Brigham Young University President C. Shane Reese has announced, following approval from the BYU Board of Trustees, that Justin M. Collings will become the university’s new academic vice president effective immediately. Collings, who is currently the associate academic vice president for faculty development, replaces Reese who has been serving as president of BYU since May 1, 2023.
Collings comes to this position with a bachelor’s degree in English and Italian from BYU and a doctoral degree in history from Yale University, as well as a juris doctorate from Yale Law School. In his current role, he has emphasized BYU’s efforts to increase alignment with the university’s unique mission in all areas. Some of his reflections on BYU’s prophetic mission can be found in his 2022 university devotional address and his monthly “Light Reflections” essays for the BYU faculty.
“Justin is uniquely qualified for this position,” said Reese. “He is deeply committed to the mission of BYU and has consistently highlighted the power of faculty to fortify students’ faith in the Savior and His restored gospel through teaching and research efforts. He has led initiatives to help our faculty better meet our strategic objective to ‘increase the ability of faculty to authentically incorporate gospel truths into all student interactions and to teach their subject bathed in the light and color of the restored gospel.’”
Reese also expressed appreciation to Brad L. Neiger, who has been serving as the acting academic vice president. Neiger is the associate academic vice president for faculty relations at BYU and will continue in this position. “Brad has made and continues to make significant contributions to the university,” said Reese. “I am particularly grateful for his deep influence for good in the Academic Vice President’s Office, particularly during this interim period. He has assumed this role with selflessness and motivated by a strong sense of the university mission.”
Collings joined the J. Reuben Clark Law School faculty in 2013 following a clerkship for Judge Guido Calabresi with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The professor of law has served as associate dean for faculty and curriculum, as well as for research and academic affairs at BYU’s law school.
Collings is also a member of the advisory group of the BYU Wheatley Institute, whose mission is to fortify society’s core institutions of family, religion and constitutional government. Before joining the university administration, he was a Fellow with Wheatley’s Constitutional Government Initiative, to which he continues to contribute.
Along with his teaching and research on constitutional law and constitutional history, Collings has championed religious freedom and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. He is the author of many articles and book chapters on constitutional topics, as well as two books, Democracy's Guardians: A History of the German Federal Constitutional Court, 1951-2001 (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Scales of Memory: Constitutional Justice and Historical Evil (Oxford University Press, 2021).