Charleston School of Law President Ed Bell, pictured above, recently spoke with the National Jurist about the law’s school’s surprisingly quick rebound. Bell addressed a variety of issues including faculty, finances, and students. Check out selections from the article below:
Enrollment numbers were dwindling. Its financial health was in peril. Graduate’s debt to income ratios were high. Above all, the school was beleaguered by a controversial pending sale to a private company.
By making a series of tough choices under the leadership of President Ed Bell, the law school has improved its financial standing and attracted more students to its urban campus in downtown Charleston.
“When the school was having such bad problems, there was such a feeling of potential loss.,” Bell said. “The city of Charleston had wrapped its arms around it. Hundreds of people called wanting to help.”
Bell, who is new to academia, said he and the law school’s faculty are doing everything to safeguard Charleston Law from potential pitfalls. Bell frequently sits in on lectures and has become a student of higher education. In addition, the law school was also able to hire back professors who had been laid off in previous years — a move that will prove critical to Charleston Law’s success, Bell said.
Charleston Law is in the midst of transitioning from a for-profit institution to a nonprofit organization. The move will allow the law school to increase its scholarship offerings and cut student debt in half within five years, Bell said. The law school is also searching for a new campus in downtown Charleston. Obtaining non-profit status would facilitate this process as well
“We need non-profit status to make the school truly work,” Bell said. “The idea of taking a profit or putting money back into the school is a real conflict, and we need to take that conflict out of the equation.”