Law school’s Dean Wildermuth steps down abruptly


Amy Wildermuth abruptly stepped down as dean of the Pitt School of Law on Jan. 23 — the third University dean to leave their post without prior notice in the past year.

An announcement from Provost Ann Cudd said Wildermuth was resigning “to re-engage in academic pursuits and assume a tenured faculty role.” Wildermuth came to Pitt from the University of Utah in July 2018.

A story by the National Jurist magazine said that the average tenure of a law dean is 4.1 years.

Vice Dean Haider Ala Hamoudi will assume day-to-day oversight of the school until Cudd names an interim dean and subsequently announces a search for Wildermuth’s successor. The provost’s office said: "We anticipate that a search for that position would begin in early fall.”

Jimmy Martin, who started as dean of the Swanson School of Engineering in 2018, stepped down in August 2022 to become vice chancellor for STEM research and innovation in the Office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research. Sanjeev Shroff, who was chair of the Department of Bioengineering, is serving as interim dean. Provost Ann Cudd has said that the search for a permanent engineering dean won’t start until after a new chancellor is named, which is expected sometime this year.

In September 2022, Bernard Costello, who had been dean of the School of Dental Medicine since 2018, was moved to the job of associate vice chancellor for health science integration. Marnie Oakley, vice dean at the dental school, is serving as interim dean while a search is being conducted. Anthony Delitto, dean of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, is chairing the search committee. An open forum about the search was held on Jan. 23 (see related story).

A separate study in 2020 by William A. Henk of Marquette University and Shelley B. Wepner of Manhattanville College found that the average duration of all academic deans is around five years.

The current dean with the longest tenure at Pitt is Valerie Kinloch of the School of Education, who started in 2017. Jem Spectar has served as the president of Pitt-Johnstown since 2007. Two long-serving deans — Nursing’s Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob (21 years) and Pharmacy’s Patricia Kroboth (20 years) — stepped down last summer after announcing their departure’s several months before. New deans have taken over at both schools, including Christine E. Kasper, who started as nursing dean last month.

There also is an ongoing dean search in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences. Kathleen Blee, who has been dean since 2017, announced in June 2022 that she would return to the faculty this year. Joe McCarthy, vice provost for undergraduate studies, is leading the search, which began last year

A statement from the provost’s office said: “The search for the next dean of the Dietrich School and College of General Studies is currently proceeding as anticipated. At this point, we expect that a new dean will be in place over the summer. We appreciate the input from the Dietrich School and CGS and the Pitt community, which has been extremely helpful in developing a robust candidate pool.”

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 724-244-4042.


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