After visiting at the S.J. Quinney College of Law during the Spring Semester of 2012, environmental law scholar Robin Kundis Craig has joined the faculty as a tenured Professor of Law.
“I very much enjoyed my time as a Visiting Professor here in the spring, both professionally and personally,” Craig reflects. “My students were terrific —enthusiastic and well-prepared — and I knew that I would very much enjoy teaching here permanently. The level of intellectual stimulation here at the College of Law is also quite high — I was very impressed with the faculty lunchtime presentations, the Stegner Center’s Green Bag lecture series, and all of the other numerous lectures and symposia going on at the law school and in other departments. Finally, at the personal level, Salt Lake City is a wonderful place to live, and I’m still happily impressed by the mountain scenery that surrounds us.”
Soon after joining the faculty, Craig received word that she was to be honored as the inaugural William H. Leary Professor of Law, a chaired position named after the College of Law’s long-serving dean who was renowned for his intellectual rigor and love of teaching. “”I’m deeply honored to have been named to this professorship and will aspire to continue the values and commitment to the College of Law that inspired it,” Craig says.
According to Robert Keiter, Professor of Law and Director of the Stegner Center, the honor is well earned. “Robin has been an extraordinarily prolific scholar and earned widespread respect from her colleagues across the country in environmental law. She will further diversify the Stegner Center faculty and enhance our teaching, programming, and research activities. We are thrilled to have her join the faculty.”
Craig general enthusiasm for the College of Law extends to its student-centric emphasis, including the small classes and one-on-one interactions between faculty and students. “I especially love having a smaller first-year class than I’m used to, which gives me the opportunity to really get to know my individual students and to tailor the presentation of material a bit.”
Craig is looking forward to teaching her Ocean & Coastal Law class this Fall, and to taking advantage of the cross-disciplinary collaborations the U affords. “I’ve really enjoyed how being a professor here allows me to get involved in other departments. I’ve already given talks at the Global Change & Ecosystems Center (now the Global Change & Sustainability Center) and a Geography Department summer course on “Ocean Environments.” This Fall, I’m talking to Medical School students on water pollution and public health.”
And even as she offers new courses including Toxic Torts and the afore-mentioned Ocean & Coastal Law, she’s also strategizing to promote the College of Law’s existing classes and other offerings. “I think my main role will be helping to get the word out about what a rich and deep environmental and natural resources law program the Stegner Center already offers,” she says. “I’m joining a lot of talented people, and the Center deserves more national recognition than it’s been getting. In particular, I’d like to see the University of Utah/S.J. Quinney College of Law/Stegner Center make U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the top 10 environmental law programs in the country within the next few years.”