RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Serving as a member of Cornell Law School’s senior leadership team and reporting to the dean of the law school, the associate dean of admissions and financial aid leads the team responsible for all aspects of the admissions process to its JD program, including the development and execution of a strategic enrollment plan; the recruitment, selection, enrollment, and retention of a highly qualified and motivated student body; and the integration of marketing and recruitment strategies with existing and developing communications and social networking technologies. The associate dean oversees the law school’s financial aid functions, including awarding and disbursement of over $18M in annual scholarships and grants and the administration of the school’s loan forgiveness program. The associate dean works with the law school’s director of financial aid and the university’s office of financial aid and student employment to administer the university’s student employment and federal and private loan programs for Cornell Law JD students. The new associate dean will play a key role in developing, refining, and implementing admissions and recruiting models consistent with the institutional values for a diverse and well-qualified class and in compliance with the recent Supreme Court decision in the case Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Candidates must have a master’s degree and seven to ten years of experience relevant to law school enrollment management or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Candidates must have sufficient experience in law school education and knowledge of the legal profession to fulfill the position’s responsibilities to counsel, recruit, evaluate, and select candidates. Successful candidates will have a work history of progressive responsibility in a leadership role in higher education or legal practice. Excellent organizational, management, communication, and interpersonal skills and a proven ability to work effectively across multiple internal and external constituencies are required. Candidates must demonstrate an ability to cultivate and develop inclusive and equitable working relationships with students, faculty, staff, and community members. Knowledge of university policies, state and federal laws, trends, and an in-depth understanding and use of admissions and student information systems is expected. Candidates must have proven experience connecting diversity, inclusion, and well-being practices to business goals. Preferred qualifications include a JD or equivalent law degree; experience developing a comprehensive recruitment plan; knowledge of PeopleSoft, ACES/Unite, and CRM platforms such as Salesforce or Slate. Outstanding candidates can motivate office staff to achieve peak productivity and provide exceptional service to prospective and admitted students.
In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:
- Team builder
- Strategic thinker who is flexible and capable of pivoting when necessary
- Able to anticipate and respond to the changing landscape of law school admissions
- Understands the requirements for top-tier law school standing and the implications for recruiting and admitting a class with the requisite qualifications
- Tech-savvy and willing to consider technological advances and improvements
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The associate dean’s position is currently vacant due to the resignation of the prior associate dean, who left Cornell Law School to assume a vice provost for enrollment management position at another institution. The position is currently covered by the temporary elevation of the director of admissions and the director of financial aid to interim assistant dean positions. Those positions will revert to directorships when a new associate dean begins their work.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
This is a tremendous opportunity for a seasoned enrollment management professional to lead the admissions and financial aid team for a top-14 law school. The associate dean must be ready to:
- Continue Cornell Law’s successful record in recruiting, admitting, and enrolling a well-qualified class with the credentials needed to maintain the school’s top-14 national rankings and produce graduates with outstanding outcomes.
- Provide leadership needed to develop new recruiting and admissions protocols to ensure Cornell’s commitment to diversity, equity, and access in ways that comply with the recent Supreme Court decision on the case Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. The associate dean will join a team working on these issues and will be tasked with implementing the final policy decisions.
The associate dean must be able to quickly understand Cornell Law’s existing financial aid and enrollment strategies and practices to ensure the successful completion of this year’s JD enrollment cycle.
The admissions and financial aid team includes a few relatively new members. They are dedicated and work effectively together; however, they seek an effective leader and team builder who will empower and motivate them to do their best work.
The new associate dean of admissions and financial aid will join Cornell Law at a time when the university seeks greater coordination and communication among admissions teams across the university. This presents an opportunity for the new associate dean to join a peer group discussing university enrollment strategies and goals.
Cornell University’s enrollment management group seeks a new member with sufficient knowledge of technology, data collection, and enrollment to improve Cornell Law School’s use of technology and data and contribute to the university’s improved practices.
The new associate dean must bring knowledge of relevant laws and compliance issues pertinent to admissions and financial aid practices. The Cornell University enrollment group can orient the new associate dean on specific New York State policies and compliance issues.
There is a faculty admissions committee whose role has changed under the leadership of various associate deans. The associate dean should work with the dean of the law school and the faculty to clarify the charge of the committee, increase opportunities for faculty engagement on admissions issues, and develop a clear internal communication plan for enrollment management.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
In the short term, the success of the newly appointed associate dean of admissions and financial aid will be measured by their:
- Ability to provide continuity and leadership mid-enrollment cycle
- Effective communications with all stakeholders
- Development of relationships with newly admitted students
- Knowledge of law school admissions pressures and trends
- Understanding of the recent Supreme Court ruling and other policies that affect the recruitment and admission of a class that meets diversity and access goals
In the long term, the success of the new associate dean of admissions and financial aid will be measured by their:
- Meeting enrollment goals and metrics, including budget goals
- Success in recruiting, admitting, and enrolling classes with the credentials necessary to maintain Cornell Law School’s top-14 status
- Improvement of the school’s placement rates by accepting students who succeed professionally
- Building and sustaining a motivated admissions and financial aid team that can compete and succeed in an ever-evolving and more competitive admissions landscape
- Creation of a nimble strategic enrollment plan
- Implementation of a plan to move more financial aid from merit to need-based awards
- Contribution to the Cornell University enrollment community in making improvements in policy and process
OVERVIEW OF ADMISSIONS AND FINANCIAL AID
Cornell admissions and financial aid representatives across its colleges share a mission to provide information to prospective students so that anyone can find instruction in any study, supporting strategic enrollment goals defined by the institution. Admissions and financial aid services are carried out through a matrixed organizational system in which staff in colleges, schools, and units regularly collaborate with division of enrollment offices which serve as a partner and resource for all college/unit staff serving enrollment functions.
CORNELL LAW SCHOOL OVERVIEW
Founded in 1887, Cornell Law School is a top-tier law school, currently ranked 12th by U.S. News & World Report. Cornell Law offers a juris doctor (JD) program, a one-year master of laws (LLM) program for international students, a one-year LLM degree in law, technology, and entrepreneurship at the Cornell Tech campus in New York City, an online master in legal studies (MSLS) program, and a doctoral (JSD) program. Cornell Law School’s nationally ranked faculty includes 41 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 15 clinical professors in the legal research and writing program and clinics at the local, national, and international levels. The law school supports its students’ success through its unique combination of inspiring theoretical, doctrinal, and experiential teaching with cutting-edge scholarship in a supportive, intellectually rich community.
The Student Body
Total JD enrollment: 609
- Entering JD students: 211
- Men: 54 percent
- Women: 46 percent
- Number of states represented: 33
- Number of countries represented: 10
Total General LLM Enrollment: 132
Total JSD Enrollment: 9
Students to faculty ratio: 5 to 1
As a university founded to be a place where “…any person can find instruction in any study,” diversity and inclusion are at the core of Cornell University’s values and mission. Cornell strives to be a welcoming, caring, healthy, and equitable community where students, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn, innovate, and work in an environment of respect and feel empowered to engage in any community conversation. Cornell Law School is among the nation’s most inclusive top law schools and has been since its founding. Its multidisciplinary approach to legal education and the dynamic campus community make for an environment where all students have the tools to excel.
Jens David Ohlin, Dean, Cornell Law School
Jens Ohlin became the Allan R. Tessler dean on July 1, 2021. He previously served as interim dean (January-June 2021), vice dean (2017-2020), associate dean for academic affairs (2015-2017), and director of faculty research (2013-2015).
His scholarly work stands at the intersection of four related fields: criminal law, criminal procedure, public international law, and the laws of war. Trained as a lawyer and a philosopher, his research has tackled questions as diverse as criminal conspiracy and the punishment of collective criminal action, the philosophical foundations of international law, and the role of new technologies in warfare, including cyberwar, remotely piloted drones, and autonomous weapons.
Dean Ohlin’s latest research project involves foreign election interference and the use of disinformation as a mode of statecraft by foreign actors. In a series of books and essays, he has explored how democratic states can marshal international and domestic legal tools to combat this new form of cyber interference. Dean Ohlin is also a dedicated teacher and the sole author of three casebooks in three different fields: international law, criminal law, and criminal procedure. He is also co-editor, with Claire Finkelstein, of the Oxford Series in Ethics, National Security, and the Rule of Law, a steering-board member of an international working group researching secondary liability for international crimes, and a Council on Foreign Relations member.
Cornell University takes pride in offering generous benefits to support and enhance health, wealth, and wellness. For information on the benefits offered at Cornell, see here.
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Sharon Meagher at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email email@example.com.
The public salary range is $167,324-$204,398. Exceptional candidates may qualify for additional compensation, including a signing bonus and relocation assistance.
Visit the Cornell Law School website at https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/.
Diversity and inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. Cornell is a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. Cornell also recognizes a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.
Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. Cornell strongly encourages individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.