Jackie Gardina Tapped as Chief Academic Officer for one of CA’s Leading Regional Law Schools

The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law Names New Dean

Jackie Gardina Tapped as Chief Academic Officer for one of
California’s Leading Regional Law Schools
SANTA BARBARA and VENTURA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (COL) announces the appointment of Jackie Gardina as its new Dean and Chief Academic Officer. Gardina was selected after an extensive national search and will assume her post on July 1. She succeeds Heather Georgakis, who served COL for three decades, including 15 years as Dean.
Gardina’s extensive experience in higher education includes both academic and administrative positions. She arrives at COL after 13 years of service at Vermont Law School, where as chief academic officer she oversaw graduate and professional programs of over 600 students across six degrees, while also teaching courses such as Civil Procedure and Administrative Law & Bankruptcy. Gardina has been a visiting professor of law for Santa Clara University School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and University of Oregon School of Law.
“To have someone of Jackie’s caliber and breadth of experience join the Colleges of Law is a testament to our standing in the legal community,” said Dr. Matthew Nehmer, COL’s Executive Director. “We had candidates from across the country seek the opportunity to serve as our next Dean. In the end it was Jackie’s passion for providing people from all backgrounds access to an outstanding legal education that made her stand out. Since our founding in 1969, COL has worked diligently to build a reputation for excellence; with Jackie’s leadership we stand poised to build on this foundation toward an even more successful future.”
Gardina is a member and former co-president (2012-2014) of the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) and a former governing board member of Service Members Legal Defense Network (LDN). More recently, Gardina founded and chaired the Association of American Law Schools Section for Associate Deans for Academics and Research and chaired the Associate Dean Conference Committee for the American Bar Association’s Section on Legal Education.
“I am excited to join an institution that is dedicated to providing access to an excellent, affordable legal education and a pathway to the legal profession for adults from all backgrounds,” said Gardina about her appointment. “I was drawn to the school because of this mission and look forward to working with the Colleges of Law team to take it even further.”
Gardina’s higher education journey began at the University of Iowa where she completed a B.A. in Political Science before earning a Master in Social Work (M.S.W.) from Boston University. Gardina worked as an outpatient clinical social worker prior to enrolling at Boston College Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude. She clerked for Chief Judge William Young of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, as well as for the Honorable Levin H. Campbell of the First Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, she was an associate at the Boston firm Choate, Hall and Stewart.
The COL community will gather for alumni/student Midsummer Celebrations on July 15 in Santa Barbara and July 22 in Ventura to say farewell to Dean Georgakis as she begins a third career in legal education consulting. “I am delighted to pass the baton to Dean Gardina, because under her academic leadership I feel certain that our students’ best interests will remain the law school’s primary focus.”
About The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law
Established in 1969, The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law (COL) was founded to expand opportunities and broaden access to legal education. COL is dedicated to a student-centered approach that affords students of diverse backgrounds the opportunity to pursue careers in law or legal-related fields. The Colleges’ faculty advances a real-world perspective and practicality on the application of law and includes practicing attorneys, judges, public servants, and leaders in business and non-profit organizations. An accredited nonprofit institution, COL offers a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) program. COL is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the Juris Doctor program is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners (CBE) of the State Bar of California. For more information, visit
The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law is an affiliate of TCS Education System, a nonprofit system of colleges advancing student success and community impact.


The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law
Johanna Atienza
(805) 765-9300;

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