DEAN'S ROLE AS A MEMBER OF
UNIVERSITY'S CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION
Janice C. Griffith*
I became dean at Georgia State University College of Law, I thought that I had
a fairly good understanding of how a university functions.
I had been an American Council of Education (“ACE”) Fellow at
the 1991-1992 academic year. The
ACE Fellowship program prepares fellows for higher education leadership
positions through an extended placement program in which the fellows work
directly with presidents, provosts, department heads, and other university
administrators at a host institution. Through
first hand observation and special project assignments, fellows learn how
university leaders make resource allocation, strategic planning, fund raising,
and other policy decisions. My ACE
experience sharpened my understanding of higher education administration
issues, but I have developed a much greater appreciation of the complexity of
the relationship between a university and its law school during my deanship.
important goal of building a good relationship between the law school and the
university requires the dean’s commitment and attention.
The institutional structure of law schools differs in some respects
from the university’s other colleges. The
nature of legal education also varies from that of the university’s other
graduate programs. This essay
addresses these differences and the distinctive role the law school dean plays
in the higher education constellation. It
points out a few focal areas in which the administration of the law school and
the university frequently cross paths and discusses some sources of friction.
The essay concludes with some advice to new law school deans on how to
develop stronger relationships with university administrators.
UNIQUE ROLE IN
American law schools operate as an academic unit of a university or college.
Typically a law school exists as one college in a university that has a
number of other colleges. The
structural organization of American law schools, however, differs from that of
the university’s other academic units, including medical schools.
With the exception of the law school, university colleges are
subdivided into departments organized on the basis of academic disciplines.
For example, at
nineteen departments comprise the
Sciences. This type of academic
subject matter division does not exist at American law schools.
Many American law schools do not possess the resources for in-depth
specialization in one or more areas of the law.
Most law professors teach courses in more than one subject area –
usually a necessity to cover the law school’s basic, required courses.
Some law schools have
provided opportunities for students to concentrate in certain specialized
subject areas. Even though these
programs may be officially recognized by notations on a law graduate’s
diploma or the issuance of certificates of program completion, they have had
no effect upon the law school’s formal organization. A number of law schools
also have created centers to provide for collaboration with other entities in
a particular area of the law, but centers, which do not grant degrees,
likewise have not changed the structure of law schools.
the university hierarchy, law schools remain distinctive for other reasons as
well. Unlike most of their college
counterparts, law schools provide no undergraduate education.
Law schools share this distinction with other post-graduate schools,
including medical schools, dental schools, and other colleges or schools
offering professional education. American
law schools outnumber medical schools, and law may be the university’s only
college that does not offer undergraduate level courses.
In this case, the law school will stand out among its counterparts.
American Bar Association (“
voluntary professional association of lawyers, acts as the accrediting body
for law schools in the
Private educational associations of national or regional scope accredit
higher educational institutions although many disciplines and professional
areas such as nursing, music, psychology, dentistry, and medicine must meet
additional accreditation standards set by professional organizations. The
accreditation standards require American law schools to provide certain
facilities and programs that further distinguish law schools from other
university colleges. The
standards, for example, provide that a law school must maintain “a law
library that is an active and responsive force in the educational life of the
standards also set requirements for adequate physical facilities that are
occupied only by the law school.
Thus, law schools supply and maintain their own classrooms whereas
universities usually centrally manage a classroom inventory for all of their
other academic units. This
difference means that the law school’s budget, unlike other college budgets,
must cover the high costs of making technology available for classroom use, a
reality in today’s wired world. If
technology funds are allocated centrally, the law school will need to make a
case for extra funding to cover its classroom technology costs–expenses not
incurred by other colleges relying upon university-equipped classrooms.
Other colleges may face a similar challenge in funding specialized
technology in such areas as art and design, foreign language instruction, and
enrollment size at a law school often provides another distinguishing
It will be small in comparison to enrollments at the other colleges of
a major university. Enrollment
size and credit hour generation play a key role in shaping a university’s
financial picture. The university’s heavy lifters in this respect do not
reside in the law school. Further,
if faculty governance through a University Senate plays a dominant role in the
governance of a university, the law school, as a small college, will be at a
disadvantage. Then, its limited
size, faculty, and function in comparison to larger colleges will give it less
clout in critical resource-allocation decision making.
the law school’s external funding base differs from that of the
university’s other academic units. Historically,
law schools have derived their resources primarily from tuition and
alumni-based charitable giving. Unlike
their colleagues in other academic units, law faculty do not engage, for the
most part, in research that attracts external funding.
Indirect cost recovery realized from external funding may provide other
colleges with a source of revenue generally not available to law schools.
This reality leaves law schools with fewer resources to shoulder
administrative support needs.
lack of externally sponsored institutional research at law schools also makes
it more difficult for university administrators to evaluate the national
ranking of a law school. The
amount of research funds that an academic program generates can be used as a
tool to evaluate its academic standing. Although
law schools receive grants for a variety of programs, including dispute
resolution and clinical programs, this funding does not play a significant
part in their national ranking. Once
again, the law school puzzles its university counterparts.
nature of legal education in itself causes it to diverge from other graduate
education norms. These divergences
frequently require tweaking of university policies and procedures to fit the
law school environment. Full-time
law faculty members teach in the classroom,
engage in research, and participate in law school governance and service to
the legal profession and the public.
Full-time faculty in other disciplines may be involved primarily in
research activities with limited teaching responsibilities, or they may
supervise graduate students who assist them in teaching.
Unlike law students, many doctoral candidates preparing to become
university and college professors teach courses.
Only a few law students assist law professors, and their support
generally involves legal research. Such
differences necessitate variations from standard university policies to fit
the special programmatic needs of the law school.
II. THE AMERICAN LAW
SCHOOL DEAN’S UNIQUE ROLE
Dean’s Varied Roles
law school’s distinctive place in higher education sheds some light upon the
nature of a law school deanship and the varying roles deans play.
Within the legal academy, the dean will be viewed as the first among
equals or the chief academic officer. The
bench and bar and other external entities frequently view deans as chief
executive officers of law schools. These
views of law deans’ roles contrast with the position of deans in higher
educational institutions. Deans
usually report to provosts, the chief academic officers of universities and
colleges; provosts, in turn, report to presidents.
In this hierarchy, deans are viewed as middle managers.
law school dean’s duties involve accountability to a number of different
constituencies, one or more of which may hold different perspectives on the
dean’s role in leading a law school. A
dean must respond to the concerns of faculty members, law students, the law
school’s support staff, the law school’s graduates, university
administrators, donors and supporters, the bench and bar, and other friends of
the law school. Deans have to
balance their time and attention among each of these different constituent
negotiation and conflict resolution skills get stretched frequently.
From time to time the law school’s diverse constituencies expect the
dean to pursue objectives that conflict sharply with each other. A dean’s
most difficult days will be spent trying to respond to multiple constituencies
whose goals conflict.
In these situations, the dean will be called upon to reconcile and
manage difficult controversies with each group expecting the dean to be a
forceful advocate for its cause. Consensus
building may not always be possible, and every dean must be prepared to make
decisions that will make some people unhappy.
faculty members participate in the governance of a law school, and the
dean’s prerogatives vary from school to school.
Persons accustomed to the operations of more centralized and hierarchal
institutions often find this shared governance difficult to fathom.
They may hold the mistaken impression that the dean makes all the
important decisions at a law school. In
reality, of course, faculty and faculty committees make many major decisions
involving faculty recruitment, student admissions, and the promotion and
tenure of faculty members,
with deans playing a very important check and balance role.
In a number of areas, law school policies may grant the dean the
authority to overrule decisions made by faculty committees.
While a dean who exercises this prerogative too often will experience a
short tenure, infrequent principled counter-majoritarian decisions can prevent
results that a dean views as harsh, unwise, or unjust.
Although deans play a critical role in serving the constituent groups affected
by the law school’s decision-making processes, they also serve the legal
profession and the larger community. Deans
should assume the leadership roles expected of public servants.
They should have a vision of how to use law school resources to achieve
broader societal goals that cannot be reached without input from the legal
academy and profession. The deans
of law schools in major metropolitan areas may be called on to serve on
community boards, commissions, or other civic organizations to find solutions
to pressing urban problems. Deans
who participate in national legal education organizations can both contribute
their ideas and learn from their peers.
The Dean as the Chief Executive
Officer and the Chief Academic Officer
law school dean serves as the law school’s “chief executive officer” and
“chief academic officer.”
The position has been declared analogous to that of a president of a
The responsibility for the administration of the law school’s support
functions, including admissions, placement, and institutional development,
falls upon the law school dean. Moreover the absence of formal academic
departments in law schools gives the dean overall responsibility for the
operation of academic programs without the interposition and assistance of
department heads. Accordingly ,
the law school dean firsthand makes salary decisions, recommends approval or
denial of faculty promotion and tenure decisions, and reviews the performance
of faculty members. In sum, the
law school dean, not only bears the responsibilities of a college dean, but
also handles many of the functions delegated to department chairs in the rest
of a college or university.
dean plays a vital leadership role in the improvement of academic programs and
services. Holding the best
position in a law school for bringing faculty members together to effectuate
changes, whether in the adoption of a new strategic plan or the revision of
the curriculum, the dean must prepare the law school community for adaptations
to changes in the profession and society.
Faculty members generally prize their authority to participate in law
school governance, making the dean’s role as change agent difficult under
the best of circumstances.
dean, as the chief executive officer, must secure resources to operate the
school. Deans must be both
external fund raisers and combatants ready to make the law school’s case for
its fair share of university support. Legal
training and professional experience prepare deans for an advocacy role.
Promotional and salesmanship skills may need more honing.
law school deans should become symbolic of their institutions’ progress
along a path of ever greater excellence and improvement.
They should possess a vision of the law school’s ideals and goals and
project enthusiasm for and commitment to its mission.
The Dean as a Member of the
University’s Central Administration
Dean as a Middle Manager
law school dean’s role as chief academic officer and chief executive officer
contrasts with the dean’s middle management position in the university.
The provost, the university’s chief academic officer, who reports to
the president, usually oversees the performance of all academic deans. The
status of a dean among her peers may be based in part on the importance of the
college she serves. Law schools
most likely will not head the list. After
all, they educate no undergraduate students and rank among a university’s
smaller colleges in faculty size and student enrollment.
university leaders view law school deans as middle managers or chief academic
officers of a major university unit, their role differs in some important
respects from other deans. New law
school deans should be alerted to these differences. They must understand
their unique role in the university in order to better educate their
university colleagues and the law faculty about the challenges they face in
Deanship Differs from Other Academic Deanships
law school dean lacks the insulation that department heads, called chairs,
give the other academic deans. Department
chairs in the university’s other colleges make salary decisions, in
consultation with a faculty committee, and work with the faculty to make
hiring, promotion, and tenure decisions. These
departmental decisions may then be reviewed by an associate dean or a
committee at the college level before reaching the dean’s office. The
non-law deans will interface most often with the chairs, associate deans, or
college committees established to review departmental decisions, distancing
them from some potential sources of faculty disgruntlement.
Department chairs also work with the faculty to establish budget
priorities within their departments. The
organizational structure of law schools, however, situates the dean alone
either to reject or approve important institutional decisions made by the law
faculty. This fact may account, in
part, for the shorter tenure of law school deans in comparison to other deans.
school deans bear responsibility for more academic support functions than
their fellow university deans.
accreditation standards require law schools to operate a law library, maintain
a career counseling service, process the admission of students to the law
school, and provide separate classrooms and other facilities.
Ultimate responsibility for each of these functions rests with law
school deans whereas the central university administration manages and
controls these functions for the other colleges.
In most universities central units handle undergraduate admissions,
advisement, enrollment management, registration, and facilities, including
maintenance of a classroom inventory. A
university librarian, who usually also reports to the provost, manages the
university’s library, which serves all the colleges.
universities also centralize the delivery of technology services that include
the operation of a network, instructional technology, the licensing of
software, and the maintenance of technology equipment used in classrooms.
Many law schools, however, manage the delivery of technology services
in law school facilities and use their own servers, in order to customize
services for their students and faculty. Law
schools find that the employment of their own instructional technologists
facilitates more efficient and superior classroom instruction.
Thus, the law school dean must be knowledgeable about technology
operations and developments to a degree not demanded of all academic deans.
Other college deans will need to develop similar expertise if
departments in their college provide specialized technical assistance to meet
school deans generally play a more active role in attending to the welfare of
students than is the case for other college deans.
Deans and associate deans of law schools must be responsive to law
student complaints about the quality of their instruction, career services
functions, and a whole host of other issues that affect students.
Undergraduate students often take courses in different colleges.
If they encounter difficulties they seek assistance from the
university’s office of student services, a department chair, or academic
advisement units established in the various colleges and their departments.
More law students than undergraduate students expect to find a cure for
their particular problem in the dean’s office.
students, who are usually older, more sophisticated, and mature than
undergraduate students, insist upon higher quality services.
Because they are busy learning effective advocacy skills, they
naturally try out these newly acquired skills by making demands when the law
school environment fails to meet their expectations.
They think the dean should be able to find solutions to their
complaints even if the dean lacks control over the particular issue such as
university operated parking facilities.
difference that distinguishes the role of law school deans stems from the
greater visibility of professional schools compared to the university’s
other graduate programs. Law
school deans receive constant reminders of their responsibility to articulate
a vision for their law school. At the university level, that job usually falls
upon the president; academic deans are expected to follow along although they
may advise the president on a vision for the university.
The law school dean, as the leader of a professional school, however,
will need to present a separate, but compatible, strong vision of the law
school’s aspirations and future both externally and within the university
law school dean most likely will be urged to devote more time to fund raising
than his university counterparts although all deans, even those in
increasingly under-funded public institutions, face rising expectations in
The need to build endowment funds to reduce the rising costs of higher
education also creates increased pressures upon all deans.
A law school dean typically raises both major gifts and oversees an
annual fund supported by the law school’s graduates and friends.
At most universities academic deans have little involvement in a
university managed annual fund campaign.
Several reasons account for this difference.
school graduates usually identify with their law school rather than its parent
university. Most law students
venture outside the law school’s facilities infrequently while receiving
their professional education. For
the most part, only law school graduates who received both their undergraduate
and legal education from the same university forge a strong bond with the
parent institution. As a result,
law school, rather than central administration, development officers more
successfully raise funds from law graduates, who want to hear good news about
their law school, since its reputation affects the
of their degrees.
alumni of some other colleges, such as the business school, may forge strong
college-based relationships, undergraduate degree holders, who took courses in
a number of colleges, usually identify with the central university rather than
with a particular college. Therefore,
it makes sense to manage giving from these graduates at the university level.
law school dean usually becomes engaged in more external activities than the
other college deans who focus to a large extent upon academic issues, the
overall management of the college’s departments, and the allocation of
resources among the departments. The
law school’s fund raising activities and the bridge the law school dean
provides between legal education and the legal profession account primarily
for the frequency of a dean’s external contacts.
connection between legal education and the bench and bar requires the law
school dean to develop and maintain many external relationships.
All deans need to develop strong ties with members of the legal
profession to ensure the standing of their law school in the legal community
and to enhance the employment of their
school’s graduates. Respected
members of the bench and bar also can help support a dean in a quest for
adequate university funding. Given
the experience and training of most law school deans, they may also play a
public role in the broader community through engagement with business,
professional, and political leaders in efforts to improve the civic life of
Dean as the Communicative Link Between the
and the University
law school dean serves as an essential communicative link between the
university and the law school. The
dean must educate the university community about the different educational
needs of a professional school. Key
university administrators often lack an understanding of legal education and
the role the law school plays in educating the bench and bar as well as law
students. Likewise, the dean must
enlighten the faculty about university opportunities, constraints, and needs
that affect all the university’s component parts, including the law school.
secure university resources for the law school, the dean must explain the
university-wide benefits provided by the presence and operation of a law
school. Law faculty can bring
prominent speakers to campus, collaborate with other college faculty in
interdisciplinary projects, serve on university committees where a legal
perspective and expertise sharpens the debate, and connect the university to
the bench and bar whose members frequently hold important leadership positions
in the community. Lawyers comprise
a sizable portion of the ranks of most state legislatures that appropriate
funds in support of higher education. Public
universities, in particular, can benefit from state legislators’
appreciation of the law school’s impact upon legal education.
A law school dean who brings these benefits to the attention of the
university’s constituencies furthers the university’s standing in the
communications with the faculty about the university rival the importance of
their outreach to the university. In
particular, deans need to enhance the faculty’s understanding of the
dean’s role as a member of the university’s administrative team.
Deans serve the university as well as the law school.
Their duties include participation in decision making that places the
university’s welfare over that of individual colleges.
Faculty members often see this aspect of a deanship to be in conflict
with the dean’s job as the college’s advocate.
difficulty deans experience in fulfilling both university and college
responsibilities should not be underestimated.
Faculty acceptance of the dean’s role as a university official does
not come easily. Faculty
members’ teaching, research, and service obligations do not necessarily
attune them to understand university needs and operations.
In addition, resource allocation issues can generate a “them against
us” mentality that may be hard to overcome.
Finding the time for meaningful dialogues about the bigger university
picture may be another impediment given the number of pressing issues that
require faculty discussion.
the nexus between the faculty and the university, deans must keep the faculty
abreast of university developments. The
university’s allocation of budgetary resources and space, in particular,
affect the law school, and the news is not always good.
The dean may be tempted to downplay bad news or fail to disclose it.
No dean enjoys bearing bad tidings to the faculty, but a dean who fails
to convey important adverse developments runs the risk of faculty mistrust.
AREAS OF INTERSECTION BETWEEN THE
private institutions, the law school’s budget depends upon tuition,
endowment earnings, and other sources of external revenue.
The university will demand a portion of the tuition dollars, but it
will generally grant the law school discretion in the allocation of the
remaining share. In public
universities, the correlation between law student tuition dollars and the law
school’s budget may be much more tenuous.
Such is the case at
all tuition monies are centrally received and managed.
universities in which resource allocation occurs on a centralized basis, deans
will play conflicting roles. They
must advocate strongly for their college’s share of resources.
This advocacy can alienate the law school dean, and any dean in a
similar situation, for that matter, from other central university
administrators whose duties include the allocation of resources among academic
units. Most law school deans will
veer on the side of zealous advocacy for their college’s budgetary position.
The law school, being their primary charge and natural constituency,
leads them to view its welfare as their principal responsibility.
Nonetheless, a dean must be capable of understanding the university’s
position. Other college and
university-wide academic support needs must be met in order for the university
universities coordinate development centrally under a director of development
who works with the university’s president and others in raising private and
other external funds to support the university. The university’s development
coordinates capital campaigns
and the solicitation of gifts. A
university-wide foundation usually sets policies and procedures for the
administration of endowment accounts. The
law school dean should make sure that these policies do not adversely affect
the law school. In order to secure
an optimal fund-raising posture for the law school, the dean should establish
a good working relationship with the head of the university’s development
office and foundation.
solicitation presents one area of possible conflict between the university and
its colleges. Deans will compete
to solicit a prospective donor whose charitable interests fall within the
realm of more than one college. A
prospective donor may have many charitable interests that could benefit more
than one college or the university as a whole, such as funding the
construction of a recreation center. To
avoid a number of multiple uncoordinated solicitations, universities usually
strive to develop a system of solicitation clearance.
Clearance may also be required to approach major corporations,
foundations, and governmental funding agencies.
Sometimes, permission may be given to one college to solicit a
prospective donor for a particular period of time.
A law school dean may bristle when the university grants another
college or university unit permission to pursue a prospective donor viewed as
closely aligned to the law school.
with the central administration is needed in other institutional development
areas as well. At many
universities the law school’s development director reports both to the law
school dean and the university’s development director, a likely case when
the university shares in the funding of the director’s salary.
Raising money for the law school should be the primary focus and
responsibility of the law school development director.
In order to fulfill this role, the director may have to rely upon a
number of services that are centrally managed such as data bases.
If central services fail to meet the dean’s and development
director’s expectations, the dean must lobby forcefully for improvements.
The dean’s working relationship with the central development director
and staff may prove critical in ensuring the resources needed for an effective
law school development program.
Public Relations and Media
staff an office of external or university relations with a press liaison to
handle interactions with the media. Similarly,
constituent colleges employ personnel to write press releases and prepare
publications. Given the fierce
competition among law schools, most deans want the advice and assistance of a
savvy press support team.
law school dean needs to develop good relations with the university’s public
relations office. Sometimes
greater resources at the university level can provide expertise beyond the law
school’s means. When adverse
developments could result in negative press for the law school, the dean
should alert the university’s press group as well as the university’s
president and provost. First, the
press may call these individuals for comments.
Second, agreement upon a coordinated way to handle press inquiries
usually proves beneficial. The
university’s head of media relations, who should be well schooled in
diffusing potentially damaging stories, may be able to provide helpful advice
and assistance to a dean facing difficult questions from the press.
Press relations constitutes another area in which strong ties between
the law school and the university benefit all concerned.
law school’s registrar’s office keeps official records of grades and
degrees awarded. Some universities
require the law school’s registrar to transfer information to the
university’s registrar who provides official record certification for all of
the university’s graduates, including law graduates.
The law school registrar should coordinate with the university’s
registrar’s office on data keeping conventions.
Should the law school use a grading system or enroll students for time
periods at variance with other parts of the university, adjustments will be
the most difficult area to coordinate between the university’s registrar and
the law school is the adaptation of the university’s enrollment-management
computer software to meet the law school’s special needs.
Again, good university relationships and communications remain vital in
order for the law school’s registrar office to customize services and meet
high performance standards.
law schools enjoy facilities dedicated solely to their needs.
In some cases, a law school will be housed in a building shared by
other university units. From time
to time the law school may want to use non-law facilities on campus for
special events, or a non-law university group may request the use of law
school space such as an auditorium or a showcase courtroom.
Cooperation will be needed between the law school and the university to
facilitate these needs. Unless
open and honest communications attend the discussion of space allocation
issues, they can degenerate into contentious disputes.
IV. AREAS OF
deans must be responsive to a number of different constituencies, they
inevitably face situations in which stakeholders sharply disagree on the
course they want the dean to take. Examples
are numerous. The law school’s
decision to promote or tenure a faculty member may meet disapproval at the
university level. From time to
time law students may act in a manner that embarrasses the university, or they
may demand results that top university administrators deem unwise.
When the law school receives bad press, the university’s president
will be unhappy. Both law faculty
and students prize their freedom to be critical of the law school in general,
the dean, and the university. Unless
the president has served as a dean of a law school, she may not fully
appreciate the value placed upon this sphere of autonomy.
allocation issues and the setting of tuition sometimes produce strife between
the law school and the central administration.
When the financial landscape is bleak , the dean frequently may have to
deliver bad news to the faculty. Law
faculty may view the dean as an ineffective spokesperson for the law school
whereas the central administration may complain about an uncooperative dean
who loses sight of the university in the pursuit of a self-interested approach
for the law school.
school admission decisions may also create tensions between the law school and
the central administration. The
president may be pressured by a major donor or a powerful politician to admit
applicants to the law school whose credentials fall below targeted standards.
If the dean overrides decisions of a faculty admissions committee
following established admission standards, he will lower them and invite
constant intervention by influential people in the law school’s admission
processes. The law school and the
university should have definite procedures and policies to handle these
delicate admissions issues. Private
universities will have more flexibility than public law schools in such
matters. Because state taxpayers
subsidize public legal education, admission decisions should be made on a fair
V. ADVICE TO NEW LAW SCHOOL
an advocate for the university as well as the law school.
about higher education issues in non-law areas in order to understand the
university’s big picture.
law faculty to be engaged in university activities–don’t let the law
school become isolated from the rest of the university.
the central administration about the special needs of its law school.
the general university community about the benefits the university derives
from the law school.
with other colleges–joint proposals frequently get funded.
relationships with other university players and faculty–they may be helpful
allies when needed, and they can keep you informed as well.
your ground and don’t capitulate when your stand is a reasonable one to
protect the long-term interests of the law school.
by persuasion and try to develop consensus–at most law schools top-down
orders will not work.
your lawyer-like instincts and your advocacy skills in group settings among
your fellow deans and central administrators–you may appear overzealous and
threatening to persons without training or experience in depersonalizing
biting points only to the decision makers–don’t alienate people who will
not make decisions.
and develop a strong Board of Visitors (Trustees) who can help argue your
case, serve as the law school’s ambassadors, and assist with fund raising.
the local bench and bar know about your law school’s strengths and how the
law school helps the community.
the higher education setting, law schools have existed as relatively autonomous
entities. Today, the demand for
joint degree programs and interdisciplinary studies, involving such areas as law
and economics, public health, and city and regional planning, have heightened
the desirability of greater collaboration between the law school and other parts
of the university. The need for
greater efficiency to save costs, the widespread use of expensive technology,
and the public’s desire for greater higher educational accountability now
foster greater centralization. At
the turn of the twenty-first century law school deans should be focused on
placing law school facilities in the center rather than on the periphery of the
campus when the opportunity arises. Further,
deans should understand that the law school–no matter how autonomous–cannot
become a great law school unless its university also aspires to achieve
excellence. Deans need to support
the president, the provost, and other university officials in a shared quest to
fulfill the university’s mission. Efforts
to improve the university’s programs of instruction, research, and public
service require the commitment of all university administrators, including
deans, to achieve optimum success.
*Dean and Professor of
. The author wishes to thank Dr.
Lauren B. Adamson, Dean,
, for her review and helpful comments.
Sec. Legal Educ. & Admissions to the Bar, A.B.A. Standards for Approval of Law Schs. Standard 601 (a),
at 45 (2002-2003).
See id. Standard 701, at 50.
See id. Standard 403, at 36 ( “The major burden of a law school’s
educational program rests upon the full-time faculty.”).
Standard 402 (c), at
Inviting a controversial speaker to campus, for example, may divide faculty
students along ideological
See id. Standard 206, at 18 (“The allocation of authority between
the dean and the law faculty is a matter for determination by each
institution as long as both the dean and the faculty have a significant role
in determining educational policy.”); see id. Standard 404 (3), at 37
(stating the obligation of a full-time faculty member to participate in the
governance of the law school).
See id. Standard 204 (b), at 17.
Ass’n of Am. Law Schs., Rep.
of the AALS Special Comm. on State of the Law Sch. Deanship, Law Deanship
Manual (Nov. 1993) 3.
For arguments in support of this view, see id.
Unless graduate admissions are centralized, individual colleges process
admission to their graduate programs.