Alex Acosta, law dean of the Florida International, has applied to become dean of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Acosta, who has led FIU's law school for four years, is one of 24 semifinalists to head the Gainesville school. The list will be narrowed down to finalists today for future interviews.
Other semifinalists include Ileana Porras, associate law dean of academic affairs at the University of Miami, and Martha Barnett, a partner and lobbyist at Holland & Knight's Tallahassee office.
UF law dean Robert Jerry announced in August that he would step down after completing his 11th year in June.
Acosta, a former U.S. attorney in Miami, was recently appointed to another five-year term. Founded in 2000, the FIU law school is South Florida's newest and its only public one.
Acosta, 45, is credited with its rapid rise in the U.S. News & World Report's ranking from unranked—below 160 out of 184 schools—to 105 and increasing median LSAT scores, grade point averages and Florida Bar passage rates.
In his letter to the UF search committee, Acosta noted he has helped boost female enrollment from 46.2 percent to 51.6 percent and minority enrollment from 53.2 percent to 59.6 percent. He also boasts of raising $1.55 million, saying, "My fundraising has been outstanding."
"I previously served in three presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed positions in federal government," Acosta said of his time with the Justice Department and the National Labor Relations Board. "I offer an unusual combination of experience in the academy, government and law practice."
When he applied to be the FIU dean, Acosta acknowledged his one failing was his lack of teaching experience.
Leonard Strickman, FIU's first law dean, said he thinks Acosta would do a good job at UF and does not begrudge his applying.
Good luck to Alex!