Dean, University of Montana Alexander Blewett III School of Law | Missoula, MT

The University of Montana invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law from interested individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. This is an exciting opportunity to lead Montana’s only law school in the nation with an embedded Department of Public Administration and Policy.  The Dean is the leader of the Law School, and also serves as a bridge in Montana between the Law School, the Bar, and our Courts.

We encourage you to apply if you have:

  • An ability to foster collaboration and strategic partnerships with internal and external stakeholders
  • Sharp budgeting and planning acumen
  • Experience in providing strategic leadership in developing, implementing, assessing and updating a comprehensive plan to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within a law school and as part of university’s commitment to DEI
  • A strong passion for how law and policy can work in tandem to improve society and honor the rich cultural landscape of Montana

The University of Montana is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. In that spirit, we are particularly interested in receiving applications from a broad spectrum of qualified people who would assist the University in demonstrating its five priorities for action:

  • Place student success at the center of all we do
  • Drive excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research
  • Embody the principle of “mission first, people always”
  • Partner with place
  • Proudly tell the UM story

Position Description

Reporting directly to the Provost and Executive Vice President, the dean is the chief academic and administrative officer for the Blewett School of Law. The dean is responsible for administering the School’s departments and programs, including maintaining accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), developing and implementing strategies to enhance academic innovation and quality, recruiting students and members of the faculty and staff, and managing organizational and financial structures that promote excellence in teaching, research, and service.  The dean will maintain and build upon relationships with the legal and public administration and policy communities in the state of Montana and greater region.  As an Academic Officer, the dean is expected to collaborate with other academic deans and University leaders, in providing strategic long-term direction for Academic Affairs with a commitment to UM’s Priorities for Action and DEI plan. The successful candidate will forge connections across campus and will build meaningful connections with external stakeholders including alumni, donors, employers, community members, and other academic, legal, government, nonprofit, and business leaders.

Qualifications

Required Qualifications

  • A commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Ability to lead organizations, including the ability to foster collaboration
  • Demonstrated administrative experience, including budgeting and personnel supervision
  • Outstanding listening, communication, and consensus-building skills
  • Commitment to student success
  • Distinguished professional achievement in legal practice and/or public service
  • A J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated commitment to innovative and distinctive education and scholarship
  • Commitment to recruiting and retaining talented students, faculty, and staff
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising and external outreach
  • Ability to earn tenure in the Blewett School of Law at the rank of Full Professor
  • Familiarity with law and policy issues of the Rocky Mountain West
  • Commitment to strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities
  • MPA or equivalent experience in public administration and policy

About the Alexander Blewett III School of Law

Founded in 1912, the Blewett School of Law is an established leader in legal and policy education.  The first and only law school in the U.S. to house degree programs dedicated to both the practice of law and public administration, our programs prepare students through effective integration of theory and practice. Beyond preparing students for practice, our curriculum emphasizes areas of law and policy significant to the Rocky Mountain West including natural resource law, environmental law, and American Indian law and policy. The Blewett School of Law comprises 500 students and 37 faculty and staff with an operating budget of $6 million. We work and study in a spacious, state-of-the-art facility.

Our law curriculum is taught by faculty with years of practice-based experience. Students  prepare to become attorneys from the start.  They engage in an innovative skills-based program in the first year, continuing with intensive litigation and transactional simulation courses in the second year, and finishing with a required third-year clinical program.  Our clinical programs include placements at both in-house law clinics and government and public-interest law offices. This model of training and placing lawyers has earned the Blewett School of Law recognition as one of the best-value law schools in the nation.  As Montana’s only law school, with 3,675 living alums, we enjoy a close connection to the Montana bench and bar.

Almost 30% of our graduates begin their careers with a judicial clerkship. Our placement rate for s federal clerkships ranks us amongthe top 15 law schools in the nation. More than 80% of our graduates pass the bar exam on their first attempt, and over 92% pass within two years. The majority of practitioners and judges in the state have historically been graduates of the school. Notable alums include two past presidents of the American Bar Association, Robert W. Carlson and the Honorable William J. Jameson; two prior Chief Judges for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Honorable James R. Browning and the Honorable Sidney R. Thomas; and the current Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Martha Williams. Our students also exemplify excellence in their studies, two students were recently named scholars for the prestigious Wyss Scholars for Conservation for the American West and two teams captured the top two spots at the Northwest Regional ABA Negotiation Competition.

The Blewett School of Law is also home to the Max S. Baucus Institute. The work of the Max S. Baucus Institute is an extension of the important, bipartisan, consensus-building public service Ambassador Baucus exemplified during his long and distinguished career.  The Max S. Baucus Institute prepares our next generation of public servants to engage in work that makes a meaningful difference for today’s leaders. The Baucus Institute serves as the home for the Department of Public Administration and Policy (DPAP).

DPAP provides innovative public service education for pre-career and in-career public and nonprofit administration students. It recently placed fourth nationally for the Best 25 Masters in Public Administration Schools and placed fifth out of the Best Masters in Nonprofit Management Programs by Best Value Schools. We offer a variety of programs focused on public administration, policy, and nonprofit organizations at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our premier program, the Master of Public Administration (MPA), is the only NASPAA accredited program in Montana, with more than 2,000 alumni. Alumni within the program serve their communities and the state, such as Eldena Bear Don’t Walk, the first female Chief Justice of the Crow Tribe, and Christi Jacobsen, the current Montana Secretary of State. A DPAP student was recently named a Udall Scholar and another student was selected for the 2021 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.

The Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy is also housed within the Blewett School of Law. The Center helps people solve tough public problems, make informed decisions, and implement solutions that foster livable communities, vibrant economies, and healthy landscapes. The staff and Fellows are recognized experts in facilitation, mediation, collaboration, and conflict resolution. They are also well known for their work in public lands policy, water law and policy, land-use planning, and cross-boundary resource management.

Commitment to Diversity

The Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana is committed to creating a learning environment that encourages, enriches, and respects the multidimensional aspects of diversity. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, differences based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation or background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, age, economic class or status, points of view, or disabilities. Recognizing that the quality of legal education is enhanced by a diverse educational community, the Blewett School of Law is committed to recruiting and retaining students, faculty, staff, and administrators capable of creating a safe, vibrant, diverse, engaging, and intellectually stimulating learning environment. This educational environment reinforces and models the principle that diversity is an integral part of learning and the competent, people-oriented practice of law.

About UM

UM is a flagship public doctoral research institution that sits in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispell people. A research intensive R1 institution that grants associate to doctoral degrees, UM is committed to accessible and inclusive education as the foundation of social and economic prosperity. A viable democracy relies on citizens who are broadly educated and specifically skilled, and is enriched by diversity in thought, background, appearance and beliefs. Ranked sixth nationwide for research growth, UM’s research expenditures nearly doubled between 2014 and 2019 and are expected to reach $125 million this fiscal year. This emphasis provides undergraduate students with the singular opportunity to participate in active research with top researchers and scholars.

UM’s long tradition of teaching excellence and experiential learning evidences our commitment to student success. The University ranks fifth among public universities in producing Rhodes Scholars, currently has the highest graduate student enrollment in its history, and, in the fall of 2021, welcomed the largest incoming freshman class in several years. Summer enrollment and out-of-state applications have grown by 40% in recent years. UM’s student retention rate rose from 68.5% in 2018 to 75.4% in 2021. Students have access to a diverse and growing set of work-based and experiential learning opportunities as part of a strong institutional commitment to creating the best possible set of post-graduate outcomes. UM is investing substantially in the on-campus experience. Over $100 million has been allocated to renovate campus facilities, including sustainability upgrades.

UM is an essential part of Missoula, a culturally vibrant college town characterized by scenic beauty, a socially engaged community, and a healthy economy. Our commitment to place-based, applied experiences ensures our students reap the benefits of a large flagship institution in an intimate setting. This setting attracts talent to the University of Montana community, where arts, culture and academics shape the formative years of a student population that is 40% first-generation. With a deep focus on experiential learning, we believe some of the most profound learning experiences occur beyond the classroom. Experiential learning at UM happens not only in the outdoors but also in community and social settings. UM is part of a global community, and actively recruits and enrolls students from all over the world, as well as provides a range of opportunities for students to study abroad.

About Missoula

UM is located in Missoula, a small, vibrant community of about 75,000, surrounded by mountains, wilderness, and clear, cold rivers. The educational, medical, and cultural hub of the region, Missoula offers a rare blend of outdoor adventure, big-city culture, and exceptional quality of life. The vibrant downtown community embraces the state’s most sophisticated music and art scene and includes a new public library that houses the Families First Learning Lab, UM’s Spectrum science museum, and the UM Living Lab. Just east of Missoula is the KettleHouse Amphitheater, ranking No. 45 out of the top 50 amphitheaters worldwide by Pollstar.

To learn more about the University of Montana, Missoula, and the State of Montana, please visit the links below.

 

How to Apply

Priority Application Date: Friday, October 28, 2022 by 11:59 pm MST

Complete applications received by this date will be guaranteed consideration. To receive full consideration, candidates are required to submit all of the following materials.

Please submit the following application materials** via the UM Jobs portal and by clicking “New Resume/CV” button at the bottom of the job description.  Please do not apply through Indeed.com*.

  • letter of interest
  • curriculum vitæ
  • Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses for five (5) professional references, including a brief description of your relationship to that individual, who will be contacted only after candidates are notified

The position has an expected starting date of July 1, 2023 but can be negotiated.  For more information about this search, please visit https://www.umt.edu/provost/hiring/lawdean/default.php.

Please direct nominations and inquiries to:

Suzanne Tilleman, Dean, College of Business

[email protected], (406) 243-6195

For application system assistance or questions, please contact:

Marcie Briggs, Director of Recruitment and Compensation, Human Resource Services

[email protected], (406) 243-5706

*Applying through Indeed.com or easy apply through Indeed.com may result in submission of an incomplete application.  Applications may be removed from full consideration if they are not complete with materials listed above under the “How to Apply” section.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure complete application materials are submitted and received by the date listed above.

**Please note: only five (5) attachments are allowed per application. Please combine documents accordingly

Criminal Background Investigation is required prior to Offer of Employment.
In accordance with University policy, finalists for this position will be subject to criminal background investigations.

ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran’s Preference.
Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. For example, this material is available in alternative format upon request. As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, we encourage applications from minorities, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law.