March 16, 2017 — University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes announced Wednesday that Associate Dean Marcilynn Burke has been named dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
"Marcilynn has been a terrific administrator, worked to treat faculty equitably, and has been a strong voice for faculty support," Baynes said. "She will be sorely missed, but Oregon is very lucky to be getting a leader with Marcilynn's vision, commitment, and values."
"I am deeply honored and excited to serve as the next dean of Oregon Law," Burke said. "Over the years, I have learned a tremendous amount from Dean Baynes and my colleagues about what it takes to be a great law school. I look forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to develop innovative research, educational, and public service programs that will benefit the law school and society as a whole."
In a statement announcing Burke's appointment effective July 1, Oregon Provost and Senior Vice President Scott Coltrane said: "As our top candidate, Burke, I believe, will have an instant rapport with her colleagues that will inspire even greater achievements in environmental and natural resources law, dispute resolution, and other areas of emphasis across the school."
Burke joined the UHLC faculty in 2002 and was named associate dean in 2015. She also has served as a co-director of the Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Center and the lead faculty editor for the Environment & Energy Law & Policy Journal.
She took a leave of absence from 2009 to 2013 to serve at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where she began as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) deputy director for programs and policy. In 2011, President Barack Obama designated her as the acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management. She helped develop land use, resource management, and regulatory oversight policies that are administered by four federal agencies: the BLM; the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
As associate dean, Burke is principally responsible for implementing each semester's faculty teaching schedule, administering the faculty summer research grants and travel requests, and hiring and supervising more than 100 adjunct professors. She also oversees faculty scholarship and development, the O'Quinn Law Library and Metropolitan Programs. During her tenure as associate dean, she also chaired the University's Campus Carry Committee implementing state gun legislation.
Burke has been a key member of the dean's senior leadership team, responsible for policy development and strategic initiatives and their implementation. She has worked collaboratively with faculty, other senior administrators, staff, students and alumni to advance the mission of the Law Center.
As she reflected on her time at UHLC, Burke said, "I am indeed grateful for all the opportunities and support that I have received at the Law Center and the University of Houston for my teaching, scholarship and service. I am thrilled about this next chapter in my professional career, and the Law Center will always hold a special place in my heart, no matter where I find myself."
Burke earned her bachelor's degree in International Studies in 1991 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She obtained her law degree in 1995 from Yale Law School, where she was an editor for both the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and the Yale Journal of International Law. She clerked for the Honorable Raymond A. Jackson of the Eastern District of Virginia before joining the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. During her almost five years at the firm, her practice focused on environmental law, antitrust and civil and criminal litigation.
At the Law Center, Burke taught courses on Property, Environmental Land Use Law, Land Use, and Natural Resources.