Santa Clara University Selects New Dean for the School of Law
SANTA CLARA, Calif., December 16, 2020—Michael J. Kaufman, a nationally renowned educator, scholar, and expert on civil procedure and education law and dean at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, has been appointed dean of Santa Clara University School of Law.
Kaufman will begin his tenure on July 1, 2021. He takes over from Anna Han, interim dean of SCU School of Law, who has served in the role since March 2019, when then-Dean Lisa Kloppenberg was named interim-provost of Santa Clara University.
“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Michael Kaufman to Santa Clara University, and we look forward to working with him to build upon the proven strengths of our law school in high tech, social justice and global law,” said Kevin O’Brien, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “His leadership, extensive scholarship, dedication to excellence in teaching, and commitment to the Jesuit, Catholic ideals make him an outstanding choice to lead Santa Clara University’s School of Law.”
Kaufman is a beloved teacher and distinguished scholar who has published more than 30 books and numerous law review articles in three key areas: education law, equity, policy, and pedagogy; securities regulation and litigation; and civil procedure and dispute resolution.
As a highly successful dean at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Kaufman helped strengthen several critical areas, including the diversity of students, faculty, and administrative team; bar exam passage rates; employment outcomes; student academic credentials; academic reputation, and national rankings. In addition, he expanded access to educational opportunities for students and developed a law school curriculum around experiential learning, relationship-building skills, professional-identity formation, implicit-bias formation, and perspectives on law and justice. Kaufman also developed Loyola Chicago Law School’s innovative and popular hybrid Weekend JD program.
"Dean Kaufman’s collaborative leadership skills, extensive experience working with students, faculty and staff and a deep commitment to our mission, vision and values will be immensely valuable as our law school continues to grow in national reputation," said Provost Kloppenberg.
Kaufman also built relationships with many external partners, including alumni, law firms, legal services organizations, bar associations, philanthropic organizations, entrepreneurs, and local businesses. He led fundraising initiatives resulting in greater financial support for incoming and continuing students, the exponential growth of endowed chairs and named professorships, the expansion of law school clinics, and the establishment of high-impact law school programs such as the Rodin Center for Social Justice, the Rule of Law Institute, the Health Justice Project, and the Institute for Investor Protection.
His research in education law, policy, equity, and pedagogy inspired him to found Loyola’s Education Law and Policy Institute, which conducts research, conferences, comprehensive academic programs, direct representation, and advocacy dedicated to enhancing educational access and equity. The Institute has developed particular expertise and experience in special education, school discipline reform, early childhood education, and anti-bullying.
“I am overjoyed and honored to join the Santa Clara University community,” said Kaufman. “The School of Law is a transformative learning community with tremendous distinctive strengths. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work together with the entire Santa Clara community to build on those strengths, to harmonize the law school’s core social justice mission with its signature high tech programs, to achieve our shared vision of educational excellence, and to shape the future of the practice of law and the future of justice. Together, we can grow a law school community that incarnates our vital Jesuit, Catholic mission and promotes student access, formation, and success.”
Academic and Professional Experience
The dean of the School of Law at Loyola University Chicago since 2016 and vice provost since 2018, Kaufman served as associate dean for academic affairs at Loyola from 2005-16. He earned his BA from Kenyon College and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. He clerked for the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and practiced civil rights law and securities litigation at a large private firm in Chicago.
As vice provost, Kaufman led all of the deans to develop a mission-driven academic vision through an inclusive and collaborative design thinking process. He led the University’s strategic planning process, supervised all of the University’s Centers of Excellence, and developed a new innovation hub for transdisciplinary human-centered approaches to solving complex and urgent social problems.
A dedicated and award-winning public servant, Kaufman was elected three times to serve on the Board of Education for a diverse K-12 school district in the Chicago area. As the Board’s president, he led multiple stakeholders in a community-wide strategic planning process; helped to consolidate and integrate racially segregated neighboring school districts; worked for the educational best interest of all students, and managed multi-million dollar budgets with transparency.
Kaufman has served as a public arbitrator for securities matters, as well as an expert consultant for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. He also has delivered bar examination review lectures to hundreds of thousands of law school graduates for bar exams throughout the country, including in California.
Michael and his wife Sherry are parents to three adult children, and a rescue pup named Charlie. Their daughter Sarah, their youngest son Zach, and their future daughter-in-law Kelly are all living in California. Their son Josh is living in New York City, but they hope he will soon join the family out west. Sherry is an attorney who practiced education law for many years before becoming a teacher, director, and consultant for early childhood education programs. She is a professor at the Erikson Institute where she teaches classes for early childhood administrators in law, finance, and family engagement.
About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, one of the nation’s most diverse law schools, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. Santa Clara Law offers students an academically rigorous program including certificates in high tech law, international law, public interest and social justice law, and privacy law, as well as numerous graduate and joint degree options. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Law is nationally distinguished for its faculty engagement, preparation for practice, and top-ranked programs in intellectual property. For more information, see law.scu.edu.
About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education. For more information see www.scu.edu.
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