Months of planning and concentrated and concerted efforts by College of Law faculty, alumni and others culminated last week in a site visit from American Bar Association (ABA) and Association of American Law Schools (AALS) representatives.
A Sabbatical Site Visit Team led by W.H. “Joe” Knight, dean of the University of Washington School of Law, visited classes, met with UF and law school administrators and spoke with students, staff, alumni and members of the bench and bar as part of the ABA accreditation process and AALS review for conformity. Also on the team were Fordham University Law Professor James A. Cohen, University of Alabama Law Professor Bryan Fair, A.H. Gaede, Jr. of Bradley, Arant, Rose & White, University of Connecticut Law Dean Nell Jessup Newton, Wake Forest University School of Law Professor Marian Parker and University of Kentucky Medical School Dean David S. Watt.
I was pleased I could inform them of significant progress since the last site visit seven years ago.
Thanks to the generosity and dedication of our alumni, we begin construction this year on a new academic building and library, and continue to renovate and modernize existing facilities. As demonstrated in their response to our requests for support during the building campaign, our relationship with our graduates has improved, and members of our Board of Trustees and Law Center Association are increasingly active participants in fundraising. And the proactive participation of the central UF administration in finding funds for new and expanded facilities at the law school is tangible proof of our now solid relationship with main campus.
We reported a 25-1 student-faculty ratio in the last visit. It is now 16-1, an astonishing improvement. We have hired a nearly unprecedented number of new faculty, bringing richness and depth to our academic programs.
Thanks to the leadership of former and current associate deans Mike Seigel and Michael Friel, we now have and are following a carefully formulated administrative budget. In addition, we have developed a Strategic Plan designed to bring our college into the ranks of the nation’s top 10 public law schools.
We have paid particular attention to listening and responding to student concerns. Our Center for Career Services, for example, has worked hard to help students find fulfilling jobs, which has paid off in a dramatically improved employment rate nine months after graduation of 97 percent.
There is much more good news we were able to share with the ABA/AALS team. All of it is due to you — every member of the UF law family — who cared and worked hard to make a difference in this school and the future of those who pass through here.
The team was very impressed with our students, faculty and staff. Thanks to each of you for your efforts. — Dean Jon Mills