After a rigorous internal search, University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah announced today the appointment of co-deans at the UNM School of Law. Alfred Mathewson and Sergio Pareja, both professors at the UNM School of Law, begin as co-deans Aug. 1, 2015.
“The more I learned about the needs of the UNM School of Law, the more my conviction grew that no one person can address the full spectrum of challenges of this period,” Abdallah said. “The combination of Professors Mathewson and Pareja in this role will provide the best possible combination of skills and support to assure success of this critically important and prestigious part of UNM.”
Mathewson joined the UNM law faculty in 1983 after working as a corporate, securities and banking lawyer in Denver. He was named the director of the Africana Studies program in 2013. From 1997 through 2002, he was associate dean of academics. In that position, he oversaw the curriculum, clinical law program, faculty appointments, the faculty promotion and tenure process, library, faculty development and related issues.
“This is a critical point in the Law School’s history and I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve with my colleague and friend, Professor Pareja,” Mathewson said. “We have forged a strong working relationship over the years; we complement each other well and will make a great team.”
Pareja joined the UNM law faculty in 2005 after nearly nine years in private practice in Colorado and Indiana. Most recently, he was a partner in the tax department at a large Denver law firm. While in private practice, Pareja specialized in federal individual and corporate income tax planning, state and local tax matters, and estate and gift tax planning.
“I am very pleased to be given this special opportunity to continue serving the UNM School of Law,” Pareja said. “Having worked very closely with Professor Mathewson on many occasions, I know that we are a great team, and I firmly believe that our co-deanship is the best way to move the law school forward.”
Abdallah started his extensive review by thoroughly familiarizing himself with the history of the SOL and various governing structures at other law schools. He solicited input from interested candidates and major constituents – both internal and external. Additionally, Abdallah assessed how a co-dean model might work to help the UNM School of Law.
Abdallah referred to Case Western Reserve University School of Law, which has had co-interim deans since November 2013. A recent news article cited studies about co-CEOs and offered lessons for those considering a dual leadership structure at other law schools and institutions. The co-deans at that university issued a joint statement about their belief that the cross-pollination of expertise and experience has helped them be more creative and effective in moving their school forward.
“Consistent with the history of our institution, UNM School of Law is taking an innovative and bold approach to meeting the challenges of the 21st century,” Pareja said. “I am pleased to work with Professor Mathewson to continue this wonderful tradition.”
“UNM is not the first law school to adopt the co-dean leadership approach, but its embrace of it makes a bold statement that the Law School will continue to offer New Mexico residents the opportunity to attend a law school in the vanguard of legal education in America,” Mathewson said. “I also wish to express my gratitude to Dean Herring for his service and efforts to make us a better law school.”
Current Dean David Herring will continue his role through July 31, 2015.
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