Dean graduates to new role

By Lauren Smith

MLS farewelled Dean Professor Carolyn Evans in July. Her time heading the Law School was characterised by a passion for research, commitment to students and unwavering dedication to education.

After more than six years at the helm of MLS, Professor Carolyn Evans has taken up a new position as Deputy Vice Chancellor (Graduate) and Deputy Provost at the University of Melbourne.

It is the next step in a journey that continues her long-standing connection with the Law School where she began as a student in 1989.

An active member of her cohort during her student days, Professor Evans won mooting competitions and was assistant editor of the Public Law Review. She was admitted to practise in 1995 and won the Rhodes Scholarship for Victoria the same year, graduating from Oxford in 2000 with a Doctor of Philosophy. She wrote her PhD thesis on religious freedom under the European Court of Human Rights, a topic on which she remains one of the pre-eminent scholars in the world.

Professor Evans returned to MLS as a sessional teacher in 2000 and joined the continuing staff in 2003. She was Associate Dean (Research) for three years from 2007, before taking the reins as Dean in 2011.

Carolyn came to the deanship with a vision – for collegial governance for the Law School, financial stability, even greater research quality and an enhanced experiential education for JD students, Professor Cheryl Saunders noted in her speech at Professor Evans’ farewell.

It is a vision she achieved, according to Deputy Dean Professor Matthew Harding. He highlights Professor Evans’ role in many of MLS’ successes in recent years: fostering a strong sense of collegiality, attracting a range of successful research programs and grants, and leading the establishment of the very successful Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI).

“She has a remarkable work ethic, a great sense of humour and she really cares about the people in this law school,” Professor Harding says.

He says Professor Evans brought a huge amount of energy to the role and even continued to teach and supervise PhD students during her deanship, despite having an enormous administrative load.

Carolyn is a person who cares about education first and foremost and that was always visible in the way she thought through issues.

It’s a sentiment Professor Saunders agrees with.

“On the outside, a cool professional; inside, a real softy, especially where family and friends, or vulnerable people, are involved.”

Professor Evans ended her time as Dean on a high note, hosting a visit from the Chief Justice of the United States and announcing the new Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, both achievements that are testament to her vision and tireless work.

“She helped make this place what it is, in a variety of roles, over a considerable period of time,” Professor Saunders reflected in her speech.

“We are not just farewelling a dean, but a long-standing member of the Law School’s community.”

Banner image: Former MLS Dean Carolyn Evans speaking at the MLS 160th Anniversary Gala Dinner.

Credit: Jorge de Araujo, Artificial Studios

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 18, November 2017