In this issue:
Third-Year Program in Boise Moves Forward [updated]
In August, 2008, as readers of “First Monday” will recall, the University of Idaho Board of Regents (State Board of Education) took the following actions on a proposal by the University to strengthen statewide legal education by extending its Juris Doctor program to Boise, in addition to Moscow. The State Board:
- Affirmed the University’s statewide mission in legal education;
- Authorized the University to expand its offerings in Boise from a semester-in-practice program to a full third-year curriculum;
- Instructed the University to return to the Regents for further discussion of establishing a three-year branch program to deliver the J.D. degree in Boise as well as in Moscow; and
- Directed the University to continue collaborating with the Idaho Supreme Court on development of an Idaho Law Learning Center as the future site of the Idaho State Law Library and of legal education in Boise.
The task of marshalling resources to support the third-year program has been slowed by economic conditions, but now the initiative is moving forward. Recognizing statewide legal education as a strategic priority for the University, President Duane Nellis and Provost Douglas Baker have authorized a strategic investment of University funds in the third-year law program. Combined with private support and law student fees that are subject to State Board approval, this investment will enable the College of Law to offer a third-year program in Boise, starting in the fall semester of 2010, subject to acquiescence by the American Bar Association, which has accredited the College of Law since 1925.
The third-year curriculum in Boise will focus primarily upon business and commercial law, reflecting the contemplated future emphasis of a full three-year branch curriculum on business law, entrepreneurism, intellectual property, international business transactions, and selected elements of regulatory law. The program will contribute to economic development in Idaho. Many of the third-year courses offered in Boise will also be available to students in Moscow through distance education technology. The program will be offered at the University of Idaho Boise Center (the Idaho Water Center building) until an Idaho Law Learning Center becomes available.
The University is creating a new faculty position in Boise to start delivering core courses in the third-year law program this fall. Filling the position will be Wendy Gerwick Couture, who has been selected from a nationwide search. Professor Couture earned her baccalaureate degree summa cum laude from Duke University. She then earned her J.D. degree summa cum laude (ranking 1st out of 222 students in her graduating class) at Southern Methodist University, where she was an editor of the law review. She has served as a law clerk for the federal district court in Dallas, Texas, and has engaged in a high-level business and commercial law practice for firms in Dallas and Olympia, Washington. She was a visiting professor at the University of Idaho in 2008-09, receiving highly favorable reviews from students and faculty colleagues.
Professor Couture will be joined by law faculty member Lee Dillion, law externship coordinator Katherine (Katie) Ball, and by specialized adjunct instructors in delivering the third-year program in Boise. Additional full-time faculty strength will enrich the program as it develops. The University also will return to the State Board for further examination of plans for the eventual three-year branch curriculum.
Faculty Members Receive Awards for Excellence
- Professor Barbara A. Cosens has been named the Allan G. Shepard Professor for 2009-10. This distinguished professorship, named for the late Chief Justice of Idaho, is supported by the Allan G. Shepard Endowment, which was funded largely by the Estate of Muriel Kirk under administration of Donna Shepard (Justice Shepard’s surviving spouse). The endowment agreement provides that “[t]he purposes of [the] fund are to honor Allan Shepard and to enhance the mission and the reputation of the University of Idaho College of Law by providing it the means by which to attract and retain highly distinguished faculty members....” The 2009-10 Shepard Professorship was awarded to Professor Cosens in recognition of her excellence in teaching, highly productive scholarship, and exceptional service -- all of which have advanced the law school while transcending disciplinary boundaries. Professor Cosens has been the moving force within the College of Law to create and implement the nationally recognized “Waters of the West” program.
- Professors Annemarie Bridy and Angelique EagleWoman have been selected to receive William F. and Joan L. Boyd Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2009-10. The purpose of this award, made by the dean with support from law alumnus William F. Boyd and spouse Joan L. Boyd of Coeur d'Alene, is to recognize excellence and/or innovation in law teaching. Due to the timing of the Boyds' generous contributions, two awards were possible this year. The award to Professor Bridy, an intellectual property expert, recognizes her excellence in classroom teaching, including innovative uses of instructional technology. The award to Professor EagleWoman, a Native American law expert, recognizes her development of innovative curricula, coupled with rigorous methods of assuring student participation and accountability.