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Robert M. Ackerman to head Wayne State University Law School

January 15, 2008

Dean Ackerman DETROIT (Jan. 15, 2008) – Robert M. Ackerman, a Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law professor and former dean of Willamette University College of Law, has been named the 10th dean of Wayne State University Law School, effective this spring. The appointment was announced by Nancy Barrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Professor Ackerman comes to Wayne State Law School from the Dickinson School of Law, where he taught torts, dispute resolution, conflict resolution theory, negotiation and mediation. He also served as chair of several committees and was the director of the Center for Dispute Resolution, the nation’s seventh-ranked law school dispute resolution program.

A cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, Ackerman served as dean and professor of law at Willamette University College of Law from July 1996 to May 1999. While dean, the law school experienced a 60 percent increase in financial aid to law students, a revitalization of the alumni organization and annual giving, enhanced visibility of the Center for Dispute Resolution and Law and Government program, and an increase in the diversity of the faculty and student body.

“I believe we have chosen one of the country’s finest academicians and administrators as dean of our Law School,” said Wayne State President Irvin D. Reid. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with his wisdom, organizational skills and demonstrated ability to lead as we continue to build and strengthen the Law School’s scholarship and reputation.”

Ackerman has held academic appointments at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, the University of Vienna School of Law, the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and Leicester Polytechnic School of Law (now deMontfort University). He has also been employed by the Denver firm of Holme Roberts & Owen and the Harvard Prison Legal Assistance Project.

Ackerman has written extensively in the fields of torts, dispute resolution, communitarian theory and civic responsibility, and his scholarship has appeared in a wide variety of high profile publications. His recent essay, "Taking Responsibility," was a winner of the international Communitarian Essay Contest and was published in the German social science journal Leviathan. His co-authored book (with Robert F. Cochran Jr.) titled “Law and Community: The Case of Torts,” was published early in 2004.

"Robert Ackerman’s extensive experience and knowledge in both academia and the law made him a stellar candidate for the deanship at Wayne State University Law School," Barrett pointed out. "His leadership will be invaluable in fulfilling the law school’s mission and furthering its national and local reputation as a top-notch legal institution.”

“I am honored to have been appointed dean of Wayne State University Law School and look forward to beginning my tenure,” Ackerman said. “With its outstanding faculty, academic programs, clinics and internships, and vast alumni network, Wayne State Law School is a powerhouse in legal education.”

Ackerman is an active participant in professional groups related to conflict resolution, and recently completed a term as chair of the AALS Section on Law and Communitarian Studies. A founding member of Mediators Beyond Borders, he has been working on development projects in Tanzania with Penn State's InterInstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge.

Wayne State University Law School has served Michigan and beyond since its inception as Detroit City Law School in 1927. Located in Detroit’s re-energized historic cultural center, the Law School remains committed to student success and features modern lecture and court facilities, multi-media classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, and the Arthur Neef Law Library, which houses one of the nation's 30 largest legal collections. Taught by an internationally recognized faculty, Wayne State Law School students experience a high-quality legal education via a growing array of hands-on curricular offerings, five live-client clinics, and access to well over 100 internships with local and non-profit entities each year. Its 11,000 living alumni, who work in every state of the nation and more than a dozen foreign countries, include leading members of the local, national and international legal communities. For more information, visit www.law.wayne.edu.

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