The University of Connecticut (UConn), one of the nation’s leading public research universities, seeks a visionary and dynamic leader to serve as the Dean of its School of Law. UConn seeks candidates who can demonstrate exceptional skills and experience that will enable them to provide strong leadership to a research and educational institution. For the past decade, the University has been on a remarkable journey of expansion and growth. By every measure, from student diversity to research grants, UConn has enhanced its national and global standing. UConn is currently ranked among the top 25 public research universities nationwide and is a Carnegie Foundation R1 institution, its highest rank for research activity and the granting of doctoral degrees.
Founded in 1881, UConn is a Land Grant and Sea Grant college and member of the Space Grant Consortium. It is the state’s flagship institution of higher education and includes a main campus in Storrs, CT, four regional campuses throughout the state, and 14 Schools and Colleges, including the Law School in Hartford, and Medical and Dental Schools at the UConn Health campus in Farmington. The University has approximately 10,000 faculty and staff and 32,000 students, including nearly 24,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional students.
Under the new leadership of President Tom Katsouleas, who began his term in August 2019, UConn enters an exciting phase in its history. President Katsouleas has challenged the University’s administration, faculty, and staff to undertake the ambitious goals of doubling research over the next 10 years, broadly expanding meaningful experiential learning, and preserving accessibility to residents of the state of Connecticut.
As chief executive officer of the School of Law, the Dean will provide strategic vision and operational leadership to all aspects of the academic and scholarly program, working with its distinguished faculty to set priorities for the School and guide it toward strategic goals of enhancing scholarship, promoting research and outreach, and providing excellence in professional and graduate education in an academic setting with a diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. The Dean is the School’s chief advocate, promoting its goals and achievements, leading its development and fund-raising activities, and speaking for its mission of excellence in scholarship, teaching, and public service. Supporting the University’s research mission, the Dean will advance the scholarly activities of the faculty, including interdisciplinary opportunities. The Dean will also be the School’s public voice, promoting initiatives within UConn and across the state, strengthening and expanding its role within professional associations, articulating the School’s contributions at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. In pursuing these responsibilities, the Dean, who reports to the Provost, will work collaboratively with the President and Provost and with vice presidents and other Deans.
The successful candidate will be a nationally recognized, self-assured, entrepreneurial leader prepared to infuse the UConn School of Law with a sense of pride, of purpose, and of excellence. With experience at a research university, the ideal candidate will have demonstrated success as an educator, a researcher committed to the search for new knowledge, and a sophisticated administrator able to imagine new possibilities for the School.
The School of Law
UConn’s School of Law is the top ranked public law school in the Northeast. It is located on a beautiful and historic 17-acre campus in the West End of Hartford, a few minutes away from the State Capitol, courts and agencies, and the offices of Hartford’s law firms and corporations. Founded in 1921, UConn Law is about to celebrate its centennial, a major development opportunity for the new Dean. The Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. It has an annual budget of nearly $25 million, 49 full-time faculty, and 48 full-time staff. Total enrollment for AY 2019-20 is 624 across the JD, LLM and SJD programs.
The Law School offers its JD degree in both a full-time (day) and part-time (evening) program, and the evening program consistently ranks in the top 10 for part-time programs in the US News rankings. As a public institution, the Law School prides itself on providing an outstanding education at a reasonable price, consistently ranking at or near the top of law schools in average salary-to-debt ratios for graduating students. The Law School has been at the forefront of growth in non-JD enrollment, ranking 27th in the country (according to ABA data for fall 2018) in non-JDs as a percentage of total enrollment excluding online and 36th with online included.
The Law School offers a diverse curriculum for its students, including over 150 courses and eight certificate programs for both JD and LLM candidates in various fields. The latter include Insurance Law, where the Law School’s program is recognized as the world leader, and Human Rights, a special focus of the University and a particular strength of the Law School. UConn Law supplements its program in Hartford with the opportunity for its students to study abroad through 14 partnerships with international law faculties. The Law School also offers graduate legal education to both domestic and foreign trained lawyers through five specialized LLM programs: Energy and Environmental Law; Human Rights and Social Justice; Insurance; United States Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers only); and an Executive LLM Program in Seoul, Korea.
To prepare students for opportunities at the intersection of law and other disciplines, the Law School has established four dual-degree program–JD-MBA, JD-MPA, JD-MPH, and JD-MSW–with other divisions of the university, and it also provides students the opportunity to pursue specialized LLMs with advanced standing after completing the JD program. The Law School additionally offers, in partnership with the UConn School of Business, a Professional Certificate in Corporate and Regulatory Compliance for both law and business students as well as mid-career professionals. Finally, the Law School’s faculty, together with colleagues from other university departments, also played a central role in the establishing the university’s new Masters of Energy and Environmental Management.
UConn Law School was an early leader in experiential legal education and remains at the forefront of this field today, having been one of the first US law schools to require all students to have supervised law practice experience in order to graduate. To meet this requirement, the Law School offers students 19 clinics and field placement courses in which students earn academic credit by representing clients and doing other legal work under the supervision of faculty members or other lawyers. In addition to opportunities in Hartford and throughout Connecticut, the Law School offers both a Semester in DC and Semester in New York program that entail field placements combined with course work.
The UConn Law faculty constitutes a community of unusual collegiality and intellectual vibrancy. It embraces interdisciplinary training as crucial to finding creative legal solutions to contemporary problems. Many faculty members have advanced degrees or substantial graduate training in other fields. These include not only the traditional disciplines found in leading law schools—philosophy, history, and economics—but also literature, linguistics, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and architecture. In total, more than one-third of the school’s full-time research faculty possess doctoral degrees, a proportion that rivals the faculty at Harvard, Stanford, Columbia and NYU. Particular areas of research strength include: Law and the Humanities and Social Sciences; Energy and Environmental Law; Employment and Labor Law; Human Rights; Insurance, Risk, and Financial Services; International and Comparative Law; Intellectual Property; Law and Inequality; and Tax. The Law School is also home to a striking number of professors who study law outside the United States, including leading scholars on Latin American Law, European Law, Comparative Administrative Law, International War Crimes and Post-Conflict Justice, International Tax, Comparative Intellectual Property Law, and International Environmental Law, among other areas.
In educating JD, LLM, and SJD candidates, UConn Law draws strength from a diverse array of students at different stages of their lives and professional careers. Each year the Law School welcomes many students directly from their UConn undergraduate degrees (known as Double Huskies) as well as students from a wide range of other institutions of higher education. The graduate and international programs include representatives from seventeen countries and five continents, ranging from exchange students pursuing their first law degree to practicing lawyers seeking specialized research at the LLM and SJD ranks.
UConn Law is responsible for more lawyers working in Connecticut than any other school in region. Its alumni continue into private practice, the corporate sector, non-profit organizations, and all branches of government, and each year an impressive number begin their careers with prestigious judicial clerkships at the state and federal level. Alumni comprise much of the state legislature, a substantial portion of the state judiciary (including the Connecticut Appellate Court and Supreme Court), serve in the federal judiciary, and represent the State of Connecticut in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate. In addition to forming a close-knit legal community within the state, graduates continue to grow networks in Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC.
Students take initiative to form affinity groups that help to foster a vibrant on-campus community. These groups range from the longstanding Moot Court Board and Mock Trial Society to newer groups such as the First Generation Students Association and the Mental Health Community.
The Leadership Opportunity
UConn will welcome a Dean who thrives on innovation and the challenges and opportunities of developing, organizing, and managing new initiatives. The faculty at the UConn School of Law are deeply committed to their students, to their research, and to public service. Working with the faculty, the Dean will articulate a vision for the School, defining its role in research and teaching within the University community, the state, and the nation. From that vision, the Dean will shape the organization and, with the faculty, configure, create, and grow programs and attract a student body to realize their success.
The Dean can and will make critical contributions to the continued development of the School. This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual with the drive, skill, and experience to bring creative leadership to the law school and to play a meaningful role in shaping its future. The new Dean will embrace these opportunities, helping to realize the potential of the UConn School of Law. The new Dean will build on a solid foundation to contribute to the School and its diverse constituents to address some key challenges and pursue important opportunities.
Specific challenges and opportunities include:
- Provide visionary and strategic leadership for the School of Law
- Support and promote a diverse and inclusive culture
- Hire, guide, and support excellent faculty and staff
- Oversee financial decisions and create clear and efficient processes, staffing, and structures
- Articulate the Law School’s role in achieving the overall mission of the University
- Lead and identify academic campus infrastructure improvements
- Cultivate opportunities for development and fund-raising
- Pursue strategies to sustain and grow enrollments
Reporting to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs for all matters, the Dean is the chief administrative and academic officer of the School of Law. The current administrative structure for the School includes 3 associate deans, 2 assistant deans, and 13 directors and managers. The ideal candidate will be an experienced, inclusive, and collaborative leader, institutionally ambitious and creative, and committed to guiding the School to the next level of excellence. The Dean will be expected to work effectively with faculty, students, staff, educators, community leaders, and the legal community state-wide and nationally as partners to advance the University’s research, teaching, and service missions. The Dean will bring an understanding of, and a commitment to, increasing diversity at all levels of the School. The successful candidate will bring experience in and/or the clear potential for representing a law school articulately and compellingly to external constituencies, enhancing the visibility and impact of its work while increasing gifts, funded research, and other mission-aligned revenue. The Dean must also have an in-depth understanding of the current challenges facing law schools as well as those that have transformed the markets for law jobs and for legal services and be willing to work with state, regional, and national stakeholders to address these challenges and advocate for the school and the profession.
The University of Connecticut seeks a dynamic leader who must have at least the following minimum qualifications and skills:
- A Juris Doctor (JD), Master of Laws (LLM), or Doctor of Laws (JSD/SJD) degree, or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD or DPhil) degree in a field related to law and legal studies, including foreign equivalents;
- A record of scholarly achievement and/or exceptional professional achievement that, in any case, warrants appointment at the rank of Professor of Law;
- Management skills developed in a complex organization that include one or more of the following:
- Finance/budget management
- Retention and recruitment
- Development and fundraising
- Strategic planning and implementation;
- Demonstrated capability to manage professional and support staff effectively, including hiring, motivating, training, developing, and evaluating the job performance of employees;
- A record of achieving, or the capacity to articulate a realistic strategy to achieve, in a law school context:
- enrollment growth while maintaining/improving admissions standards;
- curricular and programmatic innovation to meet the changing market for legal services;
- law student success in both the classroom and career placement;
- maintenance/improvement of faculty research excellence;
- institutional diversity in all its dimensions;
- fundraising to support all these various goals.
The successful candidate must have demonstrated the following traits:
- A profound sense of integrity and professionalism.
- A deep commitment to excellence.
- A clear ability to use good judgment and make sound decisions.
- An energetic leadership style that invites collaboration, encourages teamwork, welcomes diverse perspectives, and values transparency.
- A distinctive ability in managing change, resolving conflict, and building consensus.
- Superior interpersonal and communication skills, including tactfulness, a high level of emotional intelligence and concern for others, and the ability to navigate controversy gracefully and treat all people with civility and respect.
- The ability to sustain and enhance a vigorous research and educational enterprise.
- The skills to navigate the organizational, political, and fiscal realities unique to a major public research university, and to improve current practices, including effective advocacy for resources.
- The ability to work productively and cooperatively with faculty, students, staff, educators, and community leaders as partners to advance the School’s and University’s research, teaching, engagement, outreach, and service missions.
- A track record of administrative achievement that gives strong evidence of his or her capacity to manage a complex School, including its budget, workforce, and programs.
- The capacity to represent the School compellingly to external constituencies, enhancing the visibility and impact of its work.
- A deep respect and strong commitment to diversity, as demonstrated by a record of promoting diversity and inclusion, including assessing needs, developing initiatives, and applying best practices.
- The ability to imagine new possibilities for the School, develop and articulate a vision, and develop and implement effective strategic plans, including the ability to translate institutional strategy into operational goals and to specify and prioritize short- and long-range objectives.
The ideal candidate will also have the following preferred characteristics:
- Experience at a research university and success as a researcher committed to the search for new knowledge.
- Demonstrated capability to support research at the student and faculty levels, and to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Demonstrated success as an educator and a genuine appreciation of, and good rapport with, students.
- Experience as an agent of innovation and change.
- The ability to recruit and retain highly desirable research and instructional faculty in a competitive environment.
- Significant experience with outreach and cross-organizational cooperation.
- The ability to develop and maintain an active alumni network.
- Strong written, oral, and interpersonal skills; the ability to communicate the School’s needs, plans, and programs effectively.
How to Apply
The University of Connecticut is committed to building and supporting a multicultural and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. UConn’s faculty and staff are the critical link to fostering and expanding our vibrant, multicultural and diverse University community. As an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity employer, UConn encourages applications from women, veterans, people with disabilities and members of traditionally underrepresented populations.
Employment of the successful candidate is contingent upon the successful completion of a pre- employment criminal background check. All employees are subject to adherence to the State Code of Ethics which may be found at http://www.ct.gov/ethics/site/default.asp.
Review of applications, nominations, and expressions of interest will begin immediately and continue on a confidential basis until an appointment is made. For priority consideration, please submit application materials by November 29, 2019.
The University of Connecticut has retained the services of the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to conduct this important search. All inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including curriculum vitae and letters of interest responding to the position challenges and objectives outlined above) will be held in the strictest confidence and should be submitted to UConnLawDean@heidrick.com.