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Dayton Docket

School of Law appoints inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Professor Julie Zink has been named the University of Dayton School of Law’s first ever Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The role was created by Dean Andrew Strauss to support, students, staff and faculty from historically marginalized groups and to promote the intercultural competency of everyone at the School of Law.

“At this time of rising divisions in our country, I can think of no more important position than this new deanship nor better person to fill that position than Julie Zink,” says Strauss. “Julie is giving meaning to the University’s proclamation that ‘you are welcome here.’”

Zink is excited to take on the role, having chaired the School of Law’s Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the past three years. She is also enrolled in U.D.’s Educational Leadership Ph.D. Program, where she is focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. 

“Our community is stronger when it is comprised of people of many backgrounds," Zink says. "Those diverse experiences lead to better solutions." 

In her new role, Zink wants to continue to build on the law school’s efforts to recruit students from groups that have traditionally been underrepresented at law schools. 

“We want to not only diversify our student body but to retain those diverse students and make sure they feel they belong here because you can’t succeed if you don’t feel like you belong,” Zink says.

Zink is also working on ways to diversify the law school’s faculty.

“Over the past few years, we’ve had tremendous success in increasing the diversity of our student body," Zink says. "We’re hoping to do the same with faculty and staff. In fact, we’re already making some inroads on that front.”

The law school has also made curriculum changes in the last several years to provide students exposure to diverse perspectives. The changes have included required readings for Legal Profession students that touch on issues like housing discrimination, immigration, and criminal justice reform. 

Zink explains that “[g]iven the responsibility they will one day have, it is important that law students are exposed to tough issues early on, respectfully engage in those difficult conversations and, ultimately, start thinking about how they can make a positive difference in our legal system and – for that matter – society in general.”

Zink is a 1999 graduate of the School of Law, who joined the faculty in 2006 to teach Legal Profession courses with a particular interest in intellectual property. Before that, she worked for Oliff & Berridge PLC in Alexandria, Virginia and Faruki Ireland & Cox PLL in Dayton.

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