I don’t think that effort will amount to much, and so I don’t think it has anything to do with the decision of New York Law School’s longtime dean, Richard Matasar, to make his exit from NYLS. Matasar isn’t telling people where he is going just yet, but he did tell the students that his stewardship of NYLS has left him with a great opportunity he didn’t want to pass up.
Let’s hope there are lots of NYLS students who feel the same way….
So far, the reaction from NYLS students and recent graduates has been nothing but well wishes for Dean Matasar. Those who have gchatted me have said things like “he will be missed” and “NYLS was lucky to have him.” It’s nice when you can leave a place with a good feeling.
We have a copy of the letter Dean Matasar sent around to faculty; it is reprinted in full below. (He notes that he’ll make a separate communication to students; let us know when that comes around at email@example.com.) In the letter, he mentions that his time as a law school dean has made him concerned with larger issues facing higher eduction. I’ve met Dean Matasar and my impression was certainly of a man who is concerned about the value proposition offered to students who are paying today’s inflated tuition rates.
Let’s hope that Dean Matasar finds himself in a position where he can effect some positive change. And good luck to NYLS as they search for a new dean.
DEAN RICK MATASAR — STEPPING DOWN:
The last eleven years have been the most exciting and rewarding of my professional life. I came to New York Law School as a complete stranger to most of you; today I feel we are family. Hence, there is no easy way for me to say this other than simply: I have informed the Board of Trustees that I will be stepping down as Dean and President of New York Law School during the next academic year. I intend to let our students and alumni know this as well in a separate communication.
Deans sometimes develop shorthand expressions to codify their feelings about their schools. We have our share, but I believe firmly in all of them because they so closely mirror the heartfelt aspirations of every community member. “Learn Law. Take Action.” You do. Our alumni do. Our students do. We have an activist tradition that powerfully drives our culture. It is inspiring. “The Right Program for Each Student.” We work daily to create a curriculum that serves the needs and aspirations of our diverse student body. We create where others hesitate–all to serve what our constituents need. “People, Place, and Program.” It all comes together here in a unique environment. Together, we have built a very special institution.
As most of you know, after 20 years as a law school dean, I have become very interested in higher education issues outside of legal education and am considering some exciting possibilities that would allow me to expand my intellectual scope and focus. While I am hopeful that I will be able to serve through the entire 2011-12 academic year, it is possible that I may need to depart during the year to take advantage of one of these opportunities. I would not do so before January of 2012.
In the months ahead, I will work closely with you and the Board to assure a smooth transition in our leadership. We have so much to be proud of and so much more that will be accomplished in the years ahead as we live our core values of embracing innovation, fostering professionalism, and advancing justice for a diverse society. I will always work with those values in mind.