Carolina Law’s Restructuring Expands Support for Equity and External Affairs

April 7, 2021

Bianca Mack will oversee admissions, student development and diversity matters; Kelly Podger Smith ’02 will oversee the school’s outward-facing departments.

Bianca Mack
Associate Dean Bianca Mack

UNC School of Law’s Assistant Dean for Admissions Bianca Mack stepped into her new role as associate dean for equity, admissions and student affairs on April 1. With this promotion, the law school joins other schools at UNC-Chapel Hill that have named assistant or associate deans to be responsible for DEI matters, as the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion has recommended.

Mack joined Carolina Law in 2016. Since last year, she has served as the law school’s liaison on the University Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Mack will retain responsibility for the Office of Admissions and will take over responsibility for the Office of Student Development from Associate Dean Kelly Podger Smith ’02.

“I have treasured the opportunity to work with Dean Mack over the past five years and look forward to her leadership in this new role,” says Martin H. Brinkley ’92, dean and Arch T. Allen Distinguished Professor of Law.

Last summer, the Black Law Students Association presented the administration with a list of recommendations to increase diversity, equity and inclusion at Carolina Law. One of the recommendations was to create a position for a dean of equity.

“By promoting Dean Mack to associate dean for equity, admissions and student affairs, I want our community to know that we heard you and that we believe Carolina Law should be transparent with our DEI efforts,” says Brinkley. “We have much work to do but we are moving in a positive direction to produce tangible results.”

Mack is up for the task. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve our Carolina Law community and advocate for ways to make our school more diverse and equitable for students, staff and faculty,” says Mack. “I strongly believe that we can create, nurture and promote a learning environment that welcomes and values everyone. It won’t happen overnight but we can be honest about where we are right now and find ways to make our vision of equity a reality.”

UNC School of Law is also making changes in the administrative responsibilities of two other associate deans. As of April 1, Smith will continue to oversee the Career Development Office, and begin managing outward-facing responsibilities like the Office of Communications, Continuing Legal Education, and reporting for accreditation and rankings purposes. Smith, whose title will be associate dean for external affairs and careers, will also assist Brinkley in building and maintaining relationships within the University system and with governmental officials.

Effective July 1, Professor Craig T. Smith will succeed Professor Mary-Rose Papandrea as associate dean for academic affairs, who has served in this position for five years. Smith leads the school’s Writing and Learning Resources Center and will oversee academics policies and programs.