When I left Wake Forest for the deanship at Roger Williams in 2003, I signed a contract for 3 years, hoped to survive for 5 (the typical deanship lasts 4+ years, about the same as NFL coaches), and have now finished my 11th year. During that time I have had the pleasure to work with an excellent faculty (highly credentialed and prolific scholars, but who make teaching their first priority), an amazing staff (also dedicated to student success), and our more than 2,000 alums, who are making their way not just in Southern New England, but across the country. I also worked closely with the top federal and state judges, cementing important relationships that have led to their unique contributions in the classroom as Adjunct Faculty, many internships in chambers during law school, and prestigious clerkships afterward.
I am proud that during my time at the helm we have significantly improved our bar pass numbers, while diversifying the faculty, staff, and student body. Just as importantly, we have implemented important new initiatives that enhance our students’ preparedness for practice, like the Immigration Clinic http://law.rwu.edu/academics/institutes-programs/clinical-programs/immigration-clinic, the Community Economic Development Clinic http://law.rwu.edu/blog/new-community-economic-development-clinic-making-its-mark, and the Corporate Counsel Clinical Externship Program http://law.rwu.edu/blog/want-work-general-counsel-cvs-red-sox-gtech-launching-our-new-house-counsel-externship-program. (Indeed, we are one of a handful of law schools that guarantees that every qualified student will have at least one substantial clinical experience before graduation.) We have also impacted the lives of the least fortunate among us via our innovative Pro Bono Collaborative http://law.rwu.edu/feinsteincenter/experiential-learning/pro-bono-elr/pbc, while making it easier for graduates who choose a career in public interest law to have access to our own loan forgiveness program http://law.rwu.edu/admission/financial-aid/pilrap.
But for everything there is a season, and it is now time to return full-time to my true loves, teaching and writing; I can’t wait for the fall semester, when I will be teaching both of our sections of Torts as well as my seminar on Brown v. Board of Education. I also look forward to witnessing RWU Law’s continued upward trajectory under my terrific successor, Prof. Michael Yelnosky http://law.rwu.edu/michael-j-yelnosky.
The Dean’s blog will be on hiatus throughout the summer. Check back at the beginning of the school year for something new in this space.