Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Stephen W. Mazza (Dean, Kansas), Martin Dickinson: 48 Years of Dedicated Service to KU Law, 69 U. Kan. L. Rev. 1 (2020):
The University of Kansas School of Law has a 142-year history.1 During that time, several KU Law faculty have devoted forty-plus years of service to the institution and its students. But only one holds the record for the longest period of service: former dean and Robert Schroeder Distinguished Professor of Law, Martin B. Dickinson (1938–2020). From the time he was hired in 1967 to his retirement from the Law School in 2015, an estimated four thousand KU Law students witnessed his skills as a classroom instructor and they, along with thousands more, benefitted from his leadership of and dedication to KU Law. This brief Article includes facts known to many. It also includes anecdotes and occurrences less well-known, particularly to those who met Martin later in his career and after he stepped down as dean. It is a tribute to an individual who spent his professional life in service to his students and colleagues. ...
At this retirement party, Martin’s former students, his friends, and his admirers generously donated to a fund in his honor. After chatting with him about how the Law School might use that funding, we eventually settled on a teaching award for faculty. Martin made it clear that the students should be given the honor of selecting the award recipient. He carefully crafted the criteria and insisted on procedures that would encourage students to participate in the selection process. At the same time, he wanted to reward those faculty who challenged students to think critically, who set clear learning outcomes, and who were available to students outside of class.
The Martin B. Dickinson Teaching Award stands as a testament to a faculty member who spent his 48 years at KU Law promoting his faculty colleagues and establishing a reputation as an outstanding and caring classroom teacher. It benefits faculty colleagues and honors current students by allowing them to make the award selection. Just as importantly, it ensures that Martin’s contribution to KU Law will never be forgotten.