Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr., who began teaching at the University of Arizona College of Law in 1986, was inducted as a Regents' Professor by the Arizona Board of Regents last Wednesday at the University of Arizona.

With Professor Williams (center) and alumnus Gabe Galanda ('00).

The College of Law is fortunate to now count five Regents' Professors among its faculty ranks, also including Professor Emeritus Dan Dobbs, inducted in 1992, Dean Emerita Toni Massaro, inducted in 2006, Professor Robert Glennon, inducted in 2012, and Professor Rebecca Tsosie, inducted in 2013.
This week, to mark the occasion of Professor Williams's induction, we share remarks from three of the many alumni and colleagues who have been personally and professionally influenced by his teaching, scholarship, and leadership. Please join us in congratulating Professor Williams and in celebrating his many contributions here at the College of Law and beyond.

Until the footnotes,


Robert A. Williams, Jr., Inducted as Regents' Professor

University of Arizona Law Professor Robert A. Williams was inducted as a Regents' Professor in a ceremony on the UA campus on January 16, 2019. Source: UA News

University of Arizona Law Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr., faculty co-chair of the I ndigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program (IPLP), was selected last spring by the Arizona Board of Regents to become one of five new Regents' Professors at the University of Arizona. The distinction is the highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona's public universities, limited to only three percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty members. 

The board cited Williams's influence and reputation in Indian Law and the indigenous student community he has helped build at Arizona Law, which has the largest number of Native American students among the country's top-ranked law schools. The board also pointed to Williams's contributions to the groundbreaking BA in Law major, the fastest growing major at the UA.

Professor Williams's formal induction took place last Wednesday in a ceremony on the UA campus. In celebration of this achievement, we asked the Arizona Law and IPLP community to share their experiences with Professor Williams. Here are just a few of the many responses.

Fellow Arizona Regents' Professor Rebecca Tsosie, who co-chairs the IPLP program, said:
Rebecca Tsosie, Regents' Professor of Law, IPLP faculty co-chair, and 
Special Advisor to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
"Rob Williams has been a luminary in the field of Federal Indian Law and he set the standard for Native scholars with his stunning critiques of the doctrine, informed by critical race theory, legal history (through an Indigenous lens), and also international human rights law. 

Rob is a brilliant and fearless scholar who expanded the discipline in new ways and brought intellectual vibrancy to our field.
He is also an incredibly generous mentor. Rob recruited me to law school and encouraged me to follow this path. Although I ended up staying at UCLA for law school, we kept in touch and he was pivotal in my decision to enter law teaching. He mentored me during my first year as a visiting professor at ASU when I was teaching Indian law from his casebook. He challenged me to write scholarship that was meaningful to me, even if it departed from the standard doctrines. Rob's scholarship influenced the field in ways that were new, creative, insightful, and provocative.
I am incredibly thankful to him for everything he has done for me and for many other Native law students and scholars, not to mention the other students and faculty he has mentored. I am so honored to be Rob's colleague in the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, which has trained many of the leading Native attorneys and scholars and continues to serve Indigenous students and communities throughout the world. I thank Rob for his incredible contributions and innovative spirit. Rob continues to lead the way for Indigenous students in higher education, inspiring each generation with his intellectual energy, charisma, and generosity of spirit."
Lesle Jansen (LLM '09)
2009 LLM alumna Lesle Jansen, who is an  Expert Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights and its Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Africa and directs the Natural Justice Cape Town Hub and Governance of Lands and Natural Resources programs, had this to say:

"I can only characterize Professor Williams's impact on both my career and me personally as profound. He was not only a deeply inspiring professor and cutting-edge lawyer, but, moreso, he's a humanitarian who leads by example through who he is and how he lives his life. These are vivid memories from my time in the IPLP Program. Professor Williams remains a guiding light in my life no matter where I find myself. I am so happy for his well deserved accolade."

Maria C. Borbón , JD Class of 1987 and LLM Class of 2002, shares:

Maria C. Borbón (JD '87, LLM '02)
"What makes Professor Williams such a singularly superlative teacher is his unwavering concern for the professional well-being of all of his students. 

I was fortunate enough to have been a member of the first graduating class of the University of Arizona Law's IPLP LLM program in 2002. Our class came from across the globe to join Professor Williams and learn why colonialism still exists throughout the world and why the federal courts struggle to accept the sovereignty of the more than 500 tribal governments in the United States. Since graduating from the IPLP Program, I have worked for two branches of tribal government, and the IPLP Program provided me with the analytical skills I needed to succeed.
Professor Williams was voted best professor in his first year teaching at the law school in 1986, based on his ability to provide students with the support they needed to speak in front of the class without fear of failing. For those of us not raised by professionals, it was a meaningful change in an otherwise hyper-competitive and often intimidating environment. By his teaching and scholarship, Professor Williams has made an unequivocally positive impact on several generations of lawyers."

Regents' Professor Williams is pictured at far right, along with other honorees, members of the Board of Regents, and University of Arizona leaders. Source: UA News.

Congratulations, Regents' Professor Williams!

Around the College

2019 January in Tucson Drawing to a Close

As this year's January in Tucson (JIT) session winds down, we want to thank the international cohort of nearly 75 JIT students for becoming part of the University of Arizona Law community.

Each year, over three weeks, the January in Tucson intensive education session brings together distinguished faculty in the field of Indigenous governance and Indigenous rights. JIT gives them the opportunity to teach and hold discussions with Indigenous leaders, practitioners, and community members, as well as other individuals interested in Indigenous affairs. JIT brings together tribal professionals and Indigenous leaders from across Arizona, the U.S., and world. ( Learn more here.)

University of Arizona Law Professor Seanna Howard's  JIT 2019 class "Indigenous Peoples' Rights Under International Law" discusses how the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be used to advance Indigenous governance and how the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights can be utilized in disputes over lands and natural resources. 

Salt River Pima Councilwoman Diane Enos discussing Indigenous leadership as part of the Native Nations Institute's Native Women in Governance Speaker Series during JIT 2019.

The  JIT 019 class "Constitutions of Indigenous Nations," taught by Miriam Jorgensen and Alison Vivian, considers, "What is a constitution?" and explores different types of Indigenous nation constitutions, important concepts for constitutions to address, and developing one appropriate for each community.

In the News
Arizona Public Media, interview with professor Tammi Walker

Downtown Newsmagazine, referencing professor Jane Bambauer

Salon, conversation with professor Andrew Coan

Our faculty, like new Regents' Professor Rob Williams, inspire our students every day. 

It is good, now and again, to stop and appreciate this gift. Congratulations, and thank you, Rob.





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