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Expanding Curriculum: Part 6

Part 6: The future

The Law School continues the process of evaluating its curriculum in light of professor and student input and the changing landscape of the law. In 2002, Dean David Leebron appointed a task force to study issues arising out of the Foundation Curriculum and, in particular, the questions of which courses should be taught in the first year and whether 1Ls should have some element of choice. The task force produced a report for the Curriculum Committee, which in turn reported to the faculty. The faculty is expected to take up the question again in the fall.

Upper-year offerings continue to expand. They reflect both faculty and student interests, as well as the increasing use of adjunct faculty to offer specialized courses in areas from human rights to financial instruments. In addition, the curriculum reflects an increasing international and comparative dimension, which reflects a larger graduate student body coming from foreign countries. Beyond the collective exercise of examining and reforming the curriculum, individual faculty are exploring new approaches such as transaction oriented education and intensive research seminars. 

"In some ways, the subjects and pedagogic approaches of our curriculum continue to reflect the influence of reforms made more than 100 years ago," said Dean Leebron. "But, at the same time, changes since then have been so dramatic that our forbears would be overwhelmed by the variety of both subject matter and teaching methods. The basic nature of legal education continues to evolve, and it is important that we at Columbia strive to be at the forefront of that evolution."