Professor wins Cohn Prize in Law and Public Policy Scholarship

David Tarrien

David Tarrien, WMU-Cooley Law School Professor

The Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters has awarded WMU-Cooley Law School Professor David Tarrien with the Cohn Prize in Law and Public Policy Scholarship. Tarrien received the honor for his paper, "The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School IEP Project: Engaging Students and Empowering Families."

Tarrien’s paper explains how one program, the Individualized Education Plan Project at WMU-Cooley Law School, achieves specific goals in special education services for children, while helping law students develop a sense of responsibility to the community they are a part of by serving some of its most at-risk members.

“It’s an honor to have been chosen to receive the Cohn Prize while at the same time raising awareness for needed changes to special education services locally, regionally and nationally,” said Tarrien. “Determining appropriate special education service for children is complex. The arcane nature of the statutes and rules surrounding IEPs often seem at odds with a caregiver’s eagerness to ensure academic success for a beloved child.”

At WMU-Cooley, Tarrien teaches Introduction to Law, Advanced Writing, Research and Writing, Federal Disability Law, Law of Cyberspace, Education Law, and Special Education Law. He has been a member of the boards of directors for both the Dyslexia Center of West Michigan and Arts in Motion. He is the founder and current board president of Friends of Dyslexia Education for West Michigan Children, which raises funds for area reading programs. Tarrien also served as a volunteer researcher for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition in East Lansing.

“Professor Tarrien’s dedication in area of special education is at the heart of legal scholarship and the reason the Cohn Prize is bestowed,” said WMU-Cooley Associate Dean Nelson Miller. “WMU-Cooley has always placed an emphasis on practical legal education and through Professor Tarrien’s efforts law students are being exposed to the ideals of service to community.”

The Cohn Prize is awarded in recognition of Judge Avern L. Cohn for his patronage to the academy and legal scholarship. This is the second time a WMU-Cooley professor has been awarded the Cohn Prize; Norman Otto Stockmeyer was honored in 2012 for his paper, “The Tortuous History of the Mutual-Mistake Doctrine in Michigan Contract Law.”

The academy is a regional interdisciplinary professional organization that facilitates scholarly exchange through annual meetings and a quarterly journal of outstanding papers in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.


About Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School: Western Michigan University and Thomas M. Cooley Law School affiliated in 2014, combining the status of a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The law school has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and the law school continue to operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.



Professor wins Cohn Prize in Law and Public Policy Scholarship

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