Eboni S. Nelson has been named the next dean of the UConn School of Law, bringing strong academic leadership experience and a commitment to service and scholarship. President Thomas C. Katsouleas announced Nelson’s appointment on Wednesday, and she begins in the role on Aug. 1.
Nelson is associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she has been honored with awards for her classroom teaching and her faculty service. An accomplished scholar, Nelson’s research centers on equitable educational opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students as well as the intersection of consumer law and education.
“Eboni brings extraordinary new energy and talent to the School of Law,” Katsouleas said. “She is a rising star whose perspectives and vision will add new dimensions to a school that has excelled in scholarship, education and service to communities and the state.”
Nelson received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Wake Forest University, where she was elected to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She joined the faculty of South Carolina in 2007, where she teaches contracts, commercial law, consumer law, and race, class, and education.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next dean of the University of Connecticut School of Law,” Nelson said. “I am excited to lead this community of outstanding students, staff professionals, faculty, and alumni as we work together to educate students and the broader community about the law’s transformative power to shape and improve our society.”
A leader in local, state and national organizations, Nelson has been deeply involved in community service throughout her professional and personal life. She has served as Chairperson of the South Carolina State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and Vice-Chair of the South Carolina Commission on Consumer Affairs.
Prior to teaching at South Carolina, Nelson taught for four years at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston. She also served as a visiting associate professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Before joining higher education, she practiced employee benefits at Bracewell LLP in Houston.
Nelson says her prior experiences teaching at public institutions drew her to the School of Law.
“As the state’s flagship public law school, I was drawn to UConn Law’s values of excellence, accessibility, and affordability, which are shared throughout the University,” she said. “I too embrace these values, and I look forward to working with members and friends of the Law School and University community to educate and train the legal profession’s future advocates, policymakers, and global leaders.”
Nelson joins the School of Law at a fortuitous time as its academic and experiential learning opportunities are gaining increased national attention, and its graduates are having a positive impact in Connecticut and beyond.
The school, which marks its 100th anniversary next year, is among the top 50 in the latest U.S. News & Report ranking for the nation’s best law schools. Its part-time program is particularly well known, receiving the No. 6 ranking and drawing working professionals from throughout the region.
As the state’s only public law school, it strives to offer a richly varied curriculum with small classes that allow students to collaborate with each other and the faculty, while also providing clinical instruction, skills training, interdisciplinary work, and courses and workshops.
There are four scholarly journals on campus, each managed, edited, and published by the students: the Connecticut Law Review, the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, the Connecticut Journal of International Law, and the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal.
It also provides opportunities for experience and service through in-house legal clinics, and offers a range of certificate and dual-degree programs.
Nelson succeeds School of Law Dean Timothy Fisher, who was in private practice for more than three decades before his appointment to dean in July 2013. He will return to the UConn law faculty when Nelson starts as dean this summer.
“Timothy Fisher came to UConn with an impressive track record of accomplishments and deep connections in the Connecticut Bar, and used those assets to continue strengthening the School of Law as a whole,” said John A. Elliott, UConn’s interim provost and Auran J. Fox Chair in Business.
“In a time when new attorneys nationwide faced weakness in employment opportunities, he led UConn’s law school in expanding its academic portfolio to provide our students with unique, targeted skills through the LLM program, expanded certificate offerings, hands-on experiential learning and other opportunities,” Elliott said. “Tim leaves the school on firm footing, and we are grateful for his collegial leadership.”