January 02, 2020

Camille Davidson chosen as SIU School of Law dean

by Pete Rosenbery

camille-davidson-smCARBONDALE, Ill. — Camille M. Davidson, a former professor and associate dean for academic affairs and faculty development at Charlotte School of Law, will become the next dean of the Southern Illinois University School of Law.

Meera Komarraju, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, announced Davidson’s appointment, which is subject to ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees, effective July 1.

“I am very pleased that Camille Davidson will join the campus leadership team,” Komarraju said. “She comes to us with expertise in health law and prior administrative and student development experience. Her background will be critical in helping us enhance the bar pass rate of our graduating class, increase the diversity of our students and faculty and strengthen alumni relations. We look forward to her contributions in advancing our School of Law.”

Varied academic and legal experience

Davidson, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, comes to SIU Carbondale from serving as a judicial hearing officer in Mecklenburg County for the North Carolina Judicial Branch.

Before that, Davidson was an instructor at the Wake Forest University School of Law, where she developed and taught an online business of healthcare course for the Master of Studies in law program.

From 2007 to 2017, she was an assistant professor, associate professor and then full professor of law at the Charlotte School of Law. After serving there as an associate dean for faculty development, Davidson served as associate dean for academic affairs and faculty development from 2013 to 2017.

She also taught at Davidson College as an adjunct professor from 2004 to 2006. Her experience includes work as a managing shareholder with The Fuller Law Firm, PC in Charlotte and assistant counsel to the Office of the Legislative Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

“I am beyond excited and honored about the appointment as law dean,” Davidson said. “I loved the faculty, staff and students that I met during my visit. SIU School of Law is doing a lot of great things, and I look forward to working with this amazing group of people to continue to build a world-class law school that graduates students who are equipped to practice law in the 21st Century, who are ethical and want to give back to the community, and who are happy and enjoy what they do.”

Law school’s mission ‘resonates’

The law school first appeared on Davidson’s radar nearly a decade ago when the Southern Illinois University Law Journal published her article, “Practical Preparation, Student Focused, Serving the Community—The Wills Clinical Lab Experience.”

Before Davidson publishes with a school, she looks to see whether it aligns with her values about legal education.

“The SIU School of Law mission resonated with me,” she said. “I especially like the fact that it promotes access to justice for the public and it is an affordable program.”

Goals for the law school

Davidson said she has three initial goals for the law school. She wants to:

  • Work with the faculty to improve the law school’s bar passage rate.
  • Increase alumni giving.
  • Raise the law school’s profile “to showcase the many great things that SIU is doing.”

Shares experiences similar to students, alumni

Davidson earned her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in May 1993 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Millsaps College in 1989. She also undertook postgraduate studies in African literature at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar.

Davidson said that like most SIU law students and alumni, she spent her legal career teaching, practicing in a small firm, and working for federal, state and local governments. She grew up in a small college town and had many opportunities because the university “was a major part of the community,” she said.

“I’m excited about building a pipeline of students who are interested in studying law,” she said. “I owe all the confidence that I have today to that nurturing small-town village that supported me and never doubted that I could be whatever I dared to dream.”