Northwestern Pritzker Law Appoints Mike Burns as Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement


Diversity & Inclusion

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is pleased to announce that after an extensive national search, Interim Associate Dean Michael Burns has been appointed the next Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Engagement. “Mike has provided outstanding leadership this year and I am excited for the important leadership he will bring to advancing our efforts on diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement,” says Dean Hari Osofsky. “I look forward to collaborating with him and to his serving as a key member of our Senior Leadership Team.”

The Law School partnered with search firm Isaacson Miller to build a pool of more than 240 candidates from around the country. “Associate Dean [Darnell] Hines’ leadership in collaboration with the search committee and search firm made an important difference in our having an inclusive search with an extremely strong pool and excellent process,” Dean Osofsky says.

Darnell Hines, associate dean for Alumni Relations and Development, emphasized the importance of finding the right candidate. “The search committee worked diligently to find a candidate who was passionate about the work of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and who had a track record of successfully navigating these important issues,” he says. “Mike’s humility, empathetic leadership, and desire to foster collaborative partnerships, will be invaluable to our students and community.”

Burns joined the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law staff in February 2020 as director of the Office of Admissions & Financial Aid. “I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to serve as Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Northwestern Law,” he says. “I’m particularly excited about continuing the work of building an inclusive environment and welcoming culture for all members of our community. While there is clearly much work to be done, Dean Osofsky and I are committed to taking concrete actions to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Prior to his return to Chicago, Burns served as assistant dean and director of admissions at Northern Illinois University College of Law. He also served on the senior administration at DePaul University College of Law for more than 15 years. From 1994 to 1996, Burns served as a legal writing instructor and assistant dean for law career services at DePaul Law. He also worked as assistant dean for admissions at Chicago-Kent College of Law from 1996 to 2003. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to developing and implementing strategies to increase diversity in law schools and to providing an inclusive and engaging environment for all law students. He is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law, where he was a member of the DePaul Law Review and served as vice president of the Student Bar Association. In 2022, he received a Certificate in Diversity & Inclusion from Cornell University.