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SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby AfricanMustang » Mon Dec 06, 2021 1:25 pm

Dallas (SMU) – Jennifer Collins, Judge James Noel Dean and professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law, has been named the new president of Rhodes College, a four-year private institution in Memphis with approximately 2,000 students.

The announcement of Collins as Rhodes College’s 21st president follows a national search that began in March 2021 after the announcement that former President Marjorie Hass was resigning to lead the Council of Independent Colleges.

“While we will miss the passion that Dean Collins brought to Dedman Law and SMU, we are proud for her transition to this important leadership role,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Her students at Rhodes College will be her first priority, just as her students have been here at SMU Dedman Law. We wish her well.”

Collins will assume the presidency at Rhodes July 1, 2022.

SMU’s Dedman School of Law this year welcomed the most academically gifted class in the school’s history. During Collins’ time as dean, Dedman Law has nearly doubled the diversity of its entering classes while increasing the median LSAT score and GPA of entering students. Three new academic centers that launched under her administration – the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation, and the Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law & Leadership – have significantly broadened opportunities for Dedman Law students.

“We have had much to celebrate during Dean Collins’ tenure here, said SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth G. Loboa. “Dedman Law’s pro bono legal clinics have grown dramatically under Dean Collins’ leadership. Her commitment to supporting the Dallas community was well-demonstrated when Dedman Law launched an emergency helpline to offer North Texas residents free assistance with pandemic-related issues such as housing and immigration. That kind of impact will continue here at SMU and in Dallas, and her experience in community partnerships will be a valuable asset for Rhodes College.”

Collins joined SMU in July 2014 from Wake Forest University, where she served on the law school faculty and as the vice provost for the university. She joined Wake Forest in 2003 after working in private practice, in the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Justice, and in the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (serving in that office from 1994 to 2002).

She graduated magna cum laude with a J.D. from Harvard University in 1991, and received her B.A. in history, cum laude with Distinction in the Major, from Yale University in 1987.

Rhodes College was founded in 1848 in Clarksville, Tenn., and was for many years affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. In 1925, President Charles Diehl led the move to the present campus in Memphis where, in 1945, the college became known as Southwestern at Memphis. The name Rhodes College was adopted in 1984 to honor former College president Peyton Nalle Rhodes.

https://www.smu.edu/News/2021/Featured- ... ES-COLLEGE
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby gostangs » Mon Dec 06, 2021 5:36 pm

interesting. Strange hire by Rhodes. Opportunity to upgrade in my view.
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby AfricanMustang » Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:06 pm

gostangs wrote:interesting. Strange hire by Rhodes. Opportunity to upgrade in my view.


Agreed. Opportunity for us to upgrade. Why do you say its a strange hire by Rhodes?
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby tristatecoog » Tue Dec 07, 2021 3:43 pm

Rice was successful with Columbia's Law Dean so maybe Rhodes will be successful with SMU's Law Dean. She has the credentials that many covet -- Harvard Law and Yale undergrad plus Vice Provost at Wake.
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby deucetz » Wed Dec 08, 2021 12:46 pm

Congratulations to Jennifer Collins for the accomplishments during her tenure as Law Dean. While diversity, lsat scores, and gpas may have gone up during her tenure, it hasn't kept up with other Law Schools--according to the dismal US News Report rankings.

How can SMU Law improve? What type of Law Dean does SMU need?
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby Mustangs_Maroons » Wed Dec 08, 2021 11:43 pm

Very good questions. Based on top notch alums at the law school, our history and being in Dallas, I never understood (similar to the business school) why the heck we can’t do better. Is it the lack of resources and funding? Do we not pay too dollar for professors, not enough scholarship money, poor career services? All of the above?
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby EastStang » Fri Dec 10, 2021 11:57 am

There is a glut of good law professors. They can't all work at Ivys. William and Mary has been very targeted in going after great profs who didn't get hired by Harvard or Yale law and very successful. Of course Williamsburg, Virginia is a nice place to live. Dallas is too, but a different kind of environment. Publishing and writing need to be emphasized or perhaps some real world skins.
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby tristatecoog » Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:13 pm

I looked at historical rankings and notice that within the US News top 25 there's very little movement from year to year or even over many years.

One that has improved quite a bit has been Wash U in St Louis. They were unranked 2001 and earlier, ranked #25 in 2002 and 2003, up to #19 in 2009 and #16 in 2022.

George Washington is currently #27 which is one of the lowest rankings in years. It was #20 in 2009 and averaged #23 from 1996-03.

Another private that's fallen on hard times is W&L. It averaged #20 from 1996-03 and is now ranked #35.

Alabama is intriguing. It's now #25 and has had some solid rankings over the last few years. Is there a good associate dean or even dean that SMU could hire away? How about a Wash U associate dean that was in charge of things that helped improve rankings?
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Re: SMU Law Dean named President of Rhodes College

Postby DanFreibergerForHeisman » Fri Dec 10, 2021 2:59 pm

tristatecoog wrote:Alabama is intriguing. It's now #25 and has had some solid rankings over the last few years.

Alabama is definitely top 25 in everything they do.
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