EUGENE, Ore. -- (Dec. 10, 2010) - University of Oregon law professor Michael Moffitt has been appointed dean of the UO School of Law, following a nationwide search to fill the position. His appointment will take effect in July 2011.
Moffitt has been on the School of Law faculty since 2001 and has served for the past three years as associate dean for academic affairs. He has been associate director of the law school's Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center since 2001.
"Michael Moffitt brings all the qualities we contemplated when our search began for the next law school dean," said UO Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean. "He is innovative, dynamic and has demonstrated the ability to work collaboratively to broaden our academic successes. We fully expect that he will lead the School of Law to new heights."
Moffitt was one of four finalists who were interviewed by a search committee last month. The other candidates all had served as deans of law schools in other states.
"It will be a privilege to serve as dean and to work with the faculty, administrators, students and alumni of Oregon," Moffitt said. "Together we can build on the school's academic excellence, student success and public service.
"The vision driving Oregon Law will be dynamic enough to recognize and respond to changed circumstances, and rigorous enough to assure that we aspire to excellence in every aspect of legal education."
Moffitt will succeed Margie Paris, who accepted the post in 2006. Paris announced last year that she will rejoin the School of Law faculty in 2011. During her tenure, scholarship support for law school students tripled and 14 new faculty members were hired in nine different areas of legal expertise. Paris was also credited with guiding the School of Law through difficult financial terrain and maintaining the school's financial integrity.
"I'm absolutely delighted that Michael Moffitt will serve as our next dean," Paris said. "Having worked closely with him for the past few years, I can attest to his passion for this school and its people, to legal education and to excellence in all things. He will be very good for us."
Prior to joining the UO faculty in 2001, Moffitt served as clinical supervisor of the mediation program at Harvard Law School. He taught negotiation at both Harvard and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
He received his bachelor's degree from Marietta College in Ohio, where he was student body president and captain of the tennis team; and received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was editor of the Harvard International Law Journal and president of the student-run Harvard Mediation Program.
"I fundamentally believe in higher education, and in the transformative potential of legal education in particular," Moffitt said. "I look forward to leading a law school that celebrates its successes, is relentlessly aspirational and is entrepreneurial about legal education."
Moffitt served as a law clerk in U.S. District Court in Ohio, then was a senior consultant for Conflict Management Group, providing strategic assistance around the world to public and private organizations in negotiation and conflict situations.
Moffitt is author of two books and more than 20 articles in law reviews and specialty journals. He has mediated the terms of seven contracts for public school teachers and school districts around Oregon, including the Springfield School District and Eugene School District 4J.
"Michael Moffitt's commitment to the success of the local school districts has made him an amazing partner for us," said Nancy Golden, superintendent of the Springfield School District. "His selection as the University of Oregon School of Law dean reinforces what we already know about Michael. I couldn't imagine a better selection."
Gerry Gaydos, a Eugene lawyer and member of the search committee that helped select the new dean, said Moffitt stood out for his ability to attract "top-flight new faculty" to the law school and his role in leading the Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center to national prominence.
"As a leading practitioner of dispute resolution, he has been an outstanding resource to the community and the Oregon Bar," Gaydos said.
Moffitt's wife, Jamie Moffitt, was the law school's associate dean for finance and operations until April, when she accepted the position of executive senior associate athletic director for finance and administration in the UO Athletic Department. They live in Eugene with their two daughters.