After a nationwide search for a new dean, Golden Gate University School of Law has appointed one of its own to the post.

Rachel Van Cleave, who has served as interim dean since August, is set to start a five-year appointment on January 1. Van Cleave, 48, received her juris doctor degree from University of California Hastings College of Law and an advanced law degree from Stanford University Law School. The recipient of a Fulbright fellowship in 1995, she focuses her scholarship on legal education, research and writing.

Van Cleave said one of her main goals as dean is to more fully integrate lawyering skills into the curriculum.

“I want to continue to build on the strong bridge we have between law school and practice,” she said during a telephone interview.

Van Cleave, who since 2008 has served as the law school’s associate dean of academic affairs, became interim dean after Drucilla Ramey stepped down in July. At that time, the university announced that it was conducting a nationwide search for the position.

“Rachel understands the job at hand, and is the right person to lead the law school to a level of new distinction,” Golden Gate University President Dan Angel said in a press release.

Van Cleave said she hopes to continuing teaching. “It would feed my soul,” she said.

Before joining the school in 2004, Van Cleave taught at Santa Clara University, Stanford University, the University of Richmond and UC-Hastings. She clerked for Judge Sam Johnson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Golden Gate University School of Law, in San Francisco, was founded in 1901 as the YMCA Evening Law School, California’s first to offer law courses at night. Four students were in its inaugural class. It is in the lowest tier in the latest law school rankings by U.S. News & World report, which does not assign a number to schools in the bottom tier.

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