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May 12, 2011

Crossley to step down as law dean in July 2012

The search for a new dean of the University Honors College is narrowing just as a search for new law school dean is about to begin.

Law Dean Mary A. Crossley announced last week that she plans to step down in July 2012 to return to teaching and research as a member of the law school faculty.

Honors college

A half-dozen finalists, including three internal candidates, presented public lectures outlining their vision for the Honors College as part of a series of on-campus interviews last month.

Internal candidates are Joseph S. Alter of the Department of Anthropology; Honors College interim dean Steven L. Husted of economics, and Edward M. Stricker of the Department of Neuroscience.

External candidates are Robert H. Cox, a professor in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma; Magali Cornier Michael, chair of Duquesne University’s English department, and Alvin Y. Wang, a University of Central Florida psychology professor and dean of the UCF Burnett Honors College.

Husted took over as interim dean in August, following the April 2010 death of University Honors College Dean G. Alec Stewart.

Stewart, a physics faculty member who was named head of Pitt’s new honors program in 1978, was credited with developing the program into a degree-granting honors college. Stewart, who touted “life above the neck,” became the honors college’s first dean at its inception in 1987.

An advertisement published in the Jan. 6 University Times sought candidates for the position. It stated that the expected appointment date for a new dean would be July 2011.

However, Vice Provost for Research George Klinzing, who is chairing the dean search committee, when contacted last week by the University Times would not comment on the status of the selection process or when a new dean would be named.

Links to the candidates’ on-campus talks are posted at

crossley.lawLaw school

A search committee is expected to be formed soon to find a successor for Crossley, who has been dean of the law school since 2005.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, who was dean of the law school 1985-93, commended Crossley’s achievements in the post. “The School of Law has made significant strides in a wide range of areas under Dean Crossley’s leadership,” Nordenberg stated in a prepared release.

“She has been a leader within the larger University, as well as in her school, and has earned great respect from all of the law school’s many constituent groups, including its alumni and student body.”

Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson stated, “Under Dean Crossley, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law developed a strong foundation in long-range strategic planning that has guided decision-making and assessment. She led the faculty through curricular review and reform, which resulted in the revision of the first-year curriculum to make it responsive to changes in the legal profession. Progress in this area included the addition of courses focused on developing core professional competencies from the beginning of a student’s legal education.”

The provost added: “She successfully recruited a number of new faculty, continued to build on the strength of the school’s clinical program through the addition of an Immigration Law Clinic and a Securities Arbitration Clinic, and created the Innovation Practice Institute, which engages in local economic development efforts by training law students to advise innovators.”

Crossley is credited with initiating the School of Law’s Washington, D.C., program to increase employment and alumni outreach as well as to pursue student externships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

She also guided the law school capital campaign’s progress, including gifts to support faculty excellence and cutting-edge programming in areas relating to energy, innovation and the life sciences, and support for students pursuing public interest or public service careers.

In addition, she spearheaded the development of a collaborative diversity pipeline program, improved law school facilities, taught law classes and published each year while she served as dean.

A widely respected scholar in disability and health law, Crossley has addressed some of the most pressing legal issues presented by advances in medical science, including discrimination in the treatment of infants with HIV infection and newborns with disabilities; the ramifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the relevance of the ADA to health care rationing, insurance law and Medicaid managed care; the implications of the genetics revolution for the understanding of disability and criminality, and issues of inequality in health care generally.

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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