Saturday, December 19, 2009
I would like to encourage MOJ readers to nominate outstanding candidates for the deanship of Villanova School of Law. The search for a new dean is now under way in earnest, and details about the process and its goals, including the method for making nominations, are here .
For my part, I especially hope folks will nominate candidates who are capable of setting high intellectual standards for the School and who will be eager and able to continue the hard and creative work of building an inclusive but distinctively Catholic law school. As those of us who labor in the vineyard of Catholic legal education know only too well, there was no Golden Age in American Catholic law schools. There is no template that awaits implementation. The project of discerning how to bring faith and reason to bear on what we do in law requires vision and boldness. Correlatively, it also requires a spirit of openness and respect for competing visions and priorities. There is no requirement that the next dean be a Catholic.
With our spectacular new building (opened in summer of 2009), a strong faculty and several lines likely to be filled within the next few years, and a firm financial footing, not to mention fine students, a loyal alumni base, and a wonderful location in the beautiful suburbs of Philadelphia, this is a tremendous opportunity for the right person to make a real difference in the life of an institution. Villanova is among the very few American law schools that have a fair claim to being meaningfully Catholic, and the right leader should be able to have a transformative effect on the life and aspirations of what is already a vibrant and very promising community of scholars and students.