Published September 22, 2014
Dear University Community:
I am writing to share with you that Dean Makau Mutua has informed me of his plan to step down as dean of the School of Law, effective December 19, 2014, in order to return to his faculty role as SUNY Distinguished Professor and Floyd H. & Hilda Hurst Faculty Scholar. Later this semester, I will appoint an interim dean to serve while we conduct a search for the next dean of the School of Law.
Makau was appointed dean of the School of Law in 2008, after serving as interim dean since 2007. He has provided outstanding service to the University at Buffalo. Makau is a great believer in the power of legal education to create a path to justice and in the role of the School of Law in preparing the very best legal minds to serve society.
Makau has led the school through a nationally challenging time for legal education, while strengthening the school’s programs and faculty and advancing UB’s teaching, research, and engagement missions. Under Makau’s leadership, the School of Law has transformed the infrastructure and technological capabilities of the School and created new and innovative academic programs that support the school’s global aspirations. The school has launched two international programs this semester – a joint-LL.M. program with the University of Lyon in France and a program that allows internationally-trained lawyers to earn a JD in two years.
Makau also has been committed to improving experiential learning opportunities in the School in order to better train graduates. One such example is the Advocacy Institute which provides students with real-world experience in trial and appellate advocacy. Bar passage rates of UB law graduates have increased during Makau’s tenure as dean and the School was recently identified as one of the programs delivering the best practical training by National Jurist, a leading legal education publication.
During Makau’s tenure, the School of Law recruited 22 new faculty members – representing more than one third of law faculty -- and created the popular Junior Faculty Forum, which gives faculty the opportunity to present their work. Makau also enhanced the position of Vice Dean for Research and Faculty Development to encourage and enable faculty research and scholarship across the ranks.
Makau has built strong relationships with the School’s alumni and legal community. With the support of UB law alumni and members of the Dean’s Advisory Council and campaign committee, the School embarked on the most ambitious fund-raising campaign in its history with a campaign goal of $30 million, already raising $23 million toward that goal.
One of the world’s leading scholars in international human rights law, Makau joined the UB School of Law faculty in 1996. He earned his doctor of juridical science degree in 1987 from Harvard Law School. He has written extensively on international law, human rights, and religion and conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule of law missions to countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe.
Makau’s influence has been widely recognized both nationally and internationally. While dean, he earned several honors, including being asked to serve on an international Iran tribunal hearing in 2012. Makau was elected vice-president of the American Society of International Law in 2011 and serves as a life member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, a New York City-based think tank and membership organization that studies major international issues and publishes the journal Foreign Affairs.
Colleagues, please join me in thanking Makau for his dedicated service. We wish him much continued success as he prepares to return to the School of Law faculty.
Charles F. Zukoski Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs