Kimberly Yuracko will step down as dean of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law this summer to join the Office of the Provost to help lead academic projects for the University, Interim Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced today (July 1).
Yuracko, the Judd and Mary Morris Leighton Professor of Law at the Law School, has served as dean since Sept. 1, 2018. She will conclude her service as dean on July 31. The Provost’s office will name an interim dean shortly and also announce the formation of a search committee to find a permanent successor.
Yuracko will join the Office of the Provost as associate provost for academic projects and continue her research and scholarship as a national expert in employment law.
“President Schapiro and I are grateful for the work Dean Yuracko has done to support our students and strengthen the Law School during her tenure. She has led the school during a challenging time of cost constraints, while successfully introducing new student and alumni programs and recruiting four exceptional faculty members. She also continued the strong momentum of fundraising for the school during the We Will campaign and helped solidify the Law School’s position among the top-ranking schools in the country.”
Yuracko’s top priority has been preparing students for their careers at a time when the legal profession is going through transformational changes. She instituted “comprehensive wraparound support” for students through a team-based approach to academic and career counseling, and started an alumni-student mentorship program whereby an alumni mentor helps incoming students acclimate to law school and the profession. She recently announced a student-faculty mentorship program.
Yuracko also introduced a number of new initiatives focused specifically on supporting alumni. This included dedicating a full-time career advisor exclusively to alumni and significantly expanding professional development offerings, including webinars and alumni peer groups focused around particular career milestones. Yuracko also began the Law School’s Step Forward program, an on-ramping program designed to help graduates re-enter the workforce after an extended period away.
Most recently, Yuracko navigated the Law School through the difficult transition to remote learning resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As students faced a challenging employment market, she formed a Jobs Task Force, comprised of faculty, deans and administrators that helped secure 50 external positions, plus almost 100 internal positions, for law students in search of summer employment. Yuracko also established the Student Assistance and Relief (STAR) Fund, which distributed more than $170,000 in emergency funds to more than 80 students.
During her tenure, the Law School grew in national prominence, moving up to number nine in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. The Bluhm Legal Clinic rose to number six, from number 13.
Yuracko said she is looking forward to new challenges. “I am proud of the work I have done strengthening the Law School’s finances, recruiting four tremendous new faculty members and supporting our students through these challenging times. It has been an exceptional privilege to lead the Law School community for the last two years. While I am sad to be taking a more distant role vis a vis the Law School, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the broader University and to aid in transitioning our academic programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Yuracko joined the Law School faculty in 2002 and served as its associate dean for academic affairs: faculty and research from 2009-2010. She also served as interim dean in 2011. She holds a joint appointment in the department of political science in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
During her tenure at Northwestern, Yuracko has gained national renown as a scholar of employment law, antidiscrimination law and gender equity. Her books include “Gender Nonconformity and the Law,” published in 2016 by Yale University Press (designated as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title), and “Perfectionism and Contemporary Feminist Values,” published in 2003 by Indiana University Press, as well as numerous articles in distinguished journals. She also has won accolades and awards as a teacher.
Widely recognized as a University leader, Yuracko serves on the Provost’s Advisory Council on Women Faculty, was co-chair of the Organization of Women Faculty and has served on the Provost Selection Faculty Advisory Group, the Search Committee for Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion and the Catalyst Working Group.