ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The University of New Mexico law school will soon have two deans.
University Provost Chaouki Abdallah announced Tuesday that Alfred Mathewson and Sergio Pareja will serve as co-deans. The professors will begin their new duties Aug. 1.
“The more I learned about the needs of the UNM School of Law, the more my conviction grew that no one person can address the full spectrum of challenges of this period,” Abdallah said in a statement.
Mathewson and Pareja will provide the best possible combination of skills and support to assure the success of the law school, Abdallah said, describing the institution as a critically important and prestigious part of one of New Mexico’s largest public universities.
The University of New Mexico is taking a page from Case Western Reserve University law school in Ohio, which has had co-interim deans since November 2013. That school announced earlier this month that it would conduct a search for a permanent dean and that the search committee was open to considering the co-dean model again.
Abdallah said he reviewed various governing structures at other law schools and solicited comments from candidates and major constituents. He also pointed to articles that cited studies about co-CEOs and offered lessons for those considering a dual leadership structure at other law schools and institutions.
The co-deans at Case Western Reserve have stated that the cross-pollination of expertise and experience has helped them be more creative and effective in moving their school forward.
Pareja described the decision as an innovative and bold approach. He joined the UNM law faculty in 2005 after nearly nine years in private practice in Colorado and Indiana.
Mathewson joined the faculty in 1983 after working as a corporate, securities and banking lawyer in Denver.
Current Dean David Herring, who took over just two years ago, will continue his role through July 31. Herring will remain at UNM as a tenured faculty member.