Penn State Dickinson School of Law to increase student options in two locations

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Board of Trustees has approved a plan to change operation of the two Dickinson School of Law campuses, one in Carlisle and the other in University Park, into two separately accredited, but collaborative, law campuses.

Each campus will offer curricula and opportunities that reflect the respective strengths of each faculty and location, creating a clearer choice for students considering Penn State for law school. The plan was brought forward in October by the faculties of the two law school campuses and endorsed last month by the Penn State Faculty Senate and in October by the faculties of the two law school campuses. Both campuses will continue to operate under the name the Dickinson School of Law of Penn State University, differentiated by the location and educational programming of each campus.

The Carlisle and University Park campuses currently are fully accredited as one unified law school by the American Bar Association, the accrediting body for all law schools in the United States. The University is working with the ABA to ensure the sustained ABA approval of each campus as separately accredited campuses of the Dickinson School of Law. For prospective students, the change will not begin to take effect until the 2014-15 academic year, with a gradual transition to two independent campuses in the 2016-17 academic year, following the graduation of the last class admitted to the current unified two-campus law school. 

“The dramatic changes over the past several years in the markets for legal services and legal education require new approaches that focus on high quality programs, affordability, meaningful jobs for graduates and a global reach,” said Dean Philip J. McConnaughay. “It’s important to understand that both Dickinson School of Law campuses are and will remain fully part of Penn State and that both enjoy the full support of the University going forward.”

Clearer choice for prospective students

The dean and faculties of each campus will establish separate missions, identities, programs and admissions policies. The Carlisle campus for example will focus its programming to take maximum advantage of its proximity to Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The University Park campus will continue to benchmark its educational program to other research university law schools and offer an array of international and interdisciplinary opportunities, facilitated by its close relationship with Penn State’s School of International Affairs and the University’s top graduate programs.

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Last Updated May 03, 2013