Opinion

Who Wants to be the next Dean?

Law Building

U of A Law is looking for a new Dean. The students nominate their favourites…

14-16 Dean Selection - Acorn

Nomination: Professor Acorn

Athyna Slack (3L)

A new Dean?! It is hard to imagine who can replace the quiet confidence of Dean Bryden AND someone who will also possess the requisite acting skills to be in Law Show every year. Don’t fret future U of A law students; there is a clear choice! But first I would like to note that I absolutely WOULD NOT have a bias towards intelligent, fashion conscious blonde women (being one myself), that’s absurd! But in all seriousness, Annalise Acorn would be a fantastic Dean. She truly cares for her students, makes each student feel important and valuable, as well as having a contagious passion for the law. Conflict of Laws cannot be easy to teach, but she manages to make it enjoyable (maybe I’m alone in this one, but Conflicts remains one of my favorite courses yet).  Also, as a professor of Law and Emotions (and a course on Law and Shakespeare) she should be in touch enough with her feelings to be able to churn out a compelling Law Show performance, bonus!

 Slogan: “Acorn, the best Dean we’ve ever seen!”

14-16 Dean Selection - McInnes

Nomination: Professor McInnes

Mario Babic (3L)

This is a tough question; there are so many highly qualified individuals on the faculty. If I had to pick, I’d say my Dream Dean would be none other than Professor McInnes. Imagine paper length requirements slashed across the board to promote brevity and concision. He would usher in a Golden Era of Efficiency and Knowledge, and notably deliver it under the allotted time! The budget would be saved via the creative use of trusts over office supplies, and unjust enrichment actions to claw back staff benefits. Only one problem exists: a man of such wisdom would never take the role, immediately able to recognize its pitfalls.

Slogan: “Mitchy for Dean!”

 

14-16 Dean Selection - Renke

Nomination: Professor Renke

Mario Babic (3L)

In light of this, a practical candidate is necessary: Professor Renke. His focus and pedigree are unmistakable, and his experience speaks volumes. His appointment would encourage a plethora of cross-pollination for students, crim kids taking intellectual property, and even energy kids taking evidence! Alongside broadening the students’ knowledge base, he would usher in his own Golden Era… of Fitness! The reading room would surely be transformed into a full service gym, making the transition from books to biceps as seamless as possible. The last notable change: the medalists would be determined by a body sculpting competition rather than the archaic measures used today.

Slogan: “Renke: he can do it all – what’s your excuse?”

 

Nomination: Professor Renke

Rebecca Bloomer and Afshaan Jiwaji Kapasi 1L

Although we have yet to run the gamut of professorial personalities as lowly 1Ls, it’s a pretty obvious choice that Professor Renke should be the next Dean. The impact he would have would be obvious from the start. With the speed and animation with which he disseminates information, Orientation alone would easily be condensed into a couple days and we’d quickly become familiarized with his contagious catch phrase “Suppose that…”. Wine and cheeses have you feeling fluffy? No time to get to that once beloved place called the gym? Well, clearly Renke doesn’t suffer from these problems – if the bulging biceps are any indication. The law school problem of sedentary students would be solved!

…Suppose that Professor Renke were next in line to be the U of A law school Dean. He would literally whip this place into shape. Twenty push-ups is the currency for all first years to enter a classroom. Ten jumping jacks for second years. And just to be really brutal, fifty jump squats for third years just as they’ve become used to doing only ten jumping jacks the previous year. But, suppose that he kept the same great attitude he has as a professor and applies it to his new fitness law school, no one would mind because no one likes to disappoint that cheerful man. We’ll all make great criminal sports lawyers.

Like us and many other students this year, you may be concerned about the recent budget cuts. Luckily, Professor Renke is known to be able to elicit the right answer from his students by helpfully “bobbing” you along even if you have no idea what you are talking about. We can only imagine him bobbing President Samarasekera into the right answer: “You are … [Renke bobs with hand gestures] going to … [more bobbing] … give money … no, GIVE money [bobbing becomes more persuasive] to-o-o-o th-h-e- – [one final bob with gusto] – Faculty of Law!!”

Professor Renke’s other specialty is Oil and Gas law. No one can guess how he managed to combine two unlikely specialties of criminal and resource law, but I can only imagine that he’ll come up with some other great combinations for classes – Taxation and Insurance (two for one – less painful!), Water and Construction Law (I see a Waterworld Movie Night), or maybe Professional Responsibility and Unfair Trade Practices (learn how to apply both!). This would be possible because of the aforementioned speed at which he can disseminate information.

 Slogan: “Suppose that Professor Renke were Dean. It would be awesome.”

 

14-16 Outside Hire

Nomination: Outside Hire

Jordan Lefaivre (3L)

What this law school needs most is a shot in the arm. There are many excellent faculty members being suggested, but I personally think we need to hire out of house. I truly think we would benefit from a Dean whose experience is rooted primarily in the practical application of the law. There are voices of reform advocating for new and varied approaches to legal training. Providing more practical training for law students could go a long way towards creating more competent lawyers. I know changing the way legal training is done is a lofty goal, but I think bringing in a respected lawyer with a solid track record in practice would be a great first step. Further, a Dean with recent practice experience would facilitate healthy dialogue between the Bar and the Law School. I think many students would agree that learning from Professors who can draw on past experiences makes for a more engaging learning experience. These lessons have added value because they can be directly applied to the practice of new lawyers.

Slogan: “Hire out of house!”

I’d also be cool with appointing Professor Percy again too. Damnit, that man is charming.

 

14-16 Dean Selection - Professor Longbottom

Nomination: Professor Longbottom

Erin Townley (3L)

While Dean Bryden has been an outstanding contribution to our Faculty, he has yet to cut the head off of a living, breathing Horcrux; Neville Longbottom however, the current Professor of Herbology at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, already has this incredible feat attached to his resume. He also brings with him tangible proof that one can go from an ugly duckling to a beautiful display of man….I mean swan. What outstanding encouragement this will be for the First Years! Forget about those Cs and Ds that drag you down at midterms – there’s still time to lose your buckteeth and develop a 6-pack.

Longbottom has already proposed a few changes to how things are run. Incoming 1Ls will be assigned to four “Houses” based on their personality and ambition. Throughout the year, points will be awarded somewhat arbitrarily, according to the personal opinion of Professors who either witness the event directly, or learn about it through hearsay. For the purposes of the point system, rules of evidence are discarded. Other ideas he has suggested include: Quills-only classrooms; one-on-one moot “duels”; owl-mail; a group of students who meet secretly and call themselves “Longbottom’s Lawyers”; and daily feasts prepared and served to us by paralegals.

Slogan: “Think outside the box, Think Longbottom”

14-16 Dean Selection - Adams

Nomination: Professor Adams

Sanjana Ahmed (2L)

PROFESSOR ADAMS FOR DEAN!! Why, you ask?1. He loves the law. Seriously, why else would someone voluntarily teach first year Constitutional Law? If ever in doubt, just ask him about the Parsons case. You will never look at s. 92(13) the same way again.

2. He is a genius. Fun fact: Professor Adams wrote his Constitutional law exam in first year without a CAN. AND got the best mark. OK yes, it is slightly worrying that someone could forget the ONE thing they need for an exam, but that’s not the point. Suffice to say the man knows his stuff. It’s that kind of performance under pressure that should be valued in a Dean.

3. He encourages diversity. At UofA law we pride ourselves on having a diverse student body. Exhibit A: Our LSA. While Dean Bryden exudes wisdom via his appearance (the Santa Clause-esque handlebar moustache helps a LOT), Professor Adam’s clean-shaven look will show that at the UofA, we value a diverse look in the selection of our Dean.

Slogan: “Dean Adams…think it over, mull it over in your mind, roll it on your tongue a few times. Has a nice ring to it no? Thought so!”

 

Nomination: Steve of Hello My Friend Cafe

Evan Kirker (2L)

I asked myself: what would one look for in a Dean of Law? Our new dean should be first and foremost informed on what students want while being someone who regularly interacts with the student body. The new Dean must consider the best interests of the student while also regularly conversing with the Faculty to reach a fully informed decision. Although law professors are often more concerned with raising and maintaining student stress levels, they occasionally have some viable suggestions that the new Dean should take into consideration. Our new Dean will also have to meet for discussions with university administration, other institutions, and deal with public and private concerns.  He or she will be the public face of our law school as well. They should therefore be amiable, enthusiastic and generally good-natured. Many faculty members meet some of my criteria, but there is only one whom I feel best meets them all!

I would like to nominate Steve Hello My Friend for the position. Steve talks to students and faculty on a daily basis. He is energetic, optimistic, amicable and understanding. And he always leaves that late-night coffee out for those 1Ls and 2Ls that haven’t quite figured out the system yet. I guess there would be a small problem in figuring out who would take over providing coffee for the law students, but maybe once Steve is selected for Dean we can have a new Canons article titled: “Hello my Friend Selection: Who should be the new Steve?”

Slogan: “Hello my Friend Steve, the clear choice”

 

14-16 Ziff

Professor Ziff

Ben Seigel (3L)

There is an amazing candidate among our faculty to be our next Dean, the legendary Professor Ziff.

Anyone who has taken a class with him can tell that he has a passion for teaching and genuinely cares about his students. He is approachable, social and seems like he would be quite open to hearing student concerns.

He also happens to be hilarious, not a bad quality to have from a person whom students will have to listen to copious numbers of speeches from during their time in law school. He would be bring a spark and energy to the position that U of A Law would benefit greatly from.

Professor Ziff also has the right qualifications for the position. He is a well known and respected academic across Canada. If U of A Law ever gets knocks, it is that we are a trade school, rather than an academic school. Having a high profile academic such as Ziff as Dean could help change that and increase our reputation from an academic/research standpoint.

Professor Ziff is also a fairly creative person. In light of some of the challenges, such as budget cuts, that the faculty may be facing over the next few years, that may be a needed skill moving forward.

Professor Ziff would be the clear choice from our currently faculty to become the next Dean of Law at U of A. Professor McInnes would also be great, but I’m fairly certain we are more likely to get the Abominable Snowman as our next Dean than convince Professor McInnes he wants the job.

Slogan: “Nothing rhymes with Ziff, but he should still be Dean”