Like many leaders and faculty members at Georgia State Law, Associate Dean for Student Affairs Kelly Cahill Timmons puts students first. In fact, it’s part of why she has decided to step down from this role. After serving in the position for 11 years, she’s ready for a change, but there are some extraordinarily selfless reasons too.
“I’ve seen the positive effects of bringing in someone new; for example, Jessie Cino taking over the role of academic dean, Lyn Rogers Knapp leading Professional Development & Career Services, and Wendy Hensel becoming dean. I think having someone new in the dean of students’ role will produce similar effects,” she said. “In addition, as I interact with more students struggling with mental health issues, I think the college could benefit by having a dean of students with a background in psychology, counseling or social work, which I don’t have.”
The role change will go into effect once the college hires her replacement; that search is underway. Timmons will return to the faculty full time.
Timmons said the thing she has enjoyed most about the position is her interactions with students. “I connect with them from their first day of Orientation through Commencement, have lunch with them during the Bar Exam, and interact with them during the Swearing-In Ceremony,” she said. “It’s wonderful to celebrate their achievements, whether it’s through the Honors Day Ceremony or congratulatory emails when Bar results come out.”
The enjoyment she gets out of celebrating her law students’ milestones extended to officiating weddings. She married former students Kristin Roquemore (J.D. ’15) and Trent Duke (J.D. ’15) in May. Timmons became ordained online so she could honor their request to do so.
Timmons said another memorable moment while serving as associate dean was introducing Ivy White, student speaker at the 2016 Commencement Ceremony. “I taught Ivy during her first year of law school and knew she was awesome. The whole world got to see that once her speech went viral.”
There are many take-aways from her time as associate dean that she’ll apply moving forward. “I learned more about the challenges our students face, from family issues to problems with financial aid, than I ever knew before accepting this role,” she explained. “I also learned more about the important roles that many College of Law staff members play in making a law student’s experience a positive one. Both of those insights will stay with me and make me a better professor and member of the College of Law community.”