My latest Las Vegas Business Press column is out. It’s about how the gaming law program at UNLV’s Boyd School of law is bucking a national trend and delivering a solid education in the practice of gaming law to its students:
A recent New York Times article decried the current state of legal education, describing an “aversion to the practical” that privileged professors’ theoretical scholarship over teaching the basics of practicing law in the real world. Though there may be merit to that argument, the Gaming Studies Law Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ William S. Boyd School of Law proves that practical education is alive and well in Las Vegas.
The original NY Times article was thought-provoking. There’s certainly a trend in academia to focus on the theoretical over the practical, the abstract over the concrete. That’s all well and good when you’re publishing in specialist journals, but if you’re educating students for the real world you really need to teach them things they’ll actually use. I’m not saying that college or grad/professional school should be the equivalent of a vocational education, but if you’re teaching a course in something that has real-world applications, you shouldn’t shy away from them.
One of the goals of my casino history class is to get students to integrate a solid knowledge of the past of casinos into their mindset. That way, when they’re out in the workforce, they have context for what they’re seeing.
It’s also proof that you can’t reduce everything to a headline-sized argument. While there might be the theoretical drift that the article describes in many programs, clearly there are others that continue to fulfill their educational mission.