VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota announced three finalists for the dean position of the USD School of Law following a 10-month national search.
The search for the law school’s new dean began in March 2018, when Thomas Geu announced he would step down after five years as dean to return to a faculty position. Dr. Mary Nettleman, vice president for health affairs and dean of the USD Sanford School of Medicine, chaired the search committee.
- Christopher W. Behan, professor at Southern Illinois University School of Law. Behan also served as acting dean from September 2017-July 2018 and associate dean for academic affairs from July 2014-October 2017.
- Neil Fulton, former chief of staff for South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds. Since 2010, Fulton has served in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals as federal public defender for North Dakota and South Dakota.
- Elena B. Langan, dean of Concordia University School of Law. Prior to serving as dean, Langan served as associate dean for academic affairs as well as professor of law at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Interim Provost Kurt Hackemer said the USD School of Law is well-positioned to be successful as one of the best value law schools in the country. For the second year in a row, the USD School of Law ranked in the top 10 law schools in the country for placement in state and local clerkships, and ranked sixth nationally in improved employment outcomes. The law school also saw a 22 percent increase in class size and a 30 percent increase in bar passage rate in 2018.
“We are excited to continue the positive momentum of the USD School of Law under new leadership,” Hackemer said. “We are confident our next dean will help elevate the USD School of Law as a national leader that prepares students for a lifelong career in law.”