As the fall quarter draws to a close here at the Law School, I wanted to take few minutes to introduce myself to all of you. My name is Michele Baker Richardson and I am the Dean of Students at the Law School. Our office staff includes our student affairs assistant, Linda Kiser, and Mary Beth Wynn, a ’02 graduate of the Law School who is currently serving as our student services fellow. We also work very closely with Eleanor Arnold, who is the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Pontus Niklasson, the Registrar, and Amy Wahl, the Assistant Registrar. Our academic affairs staff assists students with registration, curriculum planning, and course evaluations among other things. Together, we make up the Student Affairs team, and we can answer most of your questions about law school once you been accepted. Initially, the Dean of Students office will provide important information about housing and transportation options, and about health insurance. When our new class joins us in late September, our office coordinates an eventful orientation week. After classes begin, we work with the over 50 student organizations that are a part of the Law Student Association (LSA) and assist them with programming and event planning. While our student organizations initiate most of our community outreach efforts on their own, our office seeks to support and to supplement those efforts with law school sponsored service events for our students. For example, just before Thanksgiving this year, we delivered a trunkload of items donated by the students to the Childrens’ Advocacy Rooms at The Circuit Court of Cook County. In January of this year, a group of our students will head over the Greater Chicago Food Depository for a day of service; and, in March of this year, several of our students will be heading to New Orleans to work on housing with Habitat for Humanity.
With the help of our newly formed Student Services Advisory Committee, we also function as the primary liaison between the student body and the administration on matters of policy and student life.
Our office also coordinates and supports several activities that are just plain fun, and that add to our sense of community here at the law school. These events include a weekly Coffee Mess on Wednesday mornings and our traditional weekly Wine Mess on Friday afternoons. Both events take place in the Green Lounge, which is the “heart” of the law school where students can always be found reading or typing away on their laptops or just chatting with a group of fellow students. In addition, our office makes every effort to provide more opportunities for students to interact informally with the great professors that we have here at the Law School. This year our office is sponsoring small group dinners with the professors. In years past, we have sponsored film series with professors providing commentary on their favorite law-related film. During the summers, students can even sign up through our office to attend faculty workshops.
Finally, our office offers counseling and support to students who are facing particularly challenging circumstances while they are in law school. The network of resources available here at the University of Chicago is vast and allows us to provide the best possible service for our students whenever challenges arise.
We wish you the very best of luck in the application process, and hope that we will have an opportunity to meet some of you in the Fall!