SMU Law School Dean to Become Rhodes College’s Next President

Jennifer Collins, Dean of Law at Southern Methodist University, is delighted to follow the institution’s “long tradition of sending people to presidencies.”

After nearly eight years as dean of the Dedman School of Law, Collins was chosen to become the next president of Rhodes College, a liberal arts college in Tennessee.

“I’m really excited to take the lessons I can learn from my time at SMU and hopefully bring them to the Rhodes community,” Collins said. SMU supports the Dallas Morning News Education Lab.

The college announced its selection Monday at an event on campus. Collins will remain at law school until May before assuming his presidency in July, succeeding interim president Carroll Stevens who served the college after the departure of its previous president.

“This is an amazing example of the best higher education has to offer, and I am honored to join this community,” Collins said in a statement.

She noted that SMU does a “remarkably impactful and effective job” of preparing people for the presidency of colleges – such as Lori White, former vice president of student affairs at SMU who is now president of DePauw University, and William Tsutsui, who was dean at the university before serving as president of Hendrix College for five years.

“The appointment of Jennifer Collins is the happy result of a long and in-depth national search that has attracted interest and applications from an incredibly diverse pool of applicants from within and outside higher education.” Cary Fowler, co-chair of the college’s presidential research committee, said in a report.

One of the reasons the board chose her as chair, Fowler said, was Collins’ leadership at SMU, where she managed an annual budget of $ 49 million; raised over $ 50 million for students, faculty and programs; and has increased the number of applications to law school over the years.

Prior to his tenure at SMU, Collins received his BA in History from Yale University and his JD from Harvard University (MA).

She has worked as a lawyer for private law firms and in the public sector. She then taught courses in family and gender law and law at Wake Forest University in 2003 before becoming vice-president approximately seven years later.

In a campus-wide post, SMU Provost Elizabeth Loboa wrote that the university will launch a nationwide search for Collins’ replacement early in the spring of next year before she leaves. A research committee will be created and made up of students, professors and staff, as well as members from outside the institution.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation on pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network , Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.

Nancy I. Romero