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UCHastings Spotlight

For the Public Good

"I came to UC Hastings with the intent to go out into the community and work as a social justice attorney." - GAAP Exec. Director Gary Lewis '11
Friday, December 07, 2012

New UC Hastings Academic Dean Appointed: Elizabeth L. Hillman

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On December 7, 2012, the University of California Hastings College of the Law Board of Directors adopted the resolution appointing Elizabeth L. Hillman as Academic Dean, beginning July 1, 2013.

Hillman will be replacing Shauna Marshall, who is retiring after eight years of exemplary service in the Academic Dean role at UC Hastings.

“As the chief Academic officer of the college, the new Academic Dean of UC Hastings must be ready to tackle a wide array of issues with a keen eye to looking to the future of academics, scholarship and the financial viability of the institution,” said Marci Dragun ’86, Vice Chair of the UC Hastings Board of Directors and Search Chair. “Given her background as a productive scholar, her experiences in the public and non-profit sectors, her active engagement in school activities, and her temperament and military training, Professor Beth Hillman has the personal qualities and skills needed to be an effective leader as Academic Dean. We look forward to her tenure in that role.”

“Beth Hillman will make an outstanding leader of UC Hastings’ academic program,” said Professor Aaron Rappaport, Search Vice-Chair. “She is a widely respected scholar in military law and history, and one of our most popular teachers. She is also deeply engaged in the College’s strategic planning work, which will ensure continuity in the College's efforts to create one of the nation’s top institutions of legal education. On a personal level, Beth is a person of real integrity and warmth, and she has the overwhelming support of the faculty. This is truly an exciting time to be at UC Hastings.”

In the fall of 2007, Professor Hillman arrived at UC Hastings from Rutgers University College of the Law-Camden with a reputation as an inspiring teacher and astute observer of public policy, law, and the U.S. military. “I’m excited about the opportunity to shape the academic future of UC Hastings, a law school with a storied history, global reach, and deep commitment to public service. I hope we can continue to use the tremendous legal and intellectual capacity of the College to translate scholarship into public understanding and policy reform, meet the demand for legal education among 21st-century professionals, and prepare our students to thrive in a diverse legal profession.”

“Beth Hillman has shown how practical she is,” said Frank H. Wu, Chancellor & Dean. “As a lawyer and historian, as well as military veteran, she has set the example of producing engaged scholarship. Her writing and speaking has helped change important public policy. At UC Hastings, she has led the implementation of our strategic plan. I look forward to serving with her, and I believe she is the perfect new leader of academics at UC Hastings.”

Professor Elizabeth L. Hillman

Professor Hillman joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2007. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she attended Duke University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship, earned a degree in electrical engineering, and served as a space operations officer and orbital analyst in Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base, Colorado Springs. She taught history at the U.S. Air Force Academy and at Yale University, where she earned a PhD in history and JD from Yale Law School before joining the faculty at Rutgers, where she won awards for teaching, research, and service to the university community.

Hillman is president of the National Institute for Military Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting fairness in and public understanding of military justice worldwide, and is co-legal director of the Palm Center, a public policy research institute that played a key role in ending the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy of discriminating against gay men and lesbians in the U.S. armed forces. She has published two books, Military Justice Cases and Materials (2d ed. 2012, LexisNexis, with Eugene R. Fidell and Dwight H. Sullivan) and Defending America: Military Culture and the Cold War Court-Martial (Princeton University Press, 2005), and many articles, the most recent a chapter entitled “Sexual Violence in State Militaries” in Prosecuting International Sex Crimes (Forum for International Criminal and Humanitarian Law, 2012). Her current research concerns the law and politics of aerial bombing, military sexual violence, veterans’ claims and benefits, and trust administration (she is a bar review lecturer on California wills and trusts). She has testified before Congress and as an expert at trial about military law, history, and culture, topics about which she frequently writes and speaks.

She lives in Berkeley with her wife Trish Culbert and their five children. And she still roots for the Steelers.

Search Process

The decision-making processes at UC Hastings are inclusive and transparent. Because of the unique status of the school as part of the UC system but independently governed, a separate Board of Directors, equivalent to the Board of Regents, oversees everything. The Board consists of ten members appointed by the California governor and confirmed by the state Senate, along with one member who is a direct descendant of the founder, Serranus Clinton Hastings. Per standing order 100.2 on decanal appointments, the search committee formed for this process consisted of 5 members—three from the UC Hastings Board of Directors and two from the UC Hastings faculty:

  1. Marci Dragun ‘86 - Vice Chair of the Board, Search Chair
  2. Aaron Rappaport, Professor, Search Vice-Chair
  3. Carl W. "Chip" Robertson ‘98
  4. Carin Fujisaki ‘85
  5. Miye Goishi, Clinical Professor of Law

Related Content

  • Fixing a Broken System: Rape and Sexual Assault in the Military: Hastings Women's Law Journal symposium, held September 2012, attended by more than 170 people including attorneys, legislators, non-profit advocates, students, & members of all four military services and the Coast Guard. Faculty Organizer: Elizabeth L. Hillman.
  • Elizabeth L. Hillman: Faculty Bio
  • Spotlight Video: Legality of Bombing
  • UC Hastings Strategic Plan Goal #1: Create Outstanding Professionals to Solve 21st Century Problems: UC Hastings will prepare legal professionals to pursue excellence in law and other fields. To this end, our academic programs will reflect the complexities of contemporary legal practice and systematically prepare students for the challenges of professional life. Our multidimensional curriculum will empower students to build a firm doctrinal and interdisciplinary knowledge base, enhance their analytical, cognitive, interactive and communicative skills, develop their professional values and mindsets, and hone their contextualized problem solving abilities.

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