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Replaces Brent W. Webb, who will return to the Department of Mechanical Engineering

President Kevin J Worthen, following approval from the BYU Board of Trustees, has appointed James R. Rasband as academic vice president at Brigham Young University. Rasband will replace Brent W. Webb who after more than a decade of service in the Academic Vice President’s Office will return to full-time teaching and research within the BYU Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Rasband, whose appointment is effective June 1, 2017, is currently the Hugh W. Colton Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. From 2009 to 2016, Rasband served as dean of the BYU law school. Before becoming dean, Rasband served as the associate academic vice president for faculty at BYU.

“Jim will be a superb academic vice president,” said Worthen. “He understands and values the unique mission and potential of BYU and has a first-class mind and heart.  He is a highly regarded scholar and an outstanding teacher. During his tenure as associate academic vice president and dean of the law school, he demonstrated extraordinary judgment and passion for BYU.  I look forward to working closely with him in this new capacity.”

James Rasband
James Rasband

In making this announcement, Worthen paid tribute to Webb and expressed appreciation for his years of service to the university, including more than six years as BYU’s academic vice president.

“Brent has been a remarkable academic vice president,” said Worthen. “Under his leadership, the quality of teaching and scholarship has improved, and student learning has been enhanced.  I have consistently relied on his sound judgment and admire his loyalty to, and love for, the university.  We will miss his keen insights and remarkable leadership on the President’s Council, but know that the lives of the students and faculty in mechanical engineering will be greatly blessed by his return to his favorite university position.”

Rasband joined the law school faculty in 1995.  His research and teaching has centered on public land and natural resources law and policy.  He has published many articles and book chapters on these subjects and is coauthor of an important casebook in the field.  He has also taught as a visiting professor at Murdoch University School of Law in Perth, Australia, and as a visiting fellow at T. C. Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

A BYU alumnus who majored in English and Near Eastern studies, Rasband received his juris doctorate from Harvard University in 1989. He served as a law clerk to Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and practiced law at the Perkins Coie law firm in Seattle where his practice focused on the Endangered Species Act and Indian treaty litigation. 

Rasband is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Trustee and former Board member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, an organization of legal academics and practitioners devoted to education on natural resource law topics.  He is currently the chair of the Membership Review Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, the primary academic organization for law faculty.