Dean Dauvergne shares her thoughts on the law school and her new role in the following Q&A.
How did you feel when you got the call from the Provost offering you the role of Dean of the Allard School of Law?
It was very exciting, but it is also an enormous responsibility and therefore a bit sobering. It was a long process from start to finish, about six months, and I was quite curious about the outcome by the time we got to the last stage. You put a lot of energy into securing a position like this, and then you realize that is just the beginning.
What are your priorities as you take the helm of the school?
One of the things that I think is very important in a leadership role in a faculty which is in good shape, such as ours, is to really invest heavily in listening in the first few months, both to people within the law school and to key external stakeholders. To take time to hear their views of the future, and of the present.
It is also a high priority of mine to work on a strategic planning process in a collaborative way, to organize that process and lead it to completion within the first academic year. Thinking about the future in this way is a great opportunity to hear from people connected to the faculty in all ways. We will also have a round of faculty hiring in the coming year and I’m excited to get that started.
There is a lot to learn. There is a steep learning curve and I’m excited about that and just looking forward to the opportunity.
You are adored by so many students. What makes an engaging teacher and mentor?
I think good law teachers really love the law and care about the way it works—both theoretically and in terms of how it affects people’s lives—and somehow manage to convey those passions in the classroom. It is also enormously important to learn the names of one’s students! I really like teaching first year students and then following their progress as they go through their three years here and launch their careers. That matters to me.
What makes the Allard School of Law a great place to be?
We have a strong research culture and we have the backing of a very strong university, which creates enormous opportunity for interdisciplinary work and collaboration without even leaving campus. We have a very engaged and supportive local legal community, including an enormous number of gifted and talented practicing lawyers from the professional community who join us in our teaching mission. We have a vibrant and diverse student body, with wonderful bold ambitions.
This is just a great place to work. It’s a wonderful workplace—because Allard Hall is a state of the art building, because the geography of the campus is breathtaking, and because of all the resources available through working in a world leading university. This runs from research networks to international opportunities for students, to great sport and fitness facilities. We have the best of everything.