Dean Ellen Y. Suni has stepped down after serving as the dean of UMKC School of Law for 13 years.

Suni has served as the dean since 2004, the eighth longest tenure of a dean out of 209 law school deans across the country. She planned on stepping down at the end of the academic year, but due to a MRSA infection, Suni moved the date up and has stepped down, effective immediately. She is home recovering and we are all confident of her complete recovery.

Suni joined the faculty in 1980 and will continue to teach at the law school. Barbara Glesner Fines, formerly the Associate Dean for Faculty and long-standing member of the faculty since 1986, will serve as acting dean while the school seeks an interim replacement. The national search process for Suni’s successor dean will begin sometime this summer.

Dean Allen Rostron will continue to serve as Associate Dean for Students and Dean Jeffrey Thomas will continue to serve as the Associate Dean for International Programs/Affairs. In Glesner Fines’ stead, Professor Nancy Levit will step in as Associate Dean for Faculty.

UMKC School of Law remains committed to Dean Suni’s vision of UMKC as a model 21st century urban public law school.

One of Suni’s hallmarks of her effectiveness as a leader was her ability to create effective teams. She has done so within the dean’s office, with a team of associate deans with over 25 years of combined administrative experience, and a well-advised faculty and staff. UMKC Law is confident in having the proper resources and leadership to meet the demands of this transition.

The school will be working with faculty and staff to plan celebrations of Dean Suni’s deanship for later in the semester.

Suni received her bachelor of arts from City College of New York in 1970 and a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, both magna cum laude. Suni directed the legal writing program at Boston University School of Law and served as assistant dean until she joined UMKC Law. She has taught courses in Appellate Advocacy, co-advised the Moot Court program and served as an instructor in the law school’s innovative solo and small firm courses. She previously taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Ethics in Criminal Advocacy and Wrongful Convictions and worked with the academic enrichment program. Dean Suni also stepped up as a national leader in legal technology and innovation and led the UMKC School of Law Year of Technology in 2016. The Year of Technology was a (and is a continual) movement to prepare tomorrow’s lawyers today by integrating law and technology in innovative courses and creating interdisciplinary partnerships.