Kevin Washburn, Former Assistant Interior Secretary – Indian Affairs
Published March 20, 2018
IOWA CITY, IOWA – Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior – Indian Afffairs Kevin Washburn, 50, has been named the N. William Hines dean of the University of Iowa College of Law. He will begin on June 15.
In August 2012, he was nominated by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate in October 2012 and served until January 2016. In that role, he was the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Interior and President of the United States on matters involving tribal nations and served as the principal link between the federal government and the country’s then 567 tribal nations.
After left his federal position, Washburn served as dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law from July 2009 to October 2012. Washburn is an expert in Indian law, criminal law, and gambling law and has produced a prolific portfolio of books, book chapters, articles, and congressional testimony.
“Kevin brings an exceptional set of skills and experience to the College of Law,” says Sue Curry, UI interim executive vice president and provost, who announced the appointment. “He has a strong vision for the college’s continued advancement and is well positioned to move the school forward by creating new and innovative opportunities to learn, teach, and serve.”
Washburn was one of five finalists who interviewed on the UI campus in February. The search was led by a search committee co-chaired by Dan Clay, dean of the College of Education, and Ann Laquer Estin, Aliber Family Chair in Law at the College of Law.
Washburn, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma and his Juris Doctor from the Yale Law School. Following law school, he clerked for Judge William C. Canby Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He then joined the Honors Program at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
“The Iowa Law faculty is terrific and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the entire Iowa Law community to prepare students to meet the increasingly serious challenges facing Iowa and the world,” says Washburn.
Washburn began his academic career at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2002. He spent the academic year of 2007 to 2008 as the Oneida Nation Distinguished Visiting Professor of Indian Law at the Harvard Law School. From 2008 to 2009, he was the Rosenstiel Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.
Prior to entering academia, he was a federal prosecutor in New Mexico, serving in the Violent Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was a trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department and later served as general counsel of the National Indian Gaming Commission. He has judicial experience from his service as Chief Judge for the Court of Appeals of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Indians in Michigan and as a Justice of the Appellate Court for the Meskwaki Tribe in Iowa.
Washburn will receive an annual salary of $350,000. His appointment must be approved by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa.