Faculty Conducts PROLoG Workshops in Tbilisi

Photograph: Workshop in GeorgiaThree Washburn Law professors traveled to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, in December 2015 to continue work on the Promoting Rule of Law in Georgia (PROLoG) project. Washburn Law first received a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for the PROLoG project in 2011 and was awarded another grant in September 2015. Funding for the project is through a subaward from East West Management Institute (EWMI) as part of the cooperative agreement with USAID. 

On Dec. 2, 2015, Professors Aїda Alaka, Rory Bahadur, and Tonya Kowalski arrived in Tbilisi. They met with Free University of Tbilisi (FUT) colleagues at the EWMI-PROLoG offices to address upcoming workshop plans and to set a timeline for a textbook project. The EWMI and FUT teams agreed that future workshops should be held in Batumi, Adjara, Georgia and in regions where access to modern teaching methods is limited.

During their stay, Washburn Law’s professors conducted two workshops with six to eight individuals in Tbilisi at Free University and two workshops with 13 people in Kutaisi at Akaki Tsereteli State University. All of the participants were either part-time or full-time faculty. The part-time faculty were also practicing attorneys.

“We were pleased with the turnout and participation in Kutaisi, where we established new connections,” said Alaka. “Our Kutaisi hosts have invited future collaborations and we hope to present some of our core material to other new audiences in previously underserved markets, such as Batumi.”

Workshop highlights: 

  • Tbilisi Workshop I: Professor Bahadur, with the participation of FUT professor, David Kapanadze, led a workshop on the purposes, components, and structure of case briefing, and led the participants in exercises designed to emphasize goal-oriented case briefing.
  • Tbilisi Workshop II: Professors Alaka and Kowalski built on the concepts addressed in the first workshop in their presentation on advanced case law literacy. The exercises were designed to emphasize analogical legal reasoning and synthesizing cases to determine legal rules.
  • Kutaisi Workshop I: Professor Bahadur taught and modeled active learning pedagogy.  The theory and benefits of multimodal teaching techniques were covered and participants had the opportunity to engage in active learning activities related to case briefing and comprehension.
  • Kutaisi Workshop II: Professors Alaka and Kowalski, with the participation of FUT professor David Zedelasvili, led a discussion on scholarly legal writing.  The workshop highlighted the differences and similarities between scholarly and practice-oriented writing, common issues in scope and focus, and providing feedback to peers and students on drafts of scholarly articles. 

“It is always humbling to be able to work alongside such dedicated and brilliant lawyers who juggle the practice of law with teaching and nation building in a remarkably diverse country like Georgia,” said Bahadur.

On the final day of their trip, Professors Alaka, Bahadur, and Kowalski met with some of the individuals who will be writing a Georgian-language legal writing and analysis textbook. This project will be a collaboration between Georgian and Washburn Law professors who teach legal writing and analysis and are experts on pedagogical best practices. 

More information about this project.