Camille A. Nelson to serve as dean of Washington College of Law

She will be the first woman to serve in this position since 1947

Camille A. Nelson to serve as dean of Washington College of Law

AU has named Camille A. Nelson as the next dean of the Washington College of Law, the first ever woman of color to head the school.

Nelson comes from Suffolk University Law School and will take over in July from Dean Claudio Grossman, who steps down after 21 years in charge, according to a memo from Provost Scott Bass. She inherents a newly renovated law school troubled by a recent rankings slide and a hemorrhaging student population. WCL, which opened its new Tenleytown campus in February, fell six places to 78th in U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 ranking of top law schools.

The announcement of Nelson’s appointment on March 13 followed a nationwide search. At Suffolk University Law School, Nelson served as dean from 2010-2015 and is currently a professor there. Her academic work includes race and cultural studies with a focus on criminal law and procedure, health law, and comparative law, a University statement notes. She has held positions at other schools including the Saint Louis School of Law at Washington University and Columbia Law School.

Bass praised Nelson in the memo as an “innovator in legal education” and noted her work in creating the Institute of Law Practice Technology and Innovation at Suffolk.

“Nelson’s record of forward thinking leadership, innovation, and inclusive vision of legal education will serve WCL well,” Bass said in the statement.

Nelson will be the first woman to lead the school since 1947. WCL was founded by Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett in 1896, and it was incorporated by the District of Columbia two years later as the first law school in the world to be founded by women.

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