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University of Cincinnati College of Law Names Assistant Dean for Academics and Diversity

Staci Rucker has joined the College of Law in the newly created position of Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity.

Cincinnati, OH—The University of Cincinnati College of Law has named Staci Patterson Rucker its first-ever Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Diversity. This new position reflects the law school’s continued commitment to fostering an intellectually challenging and diverse learning environment, a value that is embraced by the University of Cincinnati also.

“It is a true honor to appoint someone of Dean Staci Rucker’s high caliber as the first administrator at Cincinnati Law to have the word “diversity” in her title,” said Jennifer S. Bard, Dean and Nippert Professor of Law at the law school. “Dean Rucker’s role is also a new one in that she is focused on students. She has already improved the quality of life for students at the law school by developing, with Associate Dean Mank, a new system of subject matter based academic advising as well as streamlining some of the students administrative tasks in the areas of registration and exams. I also know that many students have already benefited from her good judgment and sound advice—I know I certainly have and look forward to working with her for many years to come.” As assistant dean, Rucker is responsible for the administration of student services and the hands-on management of student issues. “Whether it is academic planning, disability services, a leave of absence, or faculty/student relations, I strive to be students’ first stop for answers and support,” says Rucker. “I am also a resource for faculty and staff. If [a faculty or staff member] is concerned about a student, I will work with them to develop a plan to support a student who may be in crisis.”

While the college has always had an academic and student affairs dean or director, Rucker is the college’s first dean for diversity. “As the College’s first dean for diversity, I will have tremendous responsibilities to architect the college’s efforts to define, cultivate and support a more diverse and inclusive campus environment and legal community in Cincinnati,” she says. “These responsibilities will be interpreted and acted upon by collaborating with leaders of a variety centers, offices and initiatives within the College and the greater Cincinnati community that already support diversity and inclusion efforts.”

Rucker is an experienced leader in higher education. Prior to joining the College of Law, she was assistant dean for student affairs at the University of Dayton School of Law. In that role, Rucker was the visionary behind the development of Dayton Law’s learning communities, dean’s fellows and academic advising programs. She was also responsible for advising all student groups; overseeing the coordination of orientation and graduation; and counseling students on a range of issues including professional development, academic concerns, and incidents of bias and harassment. The opportunity to join the College of Law, however, was one she couldn’t pass up.

“The University of Cincinnati is an internationally-renowned university and impacts every aspect of the city. The university’s commitment to diversity is nationally and internationally respected. It is an exciting time to be at UC and I am honored to be a part of it.”

A summa cum laude graduate of Howard University and a graduate of Harvard Law School, Rucker began her career as an attorney at law firms in Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA. After transitioning to North Carolina, she joined the ranks of academia and administration, serving as interim director of Academic Support at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she also taught an upper-level legal writing course. Later, she clerked for the Honorable James A. Wynn, Jr., formerly on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and now on the Fourth Circuit, before coming to the Ohio Valley.

Reflecting on the importance of and her personal philosophy about diversity and inclusion, Dean Rucker shared the following: “It is not just the presence of diversity on a campus or a practice of tolerance or acceptance of differences that makes a campus community inclusive; rather, it is an active strategy to harness and value differences to achieve an institution’s overall mission. I look forward to engaging in open and honest dialogue with students, faculty, staff and alumni to build an exemplary law school where diversity and inclusion are valued and interwoven seamlessly into every aspect of the College and the community it serves. ”

About the University of Cincinnati College of Law
Founded in 1833, the University of Cincinnati College of Law recognizes diversity as a core value. The law school introduced the nation’s first joint JD/MA Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program in 1995 and continues to lead and innovate with initiatives such as the Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice. The school’s commitment to improving diversity in the legal profession includes introducing youth to careers in law at an early age through inclusion in the Law & Leadership Institute, a program to help increase minority representation in Ohio’s law schools, and Summer Work Experience in Law (SWEL), a program sponsored by the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati-Cincinnati Bar Association Round Table, to expose minority high school and college students to the legal field.