ShareThis Page
University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s new dean hopes to build relationships between disciplines |

University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s new dean hopes to build relationships between disciplines

Matthew Santoni
| Tuesday, March 20, 2018 10:51 a.m
Keith Srakocic/AP
The Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland
University of Pittsburgh
Amy J. Wildermuth

The University of Pittsburgh has selected a former Supreme Court law clerk and current associate vice president at the University of Utah as the new dean for Pitt’s School of Law, officials announced Tuesday.

Amy J. Wildermuth, associate vice president for faculty and academic affairs at the Salt Lake City-based university, will replace outgoing dean William M. Carter Jr., who announced his plans to return to teaching full-time by June.

Wildermuth, 45, said she hadn’t been aware of the opening until someone — she still doesn’t know who — nominated her in Pitt’s search for potential deans. She had family through marriage in the area who encouraged her to look, and the city and school appeal to her, she said.

“I became increasingly impressed with both the university and the law school. They’re both on an upward trajectory that’s really impressive,” she said.

Wildermuth had previously served as the University of Utah’s chief sustainability officer and a professor in that university’s law school focused on areas of civil procedure, administrative law, environmental law and the Supreme Court. Before joining the law faculty in Utah, she had been a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

At Utah, she said she worked extensively on fostering cooperation among the law school and other departments so that doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, attorneys and law students could work together on real-world problems, research and practical experience. She said she hopes to bring a similar approach to Pitt.

“A law school can be pretty isolated; they’re not always thinking across departments,” Wildermuth said. “We need to think about how we put together teams of people to work on big questions and big projects… to get people together in a room and say, ‘you’re an engineer, you’re a doctor, you’re a lawyer; how do we communicate?’”

She cited Pitt’s Innovation Practice Institute , which focuses on law’s connection to technology, art and design, as an example of such a cross-disciplinary program.

“I am confident that she understands the opportunities to move the school forward by both harnessing traditional strengths and building upon the assets of the larger university,” wrote Pitt Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia Beeson in the announcement of Wildermuth’s hiring. “She is unequivocally committed to enhancing legal education and will draw upon her administrative, research and practice experience to lead Pitt Law in its next phase of excellence.”

Wildermuth’s first day will be July 1. She said she would wrap up her responsibilities in Utah and move to Pittsburgh — preferably within walking distance of the university — by June, but with her wife, Gwen Foster, teaching sixth grade and their 6-year-old daughter in school, the family was triply tied to the end of the school year.

Matthew Santoni is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6660, or via Twitter @msantoni.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.