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1 ASSESSMENT REPORT COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA Paralegal Studies/ AAS and Post-Degree Certificate of Achievement Degree Program, Unit, or Office Academic Year Dr. Clarissa M. Cota Assessment Coordinator/Contact Person July 2009 Date Submitted MEASURABLE OUTCOMES RESULTS & ANALYSIS DISSEMINATION (INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING RESULTS) PLAN FOR USE OF DATA TO IMPROVE PROGRAM, UNIT OR OFFICE SERVICES Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes: At the completion of the program, students will be able to: 1. Demonstrate ability to manage cases and draft legal documents by applying written skills and knowledge of legal procedures in civil litigation and other substantive areas of law. 2. Identify ethical issues and be able to apply the rules of professional conduct PORTFOLIO 16 students completed the capstone course, Legal Research II LAW 262 and completed the Portfolio. 14 students met the goal and scored 90% or higher, 2 students were above the minimum score of 75% at 83% and 78% and 1 student scored below the minimum 75%. The Portfolio successfully assessed the students ability to demonstrate all of the Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes. The Portfolio had 11 substantive parts corresponding to the subject matter and practical assignments throughout the paralegal curriculum. Substantive parts of the Portfolio included: completion and organization of portfolio, introduction of The CSN Office of Resource Development & Assessment received the completed Assessment Report and Assessment Plan in October PORTFOLIO Every semester the Program Director proctored the Portfolio presentations and collected the Portfolio scores for each of the LAW 262 sections. The Program Director reviewed and analyzed The CSN Office of Resource Development & Assessment will receive the Assessment Report and the Assessment Plan by October 1, PORTFOLIO The Paralegal Studies Program faculty came up with the idea of videotaping the final Portfolio presentations given by all LAW 262 students at the end of Fall The presentations provide such an insight as to how the students have progressed through the program, what their overall impressions are, what skills they have acquired, and what they will do next with their degrees. Our hope would be that we could share parts of these presentations with other groups such as the Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Board, CSN Counselors, recruitment events, and faculty meetings. S

2 through synthesis and analysis. 3. Demonstrate knowledge of research methodology by applying critical thinking initiatives to various information formats including computerized and traditional library research. 4. Demonstrate proficient use of word processing software and ability to identify and adapt to different types of law office technology and computer applications. Programmatic Outcomes: 1. The Paralegal Studies Program will better understand the needs and objectives of the current students and the legal community. 2. The Paralegal Studies Program will achieve a high degree of satisfaction with alumni and employers. professional history, legal writing documents, understanding the profession and ethical obligations, research skills, law office technology and computer application, basic skills, commitment beyond coursework, conclusion of student learning experience and professional growth throughout paralegal program, appendix, and class presentation. (Sample Portfolio Rubric is attached.) S Every Fall, Spring and Summer the Paralegal Studies Program conducts a series of Surveys which measures all the programmatic outcomes: CSN Student Perception Survey Survey was electronically deployed to all LAW 101 students during Fall 2008 and Spring students completed survey during Fall 2008 and 26 students completed survey during Spring This survey captured the incoming student perceptions of the paralegal profession, how they heard of the CSN program, what they hope to learn and what they hope to do with their degree. This survey helped us to better understand the current students needs and objectives. The majority of students hear about our program through the CSN catalog or website. More students starting in Spring 2009 had college degrees than in Fall the results for outcome attainment. The Portfolio results were shared with the Paralegal Faculty during their regular meetings. The Department Chair and Dean received the Portfolio report at the Advisory Board Meetings. At the biannual Advisory Board meeting for Fall 2008, the Portfolio results were shared with all members and the Paralegal Studies Program student with the most outstanding Portfolio presented their work to the Board. All other representative groups on the Advisory Board therefore learned of the Portfolio results such as the Nevada Paralegal Association of Nevada, Paralegal Association of Southern Nevada, Clark County Bar Association, State Bar of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law, Association of Legal Administrators, and the The Paralegal Studies Program will deploy the surveys according to the following schedule: CSN Student Perception Survey: July 2009 CSN Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Survey: November 2009 CSN Paralegal Studies Program Employer Survey: April 2011 CSN Paralegal Studies Program Community Needs Survey: November 2010 *CSN Paralegal Studies Program Completer Survey: December 2009 *This is a new survey to be completed by students who have completed all law courses required of their degrees. It will be electronically deployed every semester to the LAW 262 Legal Research II Capstone Course students. The survey will capture how student s view of the paralegal profession has evolved since the CSN Paralegal Studies Program Perception Survey (student results from both surveys will be linked by C number), what the students overall impression of the program and law classes is, how prepared they feel to go into the workplace, and retrieve student contact information for program record keeping. CSN Student Perception Survey Based on the results from this survey, our faculty offered Family Law during the Spring 2009 semester and will be offering Immigration Law during the Fall 2009 semester. We also are monitoring what days and times the students prefer their law classes to be held. We will continue our same level of effort with the program brochures, initial contact, website,

3 During Spring 2009, 27% of students had a bachelor s degree or higher and 12% had an associate s degree. Whereas, during Fall 2008, 8% of students had a bachelor s degree or higher and 12% had an associate s degree. This could be a reflection of the current economy where even those with college degrees are looking to be retrained in a different field. Approximately 55% of students work full-time, with about 35% of those students working in the legal field. The majority of respondents found their experiences with the Paralegal Studies Program thus far to be above neutral as a 4 or exceptional. Respondents were interested in were interested in Family Law and Immigration Law courses. Over 50% of respondents indicated that they plan on taking national paralegal certification exams upon graduation. CSN Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Survey Survey was electronically deployed to all Paralegal Studies Program graduates during Spring graduates completed the survey, the majority of respondents graduated from 2007 to the present. 20 completed the AAS and 6 completed Post-Degree Certificate. This survey captured graduate impression of the paralegal program, their continuing education, employment information Federal Judiciary. S The Program Director collected, reviewed and analyzed the survey results according to the following schedule: CSN Student Perception Survey: September 2008 and February 2009 CSN Paralegal Program Alumni Survey: March 2009 CSN Paralegal Studies Employer Survey: March 2009 CSN Paralegal Studies Program Community Needs Survey: Spring 2008 The survey results and data were shared with the Paralegal Faculty at their Faculty Development meetings in the Fall 2008 and Spring The information was shared with the CSN Counselors during the orientation, and faculty contact in the classroom since the survey results showed students were satisfied with these items. Make mention of the results of this survey to the CSN counselors at the end of the semester luncheon during Fall 2009 so that they can know more about our students when advising them. CSN Paralegal Studies Program Alumni Survey Our alumni survey indicated that very few graduates actually take a certification exam. Only, 15% of those surveyed have passed the CLA exam even though 50% indicated that they planned to take a certification exam when starting the program. I plan to discuss this with the Nevada Paralegal Association and the Paralegal Association of Southern Nevada during focus group meetings or the Paralegal Studies Advisory Board meeting during Fall At the beginning of Fall 2009, I plan to bring up to my Paralegal Studies Program faculty the top five tasks performed by graduates in the law firms: drafting letters, computer research, drafting memoranda, file organization, drafting pleadings, and trial preparation. Our faculty should make an effort to incorporate all these tasks within the relevant courses and if they are already do so, we should create more practical assignments based on this task list. Plan to work closer with the CSN Transfer Counselors during Fall 2009 and perhaps have them present at the Fall 2009 Employment Workshop. The Paralegal Studies Program could improve upon the articulation rate for our graduates, currently only 15% of the graduates will transfer to a four year institution, when 77% of our graduates were from the AAS degree program. We also plan to add an option on the survey so that they students can identify themselves and provide contact information on the November 2009 survey.

4 and job preparedness. This survey helped us to better measure the degree of alumni and employer (if graduate is employed) satisfaction. 97% of all respondents indicated a Superior or Good rating for the overall quality of their educational experience. The majority of respondents found that the Civil Litigation, Legal Research and Writing courses best prepared them for the marketplace. 15% of the graduates transferred to a 4 year institution, 4% of the graduates went to law school, 62% went to work after graduation, and 19% of the graduates were looking for work or preparing for law school. 90% of the graduates stayed in Nevada. 15% of the respondents have passed the CLA/CP exam and 4% are scheduled to take the exam. None of the respondents indicated that they were scheduled to take the P.A.C.E. exam. Respondents indicated over 30 different areas of legal specialty. The top five tasks performed by graduates in the law firms are: drafting letters, computer research, drafting memoranda, file organization, and drafting pleadings and trial preparation. Of those who responded to the annual salary level question, 11 made over $35,000 a year and 11 made under $35,000. CSN Paralegal Studies Program Employer Survey Survey was electronically deployed to Spring 2009 Department of Business Luncheon. The Advisory Board was made aware of the survey results at their bi-annual meeting in Fall 2008 and Spring The Department Chair and Dean both serve on the Paralegal Studies Advisory Board as well as all other representative groups: Nevada Paralegal Association of Nevada, Paralegal Association of Southern Nevada, Clark County Bar Association, State Bar of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law, Association of Legal Administrators, and the Federal Judiciary. (CSN Paralegal Studies Program Survey Deployment Schedule is attached.) EVALUATIONS Paralegal Studies Program Internship Evaluation The Program Director collected and reviewed CSN Paralegal Studies Program Employer Survey In the April 2011, we plan to add a question regarding C.L.A. or P.A.C.E. preference. CSN Paralegal Studies Program Community Needs Survey During Fall 2009 and Spring 2010, we need to address the following with the Paralegal Studies Program Advisory Board and the representative groups on the Board (Nevada Paralegal Association of Nevada, Paralegal Association of Southern Nevada, Clark County Bar Association, State Bar of Nevada, William S. Boyd School of Law, Association of Legal Administrators, and the Federal Judiciary): The need for better attorney education on the proper utilization of the paralegal position and better attorney education on the paralegal profession. At the Spring 2009 Advisory Board meeting, it was discussed to look into partnering with the law school on programs to educate the law students on the paralegal profession. This should be followed up on in the upcoming year. The CSN Paralegal Studies Program Community Needs Survey showed that 38% of attorneys are only requiring a high school education for their paralegals and 15% do not require any formal education. The attorneys surveyed do not consider certification important for their paralegals and mainly want paralegals which have relevant experience. EVALUATIONS Paralegal Studies Program Internship Evaluation Share with the Paralegal Studies Program faculty at the beginning of the Fall 2009 semester that this evaluation noted intern legal writing and the drafting of pleadings could improve. For this upcoming academic year, we plan to deploy an electronic

5 all law firms, government offices, intern locations, and corporation who employed CSN Paralegal Studies Students during Spring Only 5 offices responded. This survey helps to measure degree of employer satisfaction. 100% of the respondents indicated they Agree or Strongly Agree that the CSN graduates which they employ are sufficiently prepared to perform as expected. 50% of respondents said they were more likely to hire a paralegal candidate who graduated from an ABA accredited paralegal program. The other 50% would likely hire someone with considerable experience but who has no formal paralegal degree. 100% of the respondents use Microsoft Office and 75% use Corel WordPerfect. CSN Paralegal Studies Program Community Needs Survey Survey was electronically deployed to the Southern Nevada Legal Community in Spring This survey helps the Paralegal Studies Program better understand the needs and objectives of the legal community. 26 offices responded, 69% were private law firms with two or more attorneys. 20% of the offices employ 6-10 paralegals, 32% of the offices employ 3-5 paralegals, and 44% of the offices employ 1-2 paralegals. 38% require high school diploma as their minimal level of education, 35% the completed evaluation forms from all of the Paralegal Studies student intern supervisors at the end of Fall 2008 and Spring The information collected from the evaluations was discussed with the Paralegal Studies Program full-time faculty at the end of Fall 2008 and Spring version of this survey that is easier to complete. We also plan to share the intern evaluation results with more Paralegal Studies Advisory Board members and part time faculty at the semester meetings for Fall 2009 and Spring Student Evaluations At the Spring 2009 Faculty Development meeting for the Paralegal Studies Program full and part time faculty, all who attended went over their own student evaluations from the previous year. We were able to discuss common issues that may come up with students who complain, the importance of record keeping, the importance of communicating with your students, how to work with remedial students in your classes, and the fact that students were requesting a Legal Writing II course. This exercise was very beneficial and should be done every Spring semester during our Faculty Development meeting.

6 require an associate s degree, 12% require a bachelor s degree, and 15% do not require any formal general education. 50% of the respondents require prior work experience as a paralegal prior to hiring. 73% of the respondents rate technology skills of highest importance. The top tasks that paralegals perform in these offices are: calendaring, filing, word processing, organize files, case research, draft inhouse memos, drafting motions, public records search, bate stamping, interrogatories, prepare exhibits, prepare pleadings, request for admissions, request for production, and trial notebooks. The most infrequent tasks performed by paralegal are: make deliveries, interview clients, service of process, skip tracing, draft opinion letters, drafting trial briefs, and assist at depositions. 58% of respondents do not require minimal billable hours for their paralegals. Only 14% of the respondents indicated that the CLA/CP certification is important. 0% of respondents considered the P.A.C.E. important. The majority of the law firms indicated that certification did not affect salary. EVALUATIONS Every Fall and Spring the Paralegal Studies Program evaluates the Internship with a faxed evaluation form.

7 This evaluation measures the programmatic outcome of employer satisfaction. 5 evaluations were completed in Spring 2009 and 4 were completed in Fall of the 9 interns overall job performance was rated as Good or better, meeting the minimum program expectation. However, only 7 of the interns overall job performance was rated as Very Good or Excellent missing the program goal of 90%. One of our student interns had a difficult time with the office politics in the organization, she did not perform to her potential and the evaluation was filled out by the paralegal with whom there was an issue, therefore her job performance was rated as Fair. When respondents were asked about suggested areas of improvement for their intern, most responded that the drafting and legal writing skills could improve. When respondents were asked about the strongest attributes for their intern, most responded that the interns had good people skills, showed eagerness to work, worked well with others, and showed a desire to learn. 7 of the 9 host locations were willing to take CSN Paralegal Studies Program student interns again. The two locations that declined employed their student interns full time prior to the start of the internship.

8 Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes Curriculum Audit Paralegal Studies Program REQUIRED COURSES COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN NEVADA Paralegal Studies/AAS and Post-Degree Certificate of Achievement Degree Program, Unit, or Office Academic Year Dr. Clarissa M. Cota Assessment Coordinator/Contact Person July 2009 Date Submitted A review of the program s curriculum to identify which courses address the program outcomes and to what extent: Introduced (I) Emphasized (E) Applied/Reinforced (A) If the course is Required (REQ) by all Paralegal Studies students it will be marked. If a course is a designated Legal Specialty (LS) it will be marked. If a course is an Elective (ELEC) it will be marked. Program-Level Student Learning Outcome IS 101 REQ 1. Demonstrate ability to manage cases and draft legal documents by applying written skills and knowledge of legal procedures in civil litigation and other substantive areas of law. 2. Identify ethical issues and be able to apply the rules of professional conduct through synthesis and analysis. 3. Demonstrate knowledge of research methodology by applying critical thinking initiatives to various information formats including computerized and traditional library research. LAW 101 REQ, LS LAW 231 REQ, LS LAW 234 REQ, LS LAW 253 REQ LAW 259 REQ, LS LAW 261 REQ, LS LAW 262 REQ, LS LAW 263 REQ, LS I EA EA A EA EA EA A I A A A A A EA EA I EA EA EA A EA EA A

9 4. Demonstrate proficient use of word processing software and ability to identify and adapt to different types of law office technology and computer applications. IE A EA EA IEA EA EA EA A

10 LEGAL RESEARCH II LAW 262 PARALEGAL STUDIES PROGRAM STUDENT PORTFOLIO FINAL RUBRIC 125 POINTS NAME: Timely Completion and Organization of Portfolio 10 points Introduction Professional History 10 points Goals Statement Resume Letters of Reference Program Outcome I Legal Writing Documents Demonstrate the ability to manage cases and draft 20 points legal documents by applying written skills and knowledge of legal procedures in civil litigation and other substantive areas of law. Student should show ability to write various forms of documents: o correspondence o pleadings o memoranda o briefs o citation format substantive areas of law, such as: o torts o contracts o criminal procedure o administrative law o bankruptcy o family law o probate o constitutional law o civil evidence o supervised field experience

11 Program Outcome II - Understanding the Profession and Its Ethical Obligations Identify ethical issues and be able to apply the rules 15 points of professional conduct through synthesis and analysis. Student is able to demonstrate they know the types of work paralegals perform. Familiar with supervision that must be present. Familiar with Ethical guidelines of the ABA. Program Outcome III Research Skills Demonstrate knowledge of research methodology to 20 points apply critical thinking initiatives to various information formats including computerized and traditional library research. Documents should show the student s ability to: o use the tools of research in standard law library o use the tools of research o cite check o computerized assisted legal research programs o incorporate research in proper memorandum format Program Outcome IV Law Office Technology and Computer Applications Proficient use of word processing software and ability to 10 points identify and adapt to different types of law office technology and computer applications. Student should be able to demonstrate their knowledge in: o organization and operation of legal system and law offices o computer skills Basic Skills Critical Thinking Skills 5 points Organizational Skills Communications Skills Interpersonal Skills Interviewing and Investigating Professional Commitment Beyond Coursework Ability to demonstrate professional commitment: 5 points o membership in professional organizations o conferences, trainings, workshops o journal subscriptions o volunteer work o C.L.E. attendance o intent to take the C.P. or P.A.C.E. certification exam

12 Conclusion Student can demonstrate their learning experience and 10 points professional growth as they progressed through the program and built the portfolio. Capstone to the Student Portfolio Appendix Transcripts 5 points Degree Sheets Awards or Recognitions Class Presentation Student will be able to demonstrate their communication 15 points skills by: o ability to concisely explain the development of the portfolio o voice projection o physical stance and presence o ability to effectively answer questions o ability to communicate their knowledge of the paralegal profession and the paralegal program at CSN o ability to answer substantive legal question regarding courses taken

13 NAME OF CSN STUDENT PERCEPTION CSN PARALEGAL PROGRAM ALUMNI CSN PARALEGAL STUDIES EMPLOYER CSN PARALEGAL STUDIES PROGRAM COMMUNITY NEEDS CSN PARALEGAL STUDIES PROGRAM DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE ASSESSMENT TARGET GROUP/PURPOSE LAW 101 STUDENTS Meant to capture their perceptions of the paralegal profession, how they heard of the CSN program, what they hope to learn and what they hope to do with their degree. GRADUATES Meant to capture graduate impression of the paralegal program, their continuing education, employment information and job preparedness. LAW FIRMS, GOVERNMENT OFFICES, INTERN LOCATION, CORPORATIONS WHO EMPLOY CSN PARALEGAL STUDENTS Meant to capture what job qualifications employers are looking for, how prepared are the CSN students from the employer perspective, suggested improvements for the program. SOUTHERN NEVADA LEGAL COMMUNITY Meant to capture what the local legal community expects and requires of their paralegals/legal assistants, monitors the current technology skills necessary, looks at hiring criteria for the paralegal position and how the program can best meet those needs. DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYED ELECTRONICALLY EVERY SEMESTER Fall September Spring February Summer when offered Next Run: Summer 2009 DEPLOYED ELECTRONICALLY EVERY 2-3 MONTHES FOLLOWING GRADUATION November for May graduates May for August/December graduates Next Run: November 2009 DEPLOYED ELECTRONICALLY EVERY TWO YEARS April Next Run: April 2011 DEPLOYED ELECTRONICALLY EVERY THREE YEARS November Next Run: November 2010

14 NAME OF CSN PARALEGAL STUDIES PROGRAM COMPLETER TARGET GROUP/PURPOSE STUDENTS WHO HAVE COMPLETED ALL LAW CLASSES Meant to capture how the students view of the paralegal profession has evolved since the CSN Paralegal Studies Program Perception Survey, what the students overall impression of the program and all the law classes is, how prepared they feel to go into the workplace, retrieve student contact information. DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYED ELECTRONICALLY EVERY SEMESTER IN LAW 262 (LEGAL RESEARCH II CAPSTONE COURSE) Fall December Spring May Next Run: December 2009

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