Skip to Content

Coronavirus: Get complete details about the university's response to COVID-19.

My Law School

Strategic Plan

The University of South Carolina School of Law has embarked on a strategic planning process to guide the law school in responding to the rapid changes in the legal profession and legal education. To that end, the law school has retained the international consulting firm, Berkeley Research Group, to assist in the development of this plan.

Strategic Planning Process

This web site will provide information on the progress of the strategic planning process to the School of Law community.

Key Dates

Strategic Plan Workshop meeting — Faculty, Staff and invited students
Friday, March 1, 2019 from 11:00 AM–4:15 PM, Perrin Family Event Space, School of Law

The members of the Steering Committee for the Strategic Plan are:

  • Duncan Alford, Associate Dean & Director of the Law Library
  • Janice Baker, Assistant Director of Legal Writing
  • Derek Black, Professor of Law
  • Timothy Downing, Associate Director of Admissions Operations
  • Josh Gupta-Kagan, Associate Professor of Law
  • Romona Keith, Registrar, School of Law
  • Liz Niehaus, Assistant Dean for Administration
  • Aparna Polavarapu, Assistant Professor of Law
  • Joel Samuels, Professor of Law


The School of Law has entered the Facilitated Workshop phase of our Strategic Planning process. Over the course of the fall, in the first phase of the planning process, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, alongside our partners at Berkeley Research Group, collected data in preparation for development of the strategic plan. [View the Strategic Planning process map]

This data collection included surveys of students, faculty, staff and alumni, as well as focus group meetings and one-on-one interviews.

Responses (as of 24 January 2019)

# of Surveys Responders
 Alumni  339
 Staff  38
 Students  46
 Number of Interviews  39
 Number of Focus Groups  4 (with 5 more planned)

Steering Committee members, along with the consulting team, reviewed the information developed during this data collection phase and identified four themes that they concluded should be the focus — along with statements of the School’s Mission, Vision and Values — of the strategic plan.

Those four identified themes for the School of Law are:

  • Student Success: how the law school defines student success and what should be done to ensure that student success is achieved.
  • Distinction/Differentiators: what makes the law school unique and provides a competitive advantage among other law schools.
  • Culture: how the law school treats students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and how those groups individually and collectively work together for the greater good of the school.
  • Financial Sustainability: how the law school can continue its growth and development with the assurance that its financial resources will be equal to its needs.

During January and February, each working group (made up of law school faculty, staff, and students) will propose recommended strategic priorities and objectives and will develop an action plan for the School to implement if those priorities and objectives are to be achieved. Working Groups will present their proposals at a Strategic Planning Workshop on March 1, 2019. For those who are unable to attend the March 1st Workshop meeting, the Working Group chairs will present a summary version of their findings on Thursday, March 7th in 301, at 12:40 pm. Based on the feedback received during that Workshop, the Steering Committee will prepare a final version of the proposal for the School’s priorities, objectives and action plan. This work will then be used as the basis for crafting the actual strategic plan, which is scheduled for completion in the late spring of 2019.

[View the Strategic Planning process map]

We invite all School of Law stakeholders to reach out to Working Group members with their thoughts and suggestions regarding any of the four themes and the School’s Mission, Vision and Values.

See below for the composition of each working group: 

 Working Group


Student Success

Aparna Polavarapu (Chair), Lisa Eichhorn, Tim Downing, Amy Milligan, Jill Kunkle, Dennison LaRue (student)

Mission, Vision, Values

Joel Samuels (Chair), Eboni Nelson, Lisa Martin, Susan Palmer, Jason Richardson (student)

Distinction / Differentiators

Duncan Alford (Chair), Ned Snow, Karen Britton, Sarah Hughes, Ariyana Gore and Robert Koons (students)


Jan Baker (Chair), Josh Gupta-Kagan, Candle Wester, Romona Keith, Jacob Watters, Adam Martin, and Matthew Turk (student)

Financial Sustainability

Liz Niehaus (Chair), Derek Black, Tessa Davis, Ben Means, Michele Dhunjishah

In forming the Working Groups, we were seeking a representative group of faculty and staff at different stages of their career and with differing roles but were also cognizant of the various commitments that some individuals had that would have made serving a burden on them or their units. The students were selected by the respective Group chairs from a pool of applicants. All students were invited to apply and asked to complete an application explaining why they wanted to serve. We regret that more people are not able to serve on the Working Groups, but we were advised by the consultants, Berkeley Research Group, to keep the working groups small.

The charters for each of the Working Groups can be found at these links: 


Important Links

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.