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April 23, 2013

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Bob Strassfeld

Initially, I thought Creep was the last name.

Bob Strassfeld

We have, incidentally, added a Vice Dean to our bevy of demi-deans. We are assured that vice is not included in his portfolio.

Jacqui Lipton

I should have thought of "Creep" as a last name. That would have been an interesting post!
I think all vice deans should definitely have "vice" in their portfolios. Isn't that what's missing from the modern law school?

Eric Muller

Bob beat me to it: this was my nickname when I was in the administration at UNC Law, as I'm sure my colleagues will attest.

Bill Turnier

When Judith Wegner became dean she created an Associate Dean position that was new to our school and which I first occupied starting in 1990. The title was Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and my primary obligation was to arrange for faculty seminar presentations, brown bag discussions of scholarly interest, etc. I used to joke that the title could also imply that I was obligated to check up the romantic activities of my colleagues. My wife came up with a better title and started to call me as the Minister of Culture. I liked that one.

MLS

My sense is the proliferation of Associate Deans is quite common, and also a common management strategy where a Dean surrounds him or herself with allies. At our school, we now have probably a dozen Associate Deans and now Assistant Deans (when I started about 15 years ago, and we had a larger student body, there were 3 such Deans). It is expensive and Deans can get away with it because there is so little oversight.

Jacqueline Lipton

I guess I should start a new thread with the funniest Associate Dean titles as well!

Eric Muller

"a common management strategy where a Dean surrounds him or herself with allies."

What a paranoid vision, MLS.

A more charitable view is the deans choose to bring people into administration with whom they feel they can work effectively and collegially.

Incidentally, my dean made me Associate Dean for Faculty Development at a time when I was being quite critical of a number of things at my school, including decisions the dean had made. I think he felt that even though I'd been a critic, we would nonetheless work together effectively and collegially. That's exactly what we did.

BWH

"my primary obligation was to arrange for faculty seminar presentations, brown bag discussions of scholarly interest, etc."

That's what our Faculty Development Committee does. Why create a deanship for this?

MLS

In re Eric Muller's comments, I think you misunderstood. It certainly makes sense for Deans to bring in their own people, but then they would be replacing those who hold Deanships. Creating new Deanships is a way to expand one's influence and power, and within law schools the proliferation of such Deanships has been seriously wasteful and rarely productive.

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