Leeds Named Dean of University of Arkansas School of Law
Posted on May 1, 2011
First female American Indian law dean to assume duties July 1
Stacy L. Leeds, interim associate dean for academic affairs, professor of law and director of the Tribal Law and Government Center at the University of Kansas School of Law, has been named dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. She will assume her duties effective July 1.
“We are honored to welcome Dean Leeds to the University of Arkansas,” said G. David Gearhart, university chancellor. “As a nationally recognized scholar, judge and administrator, she is the ideal person to guide our law school to unprecedented heights.”
Leeds has focused her teaching and extensive research on property, natural resources and American Indian law. While at the Kansas School of Law she has served as interim associate dean for academic affairs and as director of the Tribal Law and Government Center. Prior to joining Kansas, she was a professor and director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center at the University of North Dakota School of Law. She began her career of teaching law at the University of Wisconsin School of Law, where she served as a William H. Hastie Fellow. She received her master of laws degree from the University of Wisconsin, her juris doctor from the University of Tulsa, her master of business administration from the University of Tennessee and her bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis.
Among her many honors, Leeds was awarded the prestigious Fletcher Fellowship to support her work on tribal sovereignty and citizenship issues. As a Fletcher Fellow, she was named a nonresident fellow of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University during the 2008-09 academic year. In addition, she has served as a judge for many tribes including the Cherokee Nation, where she was the only woman and youngest person to ever serve as a Supreme Court Justice.
“Since first meeting Stacy Leeds, I have been impressed with her visionary leadership and drive,” said Sharon Gaber, university provost. “She not only has innovative ideas for moving the law school forward and building on its proud tradition, but the ability to see those ideas through to fruition.”
“I am truly honored to join the University of Arkansas family at this moment in the life of the law school,” Leeds said. “Under Dean Nance’s leadership, the work of the faculty, staff and students has garnered national attention. I am excited to join the law school community at a time of such immeasurable possibilities for continued successes.”
Leeds, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, becomes the first American Indian woman to serve as dean of a law school. Leeds will replace Cynthia Nance, who has served as dean since her five-year appointment in 2006. Nance will return to the faculty as professor of law after spending a year on a research appointment.
“We are very grateful to Cynthia Nance for all she has done for the School of Law and for the University of Arkansas,” said Gaber. “Her tireless work on campus and her outreach to the bar and our alumni have been invaluable in guiding the law school to greater national prominence.”