Debra Austin, JD, PhD

professor of the practice
university of Denver Sturm College of LaW
FACULTY PAGE

Education

Ph.D. University of Denver, 2004. Education.

J.D. University of San Francisco, 1989. Law.

B.M.E. University of Colorado, Boulder, 1982. Music Education.

Professional Experience

2016-present Professor of the Practice, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver


2008-2016 Associate Professor of the Practice, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

2005-2008 Adjunct Professor, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

2002-2011 Adjunct Professor, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

1998-2004 Lecturer at Law, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

1997-2008 Library Instruction Coordinator, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

1992-1997 Westlaw Account Executive, West Publishing Corporation, Denver, Colorado

1990-1992 CD-ROM Sales Specialist, West Publishing Corporation, Denver, Colorado

1989-1990 Law Clerk, Bankruptcy Department, Wendel, Rosen, Black, Dean & Levitan, Oakland, California

1985-1989 Paralegal, Litigation Department, Wendel, Rosen, Black, Dean & Levitan, Oakland, California

1982-1985 Teacher of Vocal Music, Social Studies, and Language Arts, North Arvada Junior High School, Arvada, Colorado

Courses

Advanced Legal Research

Lawyering Process

Articles


Austin, D. (2017). Positive Legal Education: Flourishing Law Students and Thriving Law Schools 77 Md. L. Rev. (forthcoming).

Austin, D. (2016). Food for Thought: The Neuroscience of Nutrition to Fuel Cognitive Performance Or. L. Rev. (forthcoming). 


Austin, D. (2016). Emotion regulation for lawyers: A mind is a challenging thing to tame (with Rob Durr, Northwestern University), 16 Wyo. L. Rev. 387 (2016).

Austin, D. (2015). Got stress? You may be harming your brain, The Coffee House 6, a Publication of the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association, Spring 2015.

Austin, D. (2015). Drink like a lawyer: the neuroscience of substance use and its impact on cognitive wellness, 15 NEV. L.J. 826 (2015).

Austin, D. (2013). Killing them softly: Neuroscience reveals how brain cells die from law school stress and how neural self-hacking can optimize cognitive performance, 59 LOY. L. REV. 791 (2013).

Austin, D. (2003). Educating the lawyers of tomorrow using e-curriculum. Jurist Lessons from the Web.

Book Forward

Austin, D. (2014). Forward: Law, Enlightenment, and Other States of Mind.

Refereed Conference Publications

Al-Bow, M., Austin, D., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008). Using greenfoot and games to teach rising 9th and 10th grade novice programmers”, to appear Proc. of ACM SIGRAPH SANDBOX 2008, August, 2008.

Blog Posts


Substance Misuse in the Legal Profession at the Law School Wellness Project at Stanford Law School

Dissertation

Austin, D. (2004). New literacies: Are Colorado teacher education programs preparing pre-service teachers to use technology in their learning environments?

Invited Presentations

Austin, D. (2017). Mindfulness and Lawyering: Working on your Inner Game.  Presentation to Rhone Brackett Inn of Court.  Denver, CO

Austin, D. (2017). Optimize Cognitive Fitness: The Connection Between Lawyer Wellbeing and Performance.  Keynote presentation to the American Bankruptcy Institute 22nd Annual Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference.  Denver, CO.    


Austin, D. (2016). Maximize Competence: Enhancing the Attorney Mind and Brain.  Presentation to the Ben S. Wendelken Inn of Court. Colorado Springs, CO. 


Austin, D. (2016). The Intersection of Wellbeing and Performance: Using Neuroscience Research to Optimize Law Student Personal and Professional Development. Presentation at the National Institute for Teaching Ethics and Professionalism Fall Workshop. Mercer University School of Law, Macon, GA. 


Austin, D. (2016).  Job Performance: Steps for Optimizing Cognitive Performance & Effectiveness.  Presentation to the Tenth Circuit Bench & Bar Conference.  Colorado Springs, CO.


Austin, D. (2016). Judicial wellness.  Presentation to the 2016 Kansas Judicial Conference.  Wichita, KS.


Austin, D. (2016). Hacking the law student brain. Presentation to Legal Ethics and Professionalism: Business Law Issues and Law & Economics classes. University of Colorado School of Law. Boulder, CO.

Austin, D. (2015). Brain power: the neuroscience of cognition, stress, self-medication, and brain health. Presentation at the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association Convention. Cody, WY.

Austin, D. (2015). The law student brain: Cognition, stress, self-medication, and brain health. Presentation to Legal Ethics and Professionalism: Business Law Issues and Law & Economics classes. University of Colorado School of Law. Boulder, CO.

Austin, D. (2014). Cognitive wellness: The impact of stress on the brain, ways to mitigate it, and development of individual cognitive wellness plans. Presentation to the Association of Reporters of Judicial Decisions Annual Conference, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2014). Judicial job performance: Steps for maximizing cognitive function & effectiveness. Presentation to the Kansas Judicial Conference. Topeka, KS.

Austin, D. (2013). The impact of military stress on the learning environment. Presentation to faculty and cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Colorado Springs, CO.

Austin, D. (2013). Use neural self-hacking to develop a plan for cognitive wellness. Presentation for the Rhone Brackett Inn of Court. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2013). Self-directed neuroplasticity: The neuroscience of cognitive wellness. Presentation for the Kansas Judicial Center. Topeka, KS.

Austin, D. (2013). Neural self-hacking: The neuroscience of cognition and brain health. Presentation at the Implications of Tiger Parenting for Legal Education Conference. Boulder, CO.

Austin, D. (2011). Persuasive writing techniques. Presentation for the Colorado Association of County Attorneys. Keystone, CO.

Austin, D. and Leutengger, S.T. (2009). Pedagogy of innovation. Panelist on Pedagogy of Innovation prior to Bridges to the Future Speaker Stephen Johnson. Morgridge College of Eduction. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2008). Education policy and its impact on innovation in pedagogy. Panelist on Law and Public Education Forum. Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2007). 21st century pedagogy: Innovate in your practice. Keynote Speech to District Faculty to open 2007-2008 school year. Turner School District. Beloit, WI.

Austin, D. (2007). Connecting with digital kids. Presentation at Brain Basics Convention 2007, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2005). Internet to enhance curriculum development and delivery of k-12 art education. Presentation to Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado in Summit County, Frisco, CO.

Austin, D. (2003). The lawyer's approach to legal research. Presentation to Loislaw National Sales Staff, Loislaw 2003 National Sales Meeting, Dallas, TX.

Austin, D. (2003). Legal research and the integration of internet resources. Presentation to the National Conference of State Legislatures at their Legal Services Annual Professional Development Meeting, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2002). Legal research primer. Presentation to Loislaw Regional Sales Staff, 2002 Loislaw Western Regional Meeting, Dallas, TX.

Conference Presentations

Austin, D. (2017). Blurred lines and policy of truth: Transforming lawyer leadership education, Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Phoenix, AZ. 


Austin, D. (2016). Teaching (law) students to optimize cognition via neuroscience and positive psychology, with Peter Huang, CU Law, International Positive Education Network’s Festival of Positive Education, Dallas, TX.


Austin, D. (2016). Craving comfort food and cocktails? The neuroscience of nutrition for optimal brain health and agile aging, Legal Writing Institute Conference, Portland, OR.


Austin, D. (2016). Reinvigorate your brain with neuroscience-inspired eating.  Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Austin, D. (2016). Brain-boosting nutrition.  Southeastern Legal Writing Conference, University of Miami, Miami, FL.

Austin, D. (2015). Panelist, Legal writing professors as scholars (with David Thomson and Ken Chestek), at Taking It to the Next Level: Your Course, Your Program, Your Career, Legal Writing Institute One-Day Workshop, Sturm College of Law, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2015). Zen and the artistry of the emotionally regulated advocate, Psychology of Persuasion Conference, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, with Rob Durr, PhD, Northwestern University School of Law.

Austin, D. (2015). Don’t forget the brain: Using neuroscience developments to humanize legal education. Presentation to the Association of Legal Writing Directors Conference. Univesity of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Memphis, TN.

Austin, D. (2015). Comfort food and cocktails: Understanding the power of substances on our brain. Presentation to the University of Denver Women's Conference. University of Denver. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2015). Wellness for 1Ls: The neuroscience of happy hour & alternatives to self-medication. Presentation to the Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference. University of New Mexico School of Law. Albuquerque, NM.

Austin, D. (2014). The neuroscience of optimizing lawyer cognitive fitness. Presentation to the Mountain West Clinical Conference. University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. and Rosen Felder, C. (2014). This is your brain on stress: Help your students improve resilience & maximize cognition. Presentation to the Legal Writing Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

Austin, D. (2014). Neural self-hacking and the neuroscience of cognitive wellness. Presentation to the Psychology and Lawyering: Coalescing the Field Conference, University of Nevada Las Vegas. Las Vegas, NV.

Austin, D. (2014). Enhance your cognitive & leadership superpowers with neural self-hacking. Presentation to the University of Denver Women's Conference. University of Denver. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2013). Stress and cognition: The neuroscience behind stress, memory & learning. Presentation to Central States Legal Writing Conference. University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS.

Austin, D. (2013). Stress and cognition: The neuroscience behind stress, memory & thinking. Presentation to Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, University of Colorado. Boulder, CO.

Austin, D. (2012). Neurobiology, the hidden curriculum in legal education, and implications for enhancing practical skill & professional identity development pedagogy. Poster Presentation to Legal Writing Institute Conference, Palm Desert, CA.

Austin, D., and Leutenegger, S.T. (2009). Epistemic learning environments: Using game creation to teach art, design, computer science, and innovative thinking. Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Charleston, SC.

Al-Bow, M., Austin, D., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008). Motivating young women in game development via the Pixels, Programming, Play and Pedagogy Project. Presentation to 2008 Women in Games Conference, Warwick England.

Al-Bow, M., Austin, D., Edgington, J., Fajardo, R., Fishburn, J., Lara, C., Leutenegger, S.T., and Meyer, S. (2008). Swingin’ To The White House, Political Battle, and 270 To Win: three presidential election games created by high school teachers who were 2008 Teacher Game Institute (P4games.org) participants. Presentation to ACM SIGGRAPH SANDBOX 2008, Los Angeles, CA.

Austin, D. (2005). Technology curriculum for Colorado's pre-service teachers. Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Phoenix, AZ.

Austin, D. (2004). New literacies: Are Colorado teacher education programs preparing pre-service teachers to use technology in their learning environments? Presentation to Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Austin, D. (2003). Cyber-advanced legal research: Educating the lawyers of tomorrow. Presentation to American Association of Law Libraries Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Austin, D. (2002). Using technology to connect with our students. Poster session given at American Association for Higher Education National Conference, Chicago, IL.

Austin, D. (1999). Researching in Colorado statutes - An introduction for the non-legal librarian. Presentation to Southwestern Association of Law Librarians and Colorado Association for Law Librarians Joint Conference, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (1998). Basic legal research. Presentation to Colorado Association for Law Librarians Legal Institute, Denver, CO.

Guest Lectures and Presentations

Austin, D. (2013). Boost your brain power: How to enhance cognitive fitness. Presentation for Student Wellness Program, University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Denver, CO.

Austin, D., Burke, C., Fitzsimmons, R., and Kutcher, H. (2010). Mentoring. McDermott Pupilage Presentation to the Rhone Brackett Inn of Court. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2009). Online legal research resources. Public Interest Law Group lunch seminar, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2009). Interdisciplinary game creation in epistemic learning environments. Department of Mass Communications & Journalism Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2008). Legal research for the clinics. Presentation to Environmental Law Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2007). Legal research for the clinics. Presentation to Civil Rights Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2007). Legal research for the clinics. Presentation to Civil Litigation Clinic, University of Denver. Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2007). Using electronic resources to conduct a literature review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2006). Conducting basic legal research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2006). Internet to enhance curriculum development and delivery of k-12 art education. Presentation to Aesthetic Education Institute of Colorado, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2006). Using electronic resources to conduct a literature review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2005). Introduction to digital noesis and Paul Levinson. Department of Mass Communications & Journalism Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2005). Conducting basic legal research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2004). Conducting basic legal research. Presentation to Social Justice Action Group, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2004). Arts in education resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2004). Using electronic resources to conduct a literature review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2003). Arts in education resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2003). Using electronic resources to conduct a literature review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2002). Arts in education resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2002). Using electronic resources to conduct a literature review. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Austin, D. (2001). Curriculum resources on the Internet. College of Education, University of Denver, Denver, CO.

Research Project

Pixels, Programming, Play & Pedagogy

P4Games: Humane Game Development for students and teachers, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Award

William T. Driscoll Master Educator Award. University of Denver, May, 2001.

Grants

Hughes-Ruud Research and Development Fund grant to attend 2014 Neuroscience Boot Camp at the University of Pennsylvania. $3,000. May, 2014.

Legal Writing Institute-Association of Legal Writing Directors-LexisNexis 2012 Legal Writing Scholarship Grant. Research project working title: Carnegie, Hidden Curriculum, and Culture Clash: What Neuroscience can Teach us about the Impact of Stress on Learning. $5,000. April, 2012.

Morgridge Family Foundation. SmartBoard and Student Response Systems for Integration in Legal Skills Courses. $5,883. August, 2009.

National Science Foundation: ITEST Program. Pixels, Programming, Play and Pedagogy. $1.2 million. September, 2006. (with S. Leutenegger - PI, R. Fajardo, and A. Andrews).

Dorr Foundation. DU Game Camp Curriculum Support. $15,000. June, 2006. (with S. Leutenegger and R. Fajardo).

Center for Teaching and Learning. University of Denver. Preparing Colorado's Teachers for Technological Literacy. $17,266. January, 2004. (with B. Uhrmacher).

Community Service

Colorado Greyhound Adoption

Organizational Memberships

AALS Balance in Legal Education Section - Executive Board Member as of Jan 2014

Legal Writing Institute

Rhone Brackett Inn of Court

curriculum vitae