TU Law Establishes Post-Graduate Research Fellowship Program for Alumni and Names its First Fellow

Monday, November 01, 2010

The University of Tulsa College of Law named Shawna Baker (JD ’02) as the initial fellow for a post-graduate research fellowship program designed for qualified alumni working in other fields but wishing to pursue academic legal careers in the future.

The two-year fellowship was established this year to serve as a vehicle to assist qualified graduates in preparing for the academic market. Fellows have the opportunity to conduct research and to write and present papers during their time as fellows.

Benefits of the fellowship include access to the TU law libraries and all electronic research tools such as Lexis, Westlaw and HeinOnline, the opportunity to post papers and works-in-progress on SSRN or The Berkeley Electronic Press with an institutional affiliation, invitations to all faculty colloquies and special TU faculty enrichment programs, an institutional affiliation at the time they go on the market if it occurs at the conclusion of the fellowship, and mentoring and networking opportunities.

There is no compensation associated with the fellowship as the presumption is that fellows will be employed elsewhere while participating in the program. Fellows are expected to produce one or more works of publishable quality during their time as fellows and to do one faculty colloquy of a work in progress each academic year. There are no teaching duties associated with the fellowship, although fellows may apply separately to teach as adjuncts through that process should they wish to gain that experience.

A TU law graduate with highest honors, Baker was a member of the Order of the Curule Chair and received the Martin Fellows Smith Award and the Order of the Barristers Award. She obtained an LL.M. from Columbia Law School in 2007. At Columbia, she was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, a member of the Journal of Gender and the Law, and a participant in the Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.

After earning her LL.M., Baker joined the faculty at Florida Coastal Law School, where she taught trusts and estates, family law, and civil procedure, among other courses, from August 2007 to December 2009. She left Florida Coastal to make a temporary return to private practice, but she would like to return to academia in the near future. Baker’s research interests are family law, trusts and estates, and gender and the law.

Tamara Piety, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Professor of Law at TU, calls the fellowship program mutually beneficial.

“The fellowship program is a service to our exceptionally talented alumni who aspire to work in academia, and it is also a great benefit to TU to have the influx of intellectual energy from the fellows,” Piety said.

To qualify for the fellowship one must be a graduate of the TU College of Law and meet one or more of the following criteria: (1) an outstanding academic record; (2) an LL.M. or other advanced degree from a top 20 institution of higher learning; (3) an established record of academic publishing of a high caliber.

At present there is no limit on the number of fellowships which may be given, although there may come a point at which resources limitations would require a cap. Interested TU alumni who wish to be considered may send their CVs and a letter of interest to the Associate Dean of Faculty Development at the law school. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis throughout the year, but generally appointments will be made to coincide with the beginning of the semester.

Scott Been