Schools and Colleges

Recently appointed law school dean lays out goals in inaugural address

Rachel Sandler | Asst. news editor

Craig Boise is the second high profile appointment the university has made in the last few months.

In a nutshell, Craig Boise’s plan for the College of Law at Syracuse University is innovation. He’s all too aware of how the world — and the field of law — is changing with new technologies and, as the newly appointed dean of the law school, he does not want SU to be left behind.

“I want Syracuse law to be known for expanding legal education into new areas as a laboratory for new teaching methods, as an incubator for new legal education programs,” he said.

Boise addressed about 200 people Monday morning in Dineen Hall about his goals for SU’s law school. His speech broadly focused on evolving and adjusting to new technologies and techniques used in the legal field, a relevant topic given SU’s recent announcement that the College of Law will pioneer an online hybrid juris doctor program in partnership with 2U, a company that pairs with colleges and universities to create online degree programs.

SU named Boise the new dean of the College of Law earlier this month, marking the second high-profile appointment made by the university in the last two months. The first was Michele Wheatly, who was named the vice chancellor and provost at the beginning of March. More appointments are on the horizon, as search committees are also in the process of finding deans for the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Boise will replace College of Law Interim Dean William Banks, director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, on July 1.

When introducing Boise at the ceremony, Chancellor Kent Syverud applauded Boise’s achievements at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he has served as dean since 2011. While there, Boise oversaw the creation of an institute focused on counterterrorism and privacy and established one of the United States’ first solo practice incubators, both of which raised the profile of the university’s law school, Syverud said.

It’s these accomplishments that make Boise the best candidate to lead the College of Law into the future, Syverud added.

“I feel a special responsibility to ensure Syracuse University has a fine law school far into the future and a responsibility to help the law school get even better in the years ahead,” said Syverud, who served eight years as dean at Vanderbilt Law School and previously practiced law in the fields of litigation and insurance.

Boise’s appointment comes at a time when some SU officials are calling on the university to hire more faculty and staff of color. Boise, who is African-American, is in line with suggestions made by the Chancellor’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion in a report released at the end of March.

Before Boise pursued law, he was a police officer in Kansas City, Missouri, where he recalled studying for the LSAT exam with a flashlight in a patrol car. He said his time as a police officer paved the way for him to get a legal education, which is even more important as “disruptive technologies” are changing the field, he said.

“This nation is built on the rule of law,” he added. “We need people educated in the law to sustain and reinforce that vital foundation.”

Boise wants to increase the prestige of SU’s law school even as lawyers and law schools, he said, are facing increasing challenges, such as a changing job market and changes in the delivery of legal services brought on by technology. Boise intends to face these challenges head on.

“I want Syracuse law to be the destination for anyone planning on studying law,” he said.


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