Shannon Named To New Associate Dean Position
Major renovations are underway at the UF Levin College of Law — and not all of them have to do with facilities. Among other things, the school is examining its organizational structure and how it can become more efficient and better serve students, faculty and alumni. The first significant reorganization occurred last week, when Dean Jon Mills announced that Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Patrick Shannon had been promoted into the new position of associate dean for administrative affairs. “Deans and associate deans in academic affairs tend to remain in those roles for a limited time, so most law schools our size have a position like this,” said Mills. “A long-term administrator is vital to provide continuity and carry the institutional history. Pat’s experience, qualifications and reputation made him the ideal choice for this important role.” The promotion became official March 1 and Shannon will assume full-time responsibility for his new duties April 15, though he began to take on many of them last August. “I find it very fulfilling to help students, and it has been frustrating for me this school year that — as I tried to meet the demands of both jobs — I could not be as available to them as I would have liked,” said Shannon. “But we have the greatest students in the world, and I have appreciated their understanding of my dilemma.” Shannon will work closely with the dean and associate dean for academic affairs in overseeing the law school’s budget process, personnel and physical plant, including logistical coordination for the new building and major renovations. His new position combines some duties previously charged to the associate dean for academic affairs with much of the work now performed by Director of Administrative Services Martina Pelley, who retires June 30 after 31 years with the law school (see page 2). It eliminates existing overlaps and duplications between those positions, and adds more policy-making responsibility. “This is something I have always wanted to do, and I am very excited about the challenges and potential it represents. It is truly a position that — like Martina — I can see myself remaining in until I retire,” said Shannon. “I hope to build on the strong foundation created by Martina and previous associate deans, and to implement the same open door policy and ‘servant leadership’ philosophy I used in my interaction with students in working with the larger law school community.” “Servant leadership is serving those around you to enable them to reach their potential, so we all can serve the greater good,” Shannon explained. “I hope faculty, staff and students see me as a resource to help them overcome hurdles that prevent us from achieving our goals as an institution.” Shannon was hired as assistant dean for student affairs in 1996 by Dean Richard Matasar, who charged him with implementing an open door policy and making the Office of Student Affairs more accessible to students. “During the seven years I served as assistant dean, I saw roughly 17,500 students in my office — as many as 125 in a single day. That represents those who actually signed in, and doesn’t include chats on the phone at home — some at 3 a.m. — conversations at the front counter, in the corridor or elsewhere.” Along with administrative duties, Shannon teaches education and disability law seminars at the law school. He also holds an affiliate position in the UF Warrington College of Business, where he teaches employment law in the MBA program. He previously served in private practice with Gardner Ewing & Souze in Louisville, Kentucky, and for nine years was a communications professor at three different colleges in Texas and Kentucky. He earned his doctorate in administration from the University of Louisville, where he later earned his law degree. Professor Jeffrey Davis is heading a search for a new assistant dean for student affairs, and the committee hopes to fill the position by June.