Cynthia E. Nance (Cyndi), Dean Emeritus and Nathan G. Gordon Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law earned her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Chicago State University and her J.D., with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law and an M.A. from the University of Iowa College of Business. She joined the Arkansas faculty as an assistant professor in 1994, and served as dean of the law school from 2006-2011. She teaches courses in Labor and Employment Law, Torts and Poverty Law.
She has given presentations on various legal and educational issues nationally as well as in Mexico, Brunei, Singapore and Ukraine. She served as keynote speaker during the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. A former chair of the American Association of Law Schools’ Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination sections, Professor Nance is an ex-officio Council member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Labor and Employment Law (LEL) Section and represents the LEL Section in the ABA House of Delegates. She was recently appointed to the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, and is a council member of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, where she also serves as a liaison to the Standards Review Committee. Professor Nance serves on the board of the National Association of Law Placement Foundation, is an elected member of the American Law Institute, and a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and the American and Arkansas Bar Associations.
Additional examples of her commitment to service include her past roles as a member of the Law School Admissions Council Board of Trustees, the Interfaith Worker Justice board, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and serving as an Anti-Racism Trainer for the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She is a former member of the Greensboro Massacre Truth and Reconciliation Commission Advisory Group, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Arkansas ACLU, Sources for Independent Living, AFSCME Local 965, Women's Foundation of Arkansas, and the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Center boards. Professor Nance is a member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., previously served in several leadership roles including the positions of Vice-president, President and Faculty Advisor to the Kappa Iota (undergraduate) Chapter.
Locally, Professor Nance was appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to serve on the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Committee. She is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Leadership Academy Committee and Commission on Diversity. Nance belongs to the Harold Flowers Law Society, an affiliate of the National Bar Association, and is a member of the International Women's Forum, Arkansas Forum. She is a board member of the Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center, WelcomeHealth, and serves on the board of Bikes Blues and BBQ of Northwest Arkansas. She is a member of the Ark Angels of the Ozarks, a local women's riding organization. Her bike is a Harley Davidson motorcycle named "Bea" (short for Beatus, which is Latin for blessed).
Professor Nance has received various awards for her outstanding service, including the Arthur A. Fletcher award of the American Association for Affirmative Action, the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award, Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen Award, and the University of Arkansas, Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Public Service. She is a recipient of the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission Individual Achievement Award, and was recognized as one of Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine's 25 Women Making a Difference, as a Woman of Influence by Arkansas Business, and as one of the most influential lawyers on Twitter by On Being a Black Lawyer. She has been featured as one of Arkansas 12 Most Powerful Women by AY Magazine and Talk Business Quarterly. Professor Nance is also the inaugural recipient of the Harold Flowers Association's Judge Andree Layton Roaf Award of Excellence, and the Women Law Students' Gayle Pettus Pontz award. Professor Nance views as her most special honor the fact that in 2009, the University of Arkansas' Black Law Students Association Chapter renamed its chapter the Cynthia E. Nance Chapter of BLSA.