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73 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 823 (1997-1998)
Are Scholars Better Teachers

handle is hein.journals/chknt73 and id is 841 raw text is: ARE SCHOLARS BETTER TEACHERS?

Does scholarship improve teaching? Are widely cited law schol-
ars also more highly regarded teachers? Or does scholarship detract
from class preparation and planning so that those who are not major
scholars are on balance better teachers? In this article, we present
data from a small-scale study of student course evaluations at three
law schools-Boston University, the University of Chicago, and the
University of Colorado. In these data we see solid evidence of a sub-
stantial positive correlation between a professor's number of scholarly
citations and his or her student course evaluations. Indeed, the odds
that a highly cited scholar will have above average instructor ratings
are about 1.9 times as high as the odds that an infrequently cited
scholar will have above average instructor ratings. Furthermore, the
odds that an infrequently cited scholar will have instructor ratings in
the bottom 25% for large and medium-sized courses are 2.9 times the
odds of a highly cited scholar having a similarly poor rating.
If these three law schools are any indication, good law teaching
and legal scholarship tend to be found together, rather than apart.
These results are strong enough to suggest that a much larger study
should be undertaken to assess the relationship between scholarship
and teaching in American law schools.
Whether teaching and scholarship are at war with each other in
American universities has been frequently studied, but the results are
inconclusive. Particularly when researchers ask the opinions of
faculty and students about faculty commitments to scholarship and
* Professor of Law, Northwestern University. Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, University of
Chicago; J.D., University of Chicago. I would like to thank Richard Delgado for suggesting the
idea for this project, as well as for cajoling me into analyzing the data in time for the publication
deadline for this symposium. He is both a warm and a demanding editor; I thank him for both.
Others who deserve acknowledgment include Randy Barnett, Ross Stolzenberg, David Van
Zandt, Ray Solomon, Debby Merritt, and Joann Thompson.
** 1998 J.D. Candidate, Northwestern University. Parts of this project were done as part
of my Senior Research project for my J.D. degree.

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