The affiliation of The Dickinson School of Law and Penn State will strengthen two already strong Pennsylvania institutions.
Penn State will fill a gap in its comprehensive array of academic programs by joining a well-established law school with a great history and tradition.
By joining forces with Penn State, Dickinson will be strengthened in four major areas:
Dickinson will be able to offer its students opportunities for cross-disciplinary enrichment of the law school curriculum and for combined degree programs in such fields as business, public administration, health care, environmental studies and labor relations. There is increasing demand for the multi-disciplinary lawyer. Dickinson's affiliation with Penn State will enable us to prepare our students to satisfy that demand.
Dickinson will benefit greatly from becoming part of Penn State's highly sophisticated network of technology. Penn State is a world leader in the use of technology in education. The affiliation will enable our faculty and students to be on the cutting edge of developments in technology. Changes in technology will continue to expand the ways in which learning can be done and in which legal services can be provided.
In a time of intense competition for entry-level positions in the legal profession, the combination of reputations and alumni networks will enhance job opportunities or Dickinson graduates. Dickinson has a very strong reputation for quality, built on the accomplishments of its alumni. Penn State is internationally recognized as a great university. The combination of these strengths will help make the Dickinson School of Law an even more attractive school for students who want both an excellent legal education and a wide range of career possibilities.
Finally, by joining with Penn State, Dickinson will be able to take advantage of economics of scale by consolidating certain of its business operations with the parallel operations of Penn State. In areas such as purchasing, record-keeping, and institutional advancement, Dickinson will be able to maintain the high quality of its operations but at lower cost. These cost savings can be used to stop annual increases in tuition charges (and perhaps even to reduce tuition in a few years) and for academic program enhancements. The opportunity to reduce costs while maintaining or even improving services and programs is of no small consequence to a school that long has placed a very high value on being affordable.
The benefits to Dickinson of its merger with Penn State will come without any dramatic change in the nature of the Law School. We will continue to be The Dickinson School of Law, and we will remain in Carlisle. There are no plans to increase the size of our facilities or enrollment. Our students will continue to work with the same talented teachers and the same supportive staff. Our alumni will continue to interact with each other and with the school through their General Alumni Association, and will be eligible to join the Penn State Alumni Association. We will continue to be good neighbors in Carlisle and, in cooperation with Penn State Harrisburg, The Hershey Medical Center, and Penn State York, Dickinson will have new opportunities to serve the greater Harrisburg area.
The Dickinson School of Law has had a distinguished history. It now stands poised, together with Penn State, to meet the challenge of the 21st century with even greater strength and confidence.
Peter G. Glenn is dean of the Dickinson School of Law.