Building Leaders: Dean Barton profiled in “Women in Higher Education”
Beginning her tenure at the School of Law in August 2019, Dean April Barton built on her previous experience instating a leadership program to begin one at Duquesne. Aptly naming it the Leadership Fellows Program, Barton spoke about the program and about guiding the School of Law through an unparalleled pandemic in a recent "Women in Higher Education" interview.
In the March 2021 profile, Barton, who is a graduate of the women's leadership program at Yale School of Management, discusses the importance of a similar type of leadership program for lawyers. She understands this generation of law students is a group who are steadfast in their resolve to help others and wants to enable them to hone their values to enable that spirit of servant leadership to grow.
"They are in law school because they see you can impact the lives of other people who may not have a voice in our legal system. There's a much broader understanding of how to use a law degree," Barton said.
Along with her drive to cultivate compassionate lawyers who are ready to lead, Barton navigated a challenging year of continuing law education for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pivoting quickly to remote instruction and developing new offerings-including the HyFlex option-for this academic year and into the next, she and her team thoughtfully and compassionately expanded how classes are offered to meet the needs of students and faculty.
That attention and concern for diversity and equity is likewise prevalent in the part-time day and part-time evening classes the School of Law offers. Duquesne has the distinction of being the only regional law school offering these programs, determined to make education and a path forward accessible to everyone.
In the profile Barton said, "We believe that working people should have access to a legal education. Our university was established as a school for the children of hard-working immigrants in the Pittsburgh area. Our law school began in 1911 as an evening program and was only an evening program for many years."
Looking toward the future, the adaptation of HyFlex classes for part-time evening programs is being examined to make legal education accessible to more. And Vision Pillars were established to continue to educate legal leaders.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.
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