In November, Professor Daleen Millard, LLD, joined Thompson Rivers University as the new Dean of Law. Millard comes to TRU from the University of Johannesburg (UJ), where she held the position of vice-dean of the Faculty of Law since 2016 and was concurrently vice-dean of Teaching and Learning until 2019. Her work focused on quality control, decolonization and the effective use of technology in teaching and learning.
Here, we asked her about her new role as dean.
Why were you excited to join TRU’s Faculty of Law?
The Faculty of Law is at a turning point in its history. It is not the youngest law school anymore. After a decade, the time has come to build on the firm foundation that was laid by the founders of the faculty and to renew the commitment to quality legal education, community service and cutting-edge research.
What is your vision for the Faculty of Law?
My vision may be set out in three points. First, as I believe that law schools must take the lead in dismantling systems of institutionalized racism in our society, I will work with the faculty to contribute productively to the ways in which these issues are addressed in the curriculum. Lawyers have a crucial role to play in providing access to justice and this is important work that I want to promote.
Second, it is imperative for the faculty to answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. I want to build on the strong foundation that has been laid over the past decade and ensure that TRU Law answers this call.
In the third place, the Faculty of Law’s task is to deliver graduates who have those attributes that will enable them to serve the legal profession in the future. The Fourth Industrial Era influences the way in which human beings live, learn, communicate and work. The legal profession, albeit more conservative than most, will not remain untouched by advancements in technology. The automation of routine tasks and the virtual workplace bring about new challenges and opportunities. Law schools have a responsibility to review graduate attributes and to consider how to better build those skills that cannot be automated: that which makes us human. My vision is therefore to partner with the profession and peer institutions and to incorporate learning opportunities into the curriculum to adequately prepare graduates for their careers.
You are taking the helm of the faculty at an interesting time: students will be learning remotely during your first months as dean. How do you plan to connect with them?
Remote learning creates the opportunity for me to connect with the students in different ways. One of these is regular interaction with the Student Law Society. Another is to schedule virtual meetings for the 1L, 2L and 3L groups. In addition, students are always welcome to contact me via email, should they need to connect with me.
What are you looking forward to most?
I am really excited to be part of our virtual awards ceremonies that will take place early in 2021. Most of all, I cannot wait for students to return to campus. I miss that energy!
What are your impressions of Kamloops so far? How has your experience been?
Colleagues and members of the community have welcomed me in various ways. I have had welcome gifts delivered to my guest house whilst in isolation and I have received so many cards, emails and phone calls that I feel very welcome in Kamloops. I enjoy the dramatic scenery and the warmth of the town’s residents. The mountains remind me of the Magalies, a mountain range in South Africa. It is such a privilege to be part of this community.