Introduction to Legal Issues for Academic Leaders

Introduction to Legal Issues for Academic Leaders


While many educators who step into leadership roles are likely familiar with Title IX, ADA policies, and intellectual property laws, overseeing legal issues on the departmental or campus-wide level is quite different from understanding them in the context of the teaching classroom.

As the consequences of noncompliance heighten, academic leaders face increased pressure to know the ins and outs of key legal issues and leverage a variety of measures that mitigate the risk of costly and time-consuming litigation and legal disputes.

Make sure you’re doing what you can to avoid these conflicts!

Introduction to Legal Issues for Academic Leaders is a three-part online course with a weekly live video chat with the instructor delivering expert programming on important legal issues. The course offers three weeks of online lectures, and real-time chat with the instructor and course participants.

Register today to receive three weeks of custom, wide-ranging content delivered by Scott D. Schneider, JD, a higher education law specialist. This is a can’t-miss opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of the legal concerns facing departments and institutions through both independent and in-person learning.


  • At the start of the course, participants gain access to all course content; it’s recommended to follow the pacing of the individual parts
  • Upon completion of the online units, participants will take a quiz to gauge progress and also participate in an online discussion with other course participants and the instructor


  • Recorded audio lectures
  • Quiz following each part
  • Supplemental materials
  • Live online discussions with expert facilitator and course participants


The course covers 10 topics in 6.5 hours of recorded audio lecture. Each part of study includes:

  • 30-minute recorded lecture
  • Quiz
  • Transcript and presentation slides
  • Live online discussion with scheduled instructor office hours

The course curriculum is as follows:

Part 1: Sunday, October 28–Saturday, November 3 (3 Topics, 2 hours 20 minutes)

Topics include:

  • A Brief Discussion of the History of Higher Education Law Learn the general history of the law as applied to academic institutions; why courts were reluctant to involve themselves in the decision-making of universities, especially when that came to institutional decisions about hiring, tenure, and student enrollment; and what's changed in modern times.
  • Negligent Hiring and Legal Claims in the Hiring Process: The Appointment Letter Understand the three laws crucial to anyone involved in the academic hiring process: Title VII, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act which prohibits discrimination against people who are 40 or older; and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects individuals who are actually disabled, have a history of being disabled, and/or are regarded as disabled.
  • Title VII and the ADEA This module provides more detail about Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act beyond their relevance to hiring.

Part 2: Live Discussion #1: Tuesday, October 30, 7:30-9:30 pm - Discuss the principles from Part 1 and apply those to various hypotheticals.

Part 3: Sunday, November 4–Saturday, November 10 (3 Topics, 1 hour 55 minutes)

Topics include:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act & Family Medical Leave Act Overview Join your instructor in a lively overview of two of his favorite laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act. Learn the foundations of each law to help you identify issues on your campus and understand the complexities that exist within these laws depending on the circumstances.
  • Common Legal Issues in the Tenure Review and Revocation Process This module focuses on the common legal issues in the tenure review and revocation process. It brings together information already introduced but now emphases the context of denying or revoking tenure.
  • Affirmative Action and Diversity Learn about affirmative action and diversity in the higher education context, including a review of Title VI, which is a prohibition of the use of race, color, and national origin in any program which receives federal financial assistance; Section 1981, which prohibits discrimination on the basis for race in terms of contracting; Title VII, a broad prohibition from discrimination in employment on the basis or race and other protected categories; and the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits the use of race in discriminating by state actors.

Part 4: Live Discussion #2: Tuesday, November 6, 7:30-9:30 pm - Discuss the principles from Part 3 and apply those to various hypotheticals.

Part 5: Sunday, November 11–Saturday, November 17 (4 Topics, 2 hours 10 minutes)

Topics include:

  • Academic Freedom and Other Constitutional Issues Unique to Higher Education This module is about constitutional issues unique to higher education and specifically, public universities. It includes a discussion of academic freedom as it relates faculty, students, and outside speakers invited to campus.
  • The Basics of Intellectual Property Introduction to the basics of intellectual property law in context of higher education, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets.
  • An Introduction to Student Affairs Law This discussion of FERPA covers three main areas: the right for students to control disclosure of their education records and the institution's responsibility to protect the privacy of education records; the right for students to inspect and review their own education records; and the right for students to seek amendment of their education records.
  • Title IX This module gives a more in-depth discussion of Title IX and the emphasis in compliance to this law that universities have faced over the last 10 years.

Part 6: Live Discussion #3: Tuesday, November 13, 7:30-9:30 pm - Discuss the principles from Part 5 and apply those to various hypotheticals.


Newly-appointed deans and department chairs, human resource professionals, and faculty developers slated with legal training will benefit from registering for this course. Experienced academic leaders who are looking for further guidance on key legal issues in higher education will also benefit.



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