A Message from the Faculty Council

By Hon. Don R. Ash

2015 NJC Faculty
2014-15 Faculty Council: (l-r) Hon. Don R. Ash, Chair; Hon. Jane D. Fishman; Hon. William G. Kelly; Hon. Toni T. Boone (Ret.); Hon. Andre M. Davis, Immediate Past Chair; Hon. Jennifer Gee, Secretary; Hon. Steve L. Smith, Chair-Elect. Not pictured: Hon. Elbridge Coochise (Ret.); Hon. Daniel P. Ryan, J.D., Ph.D.; Hon. V. Lee Sinclair, Jr.

For the past year, I have had the honor to serve as the chairperson of the Faculty Council. Many times my friends and other National Judicial College participants ask me what is the Faculty Council and what does it do. Here, in a nutshell, is our story and mission.

The Council was established in 1987. While its initial goals seem lofty we still strive to achieve them. They include “to assist the National Judicial College in maintaining, evaluating, and improving upon an academic program of excellence in judicial education and training” and “to communicate officially… with respect to academic and administrative matters; be informed fully of academic and administrative policies… and participate… actively… in the formulation, development and execution of academic policies pertaining to judicial education and training.”

We currently have ten members. They represent General Jurisdiction courses, Specialty courses, Administrative law courses, Tribal courses, and a member at large. We meet usually three or four times a year and mostly by telephone conference. Our June meeting is normally in Reno and we try to meet in person since this is also an opportunity for the members of the Faculty Council to meet with the NJC Board of Trustees.

Each of the members has additional responsibilities. Judge Dan Ryan oversees our nomination and election of members on the Council. Judge Lee Sinclair is in charge of our faculty selection and retention committee. He is working on a program to provide a refresher course for faculty, probably a webcast. Judge Toni Boone and Judge William Kelly are developing a newsletter for our entire faculty. I think you will find this project very useful in your future teaching opportunities. Judge Kelly also works with technology department. Our other members, including me, have responsibilities as well.

In closing, I have learned a great deal serving on the Council. Our President and the staff of the NJC do a fantastic job. They are dedicated to help the faculty continue to be the best in the country in regard to judicial education. Our Board of Trustees and the Board of Visitors are amazing individuals who are dedicated to the mission of the National Judicial College. I hope each of you will never hesitate to contact either me or the other members of the Council if you have concerns or suggestions. God bless each of you and your families. Thank you for your efforts to improve our country’s judiciary!


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