As the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, Robert Adler has grown accustomed to finding innovative solutions to ongoing obstacles —the reality of tight budgets, for example. Observing the pressing need among his colleagues for skilled student research assistants, as well as the fact that law students are frequently cash-starved, Adler spearheaded the formation of the Quinney Student Fellowship program, which will allow a group of select students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on a range of research, writing and service projects while receiving a stipend and partial tuition waiver.
Faced with limited discretionary funds, Adler explains that in the past faculty members typically had to make tough choices. “It’s a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he says. “You could go to one or two conferences a year or you could hire a research assistant, but usually not both. The Fellowship program is designed to leverage our money in ways that provide additional research assistance to faculty, but in a collaborative way that provides students superior educational benefit.” Adler explains that the program is economically leveraged because by providing a $2500 fellowship, the Quinney College is able to take advantage of the University’s tuition waiver program. Consequently, “The economic benefit far exceeds $2500 per semester, making it more attractive to students to do this in lieu of, say, a downtown law firm job and providing them with an experience that is more integral to their legal education,” he says.