Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Friday, October 21, 2016

WCL dean to step down in 2016 after 21 years

WCL dean to step down in 2016 after 21 years

Dean Claudio Grossman (WCL).

Washington College of Law dean Claudio Grossman will step down at the end of the academic year, the University announced Monday night, ending a tenure in the position of 21 years that saw both growth and tumult at the school. 

Grossman will return to full-time service on the WCL faculty, according to a press release.

"Dean Grossman's tenure as dean is remarkable, given that the average law school deanship is 2.78 years, and reflective of sustained impact," provost Scott Bass said in the release.

Grossman joined the law school in 1983 as director of the International Legal Studies Program. He was appointed Dean in 1995, and has chaired the United Nations Committee Against Torture since 2008.

In recent years under Grossman, WCL’s stature has dropped as a top institution. In 2013, when WCL fell out of the top 50 in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the best law schools, 164 people signed onto an online petition calling for Grossman’s resignation. In U.S. News & World’s 2015 report, the school was 72nd, while law schools at Georgetown University and George Washington University ranked 13 and 20, respectively.

As the school’s ranking fell, affecting the job prospects of graduates, some students from the school have opted to transfer, The Eagle previously reported.

Grossman also presided over a lengthy Campus Plan approval process with the city to build a new campus. In February, he’ll cut the ribbon on a new 8.5-acre site in Tenleytown, with Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in attendance, completing the school’s move from the Spring Valley neighborhood to a new home closer to the Metro and busy Wisconsin Avenue.

The press release notes WCL’s full-time faculty has increased under Grossman’s tenure, bringing the student-faculty ratio to 11:1 from 24:1.

A search for a new dean will begin immediately, according to the press release, and Grossman has agreed to serve through the summer of 2016.