LSAC Launches New Center to Support Law School Staff
Anti-racist approaches to leadership and professional development will be center’s initial focus
LSAC, a champion for quality, access, and equity in law and education worldwide, has launched a national center designed to support student-facing law school staff. Jay Austin, one of the country’s most respected admission deans and a leading voice in intersectional community building, has been named the executive director of the new Reaffirming Individuals Supporting Education (“RISE”) Alliance.
“Throughout my career it has been a privilege to share the passion and commitment that my admission colleagues and other student-facing staff espouse every day,” said Jay Austin. “Yet, I am acutely aware of the unique challenges that require skillful navigation. At its core, RISE Alliance will operate to amplify and promote individual capacity, especially standing in support of staff who recognize how their own multiple identities frame their professional lives.”
RISE Alliance will serve as a strategic partner for LSAC’s various departments including Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Schools and Institutions, and others to support law school staff who serve in a variety of roles including admission and financial aid, diversity, and student services. The center will initially focus on professional development aimed at advancing anti-racist approaches to supporting staff and the students they serve, and will:
- Identify, establish, and facilitate ongoing programming to advance culturally-competent, inclusive leadership and professional development for student-facing law school staff, including programming for individuals and for teams of staff within and across law schools.
- Develop and share best practices for support of diverse student-facing law school staff that advances their professional success and creates a culture of belonging within their institution and within the legal academy.
- Act as an advocate by representing the needs and concerns of LSAC member law school staff with an emphasis on supporting members of minoritized groups including the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals, and persons with disabilities with a goal of ensuring all voices are welcomed, valued, and heard.
“LSAC is excited to further support its member law schools by helping to build capacity and community among the dedicated professionals who support the student journey from prelaw to practice,” said Kellye Testy, LSAC president and CEO. “Jay’s leadership will assure that as with all of LSAC’s work, we advance excellence in legal education by centering inclusion and belonging.”
Today, law schools are collectively admitting students that by every measure are far more diverse and supporting this more diverse student body requires culturally competent, inclusive leaders that reflect the diversity of the student body. “LSAC has long-standing commitments and initiatives that promote access and equity in legal education, and we must bolster our efforts in a thoughtful and strategic way so that, eventually, the legal profession reflects the diversity of everyone it serves,” said Angela Winfield, LSAC’s CDO. “This new center will be a key addition to a multi-pronged approach of supporting the pipeline of diverse talent and furthering equity in the legal profession.”
Austin is currently the senior associate dean of enrollment and financial aid at Rutgers University Law School, and previously served in key admission roles at University of California Irvine School of Law, Penn State University School of Law, the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, the University of California Hastings College of Law, and at both Columbia University School of Business and Columbia Law School. He currently serves on the Minority Network Executive Committee and Leadership Team. Austin will join LSAC as the center’s executive director in August 2021.
For more information on LSAC’s RISE Alliance, please visit LSAC.org/rise-alliance.
Law School Admission Council