FACULTY PROFILE Sarah Waldeck
Associate Dean for Mission Innovation Sarah Waldeck works to ensure an inclusive environment
“Success in this role means having faculty, administrators, and staff build upon everything they already do to contribute to the mission, while also encouraging creativity about what new initiatives we can undertake,” says Sarah Waldeck, a faculty member and the School of Law’s associate dean for mission innovation. “Many of our students are attracted to Loyola because of our mission. So it’s really important that students feel like they are part of an institution that is prioritizing those values.”
In 2020, the law school revamped its mission statement to explicitly incorporate anti-racist language. As a public statement, the mission is the law school’s North Star, providing guidelines and goals. It might seem counterintuitive for Waldeck’s title to include the phrase “mission innovation,” because innovation implies change and adaptation. But Waldeck explains how these two critical words inflect and inform each other: “The mission is much more than words on a page. I think the innovation part is about asking, ‘What more can we do to make sure we are integrating the mission into all aspects of our work?’”
“The law school’s mission statement springs from the Jesuit tradition of working to achieve social justice.”
To that end, Waldeck collaborates closely with faculty, administrators, and staff to understand how she can help keep the law school’s values front and center. “There are all these different dimensions to our mission—a commitment to anti-racism and dismantling systems of oppression, to creating responsible and compassionate lawyers and ethical advocates, and to contributing to the understanding of law and legal institutions.,” she says. “This presents a lot of opportunity because there are so many different ways our community can further the mission.”
Waldeck says a major part of her role is listening and facilitating conversations. She’s eager to determine new and effective ways to help faculty create inclusive classroom environments. And she’s excited to partner with representatives across the university on mission-focused initiatives.
“It’s important to note that the law school’s mission statement springs from the Jesuit tradition of working to achieve social justice,” Waldeck says. “We want to help our students hone their natural talents and develop the legal skills and acumen necessary to use the law as a tool for promoting social justice.” –Kelsey Schagemann (September 2023)
Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others.