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New Widener Delaware Law dean eager to build the school's presence

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

The new dean of Widener University Delaware Law School is settling in.

Rod Smolla took over Delaware Law earlier this month – just as it separated from Widener’s law campus in Harrisburg and officially became its own school.

Smolla has spent his first few weeks touring school’s various departments and programs to learn more about what it has to offer.

In addition to its well-known programs in corporate, environmental and family heath law, Smolla says he’s also intrigued by some of the school’s other career-oriented options.

“We have a very strong paralegal program.  We have a program for legal nurses.  We have programs for various kinds of grad students, including international students.  We have a program for those who want to get a career as translators in the judicial system for people who don’t speak English,' said Smolla. "And those have huge upside potential."

Smolla does not foresee any physical expansion of Delaware Law’s North Wilmington campus, but says he is interested in a different kind of expansion.

“I definitely think there’s a possibility of having programs in satellite locations – clinical programs, programs that provide services to folks," said Smolla.  "So, having a presence outside of our current physical campus is definitely something we’ll explore.  It’s too early in the game to know for sure exactly what shape that would take, but I can definitely see that in a number of different parts of the state.

Smolla adds current students aren't likely to see any substantial changes in the school's day to day operations, though he feels the split has created additional energy on campus.  He's also hoping Delaware Law's new status as its own school will help energize alumni and increase their involvement.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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