As assistant professor Courtney Anderson joins the Georgia State University College of Law this fall, she enters a new phase of her career. She has been a young attorney in private practice and a postgraduate fellow; now, she will be a full-fledged academic.
Anderson's position at GSU was created as a part of the Second Century Initiative (2CI), which supports interdisciplinary research and collaboration across campus. The post belongs to a "cluster" of faculty dedicated to researching health disparities; social sciences and public health are among the other academic disciplines involved. In her first year, she will be teaching courses on property and law and social welfare.
"One of the reasons I'm excited to teach at Georgia State is because of the position," Anderson says. "There will be a lot of opportunities for original research, and also to be able to teach a first-year class and a smaller seminar. It's a really good mix."
Anderson studied finance and business management at the University of Pittsburgh, graduating in 2003, and enrolled in Harvard Law School that fall. During and since law school, Anderson's scholarship and practice has centered on transactional law and community and economic development.
As an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago, Anderson was part of the real estate group, where her work focused on corporate and financing transactions. Her pro bono activities at the firm brought her to the area of affordable housing and economic development. In 2010, she moved to Washington, D.C., to join the Harrison Institute for Public Law at Georgetown University Law Center as a fellow in the Housing and Community Development clinic.
This two-year fellowship, culminating in a specialized L.L.M. degree in advocacy, has helped Anderson in her transition to academia. At Georgetown she co-taught a J.D.-level seminar in the clinic – dealing with more theoretical, abstract concepts – and supervised substantive cases the students were working on, while also taking clinical pedagogy courses herself.
"[The fellowship] was a really good way to learn about teaching and how to organize a class, and also how to interact with students and how you want to structure your lessons," Anderson says.
From what Anderson has observed, there is great enthusiasm among GSU Law students and a strong sense of pride in the school on the part of both students and faculty.
"I'm really looking forward to starting off a new career in an environment that's so supportive, and is as focused on teaching as they are on supporting scholarship and research in the faculty," she says.
Anderson is excited about her new city's environment as well. "I'm looking forward to moving somewhere warm," says the Wisconsin-born, Minnesota-raised Anderson. "This will be the first time!"
Kathleen Poe Ross