Dean Hiram Chodosh of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law recently announced that Wayne McCormack will hold the E. Wayne Thode Professorship. McCormack joined the faculty in 1978 and served as associate dean for academic affairs from 1978-82, 1984-87, and 1993-94. He was also coordinated the U’s involvement with the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He has published widely on issues of constitutional law, terrorism, and the international law of crimes, and civil procedure. The E. Wayne Thode Professorship is named in honor of Wayne Thode, who was an extraordinary teacher dedicated to the highest principles of legal education. Thode was the author of the very well-regarded Reporter’s Notes to Code of Judicial Conduct. He also served as reporter for the American Bar Association Special Committee on Standards of Judicial Conduct .
In the following interview, McCormack discusses his academic pursuits, previews his current projects, and explains why he would like to recapture the concept of a university.
What kinds of projects are you currently working on?
I have been heavily engaged with the GJPI project for the last year. In that capacity, I try to coordinate all the research undertaken by students in the Global Justice Think Tank, monitor and advise on the structure and content of the GJPI website and research portals, provide commentary on select issues primarily related to comparative federalism topics, and engage financial and administrative matters as needed.
What do you anticipate your next project will be?
I have several projects in mind. One is dealing with federalism in multicultural settings. I have had some minimal connection with people working in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bosnia, each of which is struggling to build a cohesive framework out of a setting in which deeply seated ethnic/cultural conflicts are played out in horrifically violent ways. By using examples from countries that have more-or-less successfully contained these kinds of conflicts (such as Canada) and some that are still struggling (such as India), I hope to find some suggestions out of the morass for emerging nations. Second project is to build on the successful conference and publication that was done on “Violence and Values: Intangible Aspects of Terrorism” in 2007. This time around I would like to focus on “Values & Violence: Patterns of Violence and Globalization.” Third, I want to pursue a very longstanding interest in the concept of diversity and how it plays into various aspects of public policy and governance.
How would you describe the connection between the appointment and the College’s teaching and research mission?
My activities of the last decade have included some service to the university community which then factored into teaching and research regarding security planning, international law, and public policy. That explains how I started to focus on terrorism along with much of the rest of the world (and also why I predict that terrorism will fade into the same political gray areas as the “wars” on drugs and poverty). This appointment seems to me to reflect that mixture of teaching, research, and service. I can’t separate any part of it from any other part because they all flow into a general professional commitment to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. The part of my experience that I would like to leave as some sort of legacy is a recapturing of the concept of a university. Although Asian and Arab collections of learned persons have existed for almost 2000 years, the European version began about 1000 years ago as a collection of disparate fields of inquiry into a single institution – hence the “uni”versity. Then we set about specializing into ever more narrow disciplines until we no longer have a university but a multiversity. The challenge for the next hundred years is figuring out how to put all these disparate pieces back into a single cohesive learning institution. Obviously, that puzzle will not be solved in my lifetime but I would like to contribute to its solution in some fashion. I hope Wayne Thode would approve.