>> Saturday, January 30, 2010
The rumors of a merger between ucsd and cal western are not new. This has been talked about literally for decades. The story has surfaced again here.
The University of California San Diego has revived a decades-old plan to establish a law school through a partnership with California Western School of Law.
Discussions are preliminary, but the arrangement could range from a strengthened affiliation between the downtown San Diego private law school and the La Jolla public university to a full merger.
This month, faculty and administrators from both campuses formed a committee to explore the concept. Leaders of the two institutions emphasize that if a UCSD school of law were established it would be self-supporting and not involve any state or UCSD campus funds, at least initially.
The reason that UCSD keeps looking at this is that it is really about increasing its prestige as a national university. Having a law school is another avenue to promote your name and brand. The over top tier UC's also have prestigious law schools. Having a top law school is considered by most as an important factor in your prestige levels. UCSD is on a crusade to make itself not only the top UC but a nationally recognized university on par with the stanford, harvard, yale, mits of the world.
I happen to believe that UCSD would make cal western a very good law school in the near future. UCSD would not allow the school to languish in the lower tiers of the rankings. Any one who believes otherwise is kidding themselves. Look at what UCSD has done with their business program and their other academic programs. They do not do lower tier. So any association between the two is going to see UCSD heavily involved in future faculty decisions. There is no way that Cal Western can refrain from being totally absorbed once they start down this path.
From the perspective of Cal Western, they would see a rapid rise in credibility. simply attaching the UC moniker to your school would be a boost. Even UCI with their new school is not viewed as a terrible school. Cal Western would see improvements in the quality of applicant and the faculty. Not Much would remain of the current school a few years down the road besides the facilities.
The losers in this deal are the current professors, USD, and Thomas Jefferson. UCSD wouldnt settle for having the second best law school in san diego and that would mean USD and cal western would be engaged in a more intense rivalry. currently usd sees itself as the clear top dawg and its position as the best school in sd is one of its important assets in the all important after school job placement. Competition for students and faculty not currently an issue for usd would become one in the future.
The current professors lose because UCSD would look to bring in the best possible people. Focus on research and publication would increase. That is just how uc's and other top law schools work. so those without tenure would not be in a good position if taken over by the uc system.
Cal Western would disappear if merged with UCSD but the students would probably see the value of their degree increased and the quality of the southern california legal market would probably improve if only slightly. after all southern cal has usd, usc, peperdine, loyola, ucla, uci, as well as some others competing for students.