Student Bar Association Creates First Dean’s Council

by Jaime Welsh

Dean Fisher

The Student Bar Association (“SBA”) has recently created a Dean’s Council to promote the free exchange of ideas between students and Law School Dean Tim Fisher.

SBA President Jessica Signor said the idea for a Dean’s Council came up in the spring of 2013, as the Law School was interviewing candidates for the next dean.  The SBA was aware of other schools that had dean’s councils, such as UConn’s School of Medicine, and thought it would be a good idea to implement a similar program at the Law School.


Jessica Signor, SBA President

Signor said the SBA wanted “to create a forum in which the dean can meet with particular students to discuss various initiatives or issues that they feel are pertinent to their experience here and that their classmates are expressing as concerns.”

She said that the Dean’s Council is aimed to figure out not only what issues students are facing, but also what issues or potential problems there might be that affect both administrators and students, and to brainstorm possible solutions. The second goal of the Dean’s Council is to “provide for greater transparency between students and administrators that will benefit the entire school community and the institution moving forward,” said Signor.

Dean Fisher describes his goals for the Dean’s Council as threefold: First, Fisher wants to “get input from students on how we’re doing as a school.” Fisher stated that it is important to him to make sure his priorities align with the students’, and if not, find the source of the disconnect. Second, Fisher wants to ensure that “students have a channel by which they can convey ideas” to both him and the administration. And third, Fisher says he will seek feedback on whether he is “being clear when [he] talk[s] to the students in the law school community.” Fisher states that the Dean’s Council provides a forum for him to hear whether his message to the Law School community, whether at events, in emails, or in speaking to students individually, is coming through adequately.

Fisher also hopes that the Dean’s Council will help further his overall goals for students. Fisher says that primarily, the Law School “should be a terrific learning experience in every respect.” Fisher wants the Law School to “launch[] each of our students into a rewarding career,” and he wants “to attend to the life of the school so that each student feels like there is a whole community that wants him or her to succeed.”

The Dean’s Council will be composed of the Law School’s Dean and seven student representatives. Six of the students shall be J.D. students (with at least one evening student, provided there is interest), and one shall be an L.L.M. student. Three of the J.D. students will come from the general J.D. student body, and three will be elected from the SBA General Body. The first meeting of the Dean’s Council’s is December 4th at 5:15pm.