Forward Movement


On a Sunday afternoon last March, sandwiched be-tween a family vacation and a week of meetings in Boston for his law firm, Stephen Ferruolo interviewed with the search committee for the new dean of USD’s School of Law. His expectations were … well, let’s call them realistic.

“I said to my wife, ‘This is great. I can meet with the search committee and lay the groundwork for someday being an adjunct at the law school,’” he recalls with a chuckle.

Ferruolo’s unique background as an accomplished scholar, academic and attorney, however, put him at the top of the list to become the 10th dean at the School of Law. He’s certainly got an exceptional résumé. With degrees from Wesleyan, Princeton and Oxford universities — the last as a Rhodes Scholar — Ferruolo taught history on the faculties of Bennington College and Stanford University. One more degree — a JD with honors from Stanford — led to a successful 20-year practice, most recently as the founding partner and chair of the San Diego office of international law firm Goodwin Procter LLP.

While there is always a learning curve for a new dean, Ferruolo (at right, above) is undaunted, nimbly citing the many new programs and directions under way at the law school, including increasing the faculty and expanding clinics, collaborations and outreach efforts. Long-term goals include advancing the intellectual property program and the LLM in taxation into top positions nationally, and continuing to build core academic areas such as constitutional law.

The directives are all geared toward providing a preeminent contemporary legal education for tomorrow’s practitioners. No small task, since as a practitioner himself, Ferruolo regards USD graduates as “some of the finest lawyers I have worked with.” With that in mind, he doesn’t mind the long days.

“My wife said, ‘You’re working as many hours as you used to work as a partner,’” Ferruolo shares. “But the difference is, when you get home at night, you are smiling.”

For Jason Lemon, the move to USD was a bit like coming home. With degrees from Brigham Young and Emory universities, returning to a private, faith-based campus had an almost homespun appeal. But what sealed the deal was the opportunity to become USD’s founding dean of professional and continuing education (PCE) and to expand the division into a full partner for all of the university’s academic units.

An academic entrepreneur who started his own software publishing company as an undergraduate, Lemon has made a career of establishing partnerships and programs in distance learning and extension education across the country. “One of the touchstones of my career has always been strengthening, expanding and growing projects, programs and departments,” says Lemon, whose most recent position was associate dean of extension at the University of California, Berkeley.

“It was exciting to think about what it would mean to come to USD, which has a strong foundation in continuing education, and build upon that success.”

Already known for its English language academy and for K-12 professional development, USD’s PCE division is ideal for those who seek education outside of the typical degree program through certificate programs, individual courses for career advancement, or online learning. Lemon sees great potential in these alternative pathways. From a development standpoint, the PCE division removes barriers by providing professors with the instructional design and technology resources they need to administer successful online and extension learning programs.

“The professors focus on information, learning outcomes and assessment, and our folks make sure we are using the technologies, formats and systems that are most accessible for the students,” Lemon says. “There are brilliant and exciting things happening here in terms of academic achievement, teaching and learning opportunities. Finding ways to share that in a wider way is the role of continuing education.” — Trisha J. Ratledge