Jennifer Rosato Perea shared her thoughts on the importance of diversity and inclusion in her role as dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law with Hispanic Executive Magazine in the publication’s most recent edition.
One of just four Latina deans in the nation, Rosato Perea says she considers herself in a powerful position to be an advocate for Latinos entering the field of law.
“It’s important to be a role model and maintain a visible profile that others can emulate. I mentor young Latino and Latina faculty, meet individually with students, and work collaboratively with Latino organizations,” she says. “I don’t want anyone in the NIU community to feel as isolated as I did in my first years as a Latina student and professor.”
Her efforts are paying off. National Jurist recently ranked NIU among the top 50 most diverse law schools in the nation.
The NIU College of Law is expanding experiential learning opportunities for faculty and students, building collaborations in the community and enhancing student success. Just one example is the innovative NIU College of Law/Hesed House Community Law Center, a legal-medical partnership clinic in Aurora, Ill., that teams lawyers and law students, medical professionals and social workers to address the legal, medical, and social needs of the homeless free of charge.
“Ultimately, I want NIU Law to be recognized for its core values of community, responsibility, diversity, access, and experiential learning,” says Rosato Perea, noting the college was founded on a core belief that a high quality, challenging legal education should not be cost prohibitive.
Slowly, it is receiving that recognition. As the only public law school in the greater Chicago area, NIU’s College of Law ranks among Princeton Review’s prestigious list of best law schools of 2014. Additional national rankings include the following:
- National Jurist Best Value Law Schools: NIU ranks in the top 45 with a B+ rating
- National Jurist Best Schools for Public Service: NIU is one of 20 law schools in the Government category of Public Service
- preLaw Magazine Tuition Winner: NIU’s College of Law is named as one of the top law schools in the nation when it comes to minimizing tuition inflation based on the lowest tuition increases by dollar amount from 2000 – 2010
NIU is an American Bar Association-approved law school. For more information about the NIU College of Law, visit law.niu.edu/.