New Schulich dean talks inclusivity, AI and beekeeping

For Sarah Harding, her return to Nova Scotia to run Dalhousie University’s Schulich University of Regulation is a homecoming.

Born in London, Ont., Harding would attend Montreal’s McGill College for her undergrad ahead of earning her LLB from Schulich in 1989. On Aug. 21, the law college introduced that Harding, following virtually three decades doing work in the United States, had returned to her alma mater as dean.

Harding, a profession educator, will be at the helm for five a long time, succeeding Camille Cameron, who experienced been dean because 2015.

In a latest job interview with Law360 Canada, Harding talked range, publish-pandemic schooling, synthetic intelligence and how the school’s abiding credo of socially liable lawyering will help information her.

Sarah Harding, Dalhousie University

First, she spoke of the “wonderful move” back to Schulich, to the hallways and classrooms she inhabited additional than 3 decades back.

“This is a return for me — back again to Dalhousie following many years in the [U.S] — so I’m fired up to back again at the Schulich University of Regulation and I’m psyched to be back in Nova Scotia and I’m thrilled to be back in Canada,” claimed Harding, who ahead of accepting the Schulich work put in 27 a long time at the Chicago-Kent Higher education of Legislation in Illinois.

Harding acknowledged she will come to the task put up-pandemic and touched on lessons figured out from the “dramatic transformations” that educational institutions endured all through COVID-19 lockdowns.

Although Schulich is back again to 100-for every cent in-particular person finding out, there continues to be a will need to keep on to “rebuild and reacquaint the community with its strengths as an business,” claimed Harding.

But the pandemic also taught school administrators the have to have for flexibility.

“There is surely adaptability for pupils to participate remotely in some conditions. I’m not [yet] completely … tuned in to all of the distinctive procedures about hybrid or what if nearly anything professors have prohibited or permitted to do in terms of their teaching. … [But] I consider we’re back to striving as substantially as possible to persuade the in-individual engagement.”

Harding touched on Schulich’s evolution when it comes to turning an eye towards the African Nova Scotian knowledge, which include the province’s distinctive heritage of anti-Black racism.

Previous year, Schulich launched a five-day necessary training course for initial-year college students on racism and discrimination faced by Black persons in the province, as well as in Canada.

Harding lauded the school’s determination in this region — and not just when it comes to Black people, but to Indigenous individuals and other marginalized groups as properly.

“These are some of the explanations why I found this option quite desirable. What the school was accomplishing below I think goes earlier mentioned and over and above what most other establishments are performing in terms of addressing the needs of various populations and really focusing on instructing our students how to be culturally capable. For the reason that this is the planet they are heading to practise in — it’s a skilled obligation.”

Harding was imbued with this sense of social obligation for the duration of her time as a college student at Schulich, wherever she turned a component of the legislation school’s “Weldon Tradition” constituency.

Named after Richard Chapman Weldon, Schulich’s founding dean, it holds the perspective that lawyers have an obligation to use their skills for beneficial social transform.

“It’s just element of the DNA of this institution. It is a standard guiding principle of the business. Deeply component of its tradition. … It is something that is imbued in conditions of your encounter right here as a scholar — the significance of unselfish general public assistance.”

This, Harding reported, can be found the Dalhousie Legal Assist Company, as well as students’ participation in the legislation school’s professional bono plan.

“I consider it is incumbent on lawful educators to assistance type attorneys who comprehend that they have civic duties,” claimed Harding. “This is a accountability to culture as aspect of the privilege of becoming a attorney. My regard for that tradition, my perception in it … will absolutely advise my management.”

As for synthetic intelligence, Harding verified the university has no official coverage on its use by students. As an alternative, school users can attract from “guiding principles” to assistance them decide what is finest for their classes.

“Current faculty are encouraged to think about how they could possibly want to allow or prohibit students from making use of AI as a learning and/or an assessment tool,” Harding said. “Some … may well see rewards to entirely integrating AI into the mastering and evaluation process some may perhaps want to allow learners to use it as a mastering device but require college students to plainly make get the job done of equal tutorial benefit devoid of the use of AI applications some may well want to be much a lot more restrictive. Proper now, school are inspired to be obvious about what the guidelines of engagement are for the classroom. To be apparent about their strategy to learners, [and] their rationale for that tactic. … [And] college students may well also be asked to take part in a dialogue to refine that technique.”

Harding’s home is now a rental in Halifax. She has a associate and a few developed kids. None of her young children, them being “predominantly resourceful types,” have absent into legislation, she explained.

All through her off hrs, Harding stays energetic — she operates, cross-place skis, gardens and, until finally her transfer again to Canada, saved bees.

The beekeeping began as a lockdown pastime.

“I started off all through the pandemic,” said Harding, who utilizes a protective go well with and facial area protect. “I designed a hive, obtained my initial colony … and went and started that procedure. … It is difficult. It’s rough to preserve those people minimal bees alive in the course of the wintertime. But, for me, I loved the emphasis of creating the hive and mastering anything solely new.”

Thanks to now getting in a condo device, with only a balcony, beekeeping is on hold right until Harding can obtain a location to preserve a hive. She identified as beekeeping a enjoyable, “zen-like” action.

“You have to be quite serene all around bees — that’s a pretty good issue.”  

If you have any information and facts, story strategies or news guidelines for Legislation360 Canada, be sure to call Terry Davidson at [email protected] or 905-415-5899.

Sherri Crump

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