Archive for Monday, January 4, 2010

KU’s Law Dean leaving for similar opportunity at Iowa

January 4, 2010, 11:10 a.m. Updated January 4, 2010, 4:56 p.m.


Kansas University leaders will now have to fill a fourth high-profile administrative position after Gail Agrawal, KU’s law school dean, announced Monday she was leaving in July for the same position at the University of Iowa.

“The decision to leave my faculty and staff colleagues here at KU has been the most difficult of my professional career, even as the offer to lead the Iowa College of Law is a once-in-a-career opportunity,” Agrawal said.

She said Iowa has some new initiatives in policy and health reform, which are areas of her interest.

Danny Anderson, KU’s interim provost, lauded Agrawal’s performance as dean at KU since 2006 and said she helped advance research and emphasized diversity in faculty and student recruitment.

“Given a person of her stature, it’s not surprising that another nationally prominent law school would want someone like her,” Anderson said.

Agrawal will finish the academic year at KU. Anderson said he was in the process of appointing a committee for a national search. He said he would also soon appoint an interim law dean.

This will be the fourth major search in the KU leadership shakeup that began more than a year ago. Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, the former provost at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, took over in August for Robert Hemenway, who opted to return to writing and teaching.

KU officials also must fill top academic positions of provost, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the first dean of the new School of Music, in addition to the law school dean position.

“I view that as an opportunity for the new chancellor to put together her own leadership team,” said Mike Hoeflich, a KU law professor who was the school’s dean from 1994 to 2000.

KU officials on Monday credited Agrawal for revising the curriculum for first-year students, boosting the percentage of alumni giving and improving the school’s record on diversity.

U.S. News and World Report ranked KU as 32nd in the nation among public university law schools. Among law schools overall in the rankings, KU was ranked 65th, while Iowa was ranked 26th.

Agrawal had served on the North Carolina law faculty for nine years before coming to Lawrence.

“We will use that same approach as we are searching for a new dean to really ensure that we continue to have someone of the stature of Dean Agrawal who will help us advance the kind of projects that have been a priority for the past three years,” Anderson said.

Bill Westerbeke, a KU law professor for 36 years, said Agrawal was an effective administrator who had helped start restructuring the school’s curriculum.

“I think generally people have been very happy with her and are kind of sad that she’s leaving,” Westerbeke said.


KU_cynic 8 years, 5 months ago

The crisis of leadership at KU continues. Vacancies include: provost, dean liberal arts, dean law. There are also a lot of "interim" leaders at various vice-, assistant-, associate-, etc. positions, or long-time office holders who are just hanging on.

Thin bench for rookie chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little-Accomplished-Yet.

Hektor 8 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps this time the search committee will focus on finding someone with some Kansas ties and who is student focused.

I would like to see the committee hire a Dean that recognizes that the position has three primary responsibilities:

1) Ensuring the students receive a rigorous education so that you don't have to be in the top 25% and on Law Review to get a job.

2) Maintaining relationships with alums and local firms to bring in dough and help students get jobs.

3) Attracting the best and brightest professors.

Other priorities such as public interest involvement and diversity should never interfere or distract from the Dean's, and the School's, primary focus.

MyName 8 years, 5 months ago

wow, did they finally figure out that Jacob123 was someone they'd already banned multiple times? 'cause he seems to be gone...

ralphralph 8 years, 5 months ago

I would think going from KU to Iowa would be a "lateral" move ... if not, then that would be bad news for KU Law.

lawyerboy 8 years, 5 months ago

ralphralph...KU's College of Law ranks #68; University of Iowa is #26.

KU_cynic 8 years, 5 months ago

ditto to lawyerboy's comment. Iowa has a much more esteemed law school than KU . . . In fact, Iowa has a better business school, better medical center, better engineering school, better education school . . . . okay, not as good a men's basketball team, but those Hawkeyes apparently have warped priorities.

lawyerboy 8 years, 5 months ago

Hey, KU cynic...right on all counts, particularly about my beloved Hawkeyes! I don't think we could beat a decent Lawrence junior high team this's really, really ugly! Enjoy your Jayhawks...they're the real deal!

Bob Hiller 8 years, 5 months ago

We will miss Dean Agrawal here in Kansas. She related well to alumni and students alike. Best wishes to her in all future endeavors !

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 5 months ago

jacob123 and barrypenders are also the same person.

anon1958 8 years, 5 months ago

3) Attracting the best and brightest professors.

This is a very difficult proposition for any public school in the midwest under even ideal circumstances. The interesting legal action, best academic jobs and connections are in the North East. At the present time who among the best and brightest professors in any profession would want to come to KU?

The best and brightest by definition will have many prospects for employment and be fully informed about the miserable state of financial affairs at KU. I dont think that even the official KU cheerleader Hoeflich could paint a pretty picture right now for KU.

Hiring a new dean of any quality will be tough because any dean worth hiring will want to put his/her stamp on the program. This is usually accomplished by hiring several faculty in an area a dean wants to improve. Obviously, now is not a time of rich resources for the academic mission of KU.

grimpeur 8 years, 5 months ago

Why wouldn't any self-respecting dean candidates just jump at the job at KU? After all, just look at our football facility! If that's what we lavish on a losing team, just think what a qualified candidate can squeeze out of the school.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 5 months ago

I bet she will find them to be much more eager to help her succeed. Best to you Dean Agrawal!

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