Message from the Dean
Dear Alums and Friends,
I write with news of my intention to step down as dean in summer 2013. I believe passionately in the good that I know USF-trained lawyers do in the world and I thrive on working to help provide that gift to our graduates. Nonetheless, I have felt for some time that the transition to a new dean makes sense for the law school, the university, and for me.
For more than 13 years—a length of service I did not expect—I’ve had the privilege of being dean of this remarkable law school that for a century has trained skilled, ethical professionals concerned for others. My tenure as dean has built on the work of those who preceded me, and, over the past 15 years we have continued to experience dramatic change: new facilities, faculty expansion and transition, growing global engagement, and curricular innovation to better situate our students in an increasingly competitive job market, to name just a few.
Despite the pace of change, the law school’s anchor values—academic rigor and excellence woven in a fabric of local, national and global service that underpins our inspiring Jesuit tradition—remain the same and are more critical than ever as the law school begins its second century. Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same: A commitment to providing the best possible education for our students endures as we fulfill our compelling mission that inspires us all—Educating for Justice to Change the World from Here.
It is no secret that there are enormous challenges facing higher education, and law schools in particular, including escalating student debt and a still struggling job market. I am convinced that the law school is well situated to meet these challenges and that a new generation of leadership is ready and able to take up the charge.
My decision to step down has been a difficult one, made even more so because of the close relationship I’ve forged with our alumni community and friends of the law school. I always say that spending time with alums is energizing and inspiring. Your successes and good work are vivid reminders of what the law school is all about. You’ve counseled me, congratulated the law school when things have gone right, and candidly and constructively criticized us when necessary. Working with all of you has been one of the things that I treasure most about my work.
The process to select a new dean is underway, with a committee in place to engage in a national search. Of course, my priority is the well-being of the law school, particularly in our centennial year. I will not leave the deanship until the search has been completed satisfactorily and a new dean is in place.
But I’m not going anywhere just yet. So much remains to be done throughout this academic year as we mark 100 years of distinguished legal education. So rather than a goodbye, please accept this note as a thank you for all you’ve done for the law school and for our students who count on and need your support more than ever. You've enriched the law school and my life as well.
Jeffrey S. Brand