UNC Law's Inaugural "Open Mic: Speak Your Research" Event

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On November 5, 2019, the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library hosted the law school’s inaugural Open Mic: Speak Your Research event as part of UNC’s Research Week. The Office of Undergraduate Research describes Research Week as “an annual campus event designed to improve awareness of what is means to be a research university, align the University’s missions of producing world-class research and providing a world-class undergraduate education, and promote opportunities for students to discover and engage in research and scholarship.” Departments across the university host various activities to discuss and promote the scholarship in which students and faculty are engaged.

Carissa Hessick, Anne Shea Ransdell and William Garland "Buck" Ransdell, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, organized the open mic to give law faculty, staff, and students a chance to talk about their areas of research, current projects, and the impact that pursuing research has had on their lives. Eight faculty members, three students, two librarians, and Dean Brinkley spoke about a wide variety of research projects and topics.


Several threads emerged as faculty and students got up to the mic. Professors spoke about researching in areas where law meets implementation, which spanned topics from prosecutorial powers to the IRS’s administration of tax laws to studies of drug arrests. Questions of how our legal systems hold governmental actors accountable for their choices proved to be fertile areas for academic research at Carolina Law.

Many professors spoke about the impact that their research has had not only on their lives, but also on the legal or academic community more broadly. Joe Kennedy, Martha Brandis Term Professor of Law, recently had his study of drug arrests written up in the New York Times, while Barbara Fedders, Assistant Professor of Law, has been quoted by the Washington Post and ProPublica on charter school issues. There is some hope by the faculty that media coverage of their legal research might yield new laws, regulations, or policy changes in their fields.

Speakers explained the origins of various projects; for some, it was projects from law school, while others found inspiration in questions that arose early in their careers. Many professors addressed remarks directly to students, encouraging them to think about their research as ongoing projects that can be continued after law school.

The librarians discussed the importance of holding a research event in the law library. The library works to support all of the scholarly pursuits of the UNC law faculty, staff, and students, as well as contributing legal research expertise to members of the entire UNC research community.

Overall, Carolina Law’s inaugural research open mic for University Research Week was a great success. It provided an opportunity for students to better understand the projects of faculty, while giving the entire law school community a chance to appreciate the wide variety of vital projects that our faculty, staff, and students undertake on a daily basis.
Posted by Ellie Campbell on Fri. November 8, 2019 11:00 AM
Categories: Uncategorized


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