Law School Dean search: Candidate D, Marcilynn Burke from Houston

Dean of the School of Law

Four candidates for the dean of the School of Law will be on campus to meet with faculty, students, and campus leaders beginning Thursday, February 16. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend the public presentations by each candidate.

The names and background materials for each candidate will be posted three days before the candidate’s visit to campus.

Candidate A: February 16-17 – Mary Anne Bobinski

Professor (7/1/15- present) Allard School of Law University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC Canada

My research and scholarship focus on health law in the United States and Canada. Major fields of interest within health law include public health law, reproductive health law, conflicts of interest in health care and research, and comparative health law. I have taught Torts, Law & Medicine, and Comparative Health Law in the J.D. program and supervised LL.M. and Ph.D. students. During 2015-16, while on administrative leave following the completion of two terms as Dean, I held Visiting Scholar positions at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School (August-September 2015), Sydney Law School (OctoberDecember 2015), and Melbourne Law School (January–March 2016), where I also taught Comparative Health Law (March 2016). From April-August 2016, I was an academic visitor at the Faculty of Law at Oxford University and held a Plumer Visiting Research Fellowship at St. Anne’s College. My current projects include a new edition of Health Care Law & Ethics (Wolters Kluwer, publication expected 2017) and a research project focused on the contested nature of the physician-patient relationship, with a particular focus on legal responses to conflicting values or norms.

Dean and Professor (7/1/03 – 6/30/15) Allard School of Law University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC Canada

Candidate B: February 21-22 – Robert Ahdieh

From his very detailed cover letter:

In important respects, Oregon Law has navigated the crisis in legal education
relatively well. Going forward, in order to build on that achievement, I would encourage the
faculty and broader Law School community to consider and engage two important challenges
the Law School is facing, as well as two potential areas of opportunity.
To begin, I would encourage consideration of how the Law School can further
enhance its scholarly impact and reputation. Here, once again, Oregon Law starts with a good
foundation. Its peer reputation is stronger than its overall rank, and it is – more generally –
seen as a serious and substantial scholarly community. Compared to a number of relevant
peers, however, it has performed relatively less well in citation studies. More generally, I suspect that even its relatively strong peer reputation is not fully reflective of the capacity of
the faculty.

Given its long history of scholarly engagement and place within an AAU-member
public research university, I would cite the foregoing as a critical priority for the Law School.
To address it, I would encourage the faculty to engage in a set of crucial conversations around
how the community can enhance its scholarly impact yet further – including through our
individual efforts as faculty members, but also by way of more effective institutional support
structures and collective encouragement. …

Beyond enhancing scholarly impact, the second challenge I would emphasize – for the
entire Law School community, of faculty, staff, and alumni as well – is the need for improved
placement of Oregon Law’s graduates. Many factors impact the employment rate, of course,
and the employment landscape remains challenging for all schools. But some meaningful lag
behind its peers in employment both at graduation and ten months after graduation puts the
Law School at a significant competitive disadvantage, and disserves our graduates and
alumni. …

Candidate C: February 23-24: Norman Williams, Willamette

He blames the press, not the lack of jobs for lawyers, for falling enrollment:

… More generally, the next Dean must articulate and communicate a vibrant picture of the work of Oregon and a compelling vision of its future. As noted above, legal education has been the subject of sustained criticism in the popular press and elsewhere in recent years; disparaging the work of law schools, it seems, has become something of a journalistic sport. This relentlessly negative press has contributed to the decline in applications to law schools, and it has made the task of fundraising more difficult by portraying legal education as an unwise investment. The next Dean of Oregon must therefore work to rebut this negative conception of legal education and engage the various outside constituencies — alumni, judges, state and local government officials, bar association officers, and business leaders – so that they understand and appreciate the valuable and necessary work undertaken by Oregon. I believe fervently in the mission of the modern law school, and both Oregon’s commitment to producing lawyers dedicated to professional excellence and its ongoing work to adapt its program of legal education to the needs of our technologically-sophisticated economy and socially diverse society are stories that can and should be proudly told. …

Candidate D: February 27-28 – Marcilynn Burke, University of Houston

From her letter:

Sustainable Funding

In addition to helping run the day-to-day operations of UHLC, I am working on several strategic
initiatives, including those to enhance our centers and institutes, as well as our LL.M. degree
programs. We recently began a “3+3” program with our Honors College and are investigating
non-degree granting programs as well. As the dean, I would work to help ensure the success of
Oregon Law’s program with the Robert D. Clark Honors College. I would also work with faculty
and staff to continue the success of the LL.M. programs, as recognized by National Jurist, and
explore the desirability of expanding the LL.M. program in areas of existing strengths. I would
also work to sustain and create robust joint degree opportunities for the students, and support
collaborations with other schools such as the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business; the School
of Architecture & Allied Arts; the School of Journalism and Communications; and the highly
ranked College of Education. I also would welcome the opportunity to explore online options at
the School of Law, as we are currently doing at UHLC.

At UHLC during my tenure as a co-director of the Center for Environmental, Energy and Natural
Resources Law, I began to work actively with the development staff to renew previous financial
commitments and attract new ones. My experience in establishing and building upon relationships
with a host of different stakeholders can only help propel the School of Law’s growth in its donor
base and achievement of its fundraising goals. As dean of Oregon Law, I would work with the
professional staff to develop a communications plan that presents a powerful, LawPOSITIVE, and
coherent image that makes a compelling case for support by key constituencies. Working with the
development team, I am equipped to help the School of Law build upon its recent success in
gaining philanthropic support for the Dave Frohnmayer Leadership Fund and the Legal Research
and Writing Program and meet its goals as part of the University’s current comprehensive



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2 Responses to Law School Dean search: Candidate D, Marcilynn Burke from Houston

  1. Anon says:

    Has Candidate #2 been announced yet? It’s three days from their visit.