A message from Dean Katz on the 2015 Strategic Plan

I am pleased to announce that we have completed and adopted a new, 2015 Strategic Plan for the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. It is an excellent plan.

The 2015 Plan is deeply rooted in our 2009 Strategic Plan. In evaluating the 2009 Plan, three things became clear:

  • Our 2009 Plan was a great plan for our law school, playing to our strengths and to the needs of our legal community. It has enabled us to navigate the profound changes we have seen in legal practice and legal education, and to excel at this challenging time. For example, we have moved up more than 20 spots in the U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, with six of our specialty programs ranked in the Top 25 nationally. And we are now ranked #10 in the nation among the Best Schools for Practical Training by the National Jurist.
  • We accomplished all of the major goals we set in our 2009 Plan.
  • There have been changes in legal practice and legal education, as well as within our university community, that provide exciting opportunities for us.

The 2015 Plan builds upon the strengths of our 2009 Plan and positions us to achieve even greater heights over the next 3-5 years.

As with our 2009 Plan, our 2015 Plan is built on market data and feedback from our key stakeholders: our students, those who employ our graduates, our faculty and staff, our university administrators and trustees, and our alumni and community members. The insights we received enabled us to craft a plan that matches our strengths to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

And as with our 2009 Plan, our 2015 Plan has the deep support of our faculty—which is essential to implement the Plan. The planning process was led by our elected Faculty Executive Committee. And the faculty approved the Plan by a vote of 42 to 5, a margin of almost 90%.

The 2015 Plan focuses on three goals, and eight initiatives designed to achieve those goals

  • Goal One: Creating Practice-Ready and Professionally Empowered Graduates
    • The Modern Learning Initiative: Problem-based experiential learning and curriculum that combines doctrine, skills, and professional identity development.
    • The Specialization Initiative – Part A: Opportunities for students to specialize and earn certificates to demonstrate their expertise.
    • The Interdisciplinary Initiative: Training in complex, interdisciplinary problem-solving in partnership with other DU schools.
    • The Career Development Initiative: Helping students navigate curriculum and career through coordinated, embedded advising and customized career maps.
  • Goal Two: Connecting with our Legal Community
    • The Partnership in Education Initiative: Working with community partners to create practice-ready graduates.
    • The Value to Community Initiative: Making Denver Law an indispensable part of our legal community by providing excellent legal talent, thought leadership, and service, as well as legal education for those at all stages of their careers.
  • Goal Three: Producing High-Impact Scholarship
    • The Productivity Initiative. Expanding scholarly production and engagement through mentoring and thoughtful incentive structures.
    • The Impact Initiative. Producing work that makes a difference and changes the world for the better.
    • The Specialization Initiative – Part B. Supporting scholarly impact through clusters of faculty in important specialty areas and Centers of Excellence.

Our 2015 Plan also recommits to excellence in:

  • Diversity and Inclusiveness;
  • Preparing Students for Globalized Practice;
  • High-Quality Legal Education for non-JD Students; and
  • Bar Passage.

This fall, we will develop an implementation plan—with goals, timetables, specific assignments, and metrics—to ensure that our 2015 Plan becomes reality.

You can read an Executive Summary of our 2015 Plan, or the full 2015 Plan on our website. You also can see our accomplishments under our 2009 Plan.

Please join me in thanking all of the many people who provided valuable input into our new 2015 Plan, and who helped create, improve, and adopt this Plan. It truly is a plan by and for our community. All of us here at the law school are grateful for your ideas and your support, and look forward to implementing this exciting new plan.

Resources and Findings