Dean Cole Looks Back, Ahead

USD Law Dean Kevin Cole

Dean Kevin Cole, who is stepping down from his position next summer, is looking forward to getting back into the classroom. While he has enjoyed his six-year tenure as USD Law Dean, he admitted that his heart has always been with the students.

“Teaching law school is something I enjoy doing,” he said. “It’s something I look forward to getting back to.”

Cole has been on the administrative side of the law school for over ten years now. He was Associate Dean for four years prior to his current position. Prior to that, though, he was a professor at the law school, where he taught first-year students every year.

“You don’t have the same kind of close contact that you have with students,” Cole said of his current role.

As Dean, Cole has overseen a steady climb of USD Law’s rankings and an increase in fundraising while keeping alumni connected with the school. “I hope people recognize that we were able to improve the student experience,” he said.

One of the best parts about his current job, he said, was his interaction with alumni and the larger community here in San Diego.

Another facet of his job he said he will look back at fondly was his relationship with the faculty. Saying he enjoyed working with the faculty, he added, “There’ll be minor disagreements here and there, but I’ve had no problem with how the faculty have behaved.”

A search committee has been formed and has begun looking for potential replacements. Cole has these words of advice to the new Dean—whomever it turns out to be: “It really takes a while to figure out what plan makes sense to the institution. Get to know the place, get to know the players.”

Cole is currently getting the word out in legal circles about the opening and its rather desirable nature. “I think it’s going to have a lot of attractive qualities for people who are thinking of becoming Dean.” Cole then referenced the faculty, the school’s prominence and reputation, as well as the location.

As Cole’s tenure winds down, he sees reason for optimism for current students. “Keep up the good work, and don’t get discouraged when the economy is down because it will turn around again,” he said. “All the effort you’ve been putting in will pay off.”

He also sees value to the monthly Dean’s Mixers, and would love to see that tradition continue next year. “A lot of people won’t come to the Dean’s office if they have an issue, but if they see me out on the patio they’ll talk to me.”

And after ten years of working within the administration, it appears Cole still maintains a healthy sense of humor.

“It’s better to walk away than be carried away,” he joked.

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