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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penn State: Proposed Changes Won't Close Carlisle Campus, Threaten ABA Accreditation

Penn State LogoHarrisburg Following up on yesterday's post:  Harrisburg Patriot News, Penn State Plan Wouldn't Close Dickinson School of Law Campus:

The Patriot-News incorrectly reported on Wednesday that the Penn State Dickinson School of Law is taking measures that would close the campus in Carlisle. School officials say they intend to keep the Carlisle campus operating.

Also, the story incorrectly reported that the steps could cause the Carlisle campus to lose its accreditation. The law school has campuses in Carlisle and State College, and the ABA accreditation reflects the entire law school.

Penn State’s law school appears poised to make major changes to save money. Those changes could include breaking the 2005 contract that requires the university to operate a three-year law school at campuses in Carlisle and State College.

Critics fear that the dean of the Penn State Dickinson School of Law’s proposed options could lead to the closure of the law school in Carlisle.

According to Dean Philip McConnaughay, cost-cutting is necessary to confront a downturn in student applications, something law schools across the nation are experiencing.

McConnaughay insists the plan is to continue operating the Carlisle campus. While suggesting changes that would cut the number of undergraduate law students in Carlisle, McConnaughay has proposed new programs for the Carlisle campus in advanced law curriculum and Penn State’s School of International Affairs. ... Law students could no longer earn all credits needed for a law degree at the Carlisle campus. ...

Nearly all of the professors at the State College campus voted in favor of the changes, while nearly all professors in Carlisle favor the status quo. ...

Could the Carlisle law campus shut down? McConnaughay says no. He said no option being considered would alter what is a vibrant and substantial law school campus in Carlisle. In fact, he said most options call for a strengthened mix of legal education programs there, some of which would be offered to students seeking master’s degrees in law and to others seeking advanced legal studies.

But former law school officials fear the Carlisle campus is at serious risk of being closed by Penn State. Proposed changes would mean fewer students studying in Carlisle, making it hard to justify the expense of two campuses.

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