School of Law begins search for dean

Jillian Bliss

The search for a replacement dean for the School of Law is underway, according to search committee chair David Rabban.

Rabban said he and other committee members are in the process of generating a list of potential candidates to replace former School of Law dean Larry Sager, who signed a letter of resignation Dec. 7 per request of UT President William Powers Jr. due to concerns over Sager’s management of the school. Sager joined the law faculty in 2002 and became dean in 2006.

Powers said the decision to remove Sager from the law school had nothing to do with the American Bar Association’s re-accreditation of the School of Law this year.

“For whatever reason the faculty was deeply divided and a very large group of faculty was not supportive of the dean,” Powers said. “This new leadership will bring the law school to a common goal. Healthy debates [among faculty] with the common goal of being the best department in the law school is important for moving ahead.”

Rabban said the committee is seeking “an intellectual leader with strong management skills” to fill Sager’s former position as soon as possible. The committee began meeting in November, as members formerly believed they would not need to fill the position until fall of 2012. In August, Sager announced his intent to step down from the position of dean following the academic year without giving a specific reason, according to The Texas Tribune.

“We’re generating a long list of candidates and we’re going to review that list as a committee,” Rabban said. “I can’t say there’s anyone already that we’ve been considering.”

Former associate dean Stefanie Lindquist was selected in December to serve as interim dean until a permanent replacement is found. Powers said Lindquist is already encouraging staff to look ahead, and other law school faculty members are grasping the concept well. Lindquist said she is planning to hold a student forum to update students in the law school about the transition and any updates in the dean search.

Lindquist said she did not have to think twice about accepting the position of interim dean and accepted the role as a part of her job duties.

“I didn’t think about it when President Powers called, I just said yes,” Lindquist said. “The position is enjoyable in the sense that it’s interesting and challenging.”

Lindquist said she is looking forward to returning to her former role and also teaching a number of courses in the law school as soon as the position is filled.