Dean Penelope Andrews: Advocacy, Leadership, Vision

By Hauser, Erika; Johar, Kanika | Albany Law Review, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Dean Penelope Andrews: Advocacy, Leadership, Vision


Hauser, Erika, Johar, Kanika, Albany Law Review


A law school can't provide everything, but it can provide the right tools for its students. Albany Law School has the advantage of independence and flexibility. As the legal profession and legal education confront another wave of change, we can move with it.[dagger]

The Albany Law Review proudly dedicates this, its Seventy-Sixth Anniversary General Issue, to Dean Penelope (Penny) Andrews, Albany Law School's 17th President and Dean as well as its first female president.

There was an air of excitement amongst the student body, maybe even nervous anticipation, at the thought of new leadership on campus. Since Dean Andrews arrived, the excitement has only exponentially grown. From the very beginning of her tenure as Dean, it has become clear to the Albany Law School community that

Dean Andrews has a vision to guide Albany Law through the difficult period facing law schools today, and that her goals closely align with both the student body and faculty members, as well as with those of alumni.

Dean Andrews' vision for Albany Law School addresses many of the concerns law schools face nationwide: increasing costs of a legal education, the shrinking legal job market, bar passage, ABA accreditation requirements, and a decrease in the pool of law school applicants. She is well equipped to tackle the aforementioned challenges based on her extensive education, internationally recognized accomplishments, and experience in teaching and researching the law.

Dean Andrews' interest in human rights began at an early age; she grew up in apartheid South Africa surrounded by extreme poverty and violence, where racism and sexism ran rampant. In South Africa she studied at Catholic school before receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Arts from the University of Natal in Durban, where she majored in Economic History and Comparative African Government and Administration. She went on to receive an LL.B from the same university only two years later. Dean Andrews continued her education in the United States, earning an LL.M from Columbia University School of Law.

In the years following her education, Dean Andrews traveled around the world, teaching and researching in Australia, Canada, Holland, Germany, Scotland, and South Africa. Her specific interests included advocating for the rights of Australia's indigenous populations, people of color in South Africa, and disenfranchised women in Queens, New York. She has also consulted for the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and for the Ford Foundation in Johannesburg, where she evaluated labor law programs.

In addition to teaching and writing, her accomplishments include an award distributed annually in her name--the Penelope E. Andrews Human Rights Award--given by the South African law school at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Dean Andrews was also a finalist for a vacancy on the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the highest court in the country on constitutional matters.

Dean Andrews has co-authored and co-edited several books. Before publishing her most recent book, she also served as an editor of three other books: Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance; (1) The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives on South Africa's Basic Law; (2) and Gender, Race and Comparative Advantage: A Cross-National Assessment of Programs of Compensatory Discrimination. (3)

Adding to her impressive resume of various works discussing women's rights, law, and constitutions, (4) Dean Andrews' latest work--entitled From Cape Town to Kabul: Reconsidering Women's Human Rights (5)--provides original theory with a concept coined "conditional interdependence" which aims to help resolve gender inequalities and advance the rights of women in countries with developing democracies. (6) Andrews has described her work as a book that examines "what government can do to change the lives not just of middle class women but all women, including women who identify strongly with their religious beliefs, indigenous women, and poor women.

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