University of Iowa
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Get to Know: Dawn Anderson

Dawn Barker Anderson
PROFESSOR OF Legal Analysis, Writing & Research

At the UI Since: 2006

Alma Mater:

BA, University of Northern Iowa, 1992

JD, University of Iowa, 1995

Where is your hometown? I lived in several small towns in Iowa while growing up and graduated from high school in Manchester, Iowa.

What did you do before joining Iowa Law? I was in private practice for five years with Meardon, Sueppel, and Downer in Iowa City, and was in-house at ACT, Inc. for 6 years before coming to Iowa Law in 2006.

Describe your role at the university. I teach Legal Analysis, Writing & Research to first year students. I also teach externs in our Summer Legal Placement program in the summer, and have taught Introduction to U.S. Law To Foreign Trained Lawyers.

What do you enjoy most about working at Iowa Law? I love working closely with students to improve their writing. It enables me to get to know students and see their improvement.

How did you decide to join the legal profession? I got to know a lawyer when I was in high school who was very influential in my life and was the reason I first considered the law. He was a great community leader, a great champion of mine, and a great mentor. I’m very grateful for the impact he had on my life.

What is most fulfilling about your work? I love the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives. I have taught over 1000 students, and I hope I have made an impact on some of them. They are the future of our profession, and it is such an important profession.

What do you enjoy most working in higher education? It is awesome to be work with students who are our future. It is also awesome to be able to work with people who care passionately about students, teaching, and learning. Working at a public law school also gives us an opportunity to think about service to our state, and that is meaningful as well.

What’s a risk you’ve taken and did it pay off? I went back to school in 2012 to pursue my Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs.  I graduated in 2018 with my Education Specialist degree. It paid off because it gave me a great background to consider curriculum, assessment, and the student experience. It gave me an opportunity to see teaching from the student perspective, and it gave me an opportunity to be a student having had life experience. It also gave me the perspective that I love legal education and can’t imagine being anywhere else.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to have done it.

What’s your favorite book, or what are you reading right now and why do you enjoy it? My favorite book is a hard question, but I recently read Educated by Tara Westover. What a great book about education, family, confidence, and perseverance. I love books that make you think long after you finish them.

Name a few of your favorite things. I love to run and spend time with my family, including my son, Kelby (17) and daughter, Erin (14). I enjoy traveling, reading, and volunteering.

Is there anything you want alumni to know about you? I love to hear what they are doing!