University of Montana law school names interim dean after search comes up short

Skylar Rispens

The search for a new dean for the University of Montana’s Alexander Blewett III School of Law returned to square one after offers to some of the finalists were rejected.

Dave Kuntz, the university’s director of strategic communications, confirmed that the university did make offers to finalists that visited campus, but did not specify how many offers were made or other details.

“While I can’t speak to the specifics of any offers, I can tell you that the rapidly increasing cost of living in Missoula has impacted nearly every job search at UM for the past year,” Kuntz said. “This isn’t a dynamic that is specific to senior-level positions.”

“We were not successful in identifying the right leader for the School of Law at this moment, despite the search committee’s excellent efforts over the course of the past several months,” wrote UM Provost and Executive Vice President Pardis Mahdavi in an email to the law school community on Thursday afternoon.

Beginning July 1, the law school will be led by Elaine Gagliardi as interim dean. Gagliardi has served as a faculty member at the university since 2001, including a wide range of administrative capacities such as Associate Dean of

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