MSU College of Law News

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April 23, 2007

Dean of College of Law Resigns, Search to Begin

Terence L. Blackburn, dean of the Michigan State University College of Law for the past seven years, announced today that he will resign from his position effective July 1, 2007.  Blackburn will continue to serve as a faculty member in the College of Law, combining teaching and research with international service.

“I feel very fortunate to have been the leader of the College of Law during a period of extraordinary growth and change,” Blackburn said. “It has been an exciting time for all of us at the college, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished during my deanship.”

Blackburn has been on leave from the college this semester to act as a special consultant for the American Bar Association (ABA) Rule of Law Initiative project on legal education reform in Amman, Jordan.

“My work with the ABA team in Jordan has reignited my commitment to international law and international legal education,” Blackburn said. “I look forward to continuing my work in this area.”

Clifton E. Haley, president of the College of Law, indicated that the board has accepted Blackburn’s resignation.

“The law college has grown much stronger during Dean Blackburn’s long and productive tenure,” Haley said.  “During Dean Blackburn’s tenure the College of Law has become the No. 2 ranked law school in the State of Michigan, and its 2006 graduates achieved a 96 percent pass rate on the Michigan Bar examination. The credentials of the entering class have risen substantially, more than 26 talented new faculty members have been hired; and several new academic programs have been created, including the nationally ranked Intellectual Property and Communications Law Program and the Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute.

 “Dean Blackburn also has worked to strengthen the connection between the College of Law and its alumni in the bench and bar.” Haley said. “The board appreciates Dean Blackburn’s many contributions to the success of the College of Law over the last seven years.”

MSU Provost Kim Wilcox underscored that through Blackburn’s leadership, the College of Law made tremendous structural and academic advancement.

“During Dean Blackburn’s tenure, the College of Law took its place among Michigan State’s other colleges and significantly improved its regional, national, and international academic and professional reputation. Its status in the recent rankings demonstrates that it is achieving recognition nationwide.”

Wilcox noted that the progress of the College of Law and its strong relationship with the university will be attractive to prospective candidates for the dean’s position.

Wilcox will immediately begin meeting with College of Law faculty to establish a search process for a new dean. The search process will be similar to that used by the university for other college dean searches with modifications to provide for the role of the College of Law Board of Trustees. Acting Dean Cliff Thompson, dean emeritus of the University of Wisconsin Law School, will continue to serve in his current capacity until the dean search is complete.


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