Dr. Robert Lane
“You’re not here to get a job!” My students are bewildered when I say this in my classroom. It is contrary to what they typically hear from their parents and peers. I then ask, “Who presently has a job?” Most raise a hand. Ditto when I ask, “Do you know adults without a college degree who have jobs?” It is clear to all that college is not a requisite for a paycheck. My next pronouncement: “You’re in college to have a career or profession; indeed, I would encourage you to see it as pursuing a ‘vocation’, for what you, hopefully, are interested in obtaining is work that best utilizes your particular gifts and talents.” I believe that.
Prior to coming to SVSU in 1991, he taught at the secondary school level for nine years before pursuing his graduate studies at UW-Madison. His research focuses upon the Constitutional rights of public school students, and he primarily teaches law-related courses. He received the 2005 House Family Teaching Impact Award. Lane said he finds serving as president of the SVSU Faculty Association to be a true learning experience. “I better understand this university: its governance, faculty, administration and students. It continues to be the most challenging and rewarding university service experience I have undertaken at SVSU.”
Students should have a high level of self-awareness that identifies their particular gifts and talents. What are they good at? What makes them tick? Once they can sufficiently answer these questions, they can better choose a profession. As the campus pre-law advisor, I assist students by providing information, experiences, and advice that help them know “what they’re getting into, and why.”
This “advising” may occur in the classroom or during office visits, and, at least once a year, off campus. Since 2005, SVSU has provided an opportunity for students to attend the annual Chicago Law School Forum. The Forum is a one-day event whereby students can visit with representatives from more than 160 law schools located throughout the U.S.; they also tour Chicago area law schools.
They tell me that the Forum helped in two ways: selecting the right law school, and confirming their decision to be a lawyer. Conversely, each year a few students inform me that the trip convinced them that going to law school was not for them. They, too, were appreciative of the trip. Helping students make informed decisions about their chosen vocation is, arguably, as important as anything I accomplish in the classroom. I trust that my students would agree.