I have a warm spot in my heart for the students and faculty at OCU -- they have for decades now provided a very solid education for both full-time and part-time students and their alumni have consistently gone on to have rich and meaningful careers. OCU places a very heavy emphasis on education, so the faculty have a sense of mission that I found inspiring. The next dean will find some great fundamentals in place in terms of a loyal and enthusiastic alumni base, as well as a strong faculty, with strong connections to the Oklahoma and north Texas legal communities. Moreover, OCU's president is Robert Henry, who came back to the school from the Tenth Circuit. (Judge Henry was the dean at OCU law before going on the Tenth Circuit.) There is a distinguished lineage to the deanship at OCU -- after Judge Henry went to the Tenth Circuit, our next permanent dean was Rennard Strickland, who went from OCU to the deanship at Oregon.
It's been a few years since I was in Oklahoma City, but I also want to add something about the city. Oklahoma City's been on an strong upward trajectory in recent years; the Thunder (the basketball team they imported from Seattle) is a sign of the money and optimism in Oklahoma City these days, Another sign of the growth of the city is Bricktown, the renovated warehouse district. There's of course great barbeque (and just down the road in Norman, football). And for those who are interested in race and law in the twentieth century, there's a lot to study in Oklahoma. I'm guessing this latter point will be of less interest to the next dean of OCU than it is to me; still, Oklahoma offers a lot in terms of quality of life, as well as research opportunities. I remember one of the first evenings that I was there -- way back in August 1994 -- that I was outside at dusk and I looked across the sky and saw every imaginable color. Oklahoma is a place of extraordinary beauty and mystery, as well as a mix of cultures and politics.
What I find of some interest is the "leadership criteria" they are looking for. Perhaps these are all rather obvious, but I think it's helpful for both schools and dean candidates to think about these kinds of issues. Putting those criteria in print may help shape the pool.
Update: As of April 29, Eric Laity has been appointed interim dean.