MARGARET M. HARDING
Bond, Schoeneck & King Distinguished Professor
Professor of Law
Reaccreditation Self Study Offers Fresh Perspective
Professor Margaret M. Harding already has a full schedule teaching civil procedure, alternative dispute resolution and securities regulation, but her dedication to the College of Law convinced her to make time for a project she knows is vital to the institution’s continued success.
For more than a year, Harding has been immersed in the College of Law’s re-accreditation process facilitated by the American Bar Association. Accredited since 1923, the College of Law must go through a rigorous reaccreditation every seven years. Harding, along with Dean Hannah R. Arterian, signed on as co-chair of a committee charged with gathering information on the College of Law and developing a self-study document for the upcoming ABA site visit this fall.
A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Harding joined the faculty at the College of Law in 1994 after working in private practice in New York City specializing in corporate and commercial litigation. Today, she enjoys teaching and the excitement of leading first year students through the process of legal analysis. “I like the fresh perspective first year students bring,” she said. “It gives me a different way of looking at the law.”
Harding found the same fresh perspective in her work on the reaccreditation process. “It has helped me see the College of Law in a whole new way,” she said of the intensive research that went into the self-study. “It has given me a unique opportunity to find out exactly what everyone does here and see the College in a way you don’t often have the chance to see as a faculty member.”
A critical piece in the information gathering process was a series of focus groups with various audiences, including students, faculty and alumni. “The alumni group, made up of members of our board of advisors, had a remarkable knowledge of the College of Law and gave us invaluable input into this process,” said Harding. “As those who are top in their profession with a wide range of experiences, they took a very pragmatic approach and brought us to an understanding of what our students need to be successful professionals.”
As Harding prepares for the ABA site visit, she is confident that the information the committee has gathered during the self-study will help the College of Law successfully achieve reaccreditation. While she admits both strengths and challenges were uncovered during the process, the experience has made her even more proud to be a part of the faculty.
“The relationship between the College of Law and the University has undergone an important transformation and those connections have truly benefitted our students by allowing for a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities.”
—Professor Margaret Harding
“We’ve noted so many positives,” said Harding of the process. “Our faculty has grown and is very impressive, and we have a strong student body. The relationship between the College of Law and the University has undergone an important transformation and those connections have truly benefitted our students by allowing for a variety of interdisciplinary opportunities.”
As for the challenges, the College of Law is eager to address them. “One of our biggest challenges, of course, is keeping the curriculum relevant in the face of a constantly changing legal environment,” she said. “As a faculty, we are charged with the task of making sure our students leave here with the knowledge and skills needed to provide effective legal representation to various kinds of clients.”
While the research and compilation has finally wound down, the reaccreditation process is still in full swing as the College of Law awaits the results of countless hours of hard work.
“I’m so pleased to be involved in this process, and I commend the hard work of the entire administrative staff and the self-study committee – and everyone who has contributed to the reaccreditation,” Harding said. “It’s given me the opportunity to work with people who truly care about the College of Law and are willing to share their perspectives and put in the time and effort necessary to make sure the we continue to succeed.”
by Caroline Reff