I am honored to begin my term today as Dean of Pepperdine Law School. I am especially proud to have the support of our faculty, staff, students, and university administration in the ambitious plan I outlined as a dean candidate for Pepperdine to become the nation's premier Christian law school by combining academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to our Christian mission that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. We will strive to:
- Maximize our students’ return on investment;
- Pursue ambitious and accountable excellence in everything we do; and
- Build a community in which all students, faculty, and staff are loved, nurtured, and challenged to grow professionally, personally, and spiritually.
My first decision as dean will undoubtedly prove to be my best as I convinced six friends and colleagues to form my leadership team and join me on this exciting journey:
Babette Boliek, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, will be responsible for encouraging, assisting, and promoting our faculty’s work as scholars and teachers. She will organize a regular series of workshops and work closely with the Dean of Faculty.
Selina Brandt, Associate Dean for Student Success, will be responsible for academic success, bar preparation, and job placement to maximize our students’ return on investment in their legal education. She no longer will teach Legal Research and Writing and instead will teach Federal Income Tax and will continue to teach the Bar Exam Workshop course.
Trey Childress, Dean of Faculty, will be responsible for leading and supporting our faculty’s shared commitment to ambitious and accountable excellence in everything we do. In concert with the Dean, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, he will develop and implement a system for encouraging and measuring faculty contributions to the law school in scholarship, teaching, service, and mission to inform decision-making.
Danny DeWalt, Dean of Students and Chief of Staff, will be responsible for non-academic counseling for our students, spiritual life and diversity, and day-to-day operations of the deans’ suite. He will continue to serve as chief financial officer, staff director, and director of the Parris Institute for Professional Formation.
Jim Gash, Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations, will be responsible for our new non-J.D. academic initiatives and alumni engagement, and will assist the Dean and advancement team in their development work. He will guide our admissions team and continue to serve as director of the Global Justice Program.
Naomi Goodno, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, will be responsible for the law school’s academic program and academic counseling for our students.
In addition, I am delighted that Assistant Deans Phil Bohl (Information Services), Katie Dodds (Law Library), Michael Hom (Career Development), and Shannon Phillips (Admissions, Student Information, and Financial Services) will continue to serve in their important positions.
It is especially humbling to follow the incomparable Deanell Tacha as Pepperdine's Dean. In many ways, Deanell helped prepare me for my new role by affording me the great privilege of serving as her Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development these past two years. It was an invaluable experience working side by side with her as Pepperdine adapted to the new realities of legal education. But even more significant was being her next-door neighbor these past four years and becoming dear friends. I was touched to find this note from Deanell on my desk as I began my new duties:
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage: