Over the course of 20 years, UNLV’s Paralegal Certificate program evolved from a startup six-weekend course into a nationally-recognized curriculum and online support system utilized by prominent universities around the country. At the June paralegal graduation celebration, program founder Dan Barber was recognized by the Division of Educational Outreach for 20 years of vision and leadership for this thriving program.
Ann Tate, Emeritus Program Coordinator, worked with Dan during the earlier years of the program and outlined his achievements during the ceremony. According to Tate, the key to the program’s success has been Dan’s ability to continue evolving the coursework and delivery methods based on ongoing feedback from the legal community, especially feedback from paralegals themselves.
When UNLV first offered a paralegal certificate in 1993, Dan flew to Las Vegas to teach every other weekend from Colorado where he worked as a paralegal. Weekend-only courses led to evening classes aimed at students working full time jobs. As demand increased, daytime classes were added. Dan saw early on how the Internet could be used for student support; he initially utilized external servers to host paralegal content because the university did not have resources internally. Now, paralegal students have the option to take their entire coursework online with a dedicated instructor assigned to facilitate their progress. Leading universities including Duke, Rice, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, and University of Miami utilize his curriculum and online content in their own programs; some even offer the program as an upper level undergraduate course.
Dan’s work with UNLV Continuing Education is not limited to the paralegal program these days. Dan is also the driving force behind Continuing Education’s Medical Assistant Certificate and the Legal Secretary Certificate programs. Thanks to Dan’s vision and leadership, students in these fields also have opportunities to pursue high-quality, skill-based training in preparation for new careers.
After 20 years, Barber’s passion for the paralegal program is still strong. While he is no longer the primary instructor, he guest teaches certain sessions and at the graduation it was clear he had strong connections with the students. According to Tate, “For Dan, it has always been about his commitment to the students. This is by far the program that makes a difference in people’s lives.” Current certificate program coordinator Norm Kunselman adds, “Dan is a true professional who has a passion for providing lifelong learning opportunities for adults. He gets immense satisfaction from learning about the successes of students once they complete the Paralegal Certificate program.”
On behalf of Continuing Education and the many students whose lives he has helped transformed over 20 years, we extend our thanks and congratulations to Dan Barber for a job well done.