One of the nice things about being at the University of Miami law school these days is that the faculty is actually somewhat cheerful. Last semester wasn’t much fun, with Wilma and everything, but that’s the past. And the weather is great now too.
Another cheerful thing about the place is that the University itself seems to be poised for good things. We have a new Provost who came and spoke to us a few weeks ago and said a large number of sensible and welcome things. (And one at best arguably sensible and certainly not welcome thing: he intends to be guided heavily by quantitative metrics in evaluating the various schools. So he wants us to identify stuff he can count to see how we stack up against peer institutions. But I digress.)
And certainly a good chunk of the credit for University advancement and general optimism must go to our local dynamo, University President Donna Shalala. While projecting seriousness, she’s also doing a huge capital campaign. She’s hired a pretty strong team (see above). She’s mostly left the law school alone (another smart move). She has a relentless publicity streak, but it’s harnessed in the service of the University: She’s in the paper all the time. Has her name on a regular column in the local section. And she’s a good advertisement for the place.
And did I mention President Shalala’s a sports nut? That counts a lot around here too. And now it seems she’s also got a nice sense of humor, as you can see from this picture which ran as an ad in today’s paper (click for a much bigger image).