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The Mass Media

Professor Profile: Elizabeth Bussiere

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Negar Mortazavi
Helping students get into law school, Elizabeth Bussiere

Associate Professor Elizabeth Bussiere earned her PhD in Political Science from Brandeis University with a specialization in law and the courts. Originally from Westfield, New Jersey and Scarsdale, New York (Both about 40 minutes outside NYC) Bussiere has made her home here at UMB since 1988.

For the last seventeen years Bussiere has taught at UMass Boston, using her expertise inside the classroom to educate students, as well as outside it by helping to prepare UMB students for law and graduate school. Each semester, in early to mid-April, Dr. Bussiere holds an information session in which UMB alumni, who have gone on to law or graduate school, return to campus to offer advice to students who hope to follow that same path. She also invites alumni who have already earned their graduate degrees in the hopes that they might help to provide students with career perspective.

“The first and foremost goal,” says Bussiere, “is for them to provide…some insight into the admissions process as well as how to best prepare themselves for the academic rigor of the next step.”Preparation for the academic rigor of law school is something that Bussiere stresses.

“Law schools learn about schools, and they learn about courses. They come to understand what courses are regarded as easy. I think that students do a disservice when they are so interested in protecting their grade point average that they steer clear of rigorous courses,” she says.

As a result, Professor Bussiere feels that registering for a more challenging course load while earning an undergraduate degree can help students to develop the kind of skills that they’ll need in law school.She continues that involvement in community service, internships, and scholarships are also aid in both the admissions process and the intense course load of graduate level education.

“In the context of any scholarships, students shouldn’t screen themselves out,” says Bussiere. She adds that winning any kind of award or scholarship is very attractive to law schools.

Bussiere, an avid runner and reader, was herself first attracted to law and the courts because of, “The use of reasoned argument to justify decisions. It seemed to me that there is a much greater likelihood of reasoned argument and resort to principal [in the courts] than political expedience.”Professor Bussiere takes pride in teaching at UMB alongside such an impressive faculty. “Many of the faculty here have been to the best schools in the nation. They are very smart and very committed to teaching the student body that makes UMass Boston so unique.”

Political Science department chair James Ward returns that admiration. “Elizabeth does so much for students in our department with her pre-law advising…She really keeps up with where people have gone,” he says.Bussiere, values the wide age range and diversity of UMass Boston that makes the university a “vibrant place to teach.” She is enthusiastic about helping students to bridge the gap between the world’s undergraduate and graduate education and is devoted to maintaining relationships with students both during and after their tenure at UMass Boston.