The primary function of the Resource Teams is to encourage additional programming in specific subject areas and consolidate overlapping proposals. Resource Team members facilitate inclusive planning discussions and organize program submissions within their fields. Resource Teams are coordinated by the Program Committee Vice Chair, Caprice Roberts. The Vice Chair matches like-minded scholars and proposals with Resource Teams to facilitate coordination of the program. In addition, the Vice Chair assists resource teams to ensure the visions of the group progress to fruition and enhance the overall SEALS program. The goal of SEALS is to continue broadening dynamic, robust, and diverse program content.
The Vice Chair also encourages submissions independent from Resource Teams. As always, panel and discussion group proposals may go directly through the electronic submission system (link below). SEALS remains committed to an open and democratic submission process. Please contact Russ Weaver (SEALS Executive Director & Program Committee Chair), Linda Jellum (SEALS Deputy Executive Director), and Caprice Roberts (Program Committee Vice Chair) if you have any programming questions.
Resource Team Members
The Vice Chair has built an initial slate of Resource Teams, as listed in the link below. Many more are in progress. Please feel free to contact the Vice Chair should you have any questions and also reach out to Resource Teams in any particular areas of interest.
SEALS prides itself on the fact that anyone can create content for SEALS. Thus, if you have an idea and sufficient interest, simply make a submission. If you need more speakers and suggestions, we encourage you to reach out to the Vice Chair and the Resource Teams. As always, we will be glad to find additional speakers of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints to add to your panel and discussion group proposals.
2017 Annual Report
This year SEALS created a new position, Vice-Chair of Programming, to develop Resource Teams and promote robust, diverse programming. Goals included generating new content while continuing to encourage democratic programming. I accepted the position at the 2016 SEALS Conference and then immediately began a dialogue with SEALS officers and attendees about goals and execution plans for the role. To help spread the word about the new position and receive suggestions, I circulated information on social media and sent congratulations to the 2016 scholarly paper winners. I worked in consultation with Deputy Executive Director Linda Jellum and Executive Director Russ Weaver from beginning to end of this ambitious project.
After receiving suggestions, I reviewed prior programming for gaps, synthesized notes from various conversations, and confirmed with SEALS leadership which projects should be the priority for this inaugural year. Then, I created all of the founding templates for the position, including announcements and a complete description on the SEALS website: http://sealslawschools.org/boards-and-committees/resource-teams/. I also reviewed and revised other core SEALS documents on the submission process to ensure clarity and consistency.
The initial plan required the creation of the Resource Teams. SEALS especially wanted to broaden subject matters while also ensuring continued high-quality content from anyone wishing to suggest programming and participate in SEALS. As stated in the foundational materials, the main function of the Resource Teams project “is to encourage additional programming in specific subject areas and consolidate overlapping proposals.” Specifically, “the Resource Team members will facilitate inclusive planning discussions and organize program submissions within their fields.” This year, I created almost thirty Resource Teams and still have additional ones in the works for the future. The teams range from Law & Humanities to ADR, from Library Resources to Food Law, from Commercial Law to Indian Law.
In order to create the Resource Teams, I engaged in a serious of conversations via email and phone with those familiar with SEALS as well as newcomers. We explored matters such as whether to create a comprehensive Resource Team covering many smaller subjects, which SEALS did in areas like Business Law. SEALS also designed interlocking groups when desired by relevant constituencies such as establishing Workplace Law as a Resource Team with a Disability Law Liaison. I gave each Resource Team a charge to begin its own dialogue among members and other interested professors in order to brainstorm ideas and ultimately to submit proposals for the program. I empowered each Resource Team to operate on its own without my oversight, but I also offered to assist if desired. Many teams asked for my edits on their proposals or with help securing speakers. I also assisted with recruiting diverse members and viewpoints.
Along the way, I checked in to ensure progress and answered questions about panel and discussion group requirements. A few groups were off to the races, such as Trusts & Estates and Family Law; for example, Resource Team member Naomi Cahn kept me updated on progress and often provided helpful suggestions. In many instances, I assisted Resource Teams with securing broader participants. I sometimes drafted content and uploaded proposals into the submission system. As necessary, I offered technical suggestions to enhance the SEALS website interface, and Peter Jetton always answered the call with improvements.
I made every effort to congratulate Resource Teams on successful submissions and offered help should anything not appear as desired. When possible, I encouraged and helped secure moderators within the subject matter. During this process, I also matched like-minded scholars and proposals with Resource Teams to coordinate on programming. I assisted individual professors outside of the Resource Teams. If those professors wanted to coordinate with a Resource Team, I facilitated, but I also assisted those professors who wanted to produce independent content. I repeatedly reiterated that SEALS remains democratic, such that anyone may build and submit content. Ultimately, all these efforts helped expand dynamic, robust, and diverse program content.
Throughout the process, I periodically reviewed overall program content to see if I could stimulate additions outside of the Resource Team structure. This included assisting SEALS leadership anytime someone made a suggestion like: Wouldn’t it be great if SEALS would have a panel on Financial Regulation in the Trump Era? As programming began to look full, I reviewed everything again to see if there were conflicts and overlaps. I found a few overlaps and connected the submitters to see if they wanted to combine. In most instances, submitters did not prefer to combine. SEALS supported that decision and worked with the groups to demonstrate the unique angles of their panels and discussion groups. I also explored with those submitters advantages of placing the programs together versus providing a couple different opportunities for attendees across the week.
In this role, I also worked with other committees where I could be of assistance. For example, I suggested, in conjunction with our SEALS President Nancy Levit, soliciting new member schools for SEALS. In addition, I coordinated and helped promote the Scholarship Committee publication opportunity. I asked Resource Teams to provide the audience with more information about the content of discussion groups, such as synopses of submitted drafts. Peter Jetton helpfully provided lists such that I also could contact all independent submitters to request their help with creating a more inclusive discussion group environment for participation.
As SEALS finalized the program, I offered final edits and reviewed the big picture to make improvements such as linking like-minded programming into a Workshop. I worked with Professor Ben Cooper on the Program Formatting Committee regarding final formatting. Also, many professors contacted me because their plans changed, which required removing them from this year’s program. Whenever possible, I worked diligently to find replacement speakers. I assisted SEALS leadership to add additional programming to enhance the overall slate.
Overall, the Vice-Chair of Programming facilitated communication across other committees and Resource Teams to increase dialogue on content across broader circles of professors to widen topics and participants. During this effort, I continued to emphasize the democratic openness for any newcomer to formulate and submit proposals. I look forward to ever-broadening the impact of SEALS from scholarly and teaching enhancements to life-long connections.