Head shot of Delaware Law Dean Rod Smolla with plain dark background
Provost's Message

Delaware Law School dean to step down

Dear Widener Community,

After seven years of dedicated service to Widener University Delaware Law School, Rod Smolla will step down from his role as dean effective June 30, 2022 to become president of Vermont Law School. 

Rod assumed the role of dean in 2015 when the school debuted in its current form as Delaware Law School, after a change in accreditation that resulted in Widener having two separate law schools. He led the effort to develop the school’s identity and raise its profile.

During his time as dean, through the superb efforts of the Delaware Law Admissions Office, the school experienced a significant rebound in admissions that has been among the strongest in the country. The school’s financial position has dramatically improved to reach a position of long-term stability. 

In its ABA re-accreditation process, the school successfully presented its long-standing tradition of pride as a school of opportunity that offers upward mobility to many first-generation law students, and first-generation college students. The school’s Graduate International Compliance and Legal Studies office launched many new programs – international and domestic – often in partnership with other institutions.

Under Rod’s leadership, the school has engaged in the most comprehensive curricular reform in decades, which placed emphasis on increasing experiential learning opportunities and improving bar passage rates. The school adopted an institution-wide approach to improving diversity, equity and inclusion, including adopting an ambitious strategic plan and hiring an assistant dean for DEI. 

In addition to serving as dean, Rod taught constitutional law courses, bar passage courses, and judicial internship seminars. He took and passed the Delaware bar exam after arriving at the school and was active in service with the state’s bench and bar, frequently presenting at continuing legal education programs. He served on multiple committees, including the high-profile Steering Committee of the Strategic Plan for Improving Diversity in the Delaware Bench and Bar initiated by the Supreme Court of Delaware.

Please join me in thanking Rod for his years of distinguished service to Delaware Law School. We wish him well in Vermont.


Andrew A. Workman, PhD

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/25096/