Archive for Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Law school dean to resign

McAllister to stay on KU faculty

January 19, 2005


One of the highest-profile deans at Kansas University will step down later this year.

Steve McAllister, dean of the School of Law since July 2000, announced Tuesday he planned to resign Aug. 15 and return to teaching.

"I'm moving on," McAllister said. "The plan is return to the faculty, but I've got a lot of options to consider. I consider myself young with a lot of time to do a lot of the things I want to do."

On campus, the 43-year-old may be best known for serving as interim director of the Dole Institute of Politics from October 2003 to September 2004, and for bringing high-profile speakers such as Supreme Court justices Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Byron White and Antonin Scalia, and former U.S. Atty. Gen. Janet Reno.

Off campus, he's known for serving as state solicitor from 1999 to 2003 under former Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall and arguing and assisting in several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including defense of the state's sexual predator law.

McAllister said his options for the future included private legal practice, working in politics and working for the state attorney general.

He said he also would consider working on the nomination process for Thomas, if Thomas is nominated to be chief justice. McAllister served as a clerk for both Thomas and White.

"I'm open," McAllister said. "I haven't been one to sit still."

McAllister said he made the decision to resign over the holidays while he spent time with family. He said being dean meant long hours and frequent trips, and he wanted to spend more time with his children. He has two children and two stepchildren, with another baby expected in the next month.

McAllister said he chose to resign in August so he could finish several projects over the summer, including renovation of the Green Hall student commons area.

Lynn Bretz, a KU spokeswoman, said officials hadn't decided whether to conduct a search for a replacement dean for the 2005-2006 school year or fill the position with an interim dean.

David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor, said in a statement he was glad McAllister planned to stay on the KU faculty.

"The School of Law has made significant gains under Steve's leadership, from outstanding hires in new faculty to an extraordinary speaker series of nationally prominent legal minds," Shulenburger said.

McAllister, a native of Lucas, graduated from the KU School of Law in 1988. In addition to serving as a Supreme Court clerk, he was in private practice in the Washington, D.C., office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher before joining the KU law faculty in 1993.

The law school is ranked 33rd among U.S. public law schools by U.S. News and World Report. During McAllister's tenure, the percentage of minority students has increased from 10 percent to 20 percent.

He also helped raise $13 million during the KU Endowment Association's KU First capital campaign.

Law professor John Head was impressed with McAllister's work as dean.

"He was very devoted to the law school, certainly, and I think he offered very good efforts," Head said.

-- Staff writer Mike Belt contributed information to this report.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.