Valparaiso Law School dean Andrea Lyon is resigning effective June 1, 2018, but will be remaining on the faculty as a research professor at the institution that last year acknowledged its future operations are uncertain.
Lyon, who took over as dean in July 2014, sent a letter to alumni, faculty and students last week, saying she was stepping down from her leadership role. She will be continuing her scholarly work in the law.
“It has been such an honor to lead the Valparaiso Law School and to work with such talented students, faculty, and staff,” Lyon wrote. “I am grateful to each of you for your commitment to the Law School and for your many contributions.
Speaking to Indiana Lawyer on Wednesday morning, Lyon said an interim dean would be named.
In November, Valparaiso University announced that “severe financial challenges” were forcing the law school to suspend admissions for 2018. It was also looking for an alternative for continuing operations including merging with another law school or moving to another geographic location. Since then, neither the law school nor the university have provided any updates.
Lyon could not offer much comment Wednesday because of the law school’s uncertain future, but she said her time as dean as been “challenging, exhilarating, frustrating and wonderful.”
As she noted in her letter, Valparaiso Law School has overhauled its curriculum, giving first-year students “valuable experiential learning opportunities.” Also, it has received national recognition, including an A+ rating and No. 7 ranking for practical training by National Jurist Magazine, as well as being named one of the top 20 most innovative law schools by Prelaw Magazine.
The law school was publicly censured by the American Bar Association in 2016 for admitting students who appeared unlikely to complete their legal studies or pass the bar exam. However, the sanction was lifted in November 2017.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as dean of the Law School,” Lyon wrote. “Thank you for your dedication to Valparaiso University, your commitment to the Law School, and for your many contributions to the Law School’s proud legacy of more than 130 years.”