Bar association members teaching law class at Wayland, donating pay to scholarship fund

The Business Law course at Wayland Baptist University has a new format this fall, and students will be benefiting in more ways than one.

For one, instructors for the course are members of the Hale County Bar Association, who are taking turns teaching class lessons and sharing their legal expertise. For another, the association members are taking the pay they receive from the university and funneling it into a scholarship fund for business students.

Cari Hamilton, an assistant professor in the Division of Business and wife of local attorney Brent Hamilton, approached the Bar Association members about serving the university under the proposed arrangement. With the responsibilities divided among the group, the association agreed to both the scheduling and the donation.

"Since no one would be taking the class by themselves, Cari asked about the possibility of donating the pay into a scholarship," said Jim Tirey, president of the Hale County Bar Association. "This way, we can donate our time and help Wayland as well."

Tirey said the attorneys looked over copies of a syllabus Hamilton compiled with help from business division chair Dr. Otto B. Schacht and signed up for topics they had either much interest or experience in. Others from the group filled in the gaps in order to cover each of the semester's class times.

"We've enjoyed it, and we're able to bring our professional experiences into the classroom and give them illustrations from real life. Sometimes that helps explain better than an explanation in the book," Tirey said.

Hamilton feels the arrangement is good for students, for much the same reason.

"I thought students might learn a little more if the subject matter was taught by someone skilled in that area," she said, adding, "Plus, it was easier for the attorneys to work it into their schedules since they were rotating through the semester."

Schacht is serving as the teacher on record for the course, which meets twice weekly at 4:30 p.m. He is also coordinating exams for the class, and Hamilton supplied association members with their chapter information from the textbook in order for them to prepare their lessons.

According to Tirey, about a dozen association members are involved in the partnership.