Jason P. Nance, an education policy and law scholar who studies inequalities in public education, has been named the Judge James Noel Dean at SMU’s Dedman School of Law. He will join SMU on August 10 from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he is associate dean for research and faculty development and professor of law.
Nance began his career in education, teaching math to middle schoolers and GED and English courses to adults in Houston. After three years, he began to prepare for a career in education administration, intending to become a school principal. But Nance developed a keen interest in education policy and law through his graduate studies, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in education policy and administration before completing his law degree.
“The Dedman School of Law aspires both to maintain its long-standing top status in the region and to rise significantly in the national rankings,” says Elizabeth G. Loboa, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Throughout the interview process, campus stakeholders responded enthusiastically both to Jason’s experience and to his vision for the law school. Dedman Law has tremendous faculty and staff who have for years trained and supported the placement of our students in meaningful and impactful careers. Under Dean Nance’s leadership, we are well positioned to advance our well-earned reputation within the legal and business communities and to expand our impact in line with SMU’s aspirations for even greater academic excellence.”
Nance clerked for Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware after graduating from law school. He served as a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, practicing corporate and securities litigation during the financial crisis of 2007–2010. Nance was a visiting assistant professor of law at the Villanova University School of Law before joining the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2011.
Since 2021, Nance has served as associate dean for research and faculty development at UF Law. Previously at UF Law, he served as associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, as an associate director of the Center for the Study of Race and Relations, and as an associate director for education and law at the Center on Children and Families. As professor of law, he taught education law, torts and remedies. He oversaw the continued development and implementation of the Introduction to Lawyering and the Legal Profession Program, then directed the program designed to help first-year law students develop key competencies to become effective lawyers.
“We look forward to welcoming Dean Nance to Dedman School of Law,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “His early public education experience combined with a distinguished legal career and passion for education equity issues bring talents that will be valuable on many levels at SMU.”