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Law professor named associate dean of inclusion and equity

Associate Professor Tonya M. Evans will join the law school’s senior leadership team as the Associate Dean of Inclusion and Equity.

Dean Evans’ new role includes overseeing the law school’s implementation of its strategic plan, practices, and policies related to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the classroom and legal profession. Her goal is to inspire and sustain a law school community that champions a culture of respect, civility, professionalism, and inclusivity in and outside of the classroom. She will continue to teach in the areas of intellectual property, property, wills and trusts and entertainment law.

“We are preparing our students for success in a diverse and global society,” said Widener Law Commonwealth Dean Christian Johnson. “I know that Associate Dean Evans will work to create and sustain a campus environment that will promote access, equity and success for underrepresented students, faculty, staff and administration as well as the greater legal community.”

Dean Evans will focus on programming for students and faculty in particular that promotes cultural competence, a key component of competence to practice law ethically. “Cultural competence,” explains Dean Evans, “is integral to the duty of lawyers to be professionally competent to practice law in our multicultural and diverse society.” Dean Evans believes that to be practice-ready, law students must be trained to appreciate and anticipate the legal needs of clients who may be of a different race or ethnicity, or who hold different religious or ethical values systems and political beliefs. She will work to align and advance Widener University’s overall mission and vision of diversity and inclusion, as set forth by President Julie Wollman, on the law school campus and mid-state community.

Evans, who joined the faculty in 2007 and received tenure in 2014, is faculty advisor for the Widener Law Journal. She received her B.S. from Northwestern University and J.D. from Howard University School of Law, where she graduated cum laude and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal.