Search begins for new dean of Penn State Law, School of International Affairs

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A national search is underway for the next dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs (SIA).

Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, will chair the search committee.

James Houck, a retired vice admiral and former judge advocate general of the Navy, has served as interim dean for Penn State Law and the SIA since August 2013.

“Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs are extraordinarily well positioned to offer programs of the highest quality that prepare graduates to succeed in a 21st century global society,” said Nick Jones, executive vice president and provost. “The successful candidate will have the leadership and vision to advance Penn State Law as a premier institution among its peers.”

Penn State Law is Penn State’s law school on its University Park campus in State College, Pennsylvania. With an estimated budget of $24.5 million, Penn State Law offers a juris doctor degree, a number of joint degrees, and for foreign-trained attorneys, both master of laws and doctor of juridical science degree programs.

Founded in 2007, the SIA includes 100 students from 14 countries and offers a two-year master of international affairs degree, and certificates in International Affairs, International Economic Development, and International Security.

The schools are housed in the state-of-the-art Lewis Katz Building on the University Park campus. Completed in 2009, the $60 million Katz Building was specifically designed to accommodate global legal education with advanced audio-visual equipment allowing for real-time connections to programs and speakers anywhere in the world. The LEED-certified building includes a courtroom technologically equipped to display evidence electronically, a café, classrooms, library and student meeting and study spaces.

Applications, nominations and inquiries should be emailed to or mailed to Susan Welch, chair, Search Committee for the Dean of Penn State Law, 201 Old Main, University Park, PA 16802.

The search committee will review applications and nominations beginning Sept. 21 and will continue until the position is filled. For more information about the schools, visit and

Members of the search committee are:

  • Larry Cáta Backer, W. Richard and Mary Eshelmen Faculty Scholar and professor of law and international affairs;
  • Blannie E. Bowen, vice provost for academic affairs;
  • Amanda J. DiPolvere, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid;
  • Liliana M. Garces, assistant professor of higher education and research associate, College of Education;
  • Scott S. Gartner, professor of international affairs, affiliate law faculty, director of the SIA;
  • Steven D. Hinckley, associate dean for library information services, director of the law libraries and professor of law;
  • Kit Kinports, Polisher Family Distinguished Faculty Scholar and professor of law;
  • Julia Y. Yee, assistant professor of law;
  • Flynt L. Leverett, professor of international affairs and affiliate law faculty;
  • Sophia A. McClennen, professor of international affairs and comparative literature and associate director of the SIA;
  • Alexander H. Park, Student Bar Association Class of 2016 representative and honor code representative;
  • Ross H. Pifer, clinical professor and director of the Center for Agricultural and Shale Law and the Rural Economic Development Clinic;
  • Victor Romero, Maureen B. Cavanaugh Distinguished Faculty Scholar, associate dean of academic affairs and professor of law;
  • Stephen F. Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar, professor of law and director of the Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy and Research;
  • Samuel C. Thompson, Jr., Arthur Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar and director of the Center for the Study of Mergers and Acquisitions; and
  • Susan Welch, dean of the College of the Liberal Arts.
Last Updated September 02, 2015