Seaside, CA (PRWEB) June 30, 2013
The Monterey College of Law Board of Trustees granted a new five-year contract effective July 1, 2013 to President and Dean Mitchel L. Winick. Winick has served as dean of the law school since 2005 and was named President and Dean in 2010. With the contract renewal, Winick, 58, becomes the longest serving dean in the California-accredited, non-profit law school's 40-year history.
In his dual role as president and dean of the law school, it also makes Winick the “Dean" of local higher education presidents, since he is the longest serving current college president among the six higher education institutions in Monterey County.
During his eight-year tenure at the law school, Winick has been instrumental in a number of successful initiatives, including improving the school's 5-year cumulative bar pass rate from 38% to 66% which ranks MCL among the highest of the California-accredited law schools, opening a new first-year law program in neighboring Santa Cruz, and adding a two-year, Master of Legal Studies degree program.
In 2009, Winick oversaw the construction of the law school's environmental award-winning LEED Platinum Community Justice Center, one of the first LEED Platinum law school facilities in the country. In 2010, he also integrated a unique iPad(TM) program into the law school's academic support program that is considered the first of its kind at a US law school.
Despite the law school’s many achievements, Winick is quick to point out that the law school was a successful and respected program long before he arrived. “It is important to remember that I inherited a program that has a history of highly respected lawyers who preceded me in the role of dean,” he notes. Former MCL deans include a who’s who of respected lawyers, starting with founding dean David Kirkpatrick and followed by Marian Penn, Joel Franklin, Fred Herro, Lynn Davis, Karen Kadushin, and Frank Hespe.
As a non-profit educational institution, the law school has a Board of Trustees that is made up of local lawyers, judges, and community leaders. Recent Chairs of the Board of Trustees reflect the school's close ties to the local community. The current Board Chair is Efren Iglesia, Monterey County Superior Court Judge. Former Board Chairs include Gary Patton, former Santa Cruz County Supervisor; Stephanie Hulsey, Monterey County Assistant District Attorney; Tom Wills, Monterey County Superior Court Judge; Kathy Stoner, a Pacific Grove family law attorney; Richard Watts, General Counsel of Granite Construction; Bard Mansager, faculty member at the Naval Postgraduate School; and Albert Maldonado, Monterey County Superior Court Judge.
According to Winick, “the result is a program that had such a strong foundation when I arrived that it was relatively easy to focus on new ideas that could be supported by what was already in place.” He also cautions that it is important to keep in mind that the real credit goes to the faculty and students. “They are the ones who dedicate the time and effort that defines the school’s long-term success,” Winick says.
When asked about the future of the law school, Winick is clearly not one who believes in resting on past laurels. "First and foremost we need to remain focused on continuing to improve bar pass rates and ensuring that our graduates have meaningful professional employment opportunities. Second, legal education is in a historic transition from ‘theoretical’ to ‘practical’ training and MCL has a plan to remain at the forefront of these changes. Finally, the school is overdue for a capital campaign to support student scholarships, academic innovation, and community programs. We are really very good at what we do with our available resources . . . but to reach the level of excellence that I envision, we eventually need additional community support."
When he is not attending to law school business, Winick and his wife, Debbie - a Senior Vice President of Bank of America, are likely to be seen hiking one of Monterey County's many trails or exploring local events. “We try to hike every weekend unless it is raining,” says Winick. Over the past eight years they have also made it a point to sample a wide range of local events. "We are more likely to seek out a new food, wine, music, or art festival than repeat a previous experience, because it provides such a great way to explore the region,” says Winick.
"Don't tell the Board . . . but if I could afford it, I would do this job for free," says Winick with a laugh. "Between the success we are seeing from our new programs, the great relationship we enjoy with our Board, faculty, staff, and students . . . and living here in one of the most uniquely beautiful places in the world . . . even five more years may not be enough!"