Vermont Law School plans to expand its offerings | Education | Seven days

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Vermont Law School is pivoting to become an institution of higher learning as part of a plan to increase enrollment and expand its interdisciplinary offerings.

The school – which changes its name to Vermont Law & Graduate School – has produced a stream of lawyers who have shaped Vermont politics and landscape. But it has struggled over the past decade with declining enrollment. The class of 2021 consisted of 174 students, and the class of 2020 had only 134.

In 2018, the school made the controversial decision to revoke tenure for 75 percent of its faculty as part of restructuring efforts.

The Vermont Law School Trials

VLS students swim in the Rivière Blanche

The Vermont Law School Trials

By Kathryn Flagg


Today, the school is using an $8 million anonymous gift, the largest gift in the school’s nearly 50-year history, to support both new initiatives and the school’s signature environmental programs. school.

The school will offer three new degrees: a master’s degree in climate and environmental policy and a master’s degree in animal protection policy will be offered to students in residence and online; An Executive Masters in Environmental Policy will be online only.

The administration sought input from more than 60 faculty, staff, and alumni to shape the strategic plan, ultimately deciding to foster strong environmental policy programs and blended learning options.

“This reflects a growing interest among students in modern, progressive and interdisciplinary approaches to their education, and it builds on our recognized strength in environmental law and policy and justice reform,” said Jenny Rushlow, acting dean of graduate studies, at a press conference on Tuesday.

Rushlow said the school, based in bucolic and rural South Royalton, plans to expand its presence in Burlington. The Queen City will host its JD Hybrid Program, Immigration Clinic, Admissions Office and National Center for Restorative Justice.

The school will hire three to four new faculty members and plans to increase enrollment by 100 students over the next few years.

School officials hope a rigorous graduate program will help Vermont Law & Grad School keep up with market changes and eventually expand to offer more degrees.

Jon J. Epps