Monday, January 04, 2010

Welcome Dean Gail Agrawal!

January 4, 2010

This is a sufficiently happy way to begin a Happy New Year that I wish to reproduce here a University of Iowa College of Law Web posting from around mid-day today, along with my personal and enthusiastic thanks to all mentioned in the announcement for the time consuming and quality work with this dean search and the rather spectacular new dean they have brought to Iowa City and the University of Iowa community. [Photo credit: UI College of Law.]
-- Nicholas Johnson

Dean Gail Agrawal Announced as Next College of Law Dean

Gail Agrawal, professor and dean of the University of Kansas School of Law, has been named the 17th dean of the University of Iowa College of Law.

"I am honored to have been selected to lead the Iowa College of Law as its next dean," said Agrawal, who will become dean July 1. "The college of law has long been among our nation's finest public law schools, and I am humbled by the opportunity to join this exceptional law school community."

Agrawal has been dean at the University of Kansas since 2006. Before that, she was on the law faculty of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for nine years, where she also served as senior associate dean, associate dean for academic affairs and interim dean. UI officials were impressed with Agrawal's record of success, spirit of innovation and wide ranging professional and academic experience, and said her values and vision match well with those of the University of Iowa.

"Dean Agrawal has a deep commitment to the mission of public universities," said Sally Mason, president of the University of Iowa. "She understands the role the University of Iowa and its college of law play in the cultural, legal and economic life of this state. She is simultaneously committed to maintaining and increasing the stature of the college of law as a nationally and internationally prominent and respected institution. We look forward to her leadership."

"Dean Agrawal brings to this position a track record of success as a teacher, scholar and administrator," said Wallace Loh, professor of law, executive vice president and provost. "She has earned the admiration, respect and affection of the faculties and administrators with whom she has worked at both the University of North Carolina and University of Kansas. She also understands the Midwest, and has connected well with the people of Kansas. I am confident that she will do the same thing here at Iowa."

"Dean Agrawal brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position and is highly respected in the legal academy for championing innovative approaches to legal education," said William "Curt" Hunter, dean of the Tippie College of Business who chaired the 15-member law dean search committee. "She is committed to working collaboratively with the wide range of internal and external stakeholders of the college of law to advance the international reputation of the college."

Agrawal replaces Carolyn Jones, the law school's first woman dean, who is joining the law school faculty after six years of leadership. It marks the first time in UI law school history that a woman has succeeded another woman as dean.

"The University of Iowa is fortunate to have someone of Dean Agrawal's caliber for its next law dean," said Jones. "I have come to know her at deans meetings over the years beginning when she was interim dean at the University of North Carolina School of Law. She is a leader among law school deans across the country and is respected for her judgment, warmth and incredible work ethic. She is committed to public legal education of high quality and that is certainly the story of the University of Iowa College of Law. I look forward to having her as my dean when I return to the faculty next year."

While dean at Kansas, Agrawal has led efforts to revise that school's curriculum and to add programs aimed at helping students acquire the professional skills they will need in their careers. Gender and ethnic diversity among faculty and students has increased during her tenure, private giving has increased, and she reorganized the school's budgeting process in the face of reduced state appropriations, while at the same time using private money to create new and expand existing programs.

"In her previous positions, Dean Agrawal has earned a reputation as a great builder and problem solver who enjoys making institutions stronger and better," said Eric Andersen, UI law professor, associate dean of academic affairs and vice chair of the search committee. "Her record shows that she does so by earning the respect and commitment of those with whom she works, developing with them a shared vision, then working tirelessly to bring it to fruition. She has been sought after by many other law schools in need of a new dean, so we consider ourselves fortunate to have the benefits of her leadership."

A native of New Orleans, Agrawal earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Orleans, and her Master's in Public Health and J.D. degrees from Tulane University. She practiced for seven years with the firm of Monroe & Lemann in New Orleans and worked for three years for the insurance company Aetna, Inc., where she was head of medical management, law and regulatory affairs.

Agrawal clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court and Senior Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Her primary area of research is health care law.

"I look forward to working with the outstanding law faculty to continue and deepen the college's longstanding commitment to innovative teaching and influential scholarship," Agrawal said. "I also look forward to working with President Sally Mason and Provost Wallace Loh to advance the mission of the university and strengthen the college's interdisciplinary ties with other parts of the campus. I am also fortunate to be able to build upon the work of two extraordinary law deans, current dean Carolyn Jones and the legendary Bill Hines."

Agrawal was selected as dean after a search process that started last summer reviewed almost 200 nominees and brought five finalists to campus for interviews in November and December. Other committee members included: law faculty John Allen, Michelle Falkoff, Herbert Hovenkamp, Todd Pettys and Peggie Smith; law professor and dean emeritus N. William Hines; college of law staff members Jill DeYoung and Mary Ann Nelson; law students Lindsay McAfee and Christopher Shaw; and alumni Charles Kierscht, board member and former president of the University of Iowa Foundation; Gary Streit, managing partner at Shuttlesworth & Ingersoll P.L.C. in Cedar Rapids, and Judge Michael Melloy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

"Dean Agrawal is a wonderfully savvy, thoughtful and energetic leader," said Pettys. "She has great ideas and intuitions, she engenders a deep sense of loyalty in those with whom she works, and she has the executive skills needed to help an institution translate its ambitions into accomplishments. She has no interest in settling for the status quo when the institution she is leading would be better served by changes and calculated risks. We are fortunate to have her as our dean, and we look forward to seeing what we become with her at the helm."

Search assistance was also provided by law school staff members Jennifer New and Grace Tully.

Agrawal and her husband, Dr. Naurang Agrawal, a gastroenterologist, will relocate to the Iowa City area later this year.
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