Kaminshine Stepping Down As Dean This Summer
Steven J. Kaminshine will step down as dean of Georgia State University College of Law this summer and return to the faculty. Colleagues quickly praised the breadth and depth of his leadership, reflected by the college’s rise in the national rankings from 97th in 2007 to 57th, as well as the college’s consistent top 10 ranking among best value schools by National Jurist.
“For the past 12 years, Steve Kaminshine has served with great distinction and helped position the college nationally as an up-and-coming regional school,” said Risa Palm, Georgia State’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
At the Jan. 19 faculty meeting, the provost announced she will appoint an interim dean from the faculty for 2017-18 academic year and conduct a national search for a permanent dean, who would be in place for fall 2018.
In making the announcement, Kaminshine said it is “time for this great college to grow with the benefit of a new set of eyes and fresh ideas – building on what we have accomplished. I am not retiring but simply stepping down to rededicate myself to teaching and writing.”
As dean, Kaminshine has led the college’s efforts to redesign its curriculum in response to changes in the legal profession, incorporating more experiential education classes, opportunities and integrated skills and doctrinal courses.
“The ‘practice-ready’ theme has been a keynote for him, and the number of practical skills courses and clinics that have come on board during his tenure is a testament to that,” said Charity Scott, the Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law and founding director of the Center for Law, Health & Society.
Under Kaminshine’s leadership, the college has added six clinics, the HeLP Legal Services Clinic, the Investor Advocacy Clinic, the Capital Defender Clinic, the Olmstead Disability Rights Clinic with Atlanta Legal Aid Society, the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Clinic and a volunteer clinic for veterans. The college’s HeLP Clinic is a national model for law schools, with two in development at Mercer University and the University of South Carolina.
In addition to the clinics, the college now boasts 22 experiential courses, said Lisa Radtke Bliss, associate dean for experiential learning and clinical professor of law. She credits Kaminshine’s use of summer teaching innovation grants to rework existing courses, such as the first-year legal writing program, or to develop classes that integrate legal skills with doctrinal work.
“Steve knows that to best serve our students and to help them be the best possible lawyers, students need to have a wealth of opportunities to integrate doctrine with other lawyering skills,” said Andrea Curcio, professor of law. “He helped make those opportunities possible.”
The college’s curriculum efforts were recognized by U.S. News & World Report’s No. 30 ranking for clinical education. The college’s alumni have had consistently high bar passage rates for the last 10 years.
The college also has added four research centers, the nationally ranked Center for Law, Health & Society, the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth, the Center for Access to Justice and the Center for Intellectual Property. In 2015-16, the college opened the Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation to handle international commercial dispute mediations, the first center of its kind affiliated with a major university.
“He took the college where we needed to go in terms of faculty excellence, physical facilities and centers and clinics,” said Eric Segall, the Kathy and Lawrence Ashe Professor of Law. “His professionalism, high ethical standards and zeal for excellence made us all a better faculty.”
Developing and hiring new faculty members to replace retiring founding professors is a hallmark of Kaminshine’s tenure as dean, said Wendy F. Hensel, associate dean for research and faculty development.
“I would point to the world-class faculty that he hired and nurtured during his tenure as perhaps his most impactful act,” Hensel said. “His dedication to others’ success goes well beyond the ordinary and will have a long-term impact on so many of us individually and the law school in general going forward.”
During his tenure, the College of Law has raised almost $30 million, including $12 million for the college’s new building, which opened in 2015.
“Steve increased the quality and productivity of the faculty and the product we offer to students at the same time to such a dramatic degree that the university HAD to build this building, to make the facility match the institution Steve built,” said Roy M. Sobelson, professor of law and former associate dean for academic affairs.
Kaminshine is among the College of Law’s longest serving faculty members, having joined the college in 1985. He is the fifth and longest tenured dean of the college. He was associate dean for academic affairs for 1996 to 2004.