The Opportunity

The University of Southern California (USC) is a leading private research university located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles – a global center for arts, technology, and international business. As a member of the prestigious American Association of Universities, USC is recognized for especially strong research and academic programs. In its comprehensive 2021 ranking, The Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 19th among more than 1,000 public and private universities. Home to Southern California’s first law school, USC Gould School of Law is an elite school committed to academic excellence, world-class faculty, and a close-knit and diverse student body. USC Gould boasts a supportive and tight-knit alumni population of more than 10,000 professionals around the globe. Its alumni are partners in the world’s largest law firms, head major international companies, and serve leadership roles in government and public service organizations. More than 500 USC Gould alumni have served as state or federal judges.

The Position

Role of the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for USC Gould School of Law

Reporting to the Associate Dean for Academic Services and the Dean of the Gould School of Law, the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will be responsible for the strategic direction of the school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) activities and promoting a diverse, equitable and respectful environment for faculty, staff and students. The major responsibilities include, but are not limited to, planning, implementing, and evaluating goals related to diversity and inclusion within the school through facilitating and creating new initiatives, presentations, and activities that foster a culture of openness and inclusion; building strong relationships with members of the leadership team to drive awareness, commitment, and accountability for DEI action plans across the school; creating a strategic plan to monitor and measure DEI outcomes; overseeing and reporting on recruitment efforts to increase diversity within the school that may include delivering diversity reports on an annual or as-needed basis; and partnering with Communications to communicate DEI initiatives and messaging. The Assistant Dean will also be responsible for engaging the Gould community and soliciting feedback to identify gaps that include advising student groups to empower, educate, and involve students in DEI efforts; launching climate surveys and facilitating listening sessions; promoting, advising upon, and supporting curriculum development aimed at teaching and learning to think critically about cultural diversity; and acting as a resource for faculty, staff, and students in providing support on DEI matters.

The Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion must also work closely with other offices or leaders within the law school that provide student, academic, or administrative services such as the Registrar’s office, Admissions and Financial Aid, the Student Organizations office, Vice Deans, and Human Resources. The position serves on various law school committees, is occasionally asked to participate in University-wide committees, and assists in maintaining the law school’s ties to the legal community by attending various local, state, national bar association, and other professional meetings.

History of the Position

Yasmine-Imani McMorrin currently serves as the interim Dean of Students and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Gould School of Law. Based on emerging issues surrounding social and racial unrest, students expressed a strong desire to heighten efforts centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Accordingly, the Dean of Students and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position has been modified. A result of this effort led to the newly created position of Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Yasmine-Imani McMorrin will continue to serve on an interim basis while the Gould School of Law conducts a national search for a permanent leader to champion DEI efforts and initiatives.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The Gould of School of Law continues to underscore the need to employ innovative and strategic diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. Accordingly, the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has an important voice in this regard and will need to be a visionary, innovator, and effective thought leader. In transitioning to the Gould School of Law, the Assistant Dean may encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below, as shared by key stakeholders.

  • This position presents an exciting and challenging opportunity for a talented and accomplished leader who has a documented history of successfully developing and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
  • Campus stakeholders desire an experienced leader to be relationship-focused, infuse new energy, innovative ideas, and a sense of direction and purpose within the organization.
  • The Assistant Dean must have excellent communication skills and a proven ability to work effectively with faculty and staff members at various levels of development and knowledge, and demonstrate authenticity, passion, and care in all endeavors.
  • There is genuine excitement that, with a new Assistant Dean coming onboard, there will be opportunities for progressive thinking and creative change management.
  • The Assistant Dean will find a supervisor and peer group that is welcoming, promotes open communication, emphasizes an orientation toward service, and desires a forward-thinking professional.
  • Students desire an authentic leader who can rebuild trust, effectively navigate a political setting, and actively involve them in decision-making regarding DEI initiatives.
  • Students want immediate change and the process takes time. The Assistant Dean will have the ability to actively participate in listening sessions to engage with them, ensure that they are being heard, and that they feel satisfied with the pace of progress.
  • Stakeholders indicated that some people come from privileged backgrounds, and therefore have a difficult time relating to the issues of oppression and aggression that some individuals experience and rationalize it by insinuating that “this doesn’t apply to me.”

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining the Gould School of Law, the items listed below will initially define success for the new Assistant Dean:

  • earned the respect of the school and campus community through broad buy in, positive working relationships, accessibility, and honest, open communication to DEI initiatives;
  • established as a highly visible, approachable leader on campus, and ensured that resources are properly aligned for success of DEI initiatives;
  • developed metrics and/or mechanisms to advance and assess DEI initiatives;
  • analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans that are best practices for the Gould School of Law;
  • maintained a steady focus on, and advocacy for, diversity, equity, and inclusion issues—ensured the Gould School of Law continues efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive environment in which all stakeholders feel supported, valued, and empowered to thrive.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate must possess a master’s degree and at least three years minimum experience with a field of expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Qualified candidates possessing a terminal degree and a minimum of five years in higher education or related field are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates must demonstrate a clear commitment toward supporting and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion of students, faculty, and staff from differing backgrounds. Qualifications include a history of successful leadership in promoting diversity and engaging in activities that support equity and respect in the work environment. The successful candidate must also have experience with antiracist/anti-bias and culturally responsive pedagogy or other equivalent expertise; must possess strong leadership abilities, organizational skills, good judgment, and excellent verbal/written communication; and must be able to speak authentically about the imperative for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the school.

In addition to the minimum academic and experiential requirements indicated above, other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and/or abilities noted from discussions with campus stakeholders include the following:

  • experience working directly and effectively with diverse student populations;
  • understands dynamics of a law school;
  • demonstrated collaboration skills with internal departments and external colleagues, with the ability to understand the importance of interconnectedness and partnerships;
  • an easy conversationalist, active listener, transparent communicator with robust public relations skills, and the ability to reach all levels of the school;
  • excellent problem solving skills, with the ability to determine needs, address issues, and manage change effectively;
  • unquestioned integrity, compassion, and empathy for all constituents with the ability to remain fair and unbiased at all times;
  • enthusiasm for the role, passion for the work, and a positive attitude even in the face of adversity;
  • an innovator with a futuristic orientation and a willingness to try new opportunities, remain informed on new trends and best practices, and lead significant change processes;
  • experience in diplomacy, political savviness, and mediation, as well as the ability to develop consensus around difficult issues;
  • demonstrated skills as an advocate and champion for diversity, equity, and inclusivity, along with a willingness to stand up for these values;
  • the ability to conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, to listen to all sides of an issue, and to remain “cool under pressure” no matter the situation;
  • a strong relationship builder who is open-minded, resilient, culturally aware, able to navigate sensitive issues, and work with different personalities;
  • someone who is motivated and inspired by new challenges and who is not afraid to be the face of the school in front of different audiences;
  • a personable and approachable demeanor, charisma, and the ability to have fun on the job, even though the subject matter can be heavy or intense.

Overview of Diversity and Inclusion at the Gould School of Law

As one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, USC Gould recognizes the inherent value a diverse academic community offers to students, the legal profession, and our broader society.

Interacting with diverse peers and faculty leads to greater active thinking, intellectual engagement, and motivation. It is especially important for students entering the legal field where they will encounter myriad perspectives and interpretations of the law.

At USC Gould, students encounter various points of view, experiences and people—in and out of the classroom.

Institution & Location

Institutional Overview

Institutional background/history

USC Gould is an elite law school committed to academic excellence. The school’s success is due to its world-class faculty, a close-knit and diverse student body, a well-situated campus, an interdisciplinary curriculum, and a supportive alumni network.

The faculty is nationally recognized for its scholarship in many fields, its interdisciplinary focus, public service, and leadership in the profession. USC Gould’s small class size and low professor-to-student ratio create an intimate and collegial learning environment.

Founded in 1900, USC Gould was Southern California’s first law school. From the school’s earliest days, women and students of color were enrolled. Today, USC Gould maintains one of the nation’s most diverse law student populations and enrolls the most international students. This creates an environment that fosters a wide range of perspectives and experiences.

Located in Los Angeles, USC Gould provides students with vast opportunities in one of the top legal markets and busiest courts in the nation. From Silicon Beach to downtown L.A., USC Gould offers access to clerkships, externships, and career options with law and business firms, public interest agencies, and entertainment, media, and technology firms. The law school’s location on USC’s University Park Campus supports numerous opportunities for interdisciplinary education and research among the multitude of renowned schools.

USC pioneered the concepts of interdisciplinary and clinical legal education. The first modern legal aid program grew out of a USC Gould clinic established in 1929. And, in 1965, USC Gould became one of the first schools to bring an interdisciplinary focus to the study of law. Today, the curriculum is infused with courses at the intersection of a variety of key disciplines and offers 15 dual-degree programs. Through USC Gould’s numerous clinics, practicums, and externships, students gain hands-on training in the practice of law, working with real clients.

The law school boasts a supportive and tight-knit alumni population of more than 10,000 professionals around the globe. The Trojan Family is a fiercely loyal and powerful network deeply committed to the success of USC graduates. Gould alumni are partners in the world’s largest law firms, head major international companies, and serve leadership roles in government and public service organizations. More than 500 USC Gould alumni have served as state or federal judges.

About Los Angeles, CA

Beneath the region’s radiantly blue skies and sunshine, Los Angeles offers a wealth of enticing employment opportunities—from Silicon Beach to Downtown L.A. Los Angeles is one of the world’s largest legal markets and the second largest in the United States. Being in L.A., one is at the middle of the world entertainment capital and a vital center for business and international trade, as well as proximate to the country’s busiest court systems.

The law school’s location provides USC Gould access to an extraordinary pool of judges, lawyers, government officials and members of the entertainment, technology, business and public interest community who enrich students’ education by sharing perspectives honed from daily practice.

Everywhere in Southern California, one finds members of the Trojan Family poised to open doors, give advice, and help pave students’ way to success. Whether one wants to explore practice in a public interest agency, law firm, corporation or entertainment and technology firm, or extern in a courthouse, students find a multitude of options waiting for them.

Los Angeles also offers more than great weather and career choices. The city abounds in unparalleled cultural opportunities, exciting sporting events, and eclectic cuisine. Los Angeles is home to more museums, music, and theaters than any other city in the country, as well as vibrant shops, arts galleries, and nightlife.

Los Angeles has an accessible and easy-to-use public transit system convenient to the USC campus. Jump on the Metro right outside USC Gould’s door and be transported to Santa Monica, Pasadena, or Long Beach with the swipe of a card.

Vision Statement

The University of Southern California Gould School of Law cultivates analytical ability, ethical values, and a spirit of collegiality that prepares students for meaningful careers benefiting society. Gould enriches human knowledge and the principles of justice through superior scholarship.

Leadership

Andrew Guzman, Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law, and Professor of Law and Political Science

A noted expert in international law and economics, Andrew Guzman has written extensively on international trade, international regulatory matters, foreign direct investment, and public international law. His work has addressed international tribunals, soft law, the safety of imported products, and climate change. In addition, his interdisciplinary research examines problems across the range of public and private international law.

An interdisciplinary scholar, Guzman has served on the boards of leading academic journals, including the Journal of International Economic Law, where he currently sits on the Editorial Advisory Board. He also served as a member of the Academic Council of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and as an international arbitrator. He is the author of Overheated: The Human Cost of Climate Change, How International Law Works, and International Trade Law.

Under his leadership, USC Gould has made significant strides, educationally and institutionally. Guzman has focused on strengthening the quality of the JD program, expanding academic offerings, and growing the law school’s faculty expertise. He has made a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives school-wide. Guzman has prioritized and invested in student support, wellness, and career development. Further, he has broadened the impact of Gould’s teaching mission through specialized master’s programs and certificates, and has launched innovative programs that enrich the student experience at Gould.

Prior to joining USC, Guzman was a Professor of Law and Associate Dean at UC Berkeley, where he directed the International and Executive Legal Education Program. He has also taught as a visiting professor at numerous law schools in the U.S. and across the globe, including Harvard, the University of Chicago, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, the University of Hamburg, and the National University Law School in Bangalore, India.

Guzman earned his JD and PhD in Economics from Harvard University, where he was the Books & Commentaries Editor for the Harvard Law Review.

The Student Body – 2020

  • 5,327 applicants
  • 915 admitted
  • 187 first year students
  • 59% women
  • 47% minority
  • 14% LGBTQ
  • 11% first-generation
  • 14% economically disadvantaged
  • 36% out of state
  • 24 states represented

Academic Programs

  • Juris Doctor (JD)
  • Master of Laws
  • Master of Studies in Law
  • LLM in Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Master of Dispute Resolution
  • LLM in International Business and Economic Law
  • LLM in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity
  • Master of Comparative Law

Centers and Initiatives

  • Center for Law and Philosophy
  • Center for Law and Social Science
  • Center for Law, History and Culture
  • Center for Transnational Law and Business
  • Initiative and Referendum Institute
  • Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics
  • Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics

Benefits Overview

The following benefits are available to employees of USC Gould School of Law:

  • Medical benefits
  • Dental Coverage
  • Vision Insurance
  • Retirement benefits
  • Tuition benefits
  • Wellness, work/life and family benefits

For more information regarding benefits, please visit: https://employees.usc.edu/benefits-perks/

 

Application & Nomination

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 may be emailed to Quincy Martin III at qm3@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of Southern California website at https://www.usc.edu/.

Equity, diversity, inclusion, opportunity and access are of central importance to the Gould School of Law (Gould).  Gould holds a unique position in society, and within the university, as every aspect of these principles are influenced by and can be protected through legal rules and institutions.  At Gould, we are proudly committed to maintaining a community in which each person respects the rights of others to live, work, and learn in peace and dignity, to be proud of who and what they are, and to have equal opportunity to realize their full potential as individuals and members of society.

We are sensitive to how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting work and personal lives, and will offer the utmost flexibility throughout the interview process. The search committee expects to conduct initial interviews virtually for the safety and well-being of all involved.