Marion Crain named vice provost

Will support university efforts in encouraging cross-disciplinary teaching and research

Marion G. Crain, JD, the Wiley B. Rutledge Professor of Law and a Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost at Washington University in St. Louis, has been named vice provost, announced Edward S. Macias, PhD, provost, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences.


Crain’s appointment is effective July 1. The position carries a 33 percent appointment and reports directly to the provost.

In her expanded role in the provost’s office, Crain will support and encourage educational innovation across the university. More specifically, she will foster cross-disciplinary teaching and research, with a particular focus on advancing university-wide priorities.

“I’m pleased that as vice provost, Marion will become even more involved in the leadership of the university,” Macias says. “Since joining the provost’s office as a Faculty Fellow, she has been instrumental in helping advance interdisciplinary faculty collaboration, which has become a hallmark of Washington University. I know she will continue to develop new and exciting collaborations across school lines to enhance our educational and research mission.”

“Washington University is fortunate to have many talented faculty who are enthusiastic about teaching and research that crosses school and disciplinary lines. I am excited to work with the provost’s office to develop new ways to incentivize and support these efforts,” says Crain, who was among the first three named to the newly created Faculty Fellow position in July 2009.

“We also hope to foster educational innovations that will position our graduates to be outstanding leaders, equipping them with the multidisciplinary capabilities that are critical to solving the pressing social problems of the next century,” Crain says.

As one of four Faculty Fellows, Crain has helped Macias on important university topics, such as encouraging more interdisciplinary cooperation between WUSTL centers, programs, departments and schools to enhance teaching, scholarship and service.

In 2010, Crain was instrumental in creating the Cross-School Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant Program, funded by the Office of the Provost.

Teaching grants, up to $50,000 each, to support five promising interdisciplinary courses in their early stages were announced in April 2011. The new courses, rooted in a partnership between two or more schools, were offered this spring or will be offered in fall 2012.

Crain directs the law school’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital. As director, a role she will continue, she works with an interdisciplinary advisory board from across the university to sponsor scholarly roundtables, conferences and speaker panels designed to enrich the research and learning of affiliated faculty and their students by connecting them with research on similar problems in other disciplines.

Crain, who was installed as the Rutledge professor in April 2009, is an expert in labor and employment law. Her scholarship examines the relationships among gender, work and class status, with a particular emphasis on collective action.

She is the co-author of two textbooks, Labor Relations Law: Cases and Materials and Work Law: Cases and Materials, and is co-editor of Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream.

As part of her commitment to legal education, Crain has been an active member of the executive committee of the Labor Law Group, an international collective of labor and employment law professors who work collaboratively to improve labor and employment law pedagogy through the production of course materials. She has been chair of the group since 2011.

She also is on the editorial board of the Employee Rights and Employment Policy Journal, a peer-reviewed journal focusing on labor and employment law.

In addition to her legal research and scholarship, she received the David M. Becker Professor of the Year Award in 2009 for excellence in teaching.

Her other service to the university includes serving on the Advisory Committee to the Provost on Women Faculty (2008-09) and the Provost’s Diversity Work Group (2009-11) and chairing the law school’s Promotion & Tenure Committee (2009-10) and the Student Life Committee (2011-12).

As a Faculty Fellow, she helped develop the protocol for a decanal (dean) review and served as chair for the first formal decanal review conducted by the provost’s office.

Prior to joining the WUSTL law faculty in 2008, Crain was the Paul Eaton Professor of Law and director of the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

She also held faculty positions at West Virginia University and the University of Toledo.

Before entering the academy, Crain clerked for the Hon. Arthur L. Alarcon, LLB, on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, and practiced labor and employment law with Latham & Watkins in Los Angeles.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1980 at Cornell University and a juris doctorate, order of the coif, in 1983 at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law.