William A. Kaplin Award - National Conference on Law and Higher Education
The Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy is proud to have established the Award for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy Scholarship, named for our esteemed friend and colleague, Professor William A. Kaplin. This award recognizes scholars who have published works on education law that embrace the intersection of law and policy.
- Nominees will be judged on their scholarly work that has been published or accepted for publication. Preference generally will be given to nominees with a record of publication during the three-year period preceding the nomination that demonstrates a trajectory of excellence. The scholarly work may focus solely on American higher education, or on American higher education's interrelationships with elementary/secondary (K12) education, or on American higher education in comparison to the higher education system of one or more other countries.
- To be eligible for the award, the research and the analysis in the scholarly work must address both legal issues/considerations and policy issues/considerations. The policy aspects of the work may involve institutional policy concerns of colleges and universities, addressed primarily by institutional officers and administrators, or broader public policy concerns regarding higher education addressed primarily by legislatures and administrative agencies.
- The scholarly works to be considered may include books and book chapters; monographs; journal articles; reports prepared for foundations, think tanks, and advocacy organizations; conference papers; and other similar print or electronic formats.
- The award maybe based on a single work, such as a book; on a combination or series of works, such as a series of journal articles or reports; or on the sum total of the nominee's scholarly work.
- Scholarly work meeting the above requirements will be judged based on (a) the overall quality of the research and analysis; (b) the extent to which the work integrates law and policy, and the quality and utility of the interrelationships between law and policy that the work develops; and (c) the significance of the work and the contribution that it makes to the development and implementation of higher education law and policy.
Dr. Neal H. Hutchens
Prior to coming to Penn State, Dr. Hutchens served as a faculty member at the University of Kentucky in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. He earned a Ph.D. in education policy with a specialization in higher education from the University of Maryland. While in graduate school, he served as a legislative fellow on the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he graduated summa cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif and of the Alabama Law Review.
Dr. Hutchens was the 2015 recipient of the William A. Kaplin Award from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy at Stetson University College of Law. He serves on the Litigation Committee for the American Association of University Professors. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Education Law Association.
Dr. Hutchens’ research centers on law and policy issues in higher education. A key strand of his scholarship focuses on increasing strains on faculty independence and autonomy, including in relation to academic freedom concerns. An important extension of his research in this area relates to challenges confronting non-tenure-track faculty. Dr. Hutchens has also examined legal questions dealing with college students’ speech and religious rights. A key area of his research in the student speech realm has dealt with legal debate and uncertainty over application of First Amendment standards to student online speech, in both curricular and co-curricular contexts.
Dr. Hutchens scholarship has appeared in publications that include the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Journal of College and University Law, Counselor Education and Supervision, Kentucky Law Journal, West's Education Law Reporter, Journal of Law and Education, and Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. He is on the editorial board for The Review of Higher Education and for Education Law & Policy Review and is a member of the authors' committee for West's Education Law Reporter.
Along with several other faculty members specializing in higher education legal issues, Dr. Hutchens is a regular contributor to HigherEducationLaw.org.
William E. Thro
William E. Thro is the general counsel of the University of Kentucky and an accomplished attorney, academic and appellate advocate. At the university, he provides proactive advice on critical legal and policy issues. As an academic, his research focuses on constitutional law in educational contexts in both the United States and South Africa, with an emphasis on school finance litigation. He also serves as an adjunct professor.
Prior to assuming his present position in 2012, he spent more than 20 years representing public universities, including eight years as university counsel of Christopher Newport University, where he was also an associate professor of constitutional studies. In recognition of his numerous scholarly articles, book chapters and other publications, Thro was recognized as a Fellow of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (2007) and a Distinguished Research Fellow of the National Education Finance Conference (2012).
As solicitor general of Virginia for four years, Thro was responsible for the Virginia State Government's U.S. Supreme Court litigation (except capital cases), as well as lower court appeals involving the constitutionality of statutes or politically sensitive issues. He graduated summa cum laude from Hanover College and earned a graduate degree with honors from the University of Melbourne. Thro received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. He has been called "the intellectual father of the economic integration movement" in K-12 schooling, and "arguably the nation's chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions." He is also an authority on teachers' unions, private school vouchers, charter schools, turnaround school efforts, labor organizing and inequality in higher education. He is the author of five books, editor of eight Century Foundation books and numerous articles.
Previously, Richard Kahlenberg was a fellow at the Center for National Policy, a visiting associate professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA). He is also a nonresident senior fellow at Education Sector and serves on the advisory board of the Pell Institute, the Albert Shanker Institute and the Research Advisory Panel of the National Coalition on School Diversity. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and cum laude from Harvard Law School. Between college and law school, he spent a year at the University of Nairobi School of Journalism as a Rotary Scholar.
Gary Pavela writes frequently on law and policy issues in higher education and teaches in the honors programs at the University of Maryland and at Syracuse University. He was a faculty member for the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. (the training arm of the United States Courts) and served on the board of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. In 2006 he was designated the University of Maryland "Outstanding Faculty Educator" by the Maryland Parents' Association.
Laura Rothstein joined the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville as professor of law and dean in 2000 (serving as dean until 2005). She has written 14 books and dozens of book chapters, articles, and other works on disability discrimination, covering a broad range of issues, with an emphasis on disability discrimination in higher education. She chaired the AALS Special Committee on Disability Issues (1988-1990). In addition to her work in disability law, she has worked to promote racial diversity within legal education and the legal profession, and writes and lectures frequently on those topics. She has served as co-chair of the AALS Section on Disability Law, chair of the American Bar Association Section of Legal Education Diversity Committee, a member of the LSAC Minority Affairs Committee, and a member of the AALS Membership Committee. She currently serves on the Law School Admissions Council Pipeline Outreach Planning Committee. From 1980 to 1986, she served as faculty editor of the Journal of College and University Law, the law journal published by the National Association of College and University Attorneys.
Before coming to the University of Louisville, Professor Rothstein was a Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Houston where she served as associate dean for Graduate Legal Studies (2004-2005) and associate dean for Student Affairs (1987-1993). Since beginning her academic career in 1976, she has served on the law faculties at five universities. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and her doctor of jurisprudence from Georgetown University Law Center.
Barbara A. Lee
Professor Barbara A. Lee conducts research on the impact of legislation and judicial decisions on employment relations policy and practices in academic and business organizations in the U.S. and Western Europe. Her work combines field studies and legal research methodologies, and has been published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management, the Journal of College and University Law, and the Journal of Higher Education.
She is the co-author of Academics in Court, a book dealing with the effects of discrimination litigation on plaintiffs and employer defendants, and The Law of Higher Education, 4 ed. and biannual supplements. Counsel to the firm of Edwards, Angell, Palmer & Dodge, LLP.
Dr. Michael A. Olivas
Michael A. Olivas is the William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of Houston Law Center and Director of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance at UH. He holds a B.A. from the Pontifical College Josephinum, an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
He has a substantial and varied legal consulting practice, including representing faculty, staff, institutional, and state clients, serving as an expert witness in federal and state courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court, Circuit Courts of Appeals, and federal district courts), and joining as a member of litigation teams in educational, finance, and immigration matters. He is also the author or co-author of 14 books and numerous scholarly articles.
Robert O'Neil is professor of law emeritus and director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression at the University of Virginia. With bachelor's, master's and law degrees from Harvard University, O'Neil teaches constitutional law of free speech and the press, and church and state.
He came to Virginia in 1985 to become the University of Virginia's sixth president, and he also has held educational and administrative posts at the University of California-Berkeley, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, and the University of Wisconsin. Before entering academia, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr.