THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW is opening a search for its next Dean.
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the College of Law (UT Law). The university seeks an experienced, collegial, and energetic leader who will provide the inspiration, cohesion, and vision for UT Law and serve as its chief academic and administrative officer. The dean reports to the provost and works closely with the vice provosts, deans of other academic colleges, and UT Law faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders (including members of the Tennessee bench and bar), in setting overall academic and strategic priorities for UT Law, allocating resources to move those priorities forward, and developing a collaborative community committed to student success.
As the leader of the state’s flagship law school at a land-grant university, the dean must recognize and support the institution’s duty to serve the people of Tennessee. Because UT Law graduates practice in a wide variety of settings that are subject to change over time, the dean should recognize the significance of preparing law students for diverse practice areas and professions. Moreover, the dean must be able to balance an internal role that engages the law school community with an external role that engages alumni, the state and local bench and bar, state legislators, local governmental officials, and other Tennesseans.
The next dean inherits an active, involved faculty committed to shared governance, a dedicated staff, a strong student body, a supportive campus administration, and a loyal alumni base. UT Law embraces a unitary tenure track for doctrinal, clinic, legal-writing and library faculty, and has developed an egalitarian culture among its faculty, staff, and students. The successful candidate will be a collaborative, transparent, and inspiring leader who is equally committed to teaching, service, and scholarship. The dean will further UT Law’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; continue to develop a successful fund-raising and alumni-engagement program; promote and, where possible, advance UT Law’s local, regional, and national reputation; and support a community that is engaged, transparent, and inspirational for all its stakeholders.
Candidates should be able to demonstrate relevant experience in managing a comparable enterprise within a complex system like UTK; leading and inspiring a diverse, mission-driven community and stakeholder base; and promoting engagement inside the College, across the campus and the greater university, and within the legal profession and the public. The successful candidate will have strong interpersonal skills, a capacity for creative thinking, and the enthusiasm and demonstrated ability to lead with a spirit of service.
THE COLLEGE OF LAW
Founded in 1890, UT Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. In its 2022 law school listing, USNWR ranks UT Law at #60 among all US law schools and #31 among public law schools in the nation. The National Jurist grades UT Law “B+” in its Best Value listing. UT Law’s business law program is currently ranked #37 among US law school business law programs and #25 among US public law school business law programs by USNWR. The clinical program consistently ranks in the top ten of all US public law schools.
The mission of UT Law is to prepare students for the practice of law by integrating theory and practice across the curriculum, with an emphasis on clinical and skills training, innovative classroom teaching, legal writing, and professional values. The college endeavors to produce high-quality scholarship that examines, explains, critiques, and improves the law and the legal system. UT Law strives to serve the university, the campus, the profession, and the public by developing and sharing its talents and expertise.
UT Law’s JD program has approximately 365 students, 70% of whom are Tennessee residents. With a productive, engaged faculty of 41, UT Law boasts an enviable 9:1 student-faculty ratio while maintaining an affordable tuition. UT Law offers JD students two optional concentrations: Advocacy and Dispute Resolution and Business Transactions, each of which provides an opportunity for students to focus their studies as they develop skills and gain knowledge helpful to their pursuit of meaningful employment. JD students can also pursue dual-degree programs in business, philosophy, public health, social work, and public policy and administration. UT Law students may choose an accelerated JD program or opt for a flexible program, allowing them to earn their JD degree in a manner that best suits their own circumstances. UT Law also provides a “3+3” program for students who intend to earn a BA/BS degree and a JD degree within 6 academic years. UT Law’s MLS degree and legal studies graduate certificate program are designed to provide foundational legal knowledge to working professionals and graduate/PhD students whose fields intersect with law.
UT Law hosts 5 flagship faculty-led programs to enhance student training: the Clayton Center for Entrepreneurial Law; the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution; the Institute for Professional Leadership; the UT Legal Clinic; and the Legal Writing Program. Students at UT Law also have opportunities to help produce several exceptional journals, including Tennessee Law Review; Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy; The Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender & Social Justice; and Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law. Students also participate in moot trial, mock court, and transactional business competitions, as well as pro bono and public service opportunities and externships.
UT Law has an annual operating budget of approximately $15 million and a strong donor base. The college successfully concluded a $61 million campaign in June 2020 and received over $5 million in donor gifts from July 1, 2020-May 31, 2021.
For additional information about UT Law, please review: https://law.utk.edu/
THE ROLE OF THE DEAN
The dean serves as chief academic and administrative officer and reports to UTK’s provost. The dean is responsible for all areas of strategic planning and academic operations for UT Law: management of faculty and staff; development of academic programs; delivery of student services; oversight of facilities; development of research; and fiscal management, including fundraising. The dean works closely with a strong team of dynamic, involved leaders that includes assistant and associate deans and program directors.
The dean will:
- Serve as the intellectual leader of the faculty through a demonstrated commitment to scholarship, an ability to inspire junior and senior faculty alike in their scholarly pursuits, and a vision for further development of the intellectual environment at UT Law;
- Promote UT Law’s teaching mission of educating outstanding lawyers through continued excellence in the academic program, including doctrinal, experiential, and hybrid courses;
- Support, guide, and further develop UT Law’s commitment to the integration of theory and practice, grounded in a foundational understanding of legal doctrine and public policy;
- Oversee implementation of the College’s recently adopted Diversity Action Plan; Establish and maintain a strong, engaged relationship with the student body;
- Promote successful change in response to evolving external environments and emerging challenges, including providing leadership in developing a common vision for UT Law that reflects the future of legal education, the career aspirations of our students, and the established strengths of the institution;
- Interact persuasively with the philanthropic community and solicit and steward private support from alumni, members of the Dean’s Advisory Council and Dean’s Circle, friends, foundations, law firms, government institutions, and corporations;
- Develop and maintain positive, mutually supportive relationships with UT Law alumni;
- Work effectively and collaboratively with senior administrators and other staff to ensure the smooth functioning of the academic and nonacademic components of UT Law’s operations;
- Create a strong sense of community and cooperation among faculty, staff, students, alumni, other campus academic and nonacademic units, the local and state bar and governments, and the courts;
- Attract, retain, and develop outstanding faculty, administrators, and staff;
- Manage UT Law’s budget within a responsibility-centered management structure.
The search committee enthusiastically welcomes applicants from a diversity of backgrounds and will consider the factors listed below in evaluating candidates for this important leadership role. While no single individual will possess all the desired experiences and qualifications, the successful candidate should possess many of the following characteristics:
- A JD, or other terminal degree in law, with accomplishments meriting tenure at the rank of full professor;
- A leadership style characterized by flexibility, inclusiveness, integrity, and openness that involves and enables faculty and other key stakeholders to share in governance;
- A demonstrated commitment to legal education, scholarship, and public service;
- Familiarity with strategic resource management and an aptitude for successful fundraising;
- Experience working with senior academic leaders across a university campus, including the ability to collaborate with the provost, deans, and other leaders to enrich the overall academic structure and the national and international reputation of UTK as a research and educational powerhouse;
- The capacity and commitment to further develop supportive affiliations with UT Law alumni and friends;
- A demonstrated dedication to building an organization that values and practices diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- Superior communications skills; and
- Decisiveness and the ability to multi-task, as well as a willingness to delegate and monitor appropriately.
THE CAMPUS AND ITS LEADERSHIP
Now is an exciting time to join UTK. Chancellor Donde Plowman and Provost John Zomchick, working with faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni, and community partners, have recently developed a new strategic vision for UTK (https://chancellor.utk.edu/vision/). The new vision imagines “a world enriched by our ideas, improved through action, and inspired by the Volunteer Spirit of service and leadership.” The Dean of the College of Law would work within UT Law, the larger campus and university, the state, and the nation to pursue this vision.
Chancellor Donde Plowman became the ninth chancellor of UTK on July 1, 2019. Under her leadership, the university has placed renewed focus on its land-grant mission as the state’s flagship public institution. Since her arrival, Plowman has overseen the creation of the UT Oak Ridge Innovation Institute, the reunification of the Knoxville campus with the Institute of Agriculture, continued growth in student enrollment and retention rates, and the launch of a new strategic visioning process.
Before arriving at UTK as its Chancellor, Plowman spent nine years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where she served most recently as executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. She earlier served for more than six years as the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of UNL’s College of Business Administration. Before going to Nebraska, Plowman was on the management faculty at UTK, where she served for two years as head of the Department of Management in the Haslam College of Business. She began her academic career at the University of Texas at San Antonio as an assistant professor of management and advanced to the position of professor and associate dean for graduate studies and research, where she was responsible for the creation of the university’s doctoral degree in business.
Plowman has a doctorate in strategic management from the University of Texas at Austin, an undergraduate degree with a major in English from Southern Methodist University, and an MEd in higher education administration from the University of North Texas.
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, John Zomchick was appointed in May 2020, but he has called UTK home since 1985. He most recently served as vice provost for faculty affairs, a position he held for more than five years. He also served as interim provost and senior vice chancellor from August 2016 until April 2018. Before joining the Office of the Provost’s staff, he served as executive associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.
A professor of English, Zomchick is a scholar of eighteenth-century English literature. During his time in the UTK College of Arts and Sciences, he held a number of administrative appointments, including associate dean for academic personnel, interim associate dean for academic programs, and head of the Department of English. Zomchick has a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s and doctorate in English literature from Columbia University.
For additional information about UTK, please review: https://www.utk.edu/
The City of Knoxville is a hidden gem with a beautiful and walkable downtown, a diverse music scene, active neighborhoods, unique restaurants, outstanding athletic opportunities, and a robust offering of outdoor and cultural activities. Knoxville enjoys the charm of a small city with opportunities and activities that range from green energy initiatives and community greenways to thriving festival culture, music, culinary, and outdoor recreation scenes. Knoxville’s diverse community brings events such as the Asian Festival, Knoxville Opera’s Rossini Festival, Kuumba Festival, Hola Festival, the Big Ears Festival, Dogwood Arts Festival, and numerous other music festivals and artists. The city is also home to the Knoxville Museum of Art, East Tennessee History Museum, the Beck Cultural Center, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and UT Knoxville’s Frank H. McClung Museum of Natural History. Citing both affordability and quality of life, U.S. News and World Report ranked Knoxville among the best places to live.
Knoxville and the surrounding counties have a statistical area population of over 850,000 people. Moderate home prices enable Knoxville residents to maintain a great standard of living, and commutes to campus are conveniently short. The Knoxville region houses many leading corporations, including Bush Brothers & Company, Clayton Homes, Discovery Inc., PetSafe/Radio Systems Corporation, Regal Cinemas, Pilot/Flying J, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. UTK is located within easy driving distance of Asheville, Nashville, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and the Great Smoky Mountains and is a day’s drive from Memphis, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
For more information about Knoxville, please review: http://www.knoxvillechamber.com/quality-life.
Nominations, applications, and inquiries are being accepted for the position commencing immediately. For confidential inquiries and nominations, please contact Ms. Brooke M. Swart, Executive Recruiter at email@example.com.
Applications should include: (1) a letter of interest addressing the qualifications, (2) a comprehensive curriculum vitae, (3) a statement of leadership philosophy, (4) a statement of philosophy on diversity, equity and inclusion, and (5) the names and contact information (addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses) of five references. Materials should be submitted electronically via (Interfolio Site). Priority consideration will be given to materials received by September 10th, 2021.