By Amy Blakely
Our new Experience Learning initiative recognizes that learning is enhanced—and more enjoyable—when lessons are used to experiment, solve problems, and innovate. It challenges faculty to look for new and creative ways to work with students. As part of Faculty Appreciation Week 2016, here is a look at two College of Law faculty members who “go the extra mile” in their teaching, research, and outreach.
The role of the state in defining and regulating marriage.
The right of birth parents to choose adoptive parents for their children.
The legal liability parents might face if they choose not to vaccinate their children and their children make others sick.
Those are just a few of the headline-making issues Professor Teri Baxter examines in her research and when she’s teaching her family and privacy law seminar.
Baxter joined UT’s College of Law in 2013. In addition to the family and privacy seminar, she teaches secured transactions, constitutional law, and torts. Her research and scholarship focus is in family, privacy, and tort issues.
Baxter said she tries to help her students hone their law skills by providing context for the classroom lessons, being accessible, and making sure to provide plenty of feedback—especially about their writing.
“Part of being a good lawyer is being a good writer,” said Baxter.
Baxter did her undergraduate work and received her law degree from Duke University. She practiced in a Houston law firm for five years before joining the faculty at Saint Louis University School of Law in 2002.
She is a member of the College of Law’s Faculty Appointments Committee and Promotion and Tenure Committee. She also served on the 2015 dean’s search committee.
Baxter said she attends as many student activities as possible and serves as a peer mentor who provides support and guidance to tenure-track faculty.
“Upon arrival, Professor Baxter immediately became a valued member the UT Law faculty, contributing with outstanding teaching and scholarship while also accepting significant service responsibilities,” said Melanie Wilson, dean of the college. “Her service to the College of Law includes expanding the number and type of courses she teaches to fill new needs of the college. In all respects, Professor Baxter has added significant value to our college.”
Baxter enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. She also enjoys reading fiction. Her recent reads: Sinister by Jana Deleon and No Woman Left Behind by Julie Moffett.
“How is this going to help the students to be better lawyers?”
As associate dean of academic affairs and a professor of law, Alex Long asks himself this question because he wants to make sure everything he does in the classroom is beneficial for his students.
Long has been a professor of law at UT since 2007, teaching and writing about torts, professional responsibility, employment law, and disability law.
Prior to teaching law, Long worked as an associate for an national law firm in West Virginia. The academic side of law always attracted him, though, because of his interest in teaching and the ability for in-depth research.
The LLM program, which will enroll its first students in fall 2016, will provide internationally trained lawyers with specialized knowledge in US business law. The full-time 24-credit hour program is designed to be completed in one academic year after which graduates will be eligible to sit for the Tennessee and New York bar exams.
The 3+3 program allows students of the UT College of Arts and Sciences to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree at UT in six year—one year less than what is normally required.
Long has also worked with the college’s Innovation Committee, which serves to keep UT competitive with other law colleges.
Since joining the UT faculty, Long has published seventeen articles and essays. His works have been cited numerous times in leading law journals, including those from Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, as well as by the US Court of Appeals and the Iowa Supreme Court. He has also co-written two books about professional responsibility and torts. As a result of his scholarship, Long has been asked by to co-author amicus curiae—or “friend of the court”—briefs before the US Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals.
“Professor Long has distinguished himself as one of the college’s truly great teachers and legal scholars, and this year he is serving a significant administrative role as associate dean for academic affairs,” Wilson said. “He ranks among the most dedicated and most effective members of our law faculty.”
In his free time, Long likes to run, play golf, listen to music, and spend time with his family.