Paul L. Caron

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cincinnati Law School Dean Under Fire From Faculty: Ouster, Vote Of No Confidence Discussed As Provost Unveils 6-Month Plan To 'Restore Mutual Trust And Respect' And Dean Lawyers Up

UC BardCincinnati Business Courier, University of Cincinnati Law Dean Under Fire From Faculty:

A group of faculty at the University of Cincinnati College of Law is calling for the ouster of its new dean less than halfway into her five-year contract due to an apparent conflict of priorities.

Meanwhile, UC's interim provost [Peter Landgren] is drafting a six-month plan to "restore mutual trust and respect" as the result of internal consternation between College of Law dean Jennifer Bard and a group of faculty. ...

[A] group of at least nine law professors discussed holding a vote of no confidence in Bard as early as Nov. 22, 2016. ...

A document announcing the plan drafted in December by Landgren and obtained by the Courier through a public records request states that Bard recognizes that certain decisions she has made in her 18-month tenure have created a rift between her own vision for the law school and that of a group of faculty. "Also recognized by the dean are issues relating to her work with and rapport amongst the college's staff," the document reads. ...

Bard, the first female dean of UC's College of Law, started in July 2015. She has an annual salary of $300,000 and her contract runs through June 2020. She previously served as special assistant to the provost for academic engagement at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and directed its J.D./M.D. program. Bard succeeded Louis Bilionis, who returned to full-time teaching after serving two terms as dean. ...

In a Nov. 22, 2016 email, law professor Emily Houh stated "it will be very important for Peter (Landgren) to understand we are prepared to take a vote of no confidence so that he understands the gravity of the situation."

Landgren first asked Bard to meet to discuss conversations he'd had with College of Law faculty on Dec. 12, 2016.

Additional emails exchanged after Landgren's announcement of the drafting of a six-month plan show that a group of faculty were still considering a vote of no confidence for Bard. They discussed who should be eligible to vote. One professor, Verna Williams, called the situation "untenable." The group resolved to meet after Jan. 1 to continue considering options. ...

One email indicates that a group of faculty had approached Landgren asking for Bard's ouster. "It has come to my attention that some faculty members have approached the interim provost at the University of Cincinnati to request the removal of Dean Bard," law professor Betsy Malloy wrote in an email to a group of 29 law faculty. "This news came as a bit of a shock because it appears to have been a request by only a portion of the faculty and a request for an outsider to solve what is clearly an important problem to many of the law faculty."

A Dec. 24 email from professor Bart [sic] Lockwood to a group of faculty indicated he believed that Bard had retained the services of a lawyer. ...

Landgren laid out three core principles that the school should adhere to moving forward:

  • Coaching, with Bard working with a coach to identify and understand faculty's concerns and develop effective ways to address them.
  • Mediated communication to see if there's a possibility of finding common ground. The document suggests Bard meet directly with the faculty and other constituencies with the assistance of a mediator.
  • Periodic evaluation and objective metrics to assess the effectiveness of the plan and get feedback to make adjustments.

The plan was signed by Bard on Jan. 5 and Landgren on Jan. 6.

Legal Education | Permalink


Jason: And sometimes, Deans do dumb things.

Posted by: tony smith | Mar 25, 2017 7:38:31 AM

Two progressive women mentioned in article. Both women of color. Perhaps this isn't about sex, but about RACE. Is the Dean listening to persons of color?

Although sexism is pervasive, this does not always explain why women receive criticism. Check the people making the critiques. What values do they generally preach? The assumption here is that old grey-haired guys are behind this move. It doesn't seem this is true.

Posted by: tony smith | Mar 25, 2017 7:36:42 AM

This article says absolutely nothing about the reasons for her dismissal nor why other faculty objected to her. Journalistic fail.

Posted by: creeper | Mar 23, 2017 7:06:51 AM

This sort of thing happens to new deans a lot. Especially when there is change afoot, this happens a lot. A small proportion of faculty are prepared to resist change. Sometimes it's about having a female leader, sometimes it's about being asked to do things differently. Sometimes it's the interaction.

Posted by: Jason | Mar 22, 2017 8:45:04 AM

And a drop from 60 to 72 on US News and World Report law school rankings...nice.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 21, 2017 5:15:12 AM

BuddyHo, I hear it also happens quite a bit with bad leaders regardless of gender.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 20, 2017 7:28:37 PM

This sort of thing happens to female deans and others in leadership positions a lot.

Posted by: BuddyHo | Mar 20, 2017 10:29:55 AM