Trial Counselor Program

  • PSLO
  • Data Sheet
  • Program Review
  • Assessment Report

Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
(AY 2017-2018)

Program Student Learning Outcomes(PSLOS)

At the completion of the Trial Counselor Program, the student will be able to:

  1. Have a working knowledge of the major techniques of legal research and writing.
  2. Describe how the FSM and state rules of criminal law & procedure are interpreted and applied.
  3. Describe the law of torts and basic principles of admiralty law.
  4. Understand the concept of dispute resolution techniques including, but not limited to, mediation, arbitration, and community resolution procedures.
  5. Understand the law of contracts and general business law.
  6. Describe the processes of comprehensive examination of problems of proof and the rules of evidence.
  7. Understand the constitution of the FSM, its States and municipalities.
  8. Describe the FSM and State rules of appellate & civil procedure.
  9. Describe and explain the FSM and State real property laws.
  10. Practice actual supervised pre-trial and trial skills in civil and criminal cases.

PSLO Assessment Report Summary

What we looked at:

PSLO 10 Practice actual supervised pre-trial and trial skills in civil and criminal cases

Outcome 10 was assessed on an assessment tool below:

The assessment was based various drafting summary judgments and oral arguments (Mock hearing) conducted throughout the semester. Each case and draft assignments were crafted in the following format: 1) Facts, 2) Issues, 3) Rules, 4) Analysis, and 5) Conclusions, otherwise known as the IRAC approach. Oral arguments were also assessed at the end of the semester, also constituted a large portion of the students overall grade.

What we found:

PSLO 10-A total of 11 (10 were of the regular cohort which started in Fall2017, and 1 enrolled in Spring 2018). Out of the 11, 1 of member of the cohort withdrew from the program.

With the 10 students that were left in the Trial practice course, achievement of outcome is at100%. Data continue to show that completion rate for the program remains very high. Tracking students as cohorts through the program may be a possible explanation for the high pass rate, because it is the same students across the semesters, with usually the same instructors who already have an understanding of the students. Although it must be noted that recruiting part-time instructors remains a major challenge. As of writing, the program awaits the final decision on whether it should be modified or remains as is.

What we are planning to work on:

  • Implement a systematic tracking of graduates to monitor success of the program.
  • Maintain same assessment strategies to assess program outcomes.
  • Change class size to a minimum of 20 students each section; maintain even courses to cater to part-time instructors and in-service staff (who are students).
  • Work with part-time instructors on assessment of outcomes.
  • Recommend that criteria for admission into the program be developed and implemented.
  • Re-evaluate the focus of the program, from targeting in-service staff to a wider population, which should include traditional students, finishing from other programs (especially Micronesian Studies and Liberal arts).
  • Recommendation to hire a permanent instructor and coordinator. The potential to serve both roles as instructor and coordinator.

Recommendations for students:

  • Begin Fall semesters to take introductory Law courses.
  • Students must have good reading and writing skills to articulate ideas, both in written and oral communication.
  • Students seek advice from advisors in terms of course-planning
  • Enroll students who have completed an Associate of Arts degree or who is already in-service in a law-related field.

Trial Counselor Certificate of Achievement Program Review

AP Full Official

Trial Counselors Program

Campus

National Campus

AP Review Submission Date

August 6, 2016

Completed by

Lucia N. Donre

AR Review Cycle

Fall 2014-Spring 2016

 

Program Goals

Program goals are broad statements concerning knowledge, skills, or values that the faculty members expect the graduating students to achieve.

Students know the basic concepts of law.

Students understand the rules and procedures of law.

Students can write and do legal research.

Students have basic knowledge and skills of pre-trial and trial in both civil and criminal cases.

Program History

This section describes the history of the program.  This includes the date and reason of implementation, significant milestones in the development of the program, and significant current activities.

Since its inception, courses were offered at all COM-FSM campuses, given availability of instructors. The initial intention of the program was to provide training opportunities for current as well as aspiring and upcoming trial counselors to improve their skills and competency and to prepare them to be effective decision makers in their respective courts. It was also created to provide for networking and sharing among trial counselors. In its initial years, the program was less attractive because it was hard to find instructors who could work for free. After all, the program relied on part-time faculty, all of them full time lawyers. Because of its reliance on part-time faculty, which was hard to recruit and no one to really coordinate the program, it became less visible and eventually lost enrollment.2008 Efforts were made between the Vice president of instruction and the late Chief justice Andon Amaraich to revive the trial counselor program. Through continuous dialogue between the college and the FSM supreme court, it was decided that the coordination of the program be re- assigned to the National Campus, under the Social Science Division. Since then the population of the program changed to include mostly traditional students, who completed with an Associate degree, mostly from the Micronesian studies program at COM-FSM.  The continued support from the FSM Supreme Court, Pohnpei state and the local private law firms, the program has been successful in offering 4 courses per regular semester for students to now complete the program in the recommended one year. A plus to this program is that when students finish, they become eligible to sit for the FSM Bar exam. According to a recent survey, more of our graduates have transferred to higher institutions, namely University of Guam, the University of South Pacific and the Vanuatu law school under the AusAid scholarship. Few have transferred to other US institutions. Popular fields of study by these graduates have been law, criminal justice, political science, social work, and public administration. Those who pursue the labor market have become law clerks, police officers, trial counselors, and last but not the least, judges. 

Program Description

The program description describes the program, including its organization, relationship to other programs in the system, program design, degree(s) offered, and other significant features of the program, such as elements/resources for forward-looking new program contributions to the state’s economy, or specialized program accreditation.

This certificate program provides training opportunities for current as well as aspiring and upcoming trial counselors to improve their skills and competency and to prepare them to be effective decision makers in their respective courts. It also provides for networking and sharing among trial counselors.

Program Admission Requirements

This section describes the requirements for admission into the program and other requisites.

Admissions into the Trial Counseling Program is as follows:

Admission is open at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters for in-service students; students with Associate of Arts degree are admitted in the Fall semester only.

 

Program Certificate/Degree Requirements

This section specifies the requirements for obtaining a certificate/degree in the program, including specific courses, sequencing of courses, total credits, internships, practical, etc.

This is a certificate program consisting of 10 courses to be completed in one year. Below are the following required courses.

 

LAW200, Legal Research and Writing

LAW210, Criminal Procedure

LAW215, Criminal Law

LAW220, Torts

LAW224, Contracts

LAW228, Evidence

LAW232, Constitutional Law

LAW235, Appellate and Civil Procedures/Jurisdiction

LAW238, Real Property

LAW240, Trial Practice Internship

 

CERTFICATE IN TRIAL COUNSELORS

Suggested Schedule

 

First Semester

LAW 200 Legal Research and Writing ................................................................................. 3

LAW 224 Contracts .................................................................................................................3

LAW 220 Torts .........................................................................................................................3

LAW 215 Criminal Law ..........................................................................................................3

                                                                                                                                  12

Second Semester

LAW 232 Constitutional Law ..................................................................................................3

LAW 238 Real Property ............................................................................................................3

LAW 210 Criminal Procedure ..................................................................................................3

LAW 236 Appellate and Civil Procedure/Jurisdiction..........................................................4

                                                                                                                                     13

Summer Session

LAW 228 Evidence ..................................................................................................................3

LAW 240 Trial Practice Internship…………………………………………………..3

                                                                                                                                    6

 

 

 

  Program Courses and Enrollment

This section lists courses offered in the program, including number of sections, course enrollment, section fill rates, and redundancy of courses across the institution.

Table 1

 

Courses

Fall 2014

Spring 2015

Summer 2015

Fall 2015

 

Spring 2016

Summer 2016

LAW200 Legal Research and Writing

10

Na

Na

13

Na

Na

LAW210 Criminal Procedure

Na

9

Na

Na

16

Na

LAW215 Criminal Law

12

Na

 Na

16

Na

Na

LAW220Torts

10

Na

Na

15

Na

        Na

LAW224 Contracts

10

Na

Na

15

Na

Na

LAW228 Evidence

9

Na

8

Na

Na

13

LAW232Constitutional Law

Na

11

Na

Na

13

Na

LAW236 Appellate & Civil Procedure/Jurisdiction

Na

8

Na

Na

16

Na

LAW238 Real Property

Na

Na

10

Na

13

Na

LAW240 Trial Practice Internship

Na

Na

Na

7

Na

10

Total Enrollment

50

28

40

66

58

23

 

Enrollment was highest in Fall 2015 for this program and part of the increase can be attributed to the idea that beginning the said semester, program followed the proposed schedule of course as per the College Catalog. Part of this plan was to ensure easier tracking of cohorts, to maintain consistency in courses to be offered according to the proposed schedule and to allow more time to recruit instructors for the proposed courses, as the program relies on part-time instructors.

 

Note: Na indicates course not offered that semester. Only one section of each course was offered. The only course offered for Summer semesters is Law 240-Trial Practice Internship, as it is the last course according to the proposed schedule. Data were retrieved from both IRPO and Myshark portal or the Student Information System (SIS).

 

  Program Faculty

This section reports the faculty of the program, including full-time and part-time faculty.  The degrees held and rank are provided for the full-time and part-time faculty. Finally, provide the faculty student ratio for the program.

 

Lucia N. Donre, Program Coordinator, BA Sociology (University of Hawaii at Hilo) and MA Educational Leadership Program (SDSU)

The Program does not have a full time faculty.  Part-time faculty members are hired on a semester basis, following the COM-FSM procedure for verification of qualification.

 

 

  Program Indicators

This section provides the data for analyzing the extent to which the program has achieved the established outcomes and criteria. This is the most important part of the program review.  The data that will be collected and evaluated are the following:

Assessment of course student learning outcomes of program courses

 

 

Assessment of Course Student Learning Outcomes (CSLO’s) is based on classwork, group discussions, written assignments, quiz, test, and a mock trial.

 

Table 2 AY 2014-2015 course completion rate:

Subject

Course Number

Enrolled

ABC or P

ABCD or P

% ABC or P

% ABCD or P

LAW

210

9

7

7

77.8%

77.8%

LAW

224

10

9

10

90.0%

100%

LAW

236

8

5

6

62.5%

75.0%

LAW

240

0

0

0

0

0

LAW

200

16

16

16

100%

100%

LAW

215

12

11

11

92.0%

92.0%

LAW

228

17

17

17

  100%

100%

LAW

232

11

10

10

91.0%

91.0%

LAW

215

12

11

11

92.0%

92.3%

LAW

238

12

12

12

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 3 AY 2015-2016 course completion rate:

Subject

Course Number

Enrolled

ABC or P

ABCD or P

% ABC or P

% ABCD or P

LAW

224

14

13

14

93.0%

100%

LAW

232

13

13

13

100%

100.0%

LAW

236

16

16

16

100%

100.0%

LAW

238

13

13

13

100%

100%

LAW

240

6

6

6

100%

100%

LAW

200

13

13

13

100%

100%

LAW

215

15

15

15

100%

100%

LAW

220

13

13

13

100%

100%

LAW

210

16

16

16

100%

100%

LAW

228

13

12

13

92.4%

100%

LAW

240

12

12

12

100%

100%

                         

 

It can be said that over the period of two academic year both enrollment and completion rates are consistent. A slight decrease in three courses in AY 2014-2015 (LAW 220, 224, & 236). One possible explanation can be the implementation of the new schedule for the courses, where courses offered for Fall were not offered in Spring  ensuring that students complete with in a one-year time frame. It can also mean that during the assessment period, new textbooks were introduced to most courses, allowing students to learn about theories and concepts by looking at examples. Most of the Law test books come in “Examples and Explanations”.

 

Note: Data retrieved from IRPO.

Assessment of program student learning outcomes

Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)

 

At the completion of the Trial Counselor Program, the student will be able to:

  1. Have a working knowledge of the major techniques of legal research and writing.
  2. Describe how the FSM and state rules of criminal law & procedure are interpreted and applied.
  3. Describe the law of torts and basic principles of admiralty law.
  4. Understand the concept of dispute resolution techniques including, but not limited to, mediation, arbitration, and community resolution procedures.
  5. Understand the law of contracts and general business law.
  6. Describe the processes of comprehensive examination of problems of proof and the rules of evidence.
  7. Understand the constitution of the FSM, its States and municipalities.
  8. Describe the FSM and State rules of appellate & civil procedure.
  9. Describe and explain the FSM and State real property laws.
  10. Practice actual supervised pre-trial and trial skills in civil and criminal cases

 

PSLO Assessment Report Summary

 

What we looked at:

PSLO_2 : Describe how the FSM and state rules of criminal law & procedure are interpreted and applied

 

PSLO_7 : Understand the constitution of the FSM, its States and municipalities.

 

PSLO_8: Describe the FSM and State rules of appellate & civil procedure.

 

Outcomes 2,7, & 8 were assessed on two assessment tools:

  1. Essay questions that present hypothetical fact situations scored with rubric.
  2. Writing assignment scored with rubric.

 

What we found:

PSLO 2- A total of 8 students were assessed. All 8 students met this outcome with a passing of 70% or higher.

 

PSLO 7- A total of 10 students were assessed on this outcome. All 10 met this outcome with a 70% passing score or higher.

 

PSLO 8-A total of 8 students were assessed on this outcome. Six passed with a grade of 70% or higher 2 did not pass with a grade of 69% or lower grade

 

Achievement of outcomes is very high (between 90-100%) for Law courses, as can be seen with the other outcomes that were assessed in Fall 2014.  It can be said that high rate of passing may be due to the small class size of the law classes. It is observed that the few students who did not meet the outcomes were those who did not complete the course as a result of excessive absences. It is also an observation that those who did not complete courses were the same students who did not persevere in the program.

 

What we are planning to work on:

 

  • Maintain same assessment strategies to assess program outcomes.
  • Change class size to a minimum of 15 students each section.
  • Work with part-time instructors on assessment of outcomes.
  • Device a strategy to engage students in civic responsibility.
  • Recommend that criteria for admission into the program be developed and implemented.

 

Recommendations for students:

  • Students must have good reading and writing skills to articulate ideas, both in written and oral communication.
  • Students seek advice from advisors in terms of course-planning
  • Enroll students who have completed an Associate of Arts degree or who is already in-service in a law-related field.

 

 

PSLO 10         Practice actual supervised pre-trial and trial skills in civil and criminal cases

 

Outcome 10 was assessed on two assessment tools:

The assessment was based various drafting summary judgments and oral arguments (Mock hearing) conducted throughout the semester.  Each case and draft assignments were crafted in the following format: 1) Facts, 2) Issues, 3) Rules, 4) Analysis, and 5) Conclusions, otherwise known as the IRAC approach.  Oral arguments at the end of the semester also constituted a large portion of the students overall grade.

 

Video recordings of the mock hearings were collected for evidence of authentic assessment as well.

 

What we found:

 

PSLO 10-A total of 6 for Fall2015 and 12 students for Summer 2016 were assessed on this outcome. All 18 students for both semesters met the outcome with a score of 70% or better.

 

Achievement of outcome is at100%for the trial practice course. Data continue to show that completion rate for the program remains very high. Tracking students as cohorts through the program may be a possible explanation for the high pass rate, because it is the same students across the semesters, with usually the same instructors who already have an understanding of the students. Although it must be noted that recruiting part-time instructors remains a major challenge. As of writing, the program awaits the final decision on whether it should be modified or remains as is.

 

What we are planning to work on:

 

  • Maintain same assessment strategies to assess program outcomes.
  • Change class size to a minimum of 20 students each section.
  • Work with part-time instructors on assessment of outcomes.
  • Device a strategy to engage students in civic responsibility.
  • Recommend that criteria for admission into the program be developed and implemented.
  • Re-evaluate the focus of the program, from targeting in-service staff to a wider population, which should include traditional students, finishing from other programs (especially Micronesian Studies and Liberal arts).

 

Recommendations for students:

  • Students must have good reading and writing skills to articulate ideas, both in written and oral communication.
  • Students seek advice from advisors in terms of course-planning
  • Enroll students who have completed an Associate of Arts degree or who is already in-service in a law-related field.

 

 

 

Program enrollment (historical enrollment patterns, student credits by major)

Table 5 shows enrollment patterns for indicated semesters.

Fall 2014

Spring 2015

Summer 2015

Fall 2015

Spring

2016

Summer    2016

2009

Total

20

13

11

22

17

15

98

Note: Data retrieved from both IRPO data sheets and Trial Counselors assessment data.  Program enrollment for the program has remained stable where enrollment at the national Campus remained the highest and where spring enrollment is usually higher.

 

Table 6 shows student credits by major at the National Campus only.

Major

Term

Campus

Credits

Trial Counselor

Fall 2014

National

205

Trial Counselor

Fall 2015

National

219

Trial Counselor

Spring 2015

National

120

Trial Counselor

Spring 2016

National

202

Trial Counselor

Summer 2015

National

60

Trial Counselor           

Summer 2016

National

81

 

 

 

Table 7shows average class size for National campus.

 

I.                   Courses

Average Class Size

LAW200 Legal Research and Writing

13

LAW210 Criminal Procedure

16

LAW215 Criminal Law

16

LAW220Torts

15

LAW224 Contracts

14

LAW228 Evidence

13

LAW232 Constitutional Law

13

LAW236 Appellate & Civil Procedure/Jurisdiction

16

LAW238 Real Property

13

LAW240 Trial Practice Internship

10

Total Average

13

 

Note: Since the change in scheduling of courses in Fall 2012, average class has slightly increased and remained steady since. Courses used to be offered based on what instructors were comfortable teaching. However, the new scheduling recruits part-time instructors based on needed courses. Although the period of assessment is too short to determine the impact on success and enrollment, the shift in numbers seem to be positively increasing.

 

Data retrieved from IRPO.

Student persistence rate (semester to semester)

Table 8

Major Description

Degree

New Students Fall 2014

Students Spring 2015

Students Summer 2015

Persistence

Trial Counselor

CA

10

5

4

90%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major

Degree

New FT Fall 2016

Persisted Spring 2016

Retained Summer 2016

Persistence

Trial Counselor

CA

10

10

10

100%

 

(Data from MyShark SIS Portal)

 

Student retention rate (Fall-to-Fall for two-year programs; Fall-to-Spring for one-year programs)

Table 9

Major Description

Degree

New Students Fall 2014

Students Spring 2015

Students Summer 2015

Retention Fall 2015

Trial Counselor

CA

10

5

4

40%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Major

Degree

New FT Fall 2015

Persisted Spring 2016

Retained Summer 2016

Retention Fall 2016

Trial Counselor

CA

10

10

10

100%

Success rates on licensing or certification exams (CTE, TP, Nursing, etc)

Not assessed.

 

 

Graduation rate based on yearly number

Table 10 shows Graduates by each school year.

     

Major

Degree

AY2014/15

AY2015/16

Trial Counselor

CA

0

16

(Data retrieved from Trial Counselor data sheets provided by IRPO)

 

Students seat cost

Not provided

Cost of duplicate or redundant courses, programs or services

None

 

 

Students’ satisfaction rate

None

 

 

Alumni data

 

Employment data and employer feedback (employer survey)

No data

Program added or cancelled at nearby regional institutions (PCC, GCC, Hawaii schools, UOG, CMI, NMC)

 

 

 

Transfer rate

16 graduated from the Trial Counseling Program in Fall 2015 and Summer 2016. Of the sixteen, four (4) transferred to 4yr institutions, two are enrolled at COMFSM in another degree program; one is working at Pohnpei State AG office whereas nine are unaccounted for.

  Analysis

 

Findings

This section provides discussion of information discovered as a result of the evaluation such as problems or concerns with the program and what part of the program is working well and meeting expectation.

·         It can be said that since the implementation of the new scheduling of courses, completion rate and enrollment rate have increased and remained steady.

·         Since the last review, course outlines underwent review and recommendations were made towards textbook changes. In response, new textbooks (consisting of Examples and Explanations) were introduced and have been used ever since Fall 2012.

·         Instructors have expressed the need for students to complete the legal research and writing course before they take other Law courses, to introduce students to both basic concepts and format of legal writing.

·         Challenges still remain in the fact that the program completely relies on part-time instructors. Since the recent reduction (2013) in part-time rate that resulted from the change in pay scale, it has been difficult to recruit instructors. The impact is seen in Fall 2013, where only 3 courses were offered based on available instructors.

·         Data collection has always been a challenge especially given the fact that instructors are part-time. Often times, assessment of courses on a semester basis are not done because they are not familiar with the process of assessment. Thus, the only data turned in are grades, indicating pass/fail only.

·         In survey conducted in 2015, both alumni and instructors see a need to keep the Trial counselor program at the college.

·         In the same survey, respondents see a need to consider upgrading the Trial Counseling program from a certificate to a degree program that’s more focused on Paralegal Studies.

Recommendations

This section provides recommendations from the program on what to do to improve or enhance the quality of program and course learning outcomes as well as program goals and objectives.  This section should also include suggestions that describe how the program might be able to create opportunities for a better program in the future.  Some examples are exploring alternate delivery mechanisms, forming external partnerships, or realigning with other programs.

·         The program should retain the current scheduling of courses to ensure students finish within a year.

·         Course outlines be reviewed every five years for validity and relevance to courses.

·         A permanent position for a coordinator and instructor, preferably someone who has a Law degree to run the program. The permanent position, if created can address challenges under bullets 4 & 5, under Findings.

·         Challenge for recruiting instructors still remains. As of last reporting cycle, no change was made to the program in terms of hiring a permanent coordinator. A recommendation is to re-assess the focus of this program to determine if should remain a program, which targets in-service individuals.

 

 

           

Form is newly revised.  Previous Program Reviews are available at http://wiki.comfsm.fm/Academic_Programs

Micronesian Studies is a very good example.  Program review checklist is on the next page.

 

 

 

 

Unit Assessment Report

Report Period: 2013-2014

This website and all COM-FSM Internet based services are best viewed with Firefox 3.0 or better.
© Copyright 2020 College of Micronesia-FSM | Site Disclaimer
P. O. Box 159, Kolonia, Pohnpei, 96941 - (691) 320-2480
College of Micronesia-FSM is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges,
Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Bldv., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234,
an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.
Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: www.accjc.org