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Two Deans Becoming More Common at Law Schools
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Case Western co-dean

Summary: More law schools are considering the advantages of having two deans over just one dean that leads the school.

A number of law schools have resorted to appointing two deans as a temporary measure until a permanent replacement can be found but some schools are discovering the benefit of keeping two deans.

  
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The law school at Case Western Reserve University asked Michael Scharf and Jessica Berg to fill the role of co-dean when the school found itself in need of one. It was a temporary solution until a dean could be found but the appointment of Scharf and Berg turned into two years. Eventually the co-deans realized they didn’t want to become a dean alone and didn’t want to give up their other roles at the school.

Rutgers University ended up with two deans after merging the two law schools at the university – the Newark campus and the Camden campus. In their circumstance, it made sense to have a dean at each campus.

Read Merger Approved by American Bar Association, Rutgers Law School Created.

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The benefits to having more than one dean are numerous. With two deans there will be increased productivity with twice as much travel, twice as many phone calls answered and made, and speaking with twice as many prospective students. Scharf says having another dean feels less isolated as well. He enjoys having someone else to bounce ideas off of and who knows exactly what he is going through.

Having two deans also leads to less personal prejudice or bias because two people are involved in leadership decisions. However, the deans must get along and respect each other. As Scharf explains, “It’s a lot like being parents, in that your kids will try to divide and conquer. If the faculty ever perceive that they can play one dean against the other, then the model doesn’t work.” The co-deans at Case Western share an email account, draft formal statements together, present a united front at all times, and community constantly.



Determining the salary is the difficult part for schools to decide. Scharf and Berg receive a percentage. The co-deans at the University of New Mexico’s law school split the typical dean’s salary in half. Rutgers is still working on the salary of their co-deans.

Source: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/04/06/why-universities-hire-two-deans-lead-their-law-schools

Photo: cleveland.com



 

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