September 2019 — Danielle M. Conway, who is Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law at Penn State Dickinson Law, has been heavily involved in efforts to ensure that law deans across the nation and, yes, around the globe, consider it their collective mission to promote equity and inclusiveness in the legal academy and in the legal profession. These efforts include speaking on this topic to her fellow deans at two Summer 2019 conferences.

Danielle M. ConwayDean Conway believes that among the overwhelming majority of this group, this is neither a high-minded ideal nor an intellectual talking point; instead, it is a worthy aspiration that will positively impact how the rule of law is viewed among all members of society. Dean Conway’s confidence in making such a bold statement is bolstered by the ongoing conversations that she routinely engages in with amazing colleagues who represents myriad segments of our society, all committed to fairness as a universal principle.

Two of these gatherings facilitating these conversations occurred this summer. The Women’s Leadership in Legal Academia Conference convened on July 18-19, 2019 at the University of Virginia School of Law and, closer to home, the Eighth Annual Promoting Diversity in Law School Leadership convened on August 12-13 at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Dean Conway notes that, “As an African-American woman, I was proud to represent Penn State Dickinson Law at both conferences, speaking on and contributing to panels addressing (1) overcoming gender and racial stereotypes in law school leadership, (2) identifying challenges and opportunities in law school leadership, (3) navigating gender, race, and new media, and (4) developing strategies for setting institutional priorities and managing budgets and finances.”  The overarching purpose of these conferences is to introduce the idea to women and people of color that they too have a contribution to make as leaders in law school. By attending and participating in these important gatherings, Dean Conway provided a model of successful leadership. Dean Conway observed that modeling successful leadership does not mean sharing only what works; it means sharing “negative know-how” gained as a result of experiences with challenges having no readily available solutions. Dean Conway’s goal for participation was to share that leaders are the people who step up to their service obligations selflessly and resolutely to contribute to solving seemingly intractable problems. She stated, “While I believe I met my goal; as always, when surrounded by smart, engaging, personable, and authentic people who are genuinely committed to advancing legal education as the next generation of law school leaders, I feel as though I was given more than I gave.”

Danielle M. Conway is the Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law at Penn State Dickinson Law. A leading expert in procurement law, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property law, Dean Conway joined Dickinson Law after serving for four years as dean of the University of Maine School of Law and 14 years on the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law, where she was the inaugural Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor of Business Law. Prior to her deanships, Conway was a member of the faculties at the Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She also served as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Australia and later as Chair in Law at LaTrobe University, Faculty of Law & Management. Dean Conway is the author or editor of six books and casebooks as well as numerous book chapters, articles, and essays. Her scholarly agenda and speeches have focused on, among other areas, advocating for public education and for actualizing the rights of marginalized groups, including Indigenous Peoples, minoritized people, and members of rural communities. Dean Conway is the co-recipient of the inaugural Association of American Law Schools’ Impact Award, which honors individuals who have had a significant positive impact on legal education or the legal profession. Dean Conway was recognized for her work in establishing the Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project. Launched in June 2020, the project is a webpage for law deans, faculty, and the public that contains resources and information related to addressing racism in law and legal education. In 2016, Dean Conway retired from the U.S. Army in the rank of lieutenant colonel after 27 years of combined active, reserve, and national guard service.