The External Consultants and the University Review Team submitted a generally positive assessment of the Faculty of Law, noting its dynamism, excellent teaching, creative initiatives, broad range of scholarly research, strong leadership and supportive collegial environment. The reports also included recommendations designed to address specific challenges facing the Faculty in the areas of research and scholarship and staff morale.
The Faculty was commended for taking action to undertake a process of renewal over the last few years and the IARC noted that this renewal has manifested itself not only in new faculty appointments, but also in revitalized research output from existing faculty members, the development of innovative curriculum initiatives and interdisciplinary collaborative programs, and improved morale among students as evidenced by recent exit polls and external survey results. The Faculty is encouraged to continue on this positive track of rejuvenation.
While recognizing the particular challenges of legal scholarship, the External Consultants had some questions about the various forms of research activity undertaken in the Faculty. In response to this, the Review Team recommended that the Faculty develop a statement clearly conveying its priorities and goals in this area. The IARC supports this approach, but cautions that such a statement cannot be devised in a vacuum; the definitions and goals of the Faculty's scholarly priorities would have to be able to withstand the test of external scrutiny and should be equivalent or comparable to what is acceptable at other Canadian and international faculties of law.
Accomplishments in the area of equity and diversity were noted. The Faculty received praise for its admissions policy and the supporting education equity program which aim to recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds and historically disadvantaged groups. The unit was also lauded for its curriculum design which gives attention to diversity issues. The Faculty should continue to actively recruit both students and faculty who are members of historically underrepresented groups. The problem of the inaccessibility of the building in which the Faculty is housed persists and this issue was highlighted by the reviewers.
Both reports suggested that an apparent longstanding problem concerning the morale of the staff requires attention. The IARC notes that the Faculty takes this matter seriously and has indicated that steps are being taken to address the issue.
The reviewers were impressed with the commitment to teaching exhibited by members of faculty in this unit. With faculty renewal continuing and research activity increasing, it seems apparent that this is a Faculty that is moving in the right direction.
Follow-up on these recommendations and issues will take place in the annual budget and staffing meetings between the Dean of the Faculty of Law and the Vice-Principal (Academic).