A legal scholar and nationally recognized leader in legal education has been named the new dean of the West Virginia University College of Law.

Joyce E. McConnell, associate dean for academic affairs and endowed professor of law at the College, has accepted the position after an extensive, nationwide search to replace outgoing dean, John W. Fisher II. She is only the second woman to serve as dean of the College of Law in its 130-year history.

McConnell will assume the role effective July 1. She brings a background of academic excellence, teaching experience and policy development to the position.

Its a wonderful opportunity to tap into the legal knowledge and teaching expertise we have right here in the current program,said WVU President Mike Garrison, a 1996 graduate from WVU s College of Law.Joyce brings a great deal of passion for education, having instructed legal scholars for over two decades, and knowledge of policy development and administration. She has assured me that she will lead our law school into the 21st century and upward in the rankings. This is an exciting time for us because it is a time of change. Much effort will be put into substantially upgrading our facilities as well as raising the national stature of the College.

WVU Provost Gerald Lang said that McConnells familiarity with the WVU program will provide her an advantage in leading the program.

She is familiar with the faculty, the alumni and the legacy of the WVU College of Law,he said.”This will give her a substantial advantage as she pursues new successes and manages the challenges. As a highly respected member of the legal and teaching community, she has amassed an impressive record in teaching, research and service, in publication and in policy development.

The WVU College of Law has an unbroken tradition of academic excellence and a commitment to mission through 130 years of service to the legal education needs of its students and the residents of the state of West Virginia.

West Virginia University College of Law is an outstanding law school thanks to its talented students, gifted faculty of teacher-scholars, dedicated staff, committed alumni and a decade of superb leadership by Dean John Fisher,McConnell said.I consider it a privilege and honor to lead this special community as its new dean and look forward to building on the law schools tradition of excellence.

McConnell joined the WVU College of Law in 1995, where she has served as a professor of law, teaching courses in land-use planning, natural resources and negotiations. She served as associate dean of academic affairs from 1998-2001 and again from 2006 to today.

She has been the recipient of the West Virginia Law Review Outstanding Faculty Contribution Award and the WVU Mary Catherine Buswell and Womens Law Caucus awards.

Andrea Marano, a 2006 graduate of the WVU College of Law, said in an e-mail supporting McConnells candidacy:Joyce McConnell is the most qualified candidate for the position not only because of her academic background and dedication to the law school, but also because she is highly respected byindividuals who are important to the general and financial growth of the law school. Dean McConnells leadership and charisma are apparent in all that she does. (Her) intelligence and scholarship are only two of her great assets. Her approach to issues and her interactions with the community, however, are most remarkable and should be given great weight as you consider her qualifications.

McConnell received her Master of Law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1990, a juris doctor degree from the Antioch School of Law in 1982 and bachelors degree from Evergreen State College in 1979.

Deans of the WVU College of Law

1878: Law school established

1895-1903: Judge Okey Johnson

1903-06: St. George Tucker Brooke

1906-14: Charles E. Hogg

1914-21: Henry C. Jones

1921-28: Joseph W. Madden

1928-31: Thurman Arnold

1931-56: Thomas Hardman

1956-64: Clyde L. Colson

1964-72: Paul L. Selby Jr.

1972-78: Willard D. Lorensen

1979-81: E. Gordon Gee

1982-89: Carl M. Selinger

1989-92: Donald G. Gifford

1993-97: Teree E. Foster

1998-2008: John W. Fisher II