About Jennifer Mnookin


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Jennifer Mnookin portrait. She is wearing a red, black and white scarf featuring the W crest logo
Jennifer Mnookin

Jennifer L. Mnookin is the 30th leader of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is a national expert on law, forensic science and evidence, and has deep experience as an innovative and talented administrator.

Prior to joining UW-Madison, Mnookin served as dean of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law and Ralph and Shirley Shapiro Professor of Law. She first joined the UCLA Law faculty in 2005, she served as Vice Dean for Faculty and Research from 2007 to 2009, and Vice Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Intellectual Life in 2012-13. She became dean in 2015.

She received her A.B. from Harvard University, her J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in History and Social Study of Science and Technology from M.I.T.

At UCLA, Mnookin founded and was co-director of PULSE @ UCLA Law (the Program on Understanding Law, Science & Evidence), and her publications have focused on issues relating to forensic science, such as fingerprint identification, handwriting expertise and DNA evidence.

In 2020, Mnookin was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves on the advisory board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

She served for six years on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology and Law, and co-chaired a group of senior advisors for a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report on the use of forensic science in criminal courts.

From 2016-19, Mnookin served on the steering committee of the Association of American Law Schools’ Deans Forum. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2011.

Prior to joining UCLA Law, Dean Mnookin was professor of law and Barron F. Black Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School.

Born in Cambridge, Mass., and raised in Berkeley and Palo Alto, Calif., Mnookin and her husband, political scientist Joshua Foa Dienstag, have two children, 19 and 22.

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