The article was featured in a special supplement titled Transforming the Future of Public Health Law Education through a Faculty Fellowship Program.
Davis’ contribution, titled Educating the New Public Health Law Professional, explores her experience designing and implementing the asynchronous online curriculum that complements students’ externships in public health law.
Attention to the well-being of future healing/service professionals and the role of values in the legal profession was core to the course.
“It is vital for law faculty to talk about institutional power, and to teach that institutions are changeable, and that lawyers should be leaders and change agents. We must teach that emotional intelligence is as important as cognitive intelligence in the practice of law and that, with effort, all intelligence can be enhanced,” Davis wrote. “As we help our students develop their professional identities, we have an ethical obligation to teach that values always influence work, and that to pretend otherwise is detrimental to clients and oneself.”
Kory Trott, a student who participated in the pilot version of the class, learned skills that helped him excel as a summer intern for Public Health Madison & Dane County’s Policy, Planning and Evaluation Division.
“This course prepared me to navigate organizations and work within governmental structures, which were things that I was able to apply this summer,” Trott explained. “Understanding the role of government is an important factor in understanding what laws we can propose and why we’d want to do that.”
As a young professional entering the workforce, Trott’s advanced understanding of and appreciation for policy change is only one of the many positive outcomes of Davis’ class. Professor Davis found a new appreciation for technology and its ability to bring people—and learning—together.
“This experience has confirmed the importance of having communities of practice: colleagues with whom I engage in a process of collective learning,” Davis said. “This fellowship group is one such community and we can continue to foster it using online tools.”