American University Washington College of Law Appoints New Associate Deans

Introduction of new tenure-line faculty will also enhance academic excellence

Three new associate deans

American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is pleased to announce the appointment of three exceptional leaders to key positions within the institution. These appointments reflect the AUWCL's commitment to academic excellence, innovation, and diversity in legal education.

Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs: Brandon Weiss

Professor Brandon Weiss has been appointed the senior associate dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs. A tenured professor of law, Weiss is nationally recognized for his expertise in U.S. housing law and policy. His research spans property, housing, real estate, community economic development, land use, legal ethics, critical theory, and higher education. Weiss’s scholarship has been widely published in top law reviews, such as the California Law Review and Harvard Law and Policy Review. He has also received several prestigious awards, including the 2022 Edwin A. Mooers Faculty Scholarship Award and the 2023 WCL Faculty Award for Outstanding Service.

Weiss has been deeply involved in legal education and community service. He serves on the executive committees of multiple sections of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and is on the board of the International Association of Law, Property, and Society (ALPS). His media presence includes interviews with the New York Times and Washington Post, among others. Before joining AUWCL, Weiss taught at institutions like UCLA School of Law and Yale Law School and practiced affordable housing law in Los Angeles.

Associate Dean for the Part-Time and Evening Program: Cynthia Jones

Professor Cynthia E. Jones, a renowned expert in criminal law, evidence, and criminal procedure, has been appointed associate dean for the Part-Time and Evening Program. Jones has received numerous accolades for her teaching excellence, including the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and the “Teaching with Technology Award.”

Jones is an influential voice in criminal justice reform, with a focus on wrongful convictions, cash bail reform, and eliminating racial disparities. She has produced educational films and developed multimedia lectures widely used in judicial training and legal conferences. Jones has also held significant roles in public defense and pretrial services, further demonstrating her commitment to justice and public service.

Associate Dean for Scholarship: Elizabeth Beske

Professor Elizabeth Beske, an accomplished scholar and educator, has been named associate dean for Scholarship. Beske’s academic journey includes an A.B. from Princeton University and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where she excelled as Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Law Review. Her professional experience includes clerking for Judge Patricia M. Wald and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, as well as practicing appellate litigation at Munger, Tolles, & Olson LLP.

At AUWCL, Beske teaches Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, and Constitutional Law. Her research focuses on Article III, adjudicative retroactivity, and the separation of powers. Beske has been recognized for her exceptional teaching with the Washington College of Law Excellence in Teaching Award.

"We are thrilled to welcome Brandon Weiss, Cynthia Jones, and Elizabeth Beske to their new roles," said Interim Dean Heather Hughes. "Their expertise, dedication, and vision are invaluable assets to our community, and I am confident that their leadership will greatly enhance our academic and scholarly endeavors."

Welcoming New Tenure-Line Faculty Members

In addition to these senior leadership appointments, AUWCL is pleased to welcome three new tenure-line faculty members who will further enrich the academic environment.

Tianna Gibbs joins as a professor of law who will teach Family Law Dispute Resolution and direct the Gender Justice Clinic. Gibbs brings extensive experience in family law and domestic violence advocacy, having previously served as a Supervising Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia.

Andrew (Andy) Budzinski has been appointed associate professor of law and will direct the Civil Advocacy Clinic. Budzinski’s scholarship focuses on access to justice for self-represented litigants, and he has a strong background in representing survivors of domestic violence.

Faraz Sanei joins as an assistant professor of law, with expertise in Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, and International Human Rights. Sanei’s diverse background includes serving as a Legal Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur and working with Human Rights Watch.

"These appointments mark a significant milestone as we continue to advance the AUWCL mission to foster legal scholarship, education, and advocacy," said Hughes. "The new deans and faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise that will undoubtedly contribute to the dynamic and inclusive community at AUWCL."

~ Story by Keith Pierce.