades are released, Molly Acri and I will also be available for “counseling” to help you determine your best options.

We recognize that you are facing challenges both personally and academically and we want to help alleviate as much of that stress as possible.  I think this policy is a positive step in giving you closure surrounding this issue while also providing you with peace of mind.

Thank you for being patient as we thoughtfully considered and worked through the logistics in formulating a policy that would most benefit our Widener Commonwealth student community.

I know that questions still remain about how final exams will be administered.  Please know that we are listening to your feedback and taking your thoughts and concerns into consideration.  I hope to have more details related to final exams by early next week but we needed to work through the grading process first.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 23, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you took some time this weekend to enjoy the sun and fresh air.  I know my dog enjoyed some nice long walks this weekend.  While the current situation is not ideal, I am grateful to have the opportunity to slow down.  That is not something that many of us take time to do on a regular basis. 

I have been receiving a lot of e-mails with questions concerning finals and grading.  Please know that we are very carefully reviewing your suggestions and concerns and should have more concrete information to share with you later this week.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you ever have any issues that I can help to address.  I will continue to be transparent with you and prefer that you contact me directly opposed to being guided by rumors and gossip that may lead to unnecessary anxiety.  After all, as your Dean of Students I am here to be a resource and means of support for you.

Today’s update will focus on LexisNexis' online library resources.  So as not to bombard you, I will provide information about Westlaw’s resources in a later update.

First, LexisNexis is providing additional content to our current study aid package.

Our current study aid package includes over 160 titles.  

The new content that has been temporarily added to our study aid package now totals over 660 titles including casebooks.  Please see the attached list of all available titles.  Students that already have a LexisNexis study aid account will need to sort by practice area or search for a particular title of interest in order to see all content for that particular topic.

Second, LexisNexis has launched a digital library promotion.  The first 25 Widener Commonwealth students who do the exercise that I have attached and e-mail Kaitlyn will get 300 points.

Third, I have attached a letter from Mary Katherine and Owen related to Table Tips opportunities and their Zoom hours.

[Attachments: Lexis Study Aids, Lexis Promotion, Lexis Letter]

Finally, I want to end by telling you how impressed I have been with your ability to be flexible and adapt.  I think you will find that character trait will serve you well as you embark on your legal careers.  I am so proud of all of you.  But, please remember that I am here for you.  Law school is stressful under the best of circumstances.  If you ever need someone to talk to, please do not hesitate to reach out.  Also, LCL has assured me that they are fully operational.  They can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-888-999-1941.

I know these are difficult times.  Try to maintain a positive attitude and find the silver lining.  We will be okay.  We are #StillWidener.

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 20, 2020

Dear Students,

I hope you have found your transition back to classes to be smooth and are beginning to feel comfortable in the Zoom platform. We have received positive feedback from both faculty and students and look forward to the remaining weeks of the semester.

By way of update, pursuant to Governor Wolf’s order, the Law School campus is now officially closed as educational institutions have been classified as non-essential/non-life sustaining businesses.  As such, our faculty and staff can no longer enter or teach from the buildings and this has effectively eliminated the possibility of students returning to campus for any reason until further notice.  But, that’s okay, we have all proven that we can quickly adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances.   Please be patient as we set up all of our systems remotely.  We anticipate a seamless transition but at least wanted you to be aware of this development.

I understand from many of you that you are interested in joining your friends via Zoom so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with more specific guidance. Please note that Chrome, Firefox, and Safari tend to be the most compatible browsers when working with Zoom.  Your account will allow you to Zoom with (1) student with no time limit and (2) to (5) students for a 40-minute session that can be renewed by logging out and back in.  I have attached step-by-step instructions for you to use to access your personal Zoom room.

I hope you use Zoom to help stay connected to each other.  Stay tuned next week as the Program for Health, Exercise, and Wellness (PHEW) is planning a Zoom get together.  More details to come!

Please let me know if I can be helpful.  I know I am behind in answering my e-mails but will work through them this weekend.  Thank you so much for your patience.

Have a great weekend.  Be well!

Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 19, 2020

Dear Students,

Welcome Back!

I am so excited to be returning to our schedule and to re-connect with all of you.  I have found that the Zoom meetings and small group conferences that I have had with students this week have kept me focused and frankly, just have made me happier and more energized.  I would encourage you to schedule your own Zoom meetings so that you remain connected to each other.   Click here to log-in to your personal meeting space. I think you will find this connection to be important during this time.   I am also always up for a virtual coffee date if you ever want to chat! 

I am going to keep today’s update short because I know you are adjusting back to classes.  At this point, everyone should have received a copy of your course Zoom links.  If you did not, please check your spam folder. If you experience any issues in accessing your classes, please let me know as soon as possible. 

Please be sure to take care of yourself and others during this difficult time. After all, we are Widener Law Commonwealth wherever we are! Let’s stay connected—please post your photos on social media using the hashtag #StillWidener. I posted this morning—did you?

Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be helpful.

Be well,

Dean Teplitz

March 18, 2020

Dear Students,

We are excited to be returning to our class schedule tomorrow. Attached please find the Zoom links that you will need to access your classes. Use this link to enter your class at its regularly scheduled time unless you are instructed otherwise by your professor. Please also be sure to regularly consult your course schedule. Note that on Wednesday, March 25th, you should attend your Monday classes. Wednesday classes do not meet on this date.

I am happy to report that as of today more than half of our students successfully participated in Zoom testing. As I expressed during these sessions, it is our goal to record as many classes as possible in order to protect against technical glitches and unexpected attendance issues. However, you are expected to attend the live session; the recording is simply to be used as a back-up. If you cannot participate in the live session, you must contact your professor to confirm whether a recording will be available.

While campus may be closed, the Career Development Office stands ready to assist you. It is a great time to update your resume and cover letter. If you are in need of assistance, please reach out to Dean Eden Mandrell at [email protected] to schedule a Zoom appointment or phone call.

Business continues as usual and with that comes course registration. You can expect that the course schedule will be posted by April 1st and registration will begin on April 20th. Molly Acri and I will be hosting Zoom sessions to answer your registration questions in early April. We will also be available to schedule Zoom or telephone appointments to discuss your specific registration needs.

Finally, I have been fielding many questions about final exams and course grading. We have been working behind the scenes on this and will roll out that information to you as soon as it is available.

Thank you for your patience and kind words. I cannot begin to express how much your supportive e-mails have meant to those of us who have been working around the clock to give you a positive and engaging learning experience. Our community remains strong. After all, we are Widener Law Commonwealth wherever we are! Let’s stay connected—please post your photos on social media using the hashtag #StillWidener.

On to tomorrow. . .

Best Wishes,
Dean Teplitz

March 17, 2020

Dear Students,

Thank you for participating in yesterday’s Zoom tests. I am happy to report that about half of our students participated and we experienced very minor issues with connectivity and those issues appeared to be isolated. If you missed yesterday’s sessions but would still like to test, I have added a final session on Wednesday, March 18 at 11:00 a.m. You may join this session by using this link: https://widener.zoom.us/my/rbteplitz. Unless you advise us otherwise, it will be presumed that you do not have any technological or connectivity issues that will interfere with your class attendance and participation.

Next, I want to provide you with the current information about upcoming events and access to campus. Upon reviewing the updated guidance from the CDC and the University, I am sorry to report that we have had to cancel the 30 Days Party, the Hugh B. Pearce Trial Advocacy Competition, Student Awards Ceremony, and the Student Organizations Cocktail Reception. Similarly, we have also had to severely restrict access to campus. We had hoped to be able to provide you with limited access to the library, but the University has made a proactive decision in order to protect our students, employees, and the greater community to close campus to non-essential employees. While our day-to-day business will continue, it will continue remotely as the majority of our employees are now working from home. That being the case, business offices, including the law library, will not be physically accessible until further notice. If you have business to conduct with the Law School, please do not hesitate to reach out via e-mail as we are still fully operational during regular business hours. Click here to access the staff and faculty directory.

Even though the law library is physically closed, it is still open for virtual assistance. There will be live chat reference available between 9:30am and 5:30pm, Monday-Friday. Simply go to the law library home page and click on the chat widget on the left side of the page. If the chat widget is not live, you can leave an email and a librarian will get back to you shortly.

In addition to Lexis and Westlaw, all students have remote access to the other databases such as HeinOnline, Ebsco, and West Academics Online Study Aids. The complete list of available databases can be found at:

https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/academics/law-library/resources/database-list 

You will be prompted for a username and password the first time accessing from off-campus. The username is the name as it appears on your Widener ID. The password is the barcode numbers on the back of the Widener ID. If you have trouble with the login to the databases, send an email to [email protected] and a librarian will assist you.

Finally, I will be sending out a spreadsheet of your Zoom links tomorrow. I had hoped to get that to you today but we are going to need until tomorrow to generate the final version.

I look forward to providing you with my next e-mail update tomorrow afternoon. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.


Fondly,

Dean Teplitz

March 16, 2020 

Dear Students,

Thank you for your participation in today’s Zoom tests.  At this time, we have conducted two of the three scheduled Zoom tests.  I am very pleased that the tests have gone smoothly and there have not been any major connectivity issues.  If you have not already participated, I hope you will join us tonight at 6:00 p.m. for our final session.  Remember that if you do not test, we will presume that you do not have any technology or connectivity issues.

There has been a commonly asked question about how to manage more than one window/application (like opening Word) while Zoom/Powerpoint is being used.  We have learned that if you hit the Escape button, the Zoom/Powerpoint window will be made smaller and then you can drag that window to the right of your screen.  You will then be able to open Word (or whatever application you need) on the left.

Next, please be sure to check your Widener e-mail.  You can expect to hear from your professors with specific instructions about their classes.   In the next few days, I will also be updating you on event and campus access information and providing you with the Zoom links to access your classes. 

Finally, below are some suggestions for your consideration.  We want you to remain engaged and successful despite the challenges that some may experience while adapting to the remote platform.  I urge you to decide what your work/classroom space is going to be when online classes resume and consider what you need to get that space ready.

Remember:

  1.  You are still in school and need to keep a schedule.  Your family, friends, and even you may feel like you have more time and that is simply not the case.  You have the same workload, academic commitments, and time constraints that you did a month ago.  Please do not lose sight of this.
  2. Resist temptation.  It is easy to become distracted.  Be mindful of these distractions as you are tempted to surf the internet or do your laundry while class is in session.  If you have kids, we recognize that they may also be home with you.  Try to set up a space in your home that becomes your dedicated “classroom.”  There is a subconscious difference in learning attitude if you are sitting at a desk or table versus sitting on your couch with your computer on your lap.
  3. Be an active participant.  Prepare for class, take notes, ask questions, volunteer to answer questions.  Commit to being an active learner. 
  4. You are still a part of a larger community that cares very much about you and your success.  If you are experiencing academic, technological, or personal difficulties, please let us know.  We are here to help.  It may be more difficult for a professor to read non-verbal cues, so please reach out if you have questions.  Most professors will also be holding virtual office hours in some capacity.   I am also very happy to schedule appointments via Zoom. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or problems.  We are happy to help troubleshoot issues as they arise.

Stay healthy,

Dean Teplitz

(Adapted from:  Natalie Rodriguez, Southwestern Law School, lawprofessors.typepad.com/academic_support/online learning tips)

March 13, 2020

Dear Students, 

I hope you are well.  Thank you for your cooperation as we continue to work through the logistics required to ensure a smooth transition to the remote learning platform.  To that end, today’s update will focus on the use of Zoom and connectivity. 

You can expect that your classes will continue to meet as regularly scheduled via Zoom.  You can access Zoom via a link that your professor will provide to you.  The remote platform will be interactive and will replicate the classroom experience.  Therefore, as a remote participant, you can expect to be called on much like you would if you were sitting in the classroom.  In addition, unless otherwise notified by your professor, you will be expected to have your camera turned on during class and your microphone muted unless you are specifically participating.   

While I know that most of you probably have already used Zoom at some point in your academic careers, we would like to hold approximately 15-minute Zoom test sessions on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.  We encourage you to participate in one of these sessions so that we can test your equipment and internet connectivity.  Zoom can be accessed on a computer or through the Zoom app on your cell phone.  These test sessions will help us to identify if there any issues that we need to troubleshoot before we go live on Thursday.  Please note that if you do not participate in a test session, it will be presumed that you have used Zoom and/or do not have any equipment or connectivity issues

You may choose any of the three test sessions that is convenient for you.  Please use the corresponding links below to enter the meeting space.  If you are unable to join any of these sessions due to a scheduling conflict but are interested in doing a test run, please let me know as soon as possible. 

10:00 a.m.:       Zoom Test Session #1:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/666127292 
12:30 p.m.:       Zoom Test Session #2:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/410446584 
6:00 p.m.:         Zoom Test Session #3:              https://widener.zoom.us/j/618374242 

If you do not have access to a computer, cell phone, or reliable internet, please let me know ASAP. 

My next update will be on Monday afternoon.   

I look forward to seeing you Monday via Zoom.  It is very quiet around here without you! 

Have a nice weekend and stay healthy! 

Fondly,  

Dean Teplitz 

March 12, 2020

Dear Students, 

As Dean Johnson indicated yesterday, each week day afternoon I will be sending an e-mail to inform you of any campus updates as this public health crisis continues to evolve.  Please be sure to check your Widener e-mail regularly as this will be my primary method of communication with you. 

I appreciate your kind words, patience and questions over the past 24 hours.  Obviously, this was not the plan that any of us had in mind for this semester.  I know that this is an unsettling turn of events and I will do everything that I can to try to alleviate your concerns.  We have created a FAQ page that I think you will find helpful.  This page will continue to evolve as we identify your major questions and concerns so I highly recommend that you refer to it regularly.  I encourage you to bookmark this link:  https://commonwealthlaw.widener.edu/coronavirus/

The focus of today’s update will be on the academic calendar and the scheduling of final exams as I am aware that these topics are weighing heavily on your minds.  As you know, we have paused classes until March 19th.  As a result, there have been many questions as to how this time will be made up.  Please note that the academic calendar will remain as published and you will not lose the April 10th Spring holiday.  Professors may use different methods to make up the classes that were missed this week, such as adding 5-10 minutes to the end of their remaining classes; scheduling a class session during the April 9th make up day; and/or  giving you assignments to complete.  It is within the professor’s discretion as to how to account for the missed time.  The last day of classes will still be April 24th

The final exam period will still run from April 28th-May 11th.  Final exams will not be offered on campus.  Your professors will have the discretion on how to administer their final exams.  Final exams are one of the major logistical details that your professors will be working on this week.  As more information becomes available, either your professor or I will communicate it to you.   

I understand that the absence of information and the fear of the unknown creates anxiety.  This is why I will provide you with as much information as I have available through my daily updates.  I also spoke with Laurie Besden from LCL this morning and she asked me to remind you that they remain ready to assist, should you need their services.  The LCL 24-hour helpline is 1-888-999-1941. 

My next update will be tomorrow afternoon and will discuss the use of Zoom technology and connectivity testing so that we can ensure a smooth transition to a remote learning platform.  Please review this important information when it is disseminated. 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.  Please know that I will work through your questions as quickly as possible. 

Stay healthy! 

Fondly, 

Dean Teplitz 

March 11, 2020

Dear Students:

I assure you that there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases on any Widener University campus.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, the University has cancelled all in-person classes as of tomorrow, March 12, for the remainder of the semester.  All course will resume on-line via zoom on March 19th.

Dean Teplitz will be sending out daily update emails to each of you using your official Widener University email accounts.  You must check them regularly as this will be our primary method of communication with you.

Students are not permitted on campus through at least March 18th.  We will update you when students are allowed back on campus. If you must have access to campus for any reason, you should contact Dean Teplitz. Students taking VITA, Clinic, or externships, however, should continue as usual until we notify you otherwise.

I am sure that you each have many questions as we move forward.  We are developing a FAQ section for the website on the Coronavirus situation that will be available by the end of the day Thursday that will answer many of your concerns. 

Please also do not hesitate to reach out to Dean Teplitz if you have any additional questions.

Respectfully,

Dean Johnson

 

Last Modified: This page was last updated on May 12, 2020 at 3:56 PM

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Randi Teplitz
Assistant Dean of Students
Phone: 
717.541.3952
Email: 
[email protected]

Related Widener University Page


widener.edu/coronavirus



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