The longtime dean of UMKC School of Law has stepped down.
Ellen Suni led the school for 13 years – among the longest-serving law school deans in the country. She was planning to step down at the end of this semester, but an unexpected hospitalization earlier this month led her to move that up.
Suni joined the UMKC law faculty in 1980 and continues to teach there. Barbara Glesner Fines, who has been on the faculty since 1986, will serve as acting dean while the school looks for an interim replacement. The law school will be conducting a national search to find a permanent replacement, probably beginning in the summer.
In a note to faculty, Glesner Fines said the school remained "committed to pursuing Dean Suni’s vision of UMKC as a model 21st century urban public law school."
"Transitions can be a challenge," Glesner Fines wrote, "but one of the hallmarks of Ellen’s effectiveness as a leader is her ability to create effective teams. She has done so within the dean’s office, with a team of associate deans with over 25 years of combined administrative experience. While Ellen has set the bar high for law school leadership, she has also prepared our current leadership team all well to meet the demands of this transition."
Before joining UMKC, Suni directed the legal writing program at Boston University School of Law and was assistant dean there. She has taught numerous courses at UMKC, including appellate advocacy, criminal procedure and professional responsibility.
Editor’s note: KCUR is licensed by UMKC.