Dean of Washburn University School of Law
Washburn University seeks a student-centered, collaborative, and innovative leader to join its campus and serve its students and community as its next Dean of Washburn University School of Law. Alongside academic deans of the University’s other colleges and schools, the Dean reports to Washburn’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and serves as a senior leader at the institution. The Dean provides academic, intellectual, strategic, and administrative leadership for Washburn University School of Law and is responsible for its effective administration. The Dean works with key stakeholders, both inside and outside of Washburn University School of Law, to advocate for the School of Law’s mission of providing outstanding legal education using innovative and individualized teaching approaches in a collegial and collaborative environment.
Located in Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University was founded in 1865 and educates nearly 7,000 students enrolled in more than 236 academic programs. With approximately 1,200 highly committed faculty and staff members, Washburn matriculates students through certification, associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs that have a meaningful and lasting impact on its graduates, as well as the region and beyond. Its programs are offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, Washburn Institute of Technology, and the Schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing on a 160-acre traditional residential campus, on two technical education campuses, and through distance learning. As a public, municipal, open-access institution, Washburn is proud to offer an affordable, quality education that helps all types of students improve their quality of life while having a positive impact on society.
Washburn University School of Law was founded in 1903 and is one of only two law schools in Kansas. The School of Law has excelled in the categories most important to its students and alumni, the same categories that measure the success of a legal education: a high-quality curriculum; exceptional faculty members and staff; outstanding library resources; favorable graduation statistics, bar pass rates, and employment outcomes; and overall affordability. There are 11 certificates of concentration offered as part of a law degree, two joint degree programs, a master of studies in law, and an LL.M. in global legal studies.
In July 2023, the School of Law moved into its newly constructed state-of-the art building on the southeast corner of the campus. Robert J. Dole Hall is a 65,000 square-foot facility that is a high-tech building, allowing the faculty to use electronic teaching options including the facilitation of remote activities and guests, and recording lectures and presentations. It features appellate and trial courtrooms, an 11,000 square-foot library, and a law clinic.
The Dean facilitates an environment that supports and promotes the faculty’s commitment to student learning and engagement, faculty scholarship, and service to Washburn University School of Law, the University, and the legal profession. The Dean, in partnership with the faculty, is responsible for academic program development and review; faculty recruitment; development and evaluation of faculty members; and student relations.
The Dean is responsible, in cooperation with the Provost, for academic and administrative planning; budgeting; administration and implementation of school and university policies; external relations; and fundraising in partnership with the University Foundation. The Dean works collaboratively with the administration, and with other deans and leaders, to set and accomplish strategic goals for Washburn University School of Law and to align the functioning of the School with Washburn’s broader academic identity and its strategic plan and process.
The incoming Dean will be a dynamic and visionary leader who will build upon the School of Law’s strengths; maintain an inclusive collaborative culture; provide exceptional professional educational experiences for students; recruit and develop an outstanding faculty; and promote scholarly endeavors. The Dean will be a committed team player who is devoted to excellence and shared governance and will be a thoughtful decision-maker, working collaboratively with the faculty, staff, students, and administrators. The Dean will have unquestioned integrity and exemplary interpersonal and communication skills.
The incoming Dean will have the opportunity to build on the long-standing tradition of excellence within Washburn University School of Law and to work alongside both internal and external stakeholders to increase and enhance the mission and reach of the School of Law. Enhancing access and opportunity for students and the faculty through alumni and donor relations will be essential. Bringing and enhancing key program opportunities for students and the School of Law to best serve the region and the state will also be crucial to the success of the new Dean.
QUALIFICATIONS AND KEY ATTRIBUTES INCLUDE:
- JD from an accredited institution with eligibility for appointment at the rank of professor required.
- Residence in Shawnee County.
- Academic record of teaching excellence, scholarship, and service.
- Commitment to participating in development and other external activities, including strengthening alumni relations, and building strategic partnerships.
- Experience and ability to manage financial resources, complex budgets, and personnel.
- Experience and ability to successfully lead a faculty and staff through times of change.
- Commitment to shared governance and constructive interactions through transparent and collaborative leadership.
- Commitment to student success and serving the educational needs of an economically and demographically diverse population.
- Spirit of collaboration and innovation.
- Commitment to participating in the community and profession.
- Proven track record of developing meaningful relationships.
- Knowledge of accreditation standards.
- Knowledge of critical issues in legal education.
- Ability to thrive in a dynamic team environment.
- Open and transparent communication style with excellent interpersonal communication skills.
- Service-oriented personality and leadership style with high emotional intelligence.
- Student-centered approach.
- Visible and accessible approach to leadership.
- Strong moral compass with personal and professional integrity beyond reproach.
- Political astuteness with ability to communicate a position in a non-polarizing manner.
- Critical strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.
- The Search Committee invites letters of interest and nominations to be submitted directly to the search firm, Anthem Executive. Correspondence should include a curriculum vitae and a letter of interest describing relevant experience and interest in the position. Submit materials to Michael Ballew, Scott Watson, JR Wheless, or Florene Stawowy at:
While applications and nominations may be accepted until the position is filled, interested parties are strongly encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible to assure consideration. The deadline for applications is December 4, 2023; however, Anthem and the University reserve the right to end or extend the application and nomination process following this date. Expressing interest is the first step in receiving consideration and does not make one an applicant for the position.
Washburn University is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability (whether actual or perceived by others), religion, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or veteran status (military status or military obligations) in the programs or activities which it operates.