Dean’s View – Winter 2021

headshot of Dean Tokaji
UW Law School Dean Daniel Tokaji

Dear UW Law Graduates,

As this issue goes to press, we are nearly two years into the pandemic, and I’m now in the middle of my second year as dean of UW Law. We are very fortunate to have a return to something like normalcy in the fall semester. The atrium is once again abuzz with students, with classes back in person and a robust schedule of conferences and symposia. But of course, the pandemic isn’t over yet: we all wear masks, hand sanitizer stations are at every corner, and many events also have a virtual component.

The last year has been one of intense reflection, as we examine how we move the UW Law School forward in the years ahead. In 2020–21, we engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process, drawing upon the expertise of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. Learn more about these efforts and what’s next for this great institution.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are values central to all we do at UW Law. That includes a commitment to addressing the continuing racial and social injustice, of which we have been repeatedly reminded in recent years. As lawyers, legal educators, and law students, we have a special obligation to advance equal justice under law. That includes making sure everyone in the UW Law community has the resources and support they need to succeed. To that end, Michael States has recently joined our leadership team as the Law School’s inaugural associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve also redoubled our commitment to growing our faculty, with a goal of adding five tenure-track faculty members by 2026. Two new professors, Stephanie Holmes Didwania and Nate Atkinson, joined the Law School this year, bringing incredible expertise and insights to the classroom. Both have a PhD in economics as well as a JD, adding even more punch to our powerhouse research faculty. We are committed to growing our faculty and increasing our scholarly impact. Learn more about the $1 million Faculty Recruitment and Retention Fund that will help us move forward.

From the pandemic to climate change to racial justice, the challenges our society presently confronts are as complex and difficult as any that we’ve faced in our lifetimes. No law school is better situated to help solve these problems than ours. That includes Wisconsin Law faculty, staff, students, and graduates. Thanks for being part of our community and part of the solution.

On, Wisconsin!

Daniel P. Tokaji
Fred W. & Vi Miller Dean and Professor of Law