Penn State has announced that Dickinson Law School is splitting into two separate law schools. Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost, Nicholas P. Jones, sees advantages in the move. As two law schools, the University Park and Carlisle campuses will give flexibility to students as well as creating marketable skills to address the wider needs of a diverse and changing justice community.
The Dickinson School of Law began at Dickinson College in Carlisle, roughly 80 miles southeast of State College. The law program they established at Penn State’s University Park campus, home of the larger university, will now become independent from the Carlisle campus and operate under the name of Penn State Law at University Park. Penn State Law’s website offers some clarification: The Dickinson School of Law was operating as one law program on both campuses. Now there will be two programs, one for each campus. Both schools will retain their affiliation with Penn State and Dickinson, but operate separately.
Permanent deans for each of the two schools will be appointed this fall for the 2014 – 2015 academic year. In the meantime, Gary Gildin will serve in Carlisle as interim dean and James Houck will fill the same role for University Park. By making this move, Penn State hopes to “allow each location to promote its individual strengths.” The American Bar Association’s educational arm has approved the proposal.
Both law schools will have full accreditation from the ABA, and the changes will not affect current students enrolling this fall. Both the schools will offer three-year law degree programs. The American Bar Association has already approved the proposal by the university to operate the Penn State and Carlisle programs as two independent law schools.