Skip to main content

February 2020

Lisa Kloppenberg headshot on campus

Lisa Kloppenberg headshot on campus

Lisa Kloppenberg Named Provost of Santa Clara University

Formerly dean of Santa Clara Law, Lisa Kloppenberg was named provost of Santa Clara University effective March 1.


SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 7, 2020—Lisa Kloppenberg, who served as dean of Santa Clara University School of Law and has been interim University provost since June 2019, was named provost and vice president for academic affairs at the 169-year-old institution.

Kloppenberg, who was previously dean of the University of Dayton School of Law, will assume the new post March 1. As the chief academic officer in the University, the provost has executive responsibilities for overseeing all undergraduate and graduate educational programs and academic support functions.

“While serving as interim provost for the past eight months, Lisa has shown an admirable combination of collegiality, decisiveness, and concern for the greater good of our faculty, staff, and students,” said University President Kevin O’Brien, S.J. “In Lisa, I find a partner who models a deep and genuine commitment to our Jesuit, Catholic values and who shares my commitment to the academic enterprise which is the heart of our University.”

Kloppenberg is a national expert in mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as well as in constitutional law.

As dean of Santa Clara Law, Kloppenberg oversaw changes designed to ensure graduates were ready for the workforce of today. That included moving toward a more competency-based curriculum and implementing a critical lawyering skills course, encompassing communication, active listening, creative problem solving, handling mistakes, and reflective lawyering. Her team also launched the Tech Edge J.D. option, affording students increased Silicon Valley mentoring and experiential learning.

Last year, she was honored with the Saint Thomas More Society Award by San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantu. The award, sponsored by the Saint Thomas More Society of Santa Clara County, is given to the leader who exemplifies the principles and ideals of Saint Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers and politicians. In her acceptance speech, Kloppenberg noted the work of SCU Law students, faculty, and staff who make impressive contributions to the most marginalized, from victims of human trafficking to wrongfully convicted persons.

Under Kloppenberg’s leadership, the law school in 2018 opened the doors—after less than two years of construction—to the Howard S. and Alida S. Charney Hall of Law, the 96,000-square-foot new building that features flexible learning spaces and sophisticated classroom technology.

“I am incredibly honored to be named provost of Santa Clara University at such an exciting time in our history,” said Kloppenberg. “I see so much innovation in our programming at the undergraduate and graduate levels, from the arts and STEM to business and law. I am amazed by the ways our faculty and students improve the world with their teaching, research, immersive learning, and service in the Bay Area and around the globe. I look forward to building on our momentum to help shape the future of Santa Clara University.”

Earlier in her career, as dean and professor of law at the University of Dayton School of Law, Kloppenberg received national recognition for championing the “Lawyer as Problem Solver” curricular reform and a unique five-semester accelerated option for legal studies.

She is the co-author of a popular text which teaches law students to be effective advocates in negotiation, mediation, and other methods of resolving disputes without going to court. She has also written several other books and many articles. She is enthusiastic about using her conflict resolution skills to enhance campus communication and collaboration.

She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Southern California, where she was editor-in-chief of the Southern California Law Review. After graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, one of the leading advocates for ADR in the justice system. Kloppenberg went on to work in litigation, arbitration, and mediation with the firm Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler in Washington, D.C., then worked with Ken Feinberg, a prominent mediator who designed conflict resolution systems. Her first job in academia was at the University of Oregon, where she co-founded the school’s Appropriate Dispute Resolution program.

She lives in San Jose with her husband Mark Zunich. The couple has three grown children, Nick, Tim, and Kellen.

Hear an interview with Kloppenberg on the student-run Voices of Santa Clara podcast. 

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

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121


Press Release, Provost
Recent Headlines