On July 1, Lyn Entzeroth will become the new dean of the John Rogers College of Law.
Entzeroth, has been a part of TU since 2002, specializing in capital punishment, criminal procedure and other related fields. For the past three years, she has served as the Associate Dean of Academic Development, working internally at the College of Law.
The current dean, Janet Levit, announced she would step down September of last year. After eight years of service, she wanted to step down for a “combination of personal and professional reasons.” She wanted to spend more quality time with her children and “wanted to step down at a time of strength.”
“This was a moment of stability where a transition could be done in a really healthy way,” Levit said. She found it interesting that “when I first announced, everyone was looking for a crisis. There was no crisis.”
She plans to stay with the college. For the 2015–16 academic year, however, she will take a sabbatical.
When Levit returns, she says her “intent is to come back in a purely teaching capacity.” However, she has “promised (herself), promised the school and the next dean, any way that I can help to make this place better, I’m willing to do.”
According to Levit, what she’s “most proud about (in her term as dean) is that our students are doing so well,” especially after the 2008 recession that slowed the legal job market.
During Levit’s term, the college became one of U.S. News and World Report’s top 100 law schools. Entzeroth hopes to stay on this trajectory, specifically saying she hopes to “increase the class size while maintaining our high ranking.”
There are a number of things that affect this rating, such as the student-teacher ratio, academic profile of the class, and the reputation of the faculty. “I’m going to work on all of them,” Entzeroth said, “because they’re all important. You have to look at the College of Law very holistically.”
Levit emphasized the importance of faculty, saying “a lot of (the success) was really due to our faculty that cares deeply for our students, thinking about what our students need to hit the ground running.”
There are several programs that Entzeroth wants to “take to the next step” as dean. The college is planning to have an accelerated law program, especially for undergrads. In this plan, a student could do three and a half years in an Arts and Sciences program and two and a half years in the law, earning both a JD (Juris Doctor) and undergraduate degree, for instance.
The college of law is also currently offering block courses, which Entzeroth hopes to continue. Entzeroth added that the college has “developed and hopes to implement in the fall a minor in Law.”
If enough interest is generated in this minor, Levit hopes a major might be created. According to Levit, the creation of such programs came from “recognizing students and a lot of professionals that could benefit from legal education do not necessarily need to be licensed lawyers.”
Because of her work as Associate Dean, Entzeroth has been involved in the creation of these programs and is “really looking forward to implementing these programs.”
Taking experiential law education to the next level is also one of Entzeroth’s goals. Currently, the university has two clinics, where students are given cases to work under the supervision of faculty.
She also wants to make externships a “robust part of our curriculum.” Externships attempt to give students an insight into their field, similar to internships. Ninety externships are available through the college of law. Entzeroth wants to continue and expand externship opportunities.
As for Entzeroth’s scholarly work, she’s “not sure how much time (she’ll) have to keep doing the research and scholarship” that she’s used to doing. While capital punishment and the surrounding issues will remain important to Entzeroth, she doesn’t see herself “doing significant scholarship in the next few years.” She is, however, “excited for the future.”