Wayne State University

Wayne Law Dean Search



Wayne State University in Detroit invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Law School. Wayne State University Law School’s strengths include a productive and internationally recognized faculty, a diverse and talented student body, and deep roots in the Michigan legal community. More of Michigan's judges and top lawyers are graduates of Wayne Law than of any other school. 

With recent improvements in national rankings, enrollment, graduate employment, and bar passage rates, Wayne Law is well-positioned to further elevate its national stature.  Wayne State University seeks a Dean who will energetically pursue this upward trajectory.

The Position

The Dean reports to the Provost of the University and serves as the chief administrative and academic officer of the Law School.  Candidates must hold a J.D. or LL.B. from an ABA-accredited law school and be qualified for tenure and appointment as a full professor in the Law School.  The successful candidate will exhibit most or all of the following characteristics:

  • Dedication to excellence in scholarship and teaching
  • A vision of legal education in an evolving marketplace, including collaborations with other disciplines
  • Proven ability in academic leadership and administration
  • An enthusiasm for and ability to lead the Law School’s fundraising and development efforts and to enhance its reputation locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally
  • A collaborative approach and the ability to work well with faculty, staff, and university administration
  • Ability to develop and maintain relationships with alumni, members of the Michigan bench and bar, and citizens and policymakers in the Detroit community and beyond
  • A commitment to diversity within the Law School community consistent with its mission as an urban public institution
  • A commitment to fostering the Law School's active participation in the resurgence of Detroit
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, budgeting, and human resources
  • Ability to advance the University’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, Distinctively Wayne State University, and support efforts toward completion of the University’s comprehensive $750 million capital campaign

The Law School

The Law School seeks a Dean who will continue its upward trajectory, and take advantage of and build upon its many assets, which include:

  • A strong and continuing tradition as “Michigan’s law school,” with over 11,000 alumni,  including leading members of Michigan’s legal community, including Distinguished Jurist in Residence and retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kelly, ranking member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Rep. John Conyers Jr., several judges on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and many state court judges, prosecutors, public officials, and senior partners in major law firms. 
  • Unprecedented success in fundraising, including the two largest gifts in the history of the law school.
  • An exceptionally productive and well-regarded faculty, including four tenured or tenure-track professors who have been appointed during the past five years, with additional hiring ongoing.  Members of the Law School faculty author leading casebooks, publish with major academic presses, write popular blogs, and routinely place articles in top law journals.
  • A diverse, highly credentialed student body of approximately 440 students, taking into account the full-time and part-time J.D. programs and the LL.M. programs.  Most recently, the Law School posted an incoming class enrollment increase of 5 percent (following an increase of 10 percent the previous year) with a median LSAT score of 157 and median grade point average of 3.45.
  • A ranking among the Top 100 (No. 97) in U.S. News & World Report and recognition (for the third consecutive year) as a Best Value Law School by The National Jurist and preLaw magazine.
  • A record of preparing its students superbly for law practice. For our Class of 2015, 87.4 percent were employed 10 months after graduation (up from 86.3 percent the previous year). Our passage rate among graduates on the July Michigan bar exam consistently exceeds the state average. Our July bar passage rate was 80 percent for first-time takers (up from 79 percent the previous year).
  • A well-established and growing array of “hands-on” curricular offerings, including seven clinics (Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, Business and Community Law Clinic, Civil Rights Clinic, Criminal Appellate Practice Clinic, Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic, Patent Procurement Clinic, and Transnational Environmental Law Clinic); a wide array of corporate counsel, criminal justice, judicial, and public interest externships each year; and courses taught by sitting judges and practicing lawyers in subjects such as advocacy and professional responsibility.
  • The Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights, an institution dedicated to training the next generation of civil rights leaders and promoting the educational, economic, and political empowerment of under-represented communities in urban areas.
  • The Levin Center at Wayne Law, which educates future attorneys, business leaders, legislators, and public servants in their roles overseeing public and private institutions and using oversight as an instrument of change.
  • The Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation’s 30 largest legal collections. 

The University

Since 1915, Wayne State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States that provides accreditation to colleges and universities at the institutional level.

The University’s mission is to create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities.

Wayne State University holds the Carnegie Foundation’s top classification for research activity.  Enrollment is over 27,000 students in more than 380 academic programs within the 13 schools and colleges.  Graduate and professional enrollment is nearly 9,600, and annual research expenditures totaled nearly $218 million in fiscal year 2014.  National Science Foundation ranking data places Wayne State 55th among public universities.  The University’s operating budget for fiscal year 2015 was $602 million.

Located in the heart of Detroit’s University Cultural Center, the main campus encompasses nearly 200 acres, linking 100 education and research buildings.  Five satellite campuses in the metropolitan area provide a wide selection of academic courses.  Expansion of on campus housing in recent years has led to approximately 3,100 students live in Wayne State University residence halls and apartments in the thriving Midtown area.  Wayne State enrolls students from every state and 65 foreign nations.

The University, in partnership with the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, plays a key role in Michigan’s University Research Corridor Initiative, and is closely involved with Tech Town Detroit, the area’s business incubator.

By 2021, the University’s Strategic Plan, “Distinctively Wayne State University” will result in a thriving, bustling institution where every student has a clear pathway to academic and career success and the opportunity to flourish in a diverse, collaborative, innovative environment. Through its urban-focused research and community engagement, Wayne State will be recognized nationally and globally both as a leader in the revitalization of Detroit and in implementing innovative pedagogies that enable all students, regardless of background, to progress in a timely fashion to degree attainment.

The City of Detroit

Detroit is the fourth largest city in the Midwest, and the largest city on the United States–Canada border. It is the seat of Wayne County, the most populous county in the state.  Detroit had a 2015 estimated population of 677,116, making it the 21st-most populous city in the United States. The metropolitan area is home to 4.3 million people and lies at the heart of the Great Lakes Megalopolis area, with approximately 60 million people.

The City of Detroit anchors the second-largest economic region in the Midwest, behind Chicago, and the 14th largest in the United States. Detroit and its neighboring Canadian city Windsor are connected through a tunnel and various bridges, with the Ambassador Bridge being the busiest international crossing in North America.

With a strengthening economy, the restoration of several historic theatres and entertainment venues, high rise renovations, new sports stadiums, and a riverfront revitalization project, there is an air of excitement in the city and the population of Downtown Detroit, Midtown Detroit, and other neighborhoods has increased significantly.  Southeast Michigan offers a diverse, economically attractive location with world-class arts, culture, and recreation.

Based on a survey of more than three hundred national business leaders, a recent report, The Detroit Reinvestment Index: A Kresge Foundation Measure of Detroit's Progress, found that 74 percent of respondents see Detroit as a city that is recovering economically, while 71 percent view it as a city with potential.  According to the index, 71 percent of respondents consider the city a good place to invest; 84 percent said they were confident that Detroit can become a great city again; and 66 percent said they had developed a more favorable view of Detroit recently based on what they have seen, read, or heard. In addition, the city was seen to embody racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity (74 percent); a rich cultural history (74 percent); and an affordable cost of living (70 percent).

The Process

Review of applications and nominations will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  Nominations for the position should be sent by e-mail to the Dean Search Committee c/o Korn Ferry at WayneLaw@KornFerry.com.  To ensure full consideration, applications should be received by February 15, 2017.  The anticipated start date is July 1, 2017.  Please direct any questions to Korn Ferry by email.

Applications for the position must be submitted via the University’s online application system.  Please visit http://jobs.wayne.edu to view the complete job posting and submit an online application.  Refer to posting number F96764.  Applications should include a cover letter and CV.

Wayne State University is a premier, public, urban research university located in the heart of Detroit where students from all backgrounds are offered a rich, high quality education. Our deep rooted commitment to excellence, collaboration, integrity, diversity and inclusion creates exceptional educational opportunities preparing students for success in a diverse, global society. WSU encourages applications from women, people of color, and other underrepresented people. Wayne State is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

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Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan