Dean’s Letter: What Makes a Good Leader

WHAT MAKES A GOOD LEADER? The answer to this typically philosophical inquiry has taken on a new urgency of late. At the national level, there are clashing voices passionately articulating contradictory views on this very question. People have rarely been more divided or more vocal in their opinions, and there seems to be no end in sight to the debate.

Closer to home, Dean Steven J. Kaminshine’s decision to step down after 13 years at the helm has generated its own set of questions. A transition in leadership inevitably brings some feelings of anxiety as our community grapples with the uncertainty of change. At the same time, this transition creates an important opportunity to reflect on the values and mission of our college and select a leader who will continue Dean Kaminshine’s legacy of growth, innovation and student-centered excellence.hensel-head-shot-crop

I have been fortunate to work with Steve for more than 18 years and watch a great leader in action. There is no question that his superior communication skills, deep commitment to faculty, staff and students and willingness to adopt creative solutions have led this institution to new heights in legal education. The powerful example that he has set will resonate with me and with so many others long after he returns to the faculty.

At Georgia State Law, we are fortunate to find other examples of great leadership all around us. Members of the faculty, like Leslie Wolf, have created an ethos of excellence that simply pervades everything we do. Our alumni also have made incredible contributions to law firms, corporations, nonprofits, the government and the college. In this issue, we profile just a few, like Cathy Henson (J.D. ’89), Linda DiSantis (J.D. ’88) and Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua (J.D. ’87). No one who reads about the accomplishments of these incredible people can fail to be inspired by their leadership.

Amidst all of the uncertainty of this next year, one thing is for certain: Georgia State Law will continue to be an innovative leader in the field of legal education. The commitment that we all have to providing affordable, practice-oriented education and our love for this institution transcend any change. I look forward to playing my part.

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