Opportunities and Challenges of the Role
Law school stakeholders articulated many opportunities for the new assistant dean of international affairs. The following are common themes that were highlighted.
Collaboration with Law School Faculty. The new assistant dean will forge significant partnerships with international and comparative law faculty through the G.A.C and individually. It will be necessary for the successful candidate to work with faculty to build strong relationships with foreign partner institutions, Michigan Law School alumni, and international employers, public and private.
Strategic planning. The assistant dean must demonstrate a leadership style that is collegial and effective. It is expected that over time the assistant dean will develop a concrete vision to respond to this dynamic and complex area’s priorities.
Experience with international students. The assistant dean must understand the unique needs of international students around academic programs, mental and physical health, and employment markets. It is desirable that the candidate is an experienced and internationally well-traveled professional.
Communication skills. The new assistant dean must have exceptional internal and external communication skills, and be able to communicate effectively with law school faculty and senior administration regarding every aspect of this activity, from the L.L.M. , S.J.D., and summer academic programs, to J.D. student exchanges, to opportunities for students to find international or international law placements.
Trust and confidence of students. Law students prioritize building upon the tradition of accessibility, support, and international connections long associated with the assistant dean position. The new assistant dean will be charged with relationship building with students from all programs to advise them on academic, career, and personal matters.
Ambassadorship. The new assistant dean will be an ambassador for the Law School abroad with respect to the maintenance of existing international relationships and the forging of new ones, the recruitment of foreign students, existing and newly-initiated collaborative arrangements, and supporting Michigan Law School faculty in their international and foreign law projects. With multiple partner institutions and very long-standing relationships worldwide, the successful candidate will need diplomatic skills and the ability to engage with individuals from diverse cultures, political economies, and backgrounds.
Advocacy. The new assistant dean will be an internal advocate for refined or increased international opportunities to ensure the delivery of exceptional student experiences. They should also work to identify additional internal and external and resources that will facilitate increased student and program success.
Building a Strong Team. As the new assistant dean transitions into the position, it will be essential to develop a strong sense of “team” among faculty, administration and staff to build relationships that emphasize a collaborative and transparent work environment. Transparency, communication, timely flow of information and attention to budgetary discipline were common themes.
Enrollment Management experience. The assistant dean will need to be courageous in continuing to advance new ideas in the international and comparative law areas, approaching the task with creativity and ambition. They should continue to tend and develop a robust professional network that will allow them to stay abreast of trends and best practices.