More on Deaning’s ‘Seven Deadly Sins’

This blog was originally published on Oct. 4, 2007 by Professor Russell L. Weaver

In a prior entry, I mentioned Dean Steven Smith’s brilliant article, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Deaning.” These are the “sins” that will “rot a deanship. They may destroy the trust that allows a dean to function, dissipate the opportunity for the law school to make progress under a dean, or interfere with the collegial environment that supports learning and discovery.”

One of the “sins” that Dean Smith identifies is “narcissism.” He notes that: “Narcissism may be the mother of deadly sins. Many other sins arise when deans merge the school with their own identity. They begin to see the law school as ‘all about them’ or egocentrically confuse the success others achieve as their personal success. Perhaps monarchs could get by with viewing personal disloyalty as treason against the state, but deans cannot. A dean should be committed to the law school, but no matter how long a dean serves, how influential, or how good the dean is, the law school is never ‘the dean’s.’ It has a separate identity that the dean must expect to share continuously with many others.”


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