Michael J. Kaufman appointed dean of Santa Clara University School of Law

Nationally renowned educator, scholar, and expert on civil procedure and education law will take on new role in July 2021

Michael J. Kaufman, dean of the School of Law, has accepted the position as dean of the School of Law at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. His last day with Loyola will be June 30, 2021. School of Law Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Zelda Harris will become interim dean on July 1, 2021.

Dean Kaufman has devoted his entire professional life to the service of others and is renowned for his efforts to elevate academic rigor and create greater educational diversity and equity at all levels of learning.

Since 1986, Dean Kaufman has been a member of the Loyola law faculty. He served as the School of Law’s associate dean for academic affairs from 2005 until July 2016, when he assumed the role of interim dean. He was named dean of the law school in March 2017.

“I love helping students learn, ensuring that they have a sense of belonging, and accompanying them in the formation of their professional identities.”

Under Dean Kaufman’s leadership, Loyola’s School of Law became a national model of diversity, equity, and inclusion with expanded access to educational opportunities for students. Dean Kaufman, along with his faculty, developed a curriculum around relationship-building skills and required all students to complete core classes on professional identity formation, implicit bias prevention, and perspectives on law and justice. He also developed the successful and pathbreaking hybrid Weekend JD program. Other notable accomplishments in the law school under his leadership were increases in bar exam passage rates, employment outcomes, student academic credentials, academic reputation, and national rankings.

Other achievements include Dean Kaufman’s fundraising success, which resulted in additional financial support for incoming and continuing students; the sizable growth of endowed chairs and named professorships; the expansion of clinics; and the establishment of high-impact law school centers and initiatives such as the Rodin Center for Social Justice, the Education Law and Policy Institute, the Health Justice Project, the Anti-Bullying Program, the Institute for Investor Protection, and the brand-new Rule of Law Institute.

Said Dean Kaufman: “I love to teach. I love helping students learn, ensuring that they have a sense of belonging, and accompanying them in the formation of their professional identities. In all of my encounters with students, I try to incarnate the Jesuit ideal of cura personalis—supporting their academic success as well as their physical and spiritual well-being.” 

He added, “I am profoundly grateful to the wonderful students, faculty, administrative team, alumni, and community partners of Loyola University Chicago School of Law for their overwhelming kindness and support, and for giving me the great privilege and joy of serving in this transformative and loving learning community for most of my life.”

For more information, see the Loyola University Chicago announcement.