Cynthia E. Nance (Cyndi), Dean Emeritus, Nathan G. Gordon Professor, and Director of Pro Bono and Community Engagement at the University of Arkansas School of Law earned her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Chicago State University. She holds a 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 Labor and Employment Law, Torts and Poverty Law.
Professor Nance is the Eighth Circuit Member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and represents the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section in in House of Delegates. She is an academic member of the Council Member of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Nance is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and was elected in November 2016 to its Board of Governors. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute and The Labor Law Group, and serves on the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission.
The Arkansas Supreme Court appointed Professor Nance to the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Committee in 2012, and she remains a current member of that group. She is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Leadership Academy and Law Review Committees and its Commission on Diversity. She is the 2017 Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting Planner and the President of the Bar Association appointed her as a Legislative Expert. A former chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination sections, Nance also previously served on the American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty and the National Association of Law Placement Foundation. 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 Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center, WelcomeHealth, and the board of Bikes, Blues and Barbecue 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).
A member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Professor Nance currently serves on the Graduate Advisor’s Council. She previously served in several leadership roles including the positions of Vice-president, President and Faculty Advisor to the Kappa Iota (undergraduate) Chapter. 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’s articles appear in journals including the Iowa Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Iowa Law Review, Rutgers Law Review, and Brandeis Law Review. 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.
She 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 received the Women Law Students' Gayle Pettus Pontz award. In 2016, Nance received the Community Leader Award from the Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center. 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.