University of South Carolina law dean to step down

Walter Pratt, Jr. announced last week that he will step down as dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law next year. His term as dean will end August 2011.

Pratt, who has been dean since 2006, was asked by law school officials to form a panel to review the school’s scholarly and teaching efforts, according to a statement released by USC. Pratt came to USC after teaching at the University of Notre Dame Law School for 20 years. 

The law school has faced challenges over the years since discussing plans for a new building. Raising the proposed $90 million for the new building has been slower than hoped. The law school has raised $30 million, (of which $10 million has come from the state), of the proposed cost. Meanwhile tuition increased and the school's position in national rankings fell. 

Pratt said that the recession has reduced state funding and made it more difficult for some individual donors.

After a yearlong sabbatical, Pratt said he plans to return to teaching at USC’s law school.