Andy Morriss is stepping down as Dean at Texas A&M to become Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development and lead a new School of Innovation — I-School — at Texas A&M. Andy was named the inaugural dean after Texas A&M acquired Texas Wesleyan Law School for $20 million in 2012 and received ABA approval in 2013. Andy was a transformative dean in his three short years, hiring a number of outstanding faculty (including two impressive tax hires), dramatically shrinking enrollment and reducing tuition, challenging other law schools to be more accountable in their admissions and bar passage practices, embracing a rigorous metrics-based approach for measuring and incentivizing faculty scholarship, and engineering an incredible ascent in the U.S. News Rankings, up 57 places in the overall ranking to 92 (from 149) and 50 places in the academic peer reputation ranking to 101 (to 2.2 from 1.7 (152)). From the press release:
Over the last 18 months, the Council of Deans, as well as various faculty, staff and students have been discussing a concept to further enhance the transformative learning, discovery and impacts of our efforts in creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation across our University. To these ends, Texas A&M University plans to launch a new initiative this fall: the School of Innovation, or “I-School.” We anticipate presenting the I-School concept to the Board of Regents for endorsement later this summer, with a fuller announcement at that time.
The I-School will be a virtual school, designed to transcend traditional college boundaries. While the I-School will not issue degrees or courses itself, the I-School will work to coordinate and communicate the many existing course offerings, experiential programs, offices and services that enhance students’ skills, further faculty scholarship and ensure our university’s efforts to advance aptitude in innovation, entrepreneurship or creativity. Opportunities for faculty affiliation with the I-School will be initiated in fall 2017 and include leadership and program development opportunities.
To fully initiate this effort, we have sought a leader who understands our unique Texas A&M culture, the intent of this concept and who can work collaboratively with all colleges and schools, branch campuses, the University Libraries, Office of Research and various service units working in these arenas to develop a final design and programmatic agenda. Because these ideas extend beyond academic offerings, we also intend to utilize this momentum to restructure our university services in support of economic development, technology transfer, commercialization, and corporate ventures so they operate more fully in unison with our faculty research enterprise and enhance our efforts in innovation.
Based on feedback and numerous recommendations, we are fortunate to announce that Dean Andrew Morriss of the Texas A&M School of Law has agreed to serve as the founding Dean of the School of Innovation and Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.
Dean Morriss has a long record of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. His success as the initial Dean of the Texas A&M School of Law has been extraordinary, helping to realign faculty, staff and student efforts to achieve tier-one excellence and creating unique leadership in fields of strength such as Intellectual Property Law, a program that is currently ranked #7 nationally. These efforts have helped to move Texas A&M School of Law from unranked in 2014 to Top 100 by US News & World Report in 2017.
Dean Morriss will begin this new role on Aug. 1, 2017. A search for a new Dean of the School of Law will commence in the fall with additional details to be shared in the coming weeks.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Henderson & Morriss on Law Schools to Blame for Power of the U.S. News Rankings (June 4, 2007)
- Andy Morriss' Advice for Erwin Chemerinsky: Embrace Competition and Disclose Audited Employment Data (Oct. 7, 2007)
- Henderson & Morriss: Regional Law Schools May Be Better Deal Than Elite Schools (Apr. 14, 2008)
- Henderson & Morriss: Placement Data and the U.S. News Law School Rankings (Sept. 1, 2008)
- NY Times: Is Law School a Losing Game? (Jan. 10, 2011)
- Henderson & Morriss: The U.S. News 'Employed at Graduation' Rankings Metric (Mar. 11, 2011)
- NY Times: For Law Schools, a Price to Play the ABA's Way (Dec. 18, 2011)
- Decline in LSAT Test-Takers Portends 'Death Spiral' for Low-Ranked Law Schools (Mar. 20, 2012)
- Morriss Reviews Tamanaha's Failing Law Schools (Oct. 7, 2012)
- Arewa, Morriss & Henderson: Enduring Hierarchies in Legal Education (Oct. 2, 2013)
- Andy Morriss Named Inaugural Dean at Texas A&M Law School (May 1, 2014)
- Texas A&M Law School Dean's Ten Reasons To Be Cheerful About The Future Of Legal Education (Apr. 2, 2015)
- Tamanaha, Estreicher Respond To Morriss' Ten Reasons To Be Cheerful About The Future Of Legal Education (Apr. 20, 2015)
- Texas A&M Law School Dean Is Still Cheerful About The Future Of Legal Education (May 10, 2015)
- Texas A&M Law School Shrinks Entering Class By 42% (To 140), Vaults 38 Spots (To 111) In U.S. News Rankings (Mar. 21, 2016)
- Boise & Morriss: The Shameful Truth Is That Many Law Schools Have Admitted Students With Low LSAT Scores To Prop Up Tuition Revenue And Now Seek To Avoid Accountability For The Ensuing Poor Bar Passage Results (Dec. 19, 2016)
- Deans Boise & Morriss: Why We Still Support The ABA's Proposed 75% Bar Passage Requirement (Jan. 21, 2017)
- ABA's Rejection Of Stricter Bar-Pass Rule Draws Support, Criticism (Feb. 9, 2017)
- Winners And Losers In The 2018 U.S. News Law School Rankings ... Should It Matter? (Mar. 14, 2017)
- Using Google Scholar Citation Counts To Measure The Impact Of Law Faculty Scholarship (Mar. 31, 2017)