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Office of the Provost

Samuels named UofSC Interim Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies

Joel H. Samuels, professor in the University of South Carolina School of Law and director of the Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC), was appointed interim vice provost for Interdisciplinary Studies on Sept. 1.

Samuels has served as a faculty member of the School of Law for 16 years, and as director of ROLC for the past six years. In his time at ROLC, Samuels has overseen a period of tremendous growth, increasing the center’s programming by more than eight times and its annual budget more than ten-fold. Along the way, ROLC has become one of the country’s leading academic institutions focused on the rule of law.

Joel Samuels has helped to create a model for interdisciplinary collaboration at UofSC, and the Rule of Law Collaborative is an exemplar of what we seek to build around this campus.

William F. Tate, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Samuels earned his law degree and a master’s degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan and his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in politics, magna cum laude, with certificates in Russian Studies and European Cultural Studies. “Every stage of my education and professional life has reinforced the value of pursuing interdisciplinary approaches to research, education and service,” explained Samuels. 

Before joining the University of South Carolina, Samuels taught at the University of Michigan Law School, practiced law at Covington & Burling, one of the country’s premier law firms, and clerked in the federal court system. He also spent time working at the World Bank with a focus on capacity building in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

“I am excited to work with leaders across the campus to harness the talents of the faculty, staff, and students at the University around big questions,” said Samuels. “Drawing on that talent, I believe that UofSC can become an even more significant voice on issues that impact our state, our country, and the world.” 

As interim vice provost for interdisciplinary studies, Samuels will be charged with fostering scholarly collaborations across academic units that lead to grant proposals, new courses, certificates and programs.

“The university’s new Strategic Plan rightly places interdisciplinary activities at the heart of UofSC’s Path to Excellence. Professor Samuels is uniquely positioned to lead the efforts to increase interdisciplinary efforts around campus,” explained Tate.

Under Samuels’ leadership, ROLC has developed a multidimensional network of professionals in academia, civil society, government and the private sector who work collaboratively to tackle some of the most complex rule of law challenges both at home and abroad. As a natural extension of its academic foundation, ROLC has cultivated partnerships with faculty across the UofSC campus with more than 60 faculty associates from over a dozen departments.

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