Notre Dame Professor inspires School of Law for the new academic year

Professor Barry Cushman, John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law at The University of Notre Dame visited the School of Law ahead of the new academic year.

21 February 2014

Academics at The University of Notre Dame Australia's School of Law have hit the ground running in the new academic year after an inspiring visit and discussion with Professor Barry Cushman from The University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Reflecting the close ties between the two Catholic universities, and following visits from other international Professors in previous years, Law staff at both the Fremantle and Sydney campuses had the privilege networking with the distinguished US legal academic to further develop research potential within the School.

Professor Cushman, John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law, spoke as part of the School of Law annual staff development day where he discussed similarities and contrasts between the two universities and schools of law, drawing particular focus to methods of teaching law within the provision of the Catholic faith.

"Teaching is job one; it's why we are here," Professor Cushman said.

"Our focus should be on the classroom and teaching for the profession. However we also need to provide students with the opportunity and skills to question legal theory and phenomenon."

"Ethics isn't contained to a particular course or class but taught throughout the degree. Teachers need to take the opportunity to raise ethical questions in other classes as well because you can encounter ethical challenges when practicing in any area of law. All topics are on the table and they need to be in order for students to be prepared for practice."

Dean of the School of Law in Fremantle, Professor Doug Hodgson, feels the visit was highly beneficial for all staff present but particularly early career researchers.

"This is an example of the School of Law's commitment to assisting our early career researchers in realising their academic potential and, more so, further enhancing the knowledge of our excellent teaching staff which can be passed on to our students," Professor Hodgson said.

Professor Michael Quinlan, Dean of the School of Law in Sydney, said those at the development day were intrigued by differences in pedagogy and similarities in objectives.

"It is always beneficial to hear what teaching methods your colleagues are using and what they find works best in training the lawyers of tomorrow as it may inspire more effective methods for your own classroom," Professor Quinlan said.

"It's motivating to know that our colleagues at Notre Dame's foundation partner university share our goal of providing a high quality, ethical and practical legal education, within the Catholic tradition – a key part of the core curriculum and electives in canon law here at Notre Dame."

The School of Law has previously been visited by Professor Gerard Bradley from The University of Notre Dame, and Professor John Finnis from the University of Oxford. The international connects of the School of Law allow students of The University of Notre Dame study abroad in London with the London Law Centre of the University of Notre Dame. More information can be found at:

Hannah Guilfoyle: Tel (02) 8204 4141;