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Haddon Selected as University of Maryland Law School Dean, Marking First for an African-American

University of Maryland officials last week announced the appointment of Phoebe A. Haddon as dean of the University of Maryland School of Law, effective July 1, 2009. Haddon, who will be the ninth dean and the second woman in the position, will be the first African-American to serve as the dean of the University of Maryland system’s only law school.

“Phoebe Haddon is passionate about legal education, about the essential role of innovative and influential scholarship in the continued development of our faculty, and about the School of Law’s vital public service mission,” says Dr. David J. Ramsay, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Haddon is leaving the faculty of the Temple University Beasley School of Law to head the 185-year old Baltimore-based law school, replacing Karen H. Rothenberg. The first woman to serve as dean, Rothenberg is stepping down after a decade in the Maryland law deanship and is rejoining the faculty as a professor. Haddon’s selection as dean follows a year-long national search that began not long after Rothenberg announced in February 2008 that she would be stepping down from her post in 2009.

Haddon noted that Maryland’s law school has a history of promoting social justice through its clinical programs and community outreach. And she lauded the institution’s teaching and student mentoring in areas such as health care, the environment, business and international law.

“The faculty’s talents are revealed in its scholarship and in the problem-solving and policy-making efforts it undertakes at the local, state and national level. I want to assist the faculty, fundraising for the resources to support this important work and strengthening their opportunities to be effective scholars and teachers,” Haddon told Diverse.

“The law school has a richly diverse student body and faculty, and I have made a commitment to ensure that this diversity continues to distinguish University of Maryland through its Women and Leadership and other programs. I believe that with my support and by continuing these priorities, Maryland will be the premier urban research institution,” Haddon said.

Haddon is credited as an accomplished scholar on constitutional law and tort law, and has co-authored two casebooks and written numerous articles on academic freedom, jury participation, equal protection and diversity. She received an LLM from Yale University Law School and a law degree from Duquesne University School of Law. Haddon served as editor-in-chief of the Duquesne Law Review. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and serves as vice-chair of the Smith College trustee board.

Haddon has been a leader in national organizations focused on improving U.S. legal education. She serves on the Council of the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, which is the accrediting body of U.S. law schools. In addition, she has served as co-president of the board of governors and member of the executive committee of the Society of American Law Teachers, member of the executive committee of the Association of American Law Schools, and a trustee of the Law School Admission Council.

Stay tuned more reporting on law school diversity when Diverse: Issues In Higher Education publishes a special report on law in its April 16, 2009 edition. The issue will feature a story on women law school deans.

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