UMKC School of Law mulls over potential candidates for dean position

The candidate evaluations to choose the next dean for UMKC School of Law have come to close. Law professors turned in their personal evaluations during their week off for spring break. Now, the hiring committee just needs to make its final decision.

School of Law Interim Dean Barbara Glesner-Fines delivered the last presentation. Being the only applicant coming from UMKC faculty, many professors favored Glesner-Fines’ ideas for the law school and trusted her vision.

Through her exposition, Glesner-Fines reflected on the many positive attributes about the law school, while pointing out how most people actually know about the school’s many strengths.

According to Glesner-Fines, when UMKC hosted an event last semester welcoming the new chancellor to the campus, Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer noted the law school was only one of seven schools in the country that boasts both a president of the United States (Harry S. Truman) and a supreme court justice (Charles Whittaker) among its alumni.

After this event, Glesner-Fines recalls many faculty and staff telling her, “I didn’t know that!”

“It should be no surprise the value we bring,” Glesner-Fines said. “It shouldn’t be surprising that UMKC prepares leaders.”

The other two candidates come from different backgrounds. Candidate Anthony Page is currently a vice dean for the School of Law at Indiana University, while the third candidate for the job, José M. Gabilondo, is a professor at Florida International University.

Law Professor Judy Wiseman attended each of the candidate’s presentations. She said she has high hopes for all three visions the applicants presented.

“All three have done excellent presentations, and there’s been good participation by the faculty, by the students, by the staff and by the community,” Wiseman said.

Staff member of the Support Services Chase Phelps has been an avid follower of the whole presentation process. Phelps has attended all three of the candidate’s presentations, and believes each candidate has their own strengths to bring to the table.

Phelps highlighted Page’s “diplomatic” demeanor.

“I think he would be a great person that could go out to the community and discuss,” Phelps said. “He likes to find the compromises in the way things can happen.”

As for José Gabilondo, Phelps said he doesn’t have as much leadership experience as the other applicants, but believes he provides a new perspective that might be helpful to students.

“Jose hasn’t had much leadership experience, but he has had outside experience in the market,” Phelps said. “He brings a different set of experiences to the table.”

Many faculty and staff made their decision with ease. Others, however, are torn. Each of the applicants are bringing new ideas to the table, which makes the school of law anxious to find out who will be its new leader.

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