By Russell Boniface | Apr 21, 2016

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida State University (FSU) College of Law is currently conducting a national search to fill the vacancy left by Dean Donald J. Weidner, who announced in August 2015 his plans to retire as of June.

Weidner served as Dean of the College of Law from 1991 to 1997, as interim dean from 1998 to 2000, and again as dean from 2000 to the present. He joined the Florida State law faculty in 1976. Weidner’s accomplishments have led Florida State to be ranked among the nation’s best law schools.

A search committee for a new dean was appointed in December 2015.

"The Florida State University College of Law is highly regarded and enjoys a robust national reputation,” Sam Huckaba, FSU Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and chairman of the search committee, recently told the Florida Record. “We are looking for a new dean who can help the College of Law to reach even higher levels. That will be a tough challenge, as Don Weidner set the bar very high during his 20-plus years as dean.”

The new dean will serve as the chief academic officer and chief administrator of the College of Law, and will partner with the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and the college’s faculty.

Responsibilities of the dean position will focus on strategic, operational and financial matters, while anchoring the College of Law's relationships with alumni, the legal profession, the academy and the larger public. Fundraising will also be a priority and will involve establishing initiatives and promoting the achievements of the college’s faculty and students. The new dean will work with faculty, staff, a diverse student body, community partners, alumni and donors.

The College of Law also works closely with FSU’s other colleges and the university’s senior administration. As part of the screening, the search committee evaluates candidates for academic and professional credentials that will enhance the reputation of the College of Law, and engender respect from the academy, the state university system, the judicial system and the community at large. The successful candidate must bring to the table a deep appreciation for the legal profession and for legal scholarship.

“Our national search produced a number of extremely well-qualified candidates,” Huckaba said. “From this pool, the committee identified an exceptional set of finalists who all interviewed well during the on-campus interviewing phase.”

The dean position profile announcement is currently posted on the FSU College of Law website.

 “As for the timing, this is in the hands of the provost and president, who will make the final decision,” Huckaba said. “The nomination period, though, will remain open until the position is filled.”

In accordance with the state of Florida’s open records laws, all applications and letters of interest regarding the position will be made public.

The FSU College of Law is in Tallahassee, near the Florida capitol, the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. Tallahassee is also home to more than 500 law firms and numerous government agencies.

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