September 3, 2013

Schwab to Step Down as Cornell Law School Dean

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Prof. Stewart J. Schwab, law, dean of the Cornell Law School, will step down as dean at the end of the academic year — leaving a position he has held since 2004.

Though his second five-year term as dean ends in December, Schwab has agreed to remain until the end of June 2014, when a new dean will likely have been named, according to a University press release.

In preparation for Schwab’s departure, the University’s Office of the Provost has assembled a search committee, which will be chaired by John Siliciano ’75, senior vice provost for academic affairs. The committee will also be aided by the outside firm Spencer Stuart, which has helped Cornell with searching for several deans in the past, according to Siliciano.

Schwab said that he enjoyed his tenure as dean and highlighted the dedication of the law school’s students and faculty to improving the school.

“Cornell Law has a collegial faculty that sees the best in each other; students who are talented, hardworking and enjoy learning the law; and loyal alumni who lead lives of distinction and are dedicated to improving the school,” he said in a University press release. “These factors have let us accomplish many things over the last decade.”

In the search for a new dean, Siliciano said the committee aimed to find a candidate that had “very strong academic credentials, whose mission [was] to support the education of the students and the research of the faculty, but [who was also] going to be good at management skills and fundraising.”

Speaking more specifically about the considerations for the new dean of the law school, Siliciano said the committee would also have to account for “the changing nature of the profession [of law] and how the educational mission of the school should respond to it.”

Siliciano added, however, that the next dean will build on the current strengths and foundations of the law school.

“Dean Schwab has left the law school in a very strong position,” he said.

During his tenure as dean, Schwab oversaw a number of developments in the law school, including major renovations to Myron Taylor Hall, the most successful fundraising year in the history of the law school in 2012 and the renewal and growth of the law school’s faculty, according to a University press release.

Schwab has been a member of the law faculty since 1983 and has held the position of dean for more than a decade. After stepping down as dean, Schwab plans to take a sabbatical and return as a faculty member for the 2014-15 academic year.

The search committee for the next dean, which consists of nine law faculty members, in addition to Soumitra Dutta, dean of the Johnson Graduate School of Management, has already begun soliciting nominations and applications for candidates across the nation. According to Siliciano, they will meet and confidentially review files beginning in a few weeks.

After narrowing down the selection to approximately eight or 12 potential candidates, the committee will conduct several preliminary interviews in October. Following the interviews, the committee will then bring three to five finalists to campus to meet with a larger group of people, including President David Skorton, Provost Kent Fuchs, students and staff members.

Ultimately, the search committee aims to make a recommendation to Fuchs in early spring of next year and have a candidate ready to take over once Schwab steps down.

“The goal is to have the dean start on July 1,” Silicano said.

Original Author: Gabriella Lee