Friday, August 28, 2009

New Dean at Maryland

I saw a posting about fellow alumna Phoebe Haddon in my Smith College alumnae newsletter. The posting linked to this story from the Baltimore Sun about Haddon, who is the new dean at the University of Maryland School of Law. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Dean Haddon at Smith, which is a women's college; however, I was interested in her comments about the special insights women bring to the law:

I think women bring new dimensions to thinking about the law, because we ask different questions ...In the area of human rights and domestic problems, women have asked questions about a lack of equity that were simply not asked before.

I was also interested in her thoughts about attending a single-sex school. At Smith,
professors pushed her to think of inequality not just in historical or emotional terms but in theoretical ways. "It produced a degree of self-confidence, because there was no question that you could lead, no question that your intelligence was valued, no question that you could apply yourself in whichever direction you wanted to go."

I concur with that opinion. There was an unspoken assumption at Smith that there were no limits to what we could accomplish as long as we worked hard. It was a uniquely supportive environment.

As the new dean at Maryland, one of Dean Haddon's goals is to make the Law School an active part of the local community. According to the Sun, "Haddon envisions the law school extending its clinical practices to help city residents and getting more involved in policy issues affecting Baltimore." She is even planning to live close enough to the school that she can walk to work!

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