Several years ago, the College of Law undertook a comprehensive planning and visioning exercise involving our faculty, Board of Visitors, members of our alumni community, students, and other stakeholders. The result was an ambitious Strategic Plan to secure the College's place as the premier small, urban, public law school in the nation. That plan's carefully articulated goals directly dictate the priorities of this fundraising campaign and are targeted strategically at the four key cornerstones of our future:
Campaign Case Statement (pdf)
To remain and advance as a premier institution, we need a building that is both functional and appealing, with adequate space to meet our evolving academic needs. Our classrooms, offices, and conference rooms need to be equipped with the latest information and communications technologies. And we must provide essential amenities like parking and meeting areas where students and faculty can gather informally.
The College has outstanding students, an exceptional faculty, and exemplary programs. But our building is antiquated and inadequate. In its current state, the building jeopardizes the College's ability to respond to changing times.
Although we are still in the early planning stages, preliminary designs call for a new $70 million, 120,000-140,000 square foot new home for the College of Law which, while comparable to the existing building in total gross square footage--will provide more usable square footage. In addition to new classrooms and offices, the plans call for a courtroom, informal meeting rooms, space for moot court, the Law Review and other publications, student-government activities, interview rooms, career development and other student-oriented functions, and a new law library. The College's centers, institutes, and clinics will have appropriate spaces for the first time, helping them play their role as vital contributors to the College, the University, and the community. The building will feature state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and furnishings.
Finally, location. The strong consensus called for the College to remain at its current location on the corner of Clifton and Calhoun. Why? We are an outstanding academic institution that draws strength from its interdisciplinary relationships within a major university. Yet we also are a public-facing institution with nearly two centuries of active engagement with our legal, business, professional, and civic communities. We are a cornerstone.
What makes a great law school? One answer is great students. This is a virtuous circle: Outstanding students help attract outstanding teachers, who in turn help attract the next generation of great students.
To continue to attract the best students, to meet the challenge of competition from other schools, and to give our graduating students the widest possible range of career options, we must build a substantial endowment for scholarships.
In that same spirit, we need to allocate money to support public service careers for our graduating students. Many students want to go into public interest law, but salaries in this sector are traditionally low and graduates who are trying to pay off education loans often cannot realistically pursue such work. A growing number of law schools across the country have established loan repayment assistance programs which allow graduates who enter public interest law to repay loans through service. Such a program at the College of Law is long overdue and can be established with a relatively modest endowment.
Since its founding, the College has always been about creating opportunities, about helping students make better lives for themselves and, in turn, for others. That is still the most important thing that we do--and scholarships make it possible.
The College is committed to recruiting, developing, and retaining outstanding faculty.
Our campaign will raise significant resources for this effort. The College now has one endowed chair and nine endowed professorships. To ensure that the College remains attractive to leading scholars and teachers, the number of endowed positions must be increased substantially.
In addition, our scholars need support for their research. The campaign will establish endowments for faculty research fellowships and grants. The endowments also will provide incentive awards for extraordinary faculty accomplishments.
Historically, the College has served as a jumping-off point for outstanding faculty members who have taken leadership positions at law schools and universities around the country. We are proud of our record as a crucible of great teachers and scholars. At the same time, we have redoubled our efforts to hold on to these special talents--and we intend to win in that competition.
In the past three decades, the College has established a number of specialized research centers and institutes, interdisciplinary programs, and clinics.
These initiatives combine research, teaching, and practice. They help us recruit leading researchers and enhance our appeal to the best students. They bring prestige to the College and the University, to Cincinnati and the region, and reinforce the bonds between the school and the surrounding communities.
Our centers, institutes, clinics, and programs share not only a demand for excellence, but a commitment to powerful engagement with the world around us. Indeed, they reflect an important advantage the College of Law enjoys over many other small and distinguished law schools: We are located in a classic American city. Our Cincinnati home provides us with innumerable opportunities for enrichment, experience, and collaboration.
While our centers, clinics, and other programs are critical to our success, the thriving academic enterprise we have come to expect at the College of Law also requires a state-of-the-art law library.
Is most legal research done online today? Yes. Are law school libraries a thing of the past? Emphatically, no. We could make the easy and obvious case for major investment in our Robert S. Marx Law Library. It is critical that the library continue to fulfill its role as the center of information storage and retrieval through the latest technologies and as the preserver and conserver of the legacies of the past. Those missions are true and important--but we want to make a broader case.
The library also--and fundamentally--is where the members of an intellectual community gather to engage each other on the ground of ideas. It is where students find each other to seek and give support during the intense months and years of a law school education. It is where they explore new ideas, separately and in small groups. It is where they get "wind under their wings" as thinkers, researchers, debaters, and l