Kimberly Mutcherson, a brilliant bioethicist and health law scholar, has made history by becoming the first woman, first African-American and first LGBTQ person to be named co-dean of Rutgers Law School in Camden, N.J.
Previously, Mutcherson was vice dean at the law school. Through an impeccable work ethic, Mutcherson worked her way up through the ranks at the university.
Her specialties include: reproductive justice, including assisted reproduction, maternal-fetal decision making and healthcare decisions for minors. Mutcherson has also made a tremendous impact in the LGBT community at the school where she served as faculty adviser for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender student organization (OUTLaws) and the Black Law Students Association.
Chancellor Phoebe Haddon said in a statement: “She is passionate about the value of a legal education that prepares creative thinkers who are ready to be leaders in virtually every aspect of our society. She sees with clarity the role of the law in protecting individual rights.”
One of her main goals is to step outside of the law school bubble and become acclimated to all of Rutgers’ campuses to learn the intricacies of each program.
“I’ll have to deal with New Brunswick, the main campus, and Newark,” Mutcherson said.
“I can’t just be in my law school bubble anymore,” she said. “There’s going to be a higher level of bureaucratic lift.”
Mutcherson graduated from Columbia Law School in 1997 and started at Rutgers as an assistant professor in 2002. She was then promoted to associate professor in 2005 and to a tenured professor in 2013. She had served as vice dean since 2015.
Black women make up only 3 percent of the 1.5 million members of faculty in higher education institutions. And Black women receive a majority of higher-education degrees earned by all black students, earning 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees and, 65 percent of doctoral degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
So why has there not been more faculty representation among Black women at the collegiate level?