After almost a year of searching, just last week, Northwestern Law school named a new Dean, Daniel Rodriguez. This comes after former Dean David E. Van Zandt ended his 15-year tenure as dean of Northwestern Law last year. While Dean Van Zandt will definitely be missed by the students, faculty and administration at Northwestern, everyone still agrees that it’s very exciting to have the new dean. Not only is Dean Rodriguez professionally accomplished but he’ll also bring a fresh perspective and net set of experiences to the school.
Daniel Rodriguez will take the post Jan. 1, the university said in a news release. And it sounds like everyone at Northwestern can’t wait to for him to arrive. Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said “Northwestern President (Morton) Schapiro and I are extremely pleased that professor Rodriguez, who is known nationally for his legal scholarship and public law work, has accepted our offer. We are confident that his talents are well suited for leading our great law school.”
One reason everyone is excited is because the new Dean is very accomplished. Currently, he holds the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Rodriguez’s background is also impressive. Not only is he a graduate of Harvard Law who is published in a wide number of places, but he was also even named one of the nine transformational deans of the decade in an article by the ABA Journal. Above the Law wrote a similar article about him.
For current and incoming students at Northwestern, it will be interesting to see how things change over the next year or two. Will there be changes in the curriculum? Will the composition of the student body shift over time? Will Northwestern continue to come up with innovative programs that others schools haven’t considered yet?
It’s too early to answer all of those questions now. But it’s worth remembering that it was Dean Van Zandt was one of the early founders to the accelerated JD-MBA program at Northwestern. A program that not only caught on but that also took off. So much that schools like Yale, Wharton/Penn, Columbia and Cornell to name a few, have already followed in Northwestern’s footsteps to create programs of their own.
As a result, it looks like Rodriguez has some big shoes to fill. But I’m sure he’ll be up to the challenge given his background, legal training, and diverse set of experiences. The only question now is, what is Rodriguez going to come up with next?
In anticipation of his arrival, just a few days ago, Northwestern Law also wrote a press release about the Dean’s appointment that it sent out to students. See below for the email that went out to the school.
Congratulations and best of luck to the new dean!
To: Northwestern Law Community
From: NU Provost Dan Linzer
Re: Northwestern University Announces New Law School Dean
It is with great pleasure that President Schapiro and I announce that Daniel Rodriguez, currently the Minerva House Drysdale Regents Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, has accepted our invitation to serve as Dean of Northwestern University School of Law and Harold Washington Professor, effective January 1, 2012. He succeeds David Van Zandt, who had served as the Dean of the school from 1995 to 2010, and Kim Yuracko, who has been serving as interim dean of the School and will continue to do so until the end of the calendar year.
Professor Rodriguez, a graduate of the Harvard Law School, is a nationally prominent scholar in administrative law, local government law, and state constitutional law. He is a leader in the application of political economy to the study of public law, and he has authored and co-authored a series of influential articles and book chapters in this vein.
Before joining the University of Texas law faculty in 2007, Rodriguez served for seven years as Dean and the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law. While serving as Dean, he expanded the size and stature of the faculty, created interdisciplinary programs and new academic centers, and undertook the first major capital campaign for the law school.
Before becoming Dean at the USD School of Law, he was a tenured professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall School of Law). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Southern California, Illinois, and Virginia law schools, as well as at the University of California, San Diego and the Free University of Amsterdam. During the Spring 2011 semester, he was the Stephen & Barbara Friedman Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.
In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Rodriguez has consulted with federal, state and local agencies, has served as an expert witness, has testified before Congressional committees and legislative working groups, and has served in various professional leadership roles, including as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and the Council for the ABA Section on Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. He is an elected member of both the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation.
We are very excited about the appointment of Professor Rodriguez as Dean of the Law School. Please join me in congratulating him and welcoming him to Northwestern University. Please also join me in thanking Interim Dean Kim Yuracko for her outstanding service, and the search committee, and particularly chair Shari Seidman Diamond, for the committee’s excellent work.