SEARCH PROSPECTUS: Dean of the College of Law

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1 SEARCH PROSPECTUS: Dean of the College of Law

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 The College of Law 4 Mission of the College of Law Academics and Curriculum at the College of Law 5 History, Accreditation and Enrollment 6 Location, Facilities and New Plans 7 Opportunities, Challenges and Characteristics for the Next Dean 9 About the University and the UNT System 10 Procedure for Nominations and Applications 2

3 The University of North Texas at Dallas (UNTD) invites nominations and applications from exceptional legal leaders to serve as the next Dean of its College of Law. UNTD is a relatively new university overall, and the College of Law is even newer, having just graduated its first class in 2017, after having just achieved provisional ABA accreditation in time for that first graduation. THE COLLEGE OF LAW The UNTD College of Law offers a uniquely innovative legal education, at a very affordable tuition, that provides a high value in a dynamic downtown Dallas location. The College of Law utilizes the best instructional practices, offers engaged, experiential, and collaborative learning, and provides ongoing assessment for students. Since sound legal judgment is cultivated by experience, the College gives students ample opportunities to do real law. Most upper level courses include a practice component that applies the subject matter to specific issues in a manner that develops practical competencies. Students actively participate in practice settings while receiving mentoring and guidance throughout their education. UNTD College of Law students not only learn legal theory, but also practical skills, such as how to negotiate, how to prepare an agreement, and how to manage a practice. In short, they learn skills that relate to practicing real law in the real world. Students also move purposefully towards readiness to pass the bar exam upon graduation. The College of Law s presence in downtown Dallas provides students ready access to the courts and to outstanding lawyers, judges and other legal professionals and government officials. Students gain direct experience and foster future opportunities by close working relationships with experienced members of the profession, thus enriching their classroom experiences. UNTD believes that a community's lawyers should be as diverse as the communities they serve. Thus, the College serves a wide range of students who have the potential to be successful lawyers not just to those who score the highest on standardized admission tests. As a public law school, the College of Law is committed to offering a top-quality legal education at an extremely competitive cost. By controlling costs, tuition remains at a level that increases initial access and later options for graduates. Full-time resident tuition is currently below $17,500 per year, which makes UNTD one of the most affordable law schools in the country. 3

4 MISSION OF THE COLLEGE OF LAW The mission of UNT Dallas College of Law is to promote justice and advance human potential through the enterprise of legal education. At the heart of its mission are five key goals: Access: To widen access to legal education for those who could be superb legal professionals but who lack realistic access to legal education given factors including cost, location, and the influence of current ranking formulas on admission and scholarships. Preparation: To provide a legal education aimed at excellence in developing the full range of practicerelated competencies. Value: To create opportunity for students by keeping tuition and debt low, consistent with delivering an excellent legal education, and producing graduates with high value and ability in multiple segments of the market for legal services. Innovation: To be a national leader in advancing understanding of best legal education practices, of professional formation, and of the relationship between legal education and the evolving practice and business of law. Community: To be a valuable partner in dialogue and study with the legal profession and the Dallas-Fort Worth community. ACADEMICS AND CURRICULUM AT THE COLLEGE OF LAW In recent years, a national conversation has taken place among legal educators and legal professionals about ways to improve legal education. The UNT Dallas College of Law designed its educational program to act on these discussions, incorporating many insights and findings into actual course content, instructional methods and co-curricular activities, reflecting its core beliefs about legal education and the legal profession. UNTD s legal education strives, from day one through graduation day, to develop the full range of skills, aptitudes, and professional values necessary for effectiveness as a legal professional. The College gives students feedback on a regular basis to help them grow in understanding their strengths and areas for improvement, all the time deeply linking legal education to the effective practice and profession of law. The College continues to build and evolve its curriculum by constantly asking: what must an effective lawyer know, understand, and be able to do, in general and in different areas of legal practice? And the College continually assesses how effective its own methods are in educating and preparing its students and makes adjustments accordingly. The curriculum at the UNT Dallas College of Law reflects three overall aims: Ensuring that all students graduate with practice-ready competencies; that is, the knowledge, understanding, and skills essential to the practice of law; Providing students with the opportunity to explore a range of interest areas through electives and experiences; and Providing students with the opportunity to develop deeper and specialized knowledge, skills, and understandings in areas that interest them. 4

5 HISTORY ACCREDITATION AND ENROLLMENT UNT Dallas College of Law received legislative authorization in 2009, when the Texas legislature approved the College of Law and earmarked $5 million of the State s budget for the law school. In January 2012, the UNT System announced the appointment of the College of Law s Founding Dean, the Honorable Royal Furgeson, U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Texas, who began his appointment as Dean in June 2013 after retiring from the federal bench. In September 2012, the College of Law announced the appointment of Professor Ellen S. Pryor to serve as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The College of Law initially operated as a unit within the UNT System, and then became a professional school within the University of North Texas at Dallas on September 1, The College received provisional accreditation effective June 3, 2017, from the American Bar Association s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar. That status permits its graduates to be considered by the ABA to be graduates of an ABA-approved law school thus to be eligible to sit for most state bar exams. Provisional approval is expected to last for three to five years. In July of 2017, the College s first 21 graduates, plus 38 other students who were within a few credits of graduation, took the Texas Bar exam. UNT Dallas College of Law enrolled its first day and evening students in the fall of By the Fall 2016 its enrollment had grown to 215 full-time and 172 part-time students, and its class grew further to 247 full-time and 175 part-time students in the Fall of The part-time students attend classes in the evenings, and faculty are fully committed to both day and evening students. 5

6 LOCATION, FACILITIES AND NEW PLANS The College of Law is currently located in downtown Dallas, at 1901 Main Street, in the same building with the UNT System offices. The College s space in the building is roomy, modern, highly functional and bright, as a result of a $29 million renovation project in 2013 designed to prepare facilities specifically for the UNTD College of Law. That central and ideal location puts students in the heart of many professional and cultural opportunities, including proximity to courts, to the bar, and to outstanding lawyers. Facing the new Main Street City Park completed in 2009, the building is near the Civic Center, the Dallas Arts District, the Farmers Market, Thanksgiving Tower District, and Reunion District, along with nearby Dallas areas including Uptown, Victory Park, Deep Ellum and the West End. In recognition of its rapid growth and to provide for its long-term future needs, the College of Law plans to expand and move most of its operations diagonally across the street into the Municipal Building, while retaining its library and some other offices in its current location, making UNT Dallas College of Law a two-building campus. The Municipal Building is a granite and limestone Beaux Arts structure built in After serving as Dallas s City Hall until 1978, the building then housed the Dallas Police headquarters until The entire world became aware of this building in 1963 when, two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in the building s basement. The Municipal Building's 100th Birthday was celebrated in October The City Council of Dallas has expressed its commitment to provide the Municipal Building to serve as the future home of the UNT Dallas College of Law, and the State of Texas is investing $56 million into the renovation and furnishing of the building. The College of Law expects its new home to be completed by June of

7 OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES AND CHARACTERISTICS FOR THE NEXT DEAN The next Dean of the UNT Dallas College of Law should be a dynamic and engaging legal leader, fully supportive of the College s mission and educational innovations, with ideas and openness to further improvement in legal education and betterment of its students careers. Experience with ABA accreditation is highly desirable, as is experience with fundraising, expansion of academic programs, and management of fiscal resources for a school of law. A J.D. from an accredited law school or other earned doctorate degree is required. Substantial experience in legal teaching and legal practice is desired. Other academic, judicial, government, nonprofit or service experience may also be considered if substantively related to legal education or practice. The position is expected to carry the rank of full professor and to be tenured. The Dean will report directly to the UNTD Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Betty H. Stewart, and will also interact closely with UNTD President Bob Mong. The Dean will oversee all of the day-to-day operations of the College of Law in downtown Dallas. The Dean serves as the chief academic and administrative officer of the College of Law, provides visionary leadership, and promotes academic excellence and achievement within the faculty, staff, and students. The successful candidate will be an inspiring and experienced professional who is committed to the University s overall mission and the specific mission of the College. The key opportunities and challenges facing the next Dean will likely include the following: Mission-Critical. As described above, UNT Dallas College of Law has a clearly defined mission, focused on five values and goals. Access, affordability, practice-ready education, innovation and community engagement are all fundamental values that the next dean should fully embrace. The Dean should demonstrate a desire to actualize those missions and goals and to enhance their achievement going forward. Given its recent provisional accreditation status, and its potentially shifting application pools, the College wants to ensure that it remains true to all of its goals, including particularly access and community. Accreditation. The College worked very hard to obtain provisional ABA accreditation just before the graduation date of its first class, and continuing to meet ABA standards and achieving full accreditation will be vital to the College s long-term success. Many individuals at the College and University contributed to the accreditation success to date, and the next Dean will play a critical role in leading the team and marshalling people, resources and allies, while also ensuring demonstrable success of the College s admissions, education and preparation practices. Among other standards, the College intends to have its graduates meet the ABA s 75% bar passage rate, which will require improvement in future years, as its very first group of eligible students passed the Texas bar in July 2017 at a rate of 59%. 7

8 OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES AND CHARACTERISTICS FOR THE NEXT DEAN (CONT.) Fundraising and Friend-Raising. The next Dean should be a person who enjoys external interactions, with members of the practicing bar and judiciary, with government officials, with nonprofit legal service providers and other community-oriented groups, and with donors and supporters of the College of Law and the University. As only the third law school in the large greater Dallas-Ft. Worth metropolitan area, and the first law school located in downtown Dallas itself, the College has enjoyed tremendous support from Texas, Dallas, government officials, the bar, and other public and private groups. The next Dean will need to continue and enhance such relationships, particularly in the multiple ways that contribute directly to the educational mission of the College. Academic Leadership. As a young and creative law school, the College needs appropriate academic leadership to refine and implement policies and standards in a manner that fits its mission, its stage of development, and its largely nontraditional faculty. Such standards may include faculty professional development and advancement, curriculum development, educational assessment and innovation, and student-centered approaches to all issues. Resources are not unlimited, so careful budgeting, hiring, and management will be among the keys to success of the next dean. 8

9 ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY AND THE UNT SYSTEM The University of North Texas at Dallas, the only regionally-accredited public university in the City of Dallas, is a young and growing urban institution. It serves a diverse and predominantly first-generation student body of over 3,000 with opportunities in 20 undergraduate programs and seven master s programs, and one professional program, the Juris Doctor. The University opened in 2000 as a University of North Texas satellite campus, and in 2006 the first classes were held at the current 264- acre campus in southern Dallas. In 2010 the first freshman class was admitted, and in May 2013 the first graduating class received degrees. In January 2014 the University was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The University s 264-acre main campus is located in southern Dallas on University Hills Boulevard, north of Interstate 20 and between Interstates 35 and 45. At present there are two handsome, modern buildings that house the classrooms, meeting and dining space, faculty and staff offices, and administration. The first residence hall was completed in early 2017 to serve local students who choose to live on campus or students who are recruited to the University from other cities, states, or countries. A fourth building, the Student Learning and Success Center, is expected to be completed by Fall There is, extensive parking and outdoor meeting and recreation space. The recently completed Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) blue line terminates near the campus effectively linking the university to all of DART s service area in Dallas. UNTD offers programs leading to bachelor s and master s degrees in high-demand fields, including criminal justice, teacher education, business administration, sociology, public health, and counseling, many of which are complementary to the College s legal studies. New programs are regularly being added to serve both the students needs and the area s needs for a highly qualified workforce. Among the faculty and staff at UNTD, there is great commitment to the mission of the University. Both faculty and staff are student-centered and demonstrate uncommon interest in serving the students, most of whom are the first in their families to enroll at a university. There is determination to develop the potential of each of the students and to ensure their success. There is also keen awareness of the need to engage and serve the University s surrounding community and the recognition that improving the social mobility of people in that area will benefit not only those individuals, but also the city and the state. The University of North Texas System includes three separately accredited institutions, the University of North Texas (UNT) located in Denton, the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, and UNTD. UNTD s main campus is located in southern Dallas. The UNT System is governed by a Board of Regents whose nine voting members and one student regent are appointed by the Governor of the State of Texas. 9

10 PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Applications received by January 10, 2018, will be given full consideration. Send a letter that addresses the minimum and preferred qualifications; a curriculum vitae; and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and addresses of five references. All submissions will be treated in confidence and should be sent electronically (MS Word format preferred) to academic-search.com. The committee is assisted by Dr. Wanda Durrett Bigham, Senior Consultant, who can be reached at com or by calling , and William F. Howard, Esq., Senior Consultant, who can be reached at or by calling The University of North Texas at Dallas is an EO/AA employer 10

11 ABOUT ACADEMIC SEARCH Academic Search, Inc. is assisting University of North Texas at Dallas in this work. For more than four decades, Academic Search has offered executive search services exclusively to institutions of higher education. Academic Search was founded on the principle of strengthening higher education leadership through professional search services. We are the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), Academic Search provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. For more information, visit Identifying leaders for higher education since Committed to identifying and DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP, by providing the highest level of search to our clients and assisting in ENRICHING THE PIPELINE of potential leaders in higher education

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