Professors Share HeLP at International Conference

Three hundred fifty delegates from more than 100 countries and all six inhabited continents gathered in Eskisehir, Turkey, from July 22-25 to participate in the 8th Global Alliance for Justice Education conference. Professors Lisa Bliss, Sylvia Caley and Leslie Wolf directed a workshop, “Measuring the Impact of Social Justice Teaching: Research Design and Oversight,” in a “stream” of presentations hosted by the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education. Through it, they sought to encourage educators to consider conducting research to measure the impact of clinical teaching on students as well as the clients and communities they serve.

After questioning the audience about their own experiences with research – which ranged from no experiences to quite sophisticated research, Bliss opened the session by explaining the benefits of conducting this research.

Caley then illustrated the types of research that are possible and the conclusions that can be reached, using examples from research conducted on the impact of interprofessional education (primarily, doctors and lawyers learning together) within the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic.

Wolf then offered strategies for developing research questions, while also reminding the audience the benefits of collaborating with people skilled in research design. The audience was also given the opportunity to develop a research question they would like to answer individually and in groups. The session concluded with Wolf providing an overview of the legal and ethical obligations related to conduct research with human beings.

The session, which was offered on first day of the conference, set the stage for other presentations in the “stream.” Later presentations described how rare it is for research in this area to go beyond student satisfaction surveys, highlighting the value of the data HeLP has collected.

“From the beginning of HeLP, we knew that research was essential to document our impact and set out to evaluate impact on our students, partners, and clients,” Caley said.