Message from Dean Pratt

Greetings Alumni and Friends,

We are nine weeks into the fall semester and I am very thankful that all of our faculty and staff members are healthy and working to support students. Law students have been extremely conscientious in helping us prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the law school community. Nonetheless, these are challenging times and the threat of the virus and the uncertainty regarding when we will have a safe and effective vaccine wear on all of us. Morale is low across higher education as universities struggle to cope with the financial challenges of the pandemic.

In recognition of the mental health challenges that we are confronting, we have taken some additional steps to promote wellness.

  • I taught a yoga class to students at the beginning of the semester and all students who attended that session were given a free yoga mat courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. I want to thank law school alumnus Sunee Mickle, '06, for facilitating that gift to our students to encourage them to use yoga and other healthy practices to cope with stress.
  • I also want to thank Professor Janet Thompson Jackson for leading the law school community in meditation on Mondays. If you have not joined a Monday meditation session yet, I invite you to do so to start your work week off with a focused and emotionally balanced state of mind at 12:30 p.m. (central time).
  • The faculty is providing coffee to students on Monday mornings to let the students know that we are thinking of them. October is emotional wellness month, so we are paying additional attention to wellness this month by partnering with the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program.
  • Our alumnus Danielle Hall, B.A. '06, J.D. '09, is the executive director of KALAP, and we were very grateful for her willingness to partner with us to offer some wellness “lunch and learn” type programming during the month of October.

Thanks to law school alumnus, Angel Zimmerman, ’06, the Washburn Law Alumni Association now has launched a new affinity group called Women of Washburn Law (WoW). Angel presented the idea for this affinity group to the law school alumni board at its October 3 meeting and the board unanimously voted to create this affinity group. This group will promote equality of women in our profession and is open to all alumni, not only women. Angel and our alumni drector, Karli Davis, B.A. '06, have already announced the first meeting of the group so if you are interested in participating in this affinity group, please contact Karli at: karli.davis@washburn.edu.

We have several affinity group student organizations that focus on education and equity for groups that have been marginalized in the legal profession and the broader society. Those groups include the Women's Legal Forum, Native American Law Students Association, Asian American Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Hispanic American Law Students Association, and Genders and Sexualities Alliance. If you are an alumnus who would like to connect with students from any of these groups and support their group, please contact Dean Jalen Lowry, '87, at jalen.lowry@washburn.edu so that you can be connected with the student leaders for that group. Student organizations are often looking for speakers to speak to their members so you could volunteer to speak to the group or connect them with someone in your network who could speak. I’m sure whatever support you would like to provide would be appreciated by our students.

I want to say thank you to all of you who have joined us in our online alumni events. While there is no adequate substitute for seeing you in person, I have appreciated the work of our alumni director, Karli Davis and our Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation colleagues, Patrick Mikesic and Kaitlin Alegria, B.A. '12, J.D. '15, that has made it possible for us to connect with you via Zoom. If you have not joined us yet, please stop into any online alumni event that fits your schedule. We would love to see you!

Our most recent good news is that we are making good progress with the architects on the design and development of the new law school building. Please visit the New Building website to see some updated renderings which will integrate traditional Kansas limestone with glass for an exterior that compliments the remainder of the campus, and an interior design that invokes both traditional and contemporary design elements. Dr. Jerry Farley anticipates that the project will be bid in January and that we will be breaking ground in the spring, probably sometime in May.

Finally, we are planning to celebrate December graduates with a hybrid commencement recognition ceremony that will be partially pre-recorded video and partially live and in-person with social distancing. We are still planning the details but we wanted to do something special to commemorate this important moment in the lives of our graduates, so we are very thankful that the university is supporting this effort. Family members and other guests of graduates will be able to watch the ceremony remotely so that we can ensure the safety of everyone participating in this special occasion. Please help us celebrate our graduates in December by following the law school on social media and posting your well wishes to our December 2020 graduates.

As you can imagine, preparing for the bar exam and finding a job is now harder than it has ever been so I want to say thank you to those of you who have reached out to provide a short term employment opportunity to our recent graduates who had not yet secured employment. Your commitment to helping our students and recent graduates is what makes Washburn Law such a special place to study law, and I cannot thank you enough.

Sincerely,

Carla D. Pratt
Dean and Professor of Law

Short URL for this page:
https://washburnlaw.edu/deansletter

Photograph: Dean Carla D. Pratt.

Carla D. Pratt
Dean


Dean Pratt talks about the impact education has had on her life and how law has a role in shaping higher education (3:43 minutes).
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Dean Pratt talks to "TopLawSchools" about Washburn Law's student life, academics, admissions process, career opportunties, employment outcomes, and more.