Yelnosky stepping down as RWU Law dean at end of academic year

BRISTOL – Michael Yelnosky, the dean of the Roger Williams University School of Law, is stepping down when his contract expires at the end of the academic year after six years at the position, RWU announced Thursday.

The university said Yelnosky, a founding faculty member of RWU Law 27 years ago, will return to a full-time teaching position at the law school. He is an expert on employment and labor law and dispute resolution and judicial selection.

“I am grateful to so many for this opportunity and for supporting and working with me as dean,” Yelnosky said in a news release. “Whether I was working on new programming, fundraising, diversity and inclusion, board engagement, or attracting and retaining an excellent faculty and staff, I tried to keep the needs of our students and alumni front of mind.”

RWU credited Yelnosky, who took over as dean in 2014, with leading RWU Law through a crucial period of growth, helping to develop innovative academic programming and opening an experiential learning camp at RWU’s Providence campus.

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At the same time, the law school improved in job placement for graduates, RWU said, noting that 22.6% of Class of 2018 RWU Law graduates earned federal or state court clerkships.

“With his deep commitment to public interest law and social justice issues, Michael Yelnosky has provided transformational leadership in guiding RWU Law,” said Chief U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith, chair of the law school’s board of directors. “Michael is a respected scholar, beloved teacher, and skilled ambassador to the Rhode Island bar and judiciary, who has strengthened the law school’s reputation and relationships throughout the legal field. His vision in leading the charge to create a more diverse and inclusive institution and to increase experiential learning opportunities, pro bono and public interest law has set us on the course we will follow for decades to come.”

RWU President Iaonnis Miaoulis, who took over last month, praised Yelnosky for his leadership.

“I am grateful that Michael will remain in our community so that our students will benefit from his knowledge and leadership for years to come,” Miaoulis said in a news release.