A message of welcome from Professor Daniel Jutras, Interim Dean of Law

Professor Daniel Jutras, Interim Dean of Law

Twenty-five years ago, when I first joined the Faculty as a young professor, Dean Roderick Macdonald generously provided me with a personal computer, all shiny and new. I remember it well – it was an Olivetti M24. Back then, there were only two such personal computers on the law campus, and I felt both privileged and “branché”. I recently saw an Olivetti M24 on display as an artifact in a museum in Ottawa, and instantly felt a bit “dépassé”.

In another sign of the times, the launch of this online version of inFocus marks a turning point in our efforts to stay in touch with you, the many friends and alumni of the Faculty of Law at McGill University. The availability of electronic resources forces us to re-think the ways in which we craft our message to meet your expectations. Without a doubt, new technologies will redefine the shape of your interaction with the Faculty, its professors and its students.

Changes inherent to the digital age are also affecting the classroom. Over a very short period of time, we went from blackboards, flipcharts and clunky overhead projectors, all the way to smart classrooms, active learning, immediate response clickers and writable walls. Most students now take notes on laptop computers, and have ready access to internet resources through wi-fi. Teaching law in this environment rests on creativity, innovation and open collaboration with students.

Cette créativité et cet esprit innovateur caractérisent l’enseignement du droit à McGill depuis des décennies. Depuis la naissance du Programme National il y a plus de quarante ans jusqu’à l’intégration des cultures et traditions juridiques dans le programme novateur créé il y a dix ans, la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill est demeurée le chef de file dans la conception d’une formation juridique véritablement adaptée au monde contemporain. Ce désir de réinventer l’enseignement du droit se manifeste désormais non seulement dans la conception des programmes, mais aussi dans un incontestable renouveau pédagogique à la Faculté. Depuis plusieurs mois déjà, les professeurs de droit de McGill se rassemblent au sein d’ateliers de réflexion sur l’usage des nouvelles technologies en salle de cours, sur la coordination entre l’apprentissage et une pluralité de modes d’évaluation, et sur les tout derniers développements en matière d’enseignement aux adultes. La Faculté collabore étroitement avec le Centre d’enseignement supérieur de McGill (Teaching and Learning Services) dans cet effort. La volonté des professeurs de faire de chaque heure de cours une aventure est désormais palpable.

Over the next months and years, the Faculty of Law will seek to match its cutting-edge comparative program with top-level delivery of its unique brand of legal education, offering students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels the very best classroom experience of active learning and critical thinking. In this commitment to first-class pedagogy we affirm, once again, McGill’s distinctive character among the pre-eminent law faculties of the world.

―By Professor Daniel Jutras, Dean of Law