Jennifer Collins is leaving her post as dean of the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law at the end of the spring semester after accepting an offer to become president of Memphis’ Rhodes College.
Collins became the first woman to serve as dean of the law school when she joined SMU in 2014 from Wake Forest University, succeeding interim dean Julie Forrester.
SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Loboa said in a statement that during Collins’ tenure the law school has nearly doubled the diversity of its entering classes and increased the median LSAT score and GPA of entering students.
Collins also oversaw the launch of three academic centers – the Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center, the Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation, and the Robert B. Rowling Center for Business Law and Leadership.
“We have had much to celebrate during Dean Collins’ tenure here,” Loboa said. “Dedman Law’s pro bono legal clinics have grown dramatically under Dean Collins’ leadership. Her commitment to supporting the Dallas community was well-demonstrated when Dedman Law launched an emergency helpline to offer North Texas residents free assistance with pandemic-related issues such as housing and immigration.
“That kind of impact will continue here at SMU and in Dallas, and her experience in community partnerships will be a valuable asset for Rhodes College.”
SMU will form a national search committee to find its next dean in early spring. Loboa will appoint a chair of the committee, which will include SMU faculty, staff and students, as well as community members.
Collins will assume the presidency at Rhodes College, a private liberal arts college with approximately 2,000 students, on July 1.