A dual lens

Sheldon Bernard Lyke draws on his sociologist background to interpret the law

Associate Professor Sheldon Bernard Lyke, who joined the School of Law faculty in July, has been dreaming of teaching at Loyola since at least 2013, when he lived a few blocks from campus. The Chicago native grew up on the Southeast Side, but he has spent the last decade teaching and working in California, Maryland, and Kentucky.

“I think Chicago is the greatest city in the world, period,” Lyke says. “I’ve been waiting for this for my entire adult professional life—I’m ecstatic.”

Lyke’s excitement isn’t only about the allure of the Windy City. As an expert on issues of racial and social inequality, Lyke researches topics such as affirmative action, generational wealth, and access to public spaces. He sees Loyola University Chicago School of Law as one of the best possible institutions to pursue these passions.

“Loyola’s Commitment to Anti-Racism Statement was really attractive,” Lyke says. “It was part of every aspect of my interview. It was refreshing! I could tell Loyola takes these issues and questions seriously; it’s not just window dressing.”

Lyke’s course load includes property (his favorite course to teach), trusts and estates, and a seminar on critical race theory. Regardless of the class, Lyke always incorporates current events, whether it’s reviewing the Obama Presidential Center’s community benefits agreement or analyzing how people react when prominent people of color, like the late actor Chadwick Boseman or musician Prince, die without a will. Lyke’s background in sociology provides an insightful perspective for classroom discussions, one that he finds fruitful for his law students, whose ability to think critically will serve them well long after graduation.

“Loyola’s Commitment to Anti-Racism Statement was really attractive. I could tell Loyola takes these issues and questions seriously.”

“Sociology takes assumptions that we think are true—things we take for granted every day—and it makes you question,” Lyke says. “You realize that the very thing you think is true, isn’t.”

In previous faculty roles, Lyke hosted a weekly tea time for students, and he’s planning to bring this tradition to Loyola. Lyke will also hold office hours, but he stresses that tea time is an opportunity for students to connect with him and each other in a more casual and social manner.

“Let’s talk about law school, let’s talk about life,” Lyke says. “I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone.”–Kelsey Schagemann (July 2023)

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