Dean – University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota (USD) is the state’s primary university for professional education. Founded in 1862, USD is built on a liberal arts foundation. USD is one of only 47 public universities in the nation with accredited schools of both law and medicine. USD enrolls 10,000 students in programs ranging from baccalaureate through doctoral and professional degrees. The University, with its campus located in Vermillion, SD, recently transitioned to Division I in athletics.

THE SCHOOL OF LAW: The School of Law, founded in 1901, was the first professional school at the University of South Dakota.

The University Of South Dakota School of Law produces legal professionals who serve as effective, innovative, and ethical leaders. The school’s curriculum facilitates student professional and personal development and promotes the highest professional standards, critical thinking, creative legal skills, life-long learning, and a commitment to serving society. Our small enrollment and excellent student/faculty/staff ratio create a collegial learning environment. The new Dean will join an active faculty that is engaged with students, administration, and the legal profession. The Faculty has recognized teaching as its most important responsibility, which reinforces the law school’s primary mission to prepare students for effective and responsible participation in the legal profession and related fields. The bar passage rate has been 91-98% in the last 4 years, with a placement rate 9 months after graduation of 89%.

Because it is the only law school in the state, the faculty and students at the University of South Dakota School of Law work closely with the South Dakota bar and judiciary. Members of the faculty serve as a resource for the judges and lawyers of the State. Over 70% of South Dakota’s lawyers and all of the State Supreme Court Justices are graduates of the University of South Dakota School of Law. The School of Law has long been recognized for its focus on federal Indian law and tribal law. Diversity and inclusiveness are values that are embraced and practiced at the University of South Dakota. Candidates who support these values are encouraged to apply.

The School of Law was in the first group of Law Schools accepted by the American Bar Association in 1923. The School is undergoing reaccreditation in 2012-2013. The School of Law has 214 students and 13 full-time faculty.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The Dean is the chief academic, fiscal, and administrative officer for the School of Law and reports to the Provost. The Dean represents the school nationally, to the State of South Dakota, to the University community, and to all external constituencies, including the state and federal judicial systems, the state bar, and the local business community. The Dean administers the School of Law pursuant to policies of the State Board of Regents. The School of Law seeks a Dean with a demonstrated understanding and record of teaching, administration, scholarship, and practice.

QUALIFICATIONS: The successful candidate for the position of Dean must have a J.D., L.L.M., or equivalent degree, and a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. In addition to relevant experience, a candidate must possess distinguished records of accomplishment in several or all of the following areas:
• Strong communication, interpersonal, administrative, and leadership skills;
• Expertise in legal education, understanding of pedagogy, and commitment to experiential education;
• A record of involvement with and understanding of national legal education organizations;
• Substantial administrative or practical experience
• An ability to articulate a clear vision for the School of Law;
• An ability to work with the South Dakota bar and alumni of the School of Law;
• A record of academic and scholarly accomplishment sufficient to merit appointment as a full professor of law with tenure;
• A demonstrated concern for and interest in students;
• Ability and interest in advancement on behalf of the School of Law;
• A commitment to a culture of shared governance with the school’s faculty, staff, and students; and
• Be licensed to practice law in at least one State or territory of the United States.

SALARY AND BENEFITS: Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applications and nominations will be reviewed on November 1, and will continue to be accepted and reviewed until an appointment is made, within the practical limits of the process as finalists are identified. Application materials should include: 1) a letter of interest addressing specifically how the candidate’s experiences and qualifications match the position specifications and the mission of the University of South Dakota, School of Law, 2) a curriculum vitae, and 3) the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of three references for future contact. Please also identify your professional relationship with each reference listed. Candidates will be advised before references are contacted. All candidate names will remain confidential except for the names of those individuals invited to campus interviews. Application and nomination materials should be submitted electronically to For additional information contact: Dr. Mary Nettleman, Vice President for Health Affairs and Chair of the Dean, School of Law Search Committee at Further information about USD may be found at

USD is an EEO/AA employer.