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Fall 2014


Maura Copeland


(912) 478-7481



Office hours by appointment only. I can always be contacted through my Georgia

Southern email account, which I will check daily.



Students explore basic legal precepts and their application to institutions of higher
education, primarily using the case study method and discussion. This course covers
such topics as constitutional mandates of due process and equal protection, nondiscrimination in employment and educational programs, privacy and openness,
contractual relationships with students, tenure and academic freedom, and faculty

Not only will this course provide a working legal knowledge for professionals in
higher education, but will familiarize them with relevant statutes, regulations and
judicial decisions that directly impact and govern higher education.

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CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK - The Georgia Southern University Mission

Statement states, in part, that one of the hallmarks of the institution is to build a
culture of engagement that links theory with practice. The course objectives address
three commitments that form the core of the Universitys conceptual framework:

*Commitment to the Knowledge and Dispositions of the Profession

This course promotes knowledge, awareness and the employment of ethical behaviors
by educational leaders, in the performance of their professional responsibilities.
*Commitment to Diversity
This course encourages awareness and tolerance of individual differences relative to
culture, race, sex, class, sexual preference, disability, and other differences by
educational leaders.
*Commitment to Technology
This course requires the use of computer technology for research and writing through
the on-line format for assignments, group discussions, and supplemental learning


1. Student will gain an in-depth knowledge of higher education institutions as

legal entities and the significance of such characterization, primarily using the
case study method and classroom discussion.
2. Student will be able to identify relevant statutes, regulations and judicial
decisions affecting higher education institutions, administration, students, and
3. Student will be able to define current and emerging legal issues in the higher
education environment and apply basic legal principles to the resolution of such
issues to include academic freedom, individual rights of both the students and
faculty, affirmative action, contractual obligations, tenure and promotion issues.
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4. Student will be able to discuss the legal relationships between higher education
institutions and its administration, staff, faculty, and student body.
5. Student will incorporate technology in research preparation and completion of
written assignments for the class.
Alexander, Klinton W. & Alexander, Kern, Higher Education Law: Policy and
Perspectives, 2011 (Routledge)
Additional resources will be cited and provided throughout the semester.

Weekly Assignments

Weekly assignments will include assigned readings from the textbook and other
supplemental materials. Assessment of your understanding of the textbook reading
will be demonstrated by answers to posted questions, which are required to be
submitted to the instructor each week. The supplemental materials will be posted as
applicable and subject to change to allow for emerging issues in higher education and
the changing legal response to those issues. You will need to plan for a minimum of 36 hours per assignment.
All assignments are due no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard time on the
due date. Late assignments will not be accepted unless there has been prenotification and approval or due to an emergency. Student answers to Discussion
Questions should be submitted in MS Word format through Folio. In case of an
emergency, you may email your answers to my Georgia Southern email account.
However, I prefer the submissions to be made within each module, as this makes
posting grades easier. Please pay attention to any scheduled downtime for Folio
each week and plan your submissions accordingly.

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Please note, the weekly readings are subject to being changed and/or supplemented
due to the dynamic of the changing legal environment in higher education.

Law and Higher Education Commentary:

Throughout the semester students will submit one (1) written commentary on a timely
legal issue in the higher education sector discussed in a case or article applying the
legal principles and theories studied in the course. The commentary must include
proper citations and sources. You may use whichever citation format is most
comfortable for you, so long as you give proper credit to the source of your material.

The commentary will be evaluated as follows:

Legal relevance including timeliness of the issues or subject matter

Knowledge of the subject matter
Organization and content
Application of the law to the issues or subject matter
Correct mechanics: grammar, spelling, legal citations, footnotes

Case Review:

Throughout the course one (1) case law briefing exercise will be presented for legal
analysis to assess your knowledge of the subject matter presented, your critical
thinking skills, written organization skills and your ability to make practical
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application of the legal principles covered. I will provide more detailed instructions in
the module in which the paper is due.


You will have five (5) discussion assignments. It is less important for you reach the
right legal conclusion (and sometimes there is not one!), than for you to display
reasoning skills in these exercises. Many students find these discussions to be the
most informative and useful part of the class.


The final will consist of a fact pattern similar to those presented in law school exams
and state bar examinations. Your score on the final exam will be determined based on
how many legal issues you identify and your subsequent analysis of those issues. I
will provide a framework for crafting your response in the final module.
Class Participation

Class participation will be measured by participation in required coursework and any

other opportunities for input that arise during the semester.

Percent of Grade

Weekly Reading Assignments

650 points

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150 points

Case review

75 points

Law Commentary

75 points


10 points each
(50 points total)

Class Participation


A = 950-1000

Work exceeds expectations for advanced graduate work

B = 850- 949

Work meets expectations for advanced graduate work

C = 750- 849

Student does not meet expectations for graduate work

D = 650- 749

Student does not meet expectations for graduate work

F = below 650

Academic Integrity Any student found to be responsible for violating the academic
integrity standards of the University, as defined in the Georgia Southern University
Student Conduct Code, will receive an F in the course.

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