Tuesday, February 8, 2022
By Giovanna Deo

In February of 2020, the University of Iowa College of Law reinstated the Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship. The program provides scholars and teachers with research opportunities, faculty mentoring, and career development, with the goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession. Iowa Law has successfully hired two fellows over the past two years and is in the process of hiring a third fellow to join the faculty in fall 2022. 

“We are delighted that we could restart the Faculty Fellow program after almost 20 years,” stated Adrien Wing, associate dean for International and Comparative Law programs and the Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law, “Our initial fellows all went on to distinguished careers in legal academia. Our current fellows all have interdisciplinary interests, which makes them highly marketable in these competitive times.” 

Iowa Law faculty fellows concentrate on the aspects of academic life that are most helpful in preparing for a faculty career in legal education. Typically, faculty fellows teach one course during the academic year, with the remainder of their time devoted to research and development of one or more major works of scholarship. They work closely with a primary faculty mentor and an advisory team of faculty and have minimal service assignments to permit more concentration on teaching and scholarship.  

The search committees worked tirelessly in 2020 and 2021 to hire outstanding fellows—Phoebe Jean-Pierre and Christopher Mathis, respectively. 

With a research focus on health communications and health disparities in vulnerable and minority communities, Phoebe Jean-Pierre’s arrival during the fall of 2020 was perfectly timed. “Starting as the new Iowa Law Faculty Fellow during the pandemic presented various challenges, but I could not have asked for a better team of faculty to support me through my early career as an academic. Here at Iowa, I have found inspiring mentors who have taught me invaluable skills to enable me in my pursuit of legal scholarship and teaching. This has been an incredible opportunity and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the University of Iowa College of Law. I look forward to the next step in my academic career. I have accepted a tenure-track offer from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. I will be an Assistant Professor in the department of Business Law & Ethics,” shared Jean-Pierre. 

Following a fellowship with the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Christopher Mathis is the second member to be hired as part of the program. 

“The Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship is a unique place for aspiring law professors,” stated Mathis, “Here, I was exposed to all aspects of law faculty life, and for that, I am grateful. Most importantly, the fellowship has been a launching pad for my career. I am able to fine-tune my research agenda and teaching skills in a critical, collaborative, and transformative way.” Mathis recently co-authored an article in the Journal of Race Ethnicity and Education, the leading peer-reviewed journal on racism and race equality in education. The piece explores Black student’s view on institution specific reparations. Full article: Black student views on higher education reparations at a university with an enslavement history (tandfonline.com)

Mathis added, “Learning and interacting with one of the finest faculty in the country is a one-of-a-kind experience. The community of intellectual support propels your scholarship and teaching to new heights. I am excited about all the possibilities that come from being at Iowa Law for two years.” 

The prior program lasted for about ten years in the late 1990s and early 2000s with an impressive class of seven fellows who went on to serve in leadership roles across legal academia. They include: 

  • Angela Gilmore, Associate Dean of Pipeline and Non-JD Programs & Professor of Law at NC Central School of Law 

  •  Cyndi Nance (89JD), Dean Emeritus and Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law at University of Arkansas School of Law 

  • Sumi Cho, retired law professor and current Director of Strategic Initiatives at The African American Policy Forum 

  • Devon Carbado, The Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law at UCLA Law 

  • Creola Johnson, Presidents Club Professor of Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law 

  • Laura Beny, Earl Warren DeLano Professor of Law and Associate Director, University of Michigan African Studies Center at Michigan Law 

  • Harold Rocha, US-EU (Spain) legal academic in Madrid, Spain 

When asked about the impact of the Faculty Fellowship program, Jean-Pierre stated, “I recognize that this fellowship extends beyond me and opens the doors of legal academia to minority and marginalized voices. I am hopeful for the possibilities and opportunities that the Iowa Law Faculty Fellowship will foster for future fellows.” 

 

Interested in becoming an Iowa Law Faculty Fellow? Or know a great candidate? View the job listing here