Rutgers Law Vice Dean Rose Cuison-Villazor will serve as interim dean when Rutgers Law Co-Dean David Lopez steps down from his position June 30.
Cuison-Villazor will become the first Asian-American woman dean at Rutgers Law and the first Filipina-American dean of any law school in the United States. Lopez, who became dean in 2018, will remain a professor at the law school.
Lopez is stepping down to spend more time with family after losing both of his parents within the last year, he announced to law school faculty on May 19.
“When you lose your parents it’s a contemplation of your own mortality and how many minutes you have. For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose,” Lopez said. “I made the decision a couple of months ago to step down as the dean to be able to be there for the people who need me.”
Lopez’ extended family reside in Arizona, Boston and Mexico.
“David’s leadership has been pivotal in advancing the school’s groundbreaking publicly engaged scholarship on everything from child advocacy and corporate governance to desegregating schools, expanding the rights of immigrants, advocating for equitable growth, and achieving algorithmic justice; setting a new standard for engagement with alumni, especially in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the school’s signature Minority Student Program; and the pursuit of racial justice through the law school faculty’s adoption of a resolution last year to develop anti-racist curricular reforms, responding forthrightly to America’s rising consciousness of the need to transform our institutions,” Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Provost Ashwani Monga said in a message to the Rutgers Newark community. “We could not have hoped for a more forceful advocate and capable ally in all of these areas, which are as critical to our institutional identity and priorities as they are to the law school’s.”
Cuison-Villazor has held the vice dean post at Rutgers Law School in Newark since July 2019 and is the founding director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice at Rutgers Law School.
She teaches, researches and writes about immigration and citizenship law, property law, Asian Americans and the law, equal protection law and critical race theory. She teaches Property Law, Immigration Law, Critical Race Theory, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and the Law, Estates in Land and Introduction to U.S. Law, and recently testified before a congressional committee on land rights.
“I am eager to co-lead with Kim Mutcherson and continue Rutgers Law School’s legacy in providing an excellent and inclusive academic environment that is rooted in social justice,” Cuison-Villazor said.
Rutgers University will soon formally launch a national search that involves faculty members in the selection process. Rutgers aims to to have a permanent co-dean in place at the law school by fall 2022.