Thursday, June 10, 2004

Dickinson Q&A

Centre Daily Times
(c) Copyright 2004, Centre Daily Times. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Dickinson Q&A

Q: Why is the Dickinson School of Law's board of governors considering moving the law school? A: The school's facilities are in need of renovation and the school needs room to expand, and it has so far found it difficult to raise the money to pay for an expansion. Law school Dean Philip McConnaughay worries that the school's rankings have fallen, and that it no longer is able to easily attract top-flight students.

Q: What are the arguments for and against moving the school to Penn State's University Park campus?

A: McConnaughay and Penn State President Graham Spanier say the advantage is the opportunity for collaboration with other schools and colleges -- for example, a small business entrepreneurship law clinic in conjunction with the business school -- that will offer more opportunities and better prepare students for the work they will do when they graduate.

Opponents of the move say the community of Carlisle, home to the law school since it was founded 160 years ago, would be hurt economically. They also argue that the law school, located near Harrisburg and not far from Washington, D.C., provides vast opportunities for internships and externships not available in State College.

Q: What will happen next if the board of governors votes Saturday to move the school?

A: Penn State has pledged to build a $60 million facility to house the school on or near the University Park campus. That facility could open in 2008, university officials say.

Q: Does that mean the student population of University Park would be pushed above the cap of 42,000 the university imposed because of concerns about the effect too many students would have on the community?

A: No. The law school has about 650 students, and Spanier has said the university would maintain that enrollment cap by reducing enrollment in other programs.

Q: What would happen to the school facilities in Carlisle if a move is approved?

A: Spanier and McConnaughay say the facilities could be renovated to house law school programs, such as a center for continuing and executive education or a government center.

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