Arizona Summit Law School (Summit) invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean. Founded in 2005, the institution received provisional approval from the American Bar Association in 2008 and full approval in 2011. Summit was founded with the express purpose of being a leader in diversifying the nation’s least diverse white-collar profession. Preservation of this mission is dependent upon strong and effective leadership that enables the school to rise successfully to its challenges and facilitates greater understanding of the school’s purpose and social utility.
Although having had impressive bar examination outcomes for many years, the school in recent times has experienced a serious decline in this critical area. The Council of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education recently placed the school on probation, primarily due to lack of rigor in its admissions policy and academic program and processes. Although important changes have been or are being made, effective decanal leadership is critical for purposes of timely demonstrating full compliance with accreditation standards.
The vision for Summit originated with legal educators who saw the need for an institution that would focus less upon law school rankings and more upon providing opportunity for persons with historically limited access to legal education. Unable to identify a traditional university to support this mission, they turned to private capital for its funding – thus the school’s current for-profit status. In large part due to concerns with the school’s for-profit status, Summit has been the subject of considerable negative publicity, especially in recent years as bar pass results declined. This publicity has obscured the institution’s mission and motives. Summit’s board and current leadership are working to transition the school into a not-for-profit institution and university relationship. The Dean will be expected to play an important role in effectuating this change.
Summit is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix and near all major government offices, including the courts. It is one of only three law schools in Arizona. Summit has won numerous awards for diversity and innovation and is a leader in public service, especially in underserved communities. The School has thousands of successful alumni and a dedicated faculty of practitioners and scholars. Phoenix is the nation’s sixth largest city, with a population of ~1.5M as of July 2015. It is renowned for its quality of life, recreational opportunities, cultural diversity, and relative affordability.
The Dean is the chief academic officer of the school, currently reports to the president, and is accountable for the effective administration of its academic program and processes, policies and processes, long-range planning, budgeting, and personnel management. She or he also is responsible for enforcing the policies and regulations adopted by the president and board of trustees and those developed collaboratively with the faculty. Principal duties and/or expectations include:
1) providing leadership to the faculty and staff that facilitates strong student outcomes;
2) creating a strong student value proposition that will attract qualified students and ensure their success;
3) ensuring financial sustainability;
4) identifying and articulating a clear path for its mission;
5) maintaining accreditation and restoring the ABA’s confidence in the school;
6) maintaining a culture defined by transparency and trust; and
7) performing other duties as requested by the President.
An essential attribute for the position is familiarity with accreditation standards and ability to ensure the school’s long-term viability. Candidates should have experience in building strong teams that operate with a minimum of dysfunction. They should be knowledgeable about the challenges facing legal education, be a source of inspiration, help effectuate a smooth transition into a new organizational structure and relationship, and have a clear sense of how to move the school beyond its current challenges and toward achievement of its mission. Experience in legal education and law school administration is desirable, but is not an absolute requirement.
Applications must be submitted by August 15, 2017. Please provide: (1) a letter addressing how the candidate’s background, experience, and vision match the position requirements; (2) a complete curriculum vitae; and (3) the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three references. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be submitted electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Materials that cannot be sent by email may be directed to Arizona Summit Law School, Human Resources One North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004.
The search committee will hold applications and nominations in strict confidence. The review of materials will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For information on the Law School, please visit the website at: http:/www.azsummitlaw.edu.
Arizona Summit Law School is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Inquiries are welcomed from all qualified candidates. Members of historically disadvantaged groups and women are particularly encouraged to apply.
Arizona Summit Law School is a member of The InfiLaw System, a consortium of independent law schools committed to making legal education more responsive to the realities of new career dynamics. Its mission is to establish student-centered, American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools in underserved markets that graduate students with practice-ready skills, and achieve true diversity programs aimed at student academic and career success.