While students are off in all corners of the world doing externships, internships, and taking classes, most professors bury themselves in research and writing. This summer, Gonzaga professors Kim Pearson and Jessica Kiser each co-organized or organized forums and colloquia to help build academic connections in the Inland Northwest and with scholars across the country. The Junior Scholars Virtual Colloquium was held on July 17th and the Inland Northwest Junior Scholars Forum was held on July 24th in Moscow, Idaho.
Most academic colloquia share a similar format: each participant shares a work-in-progress, and then all participants discuss the ideas, format, and concepts in the work. This helps build counter-arguments and cross-seed ideas from other specialty area, while also building connections with scholars from other schools.
“Participating in conferences connects our faculty to the larger academic and professional community,” explains Jason Gillmer, Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development at Gonzaga Law. “It is exciting to see Gonzaga Law professors taking such a strong leadership role in organizing and hosting these events.”
A Nationwide Digital Colloquium
The first annual Junior Scholars Virtual Colloquium was created and organized by Gonzaga Law professor Jessica Kiser. Scholars from Drake University, Michigan State, University of Houston, University of Louisville and University of Mississippi, as well as Gonzaga University, attended. Topics covered everything from copyright law and fan fiction to legislative responses to 9/11, and a wide variety of topics in between.
“The feedback I received on my article was intelligent and valuable and also inspiring,” said participant Stacy Lantagne from University of Mississippi. “The constructive criticism has really given me the push to finish the article.”
The digital format of the Colloquium was experimental, intended to help connect a broader range of scholars with less financial and opportunity cost. “The format also worked well [participants were able to] discuss ideas live, give each other feedback, and build on each other’s comments in a virtual space, which saved us all time and money.“ explained JoAnne Sweeny of the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Connecting Inland Northwest Scholars
One week after the digital colloquium, Professor Kim Pearson co-organized the first annual Inland Northwest Junior Scholars Workshop, hosted at the University of Idaho. This workshop was put on through the combined effort of University of Idaho and Gonzaga University, with extensive support from both universities. Pearson and University of Idaho Professor Richard Seamon organized the event.
“The groundswell of support for the workshop is a great indicator of how much law schools in the Inland Northwest value scholarship in legal academia,” said Pearson. “Organizing the workshop with the support of Dean Jane Korn, Richard Seamon from Idaho, and tech support from both universities was a very positive experience.”
The forum will be alternately hosted by Gonzaga and University of Idaho each year.
“As a long-time law professor, I am re-energized by the opportunity to participate with more junior colleagues in the creative, dialogic process that is so central to legal scholarship,” explained Seamon.
The INJSW this year included participants from Gonzaga as well as both the Boise and Moscow campuses of the University of Idaho. In addition to the academic connections and commentary in the forum, participants were able to make connections with other junior scholars to continue building the academic community in the Inland Northwest.
“I found the opportunity to talk about the innovative work of other junior scholars to be invigorating and thought-provoking,” commented Wendy Couture, Associate Professor at University of Idaho – Boise College of Law. “Each presenter inspired me to approach my own work in a new way, whether it be a new perspective, a new source of interdisciplinary material, or a new way of organizing legal scholarship.”
“I hope [this workshop] is the beginning of a new tradition amongst Inland Northwest Schools” commented Michael A. Satz, interim Dean at the University of Idaho College of Law.