Law School dean settles into job

By Gus Bode

Alexander making small changes to Law School

Law School Dean Peter Alexander has developed a diversity task force and curriculum committee for students in the SIU Law School. He has also appointed a building addition task force for the little law building on the west side of campus.

And he’s only been on the job for two months.


Alexander, the first black dean at SIUC, is quickly adjusting to his new job as dean of the School of Law. He replaced Interim Dean W. Eugene Basanta, a professor at the School of Law, who served for nearly a year when former dean Thomas Guernsey left the University last year.

Because Alexander has been dean at SIU for such a short time, he has not made many changes to the School of Law. He has, however, created committees to address issues the Law School will face in the future.

Professors at the School of Law serve on these new committees, and Alexander has assigned two law students to serve on each committee.

Law professor Patrick Kelley said he approves highly of Alexander and the new committees.

“The new dean is an excellent people person,” he said. “He is very inclusive in his decision-making.”

Associate professor Alice Noble-Allgire, a 1990 graduate of the School of Law, said she agrees with Kelley.

“Dean Alexander makes everyone feel good about being here,” she said. “He challenges the faculty to take a look at themselves and live up to the mission of being the best public law school.”


Linda Vineyard, administrative assistant to Alexander, said she believes the dean is settling in very easily.

“I think the staff has warmed up very nicely to him,” she said. “I think he handles everything very well. He is just getting started finding out what is routine.”

Vineyard said she also likes how Alexander makes himself available to both students and faculty.

Mike Ruiz, director of admissions, media and community affairs, said he likes the changes Alexander has made that affect him. Now the faculty, not the staff, has more of a say in what goes on in the Law School. Ruiz likes how the faculty will now be very involved in the decisions Alexander makes for the law school.

Alexander believes the Law School is an excellent institution.

“I don’t plan on changing things that are working,” he said.

Alexander’s next job as dean is preparing for the Law School’s activities for Homecoming this fall. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Law School, and Dean Alexander said there is a fair amount of planning for this important event.

“I spend a lot of time on the phone each day,” Alexander said.

He also has many meetings with faculty members and administrative staff. In addition to all of this, Alexander is constantly learning about the Law School’s past and present in order to plan a great future.

Alexander said a new graduate law degree program was approved this week, but final details have not yet been released.

“It’s exciting to be back,” Alexander said. “It’s different being here as an administrator than as a student, but I’m still glad to be here.”

Alexander graduated from SIUC in 1979 with a degree in political science. He earned his law degree from Northeastern University and was the associate dean at the Dickinson School of Law at Pennsylvania State University for 11 years before taking his new post in June.

Reporter Elaine Rashmawy can be reached at [email protected].