Jocelyn Benson named interim dean of Wayne State University Law School
Wayne State University is pleased to announce the appointment of Jocelyn Benson as interim dean of the Law School effective Monday, Dec. 17.
Benson, an associate professor, has been a key member of the law faculty since 2005 and is the associate director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. In that capacity she created and directs the Michigan Allies Project, an effort designed to track hate incidents throughout the state and provide legal support for victims.
“Professor Benson’s diverse experience and passion for law make her the ideal candidate for this appointment,” said Wayne State President Allan Gilmour. “I am confident that she will have a significant and positive impact on Wayne State University’s Law School.”
Benson founded and is the executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration, which hosts projects that support transparency and integrity in elections. Last year, the center hosted Michigan’s first Citizens’ Redistricting Competition, inviting residents to draw their own redistricting maps for the state. Also in 2011, she was selected to serve with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the board of iCivics, a nonprofit organization that she created to improve civics education in our country. Benson founded and is president of Military Spouses of Michigan.
She is widely published, having written numerous book chapters and Law Review articles. In 2010, her book, “State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process,” was published. It is the first major book on the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. Benson was the Democratic candidate for Michigan’s Secretary of State in the Nov. 2, 2010, election.
Prior to joining the law faculty, Benson clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She also worked as a legal assistant to Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio, and investigated hate groups and hate crimes for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to work more closely with the Law School’s world-class faculty and our outstanding students,” Benson said. “I look forward to building on the foundation of my predecessors and helping the school become the premier public interest law school in the Midwest.”
After receiving a bachelor’s from Wellesley College, Benson earned a master of philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.