Wayne State Names New Dean of Law School

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DETROIT — Jocelyn Benson, who has served as interim dean of Wayne State University Law School since December 2012, has been appointed permanent dean.

Benson, who joined the Wayne Law faculty in 2005, was selected for the permanent deanship after a national search. She becomes the law school’s 11th dean and the second woman to hold the job since the founding of Wayne Law in 1927.

Prior to serving as interim dean, Benson was an associate professor of law and associate director of the law school’s Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. Her areas of expertise include civil rights law, education law and election law.

Benson’s book, State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process, was published in 2010 and outlines the role of the secretary of state in enforcing election and campaign finance laws. Benson was also the Democratic candidate for Michigan’s secretary of state in 2010.

She is founder and executive director of the nonpartisan Michigan Center for Election Law, which hosts projects that support transparency and integrity in elections. She serves with retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the board of iCivics Inc., a national nonprofit organization that O’Connor created to improve civics education throughout the country.

Benson also is founder and director of Military Spouses of Michigan. Prior to joining the law faculty, Benson clerked for Judge Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She also worked as a legal assistant to Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio and investigated hate groups and hate crimes for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College, master of philosophy from Oxford University and law degree from Harvard Law School.

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