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To:             University Community 

From:         Charles F. Zukoski
                  Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Date:          December 16, 2014

Re:             Announcement of Interim Dean of the School of Law

I am pleased to announce the appointment of SUNY Distinguished Professor James A. Gardner as Interim Dean of the School of Law, effective December 20, 2014.  Professor Gardner holds the Bridget and Thomas Black professorship in the School of Law, a designation he will retain while serving as interim dean.

Professor Gardner succeeds Dean Makau W. Mutua, who will return to his faculty role as SUNY Distinguished Professor of Law and Floyd H. & Hilda Hurst Faculty Scholar.  Dean Mutua has served as Dean of the School of Law since 2008 (see the September 22 memo for more information about Dean Mutua’s accomplishments).

A highly regarded specialist in constitutional and election law, Professor Gardner has been a UB faculty member since 2001. He is a prolific scholar who has published six books, as well as numerous book chapters, articles, and review essays. He was recently recognized as one of the ten most frequently cited scholars in the field of election law by the influential Election Law blog.  

Professor Gardner has served as director of the Edwin F. Jaeckle Center for State and Local Democracy since 2005 and as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs of the School of Law from 2007-2012.  Since October 2014, he has served as the elected chair of the School of Law’s Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee, which has been charged with evaluating the current state of the school and identifying strategies to preserve and enhance its strengths moving forward.

I am grateful to Professor Gardner for his willingness to serve as interim dean during this transitional period.  We are evaluating the appropriate timing for an international search for the next dean and will keep the campus apprised of our plans in this regard.