Wendy-Adele Humphrey, Associate Dean for Assessment & Strategic Initiatives

Hometown: Carlsbad, New Mexico

Graduation year: 1995

Major: B.A., Psychology, Magna Cum Laude

Sorority: Kappa Alpha Theta

What other degrees have you earned?

M.Ed., 1997, Curriculum & Instruction, Summa Cum Laude, Texas Tech University

J.D., 2001, Texas Tech University School of Law

What is your current career position?

I am currently the Associate Dean for Assessment & Strategic Initiatives and a Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock, Texas. I also serve as the director of the nationally ranked Legal Practice Program and the Director of the Texas Tech University Pre-Law Academy. Effective August 1, 2020, I will become the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the law school.

Please describe your current work.

My current work is basically two-fold: being a professor and serving in administration. First, I teach in the nationally ranked Legal Practice Program that covers legal analysis, research, objective and persuasive writing, client interviewing and counseling, negotiation skills, alternative dispute resolution, contract drafting, appellate advocacy and professionalism/ethics. In the summer, I teach in the Texas Tech University Pre-Law Academy, which is a rigorous summer program that I developed for selected undergraduate students. Additionally, as a professor, my research focuses on reproductive justice, Title IX, and gender equity. Second, as a key member of the law school administration, I work closely with the Dean on a variety of significant law school initiatives and projects related to diversity, equity and inclusion; strategic planning; recruitment and admissions; finances; curriculum; and assessment.

What are your future goals?

The next logical step in my career as a law professor and administrator is to become either a law school dean or a main campus administrator. For now, I plan to sit back and see what doors open for me. A more concrete goal is to eventually run for President-elect of the State Bar of Texas. I have been very active in the State Bar of Texas, which has over 103,000 members, and I currently serve on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. I would be ecstatic to be the leader of this dynamic state bar association. And on a personal note, someday I would like to write a children’s book.

In terms of your professional life, what would you say is your overarching purpose today?

My overarching purpose is to make a difference in the legal profession. From teaching future lawyers to addressing important issues through my service in the State Bar of Texas, I strive to make an impactful, positive mark.

Did your liberal arts education allow you to uncover particular passions that you’ve carried into your career?

My time at Westminster inspired me to pursue my graduate degree in education and eventually my law degree. “Above-and-beyond” professors like Dr. Ted Jaeger and Dr. Keith Hardeman challenged me intellectually by forcing me outside my cognitive comfort zone. The critical thinking skills I developed while at Westminster proved to be invaluable in law school. And now as a law professor and administrator, I have the fortune of combining my two passions: education and law.

Were any relationships you formed at Westminster particularly influential in helping you find clarity of purpose?

The meaningful friendships I formed with my Theta sisters at Westminster have helped me find clarity of purpose. My dear friends Jennifer Watkins Cranford (’95) and Lana Cross Zerrer (’95) empower me to this day — women empowering women! We keep in touch on a regular basis and plan a long weekend together every year.

What does being a “leader” mean to you?

Over the years I have read a lot about leadership, and one quote sums up nicely what being a great leader means to me. “Great leaders find the balance between business foresight, performance and character. They have vision, integrity, humility and focus along with the ability to plan strategically and catalyze cooperation amongst their team.” Being an effective “leader” also means being an innovator, exhibiting positivity, being a strong communicator and acting with integrity.

While at Westminster, I took advantage of a myriad of opportunities — from sorority leadership roles to student government, from cheerleading to choir. In other words, attending a small liberal arts college enabled me to develop my leadership skills in a variety of settings, which has definitely contributed to my life since graduation.

What does success mean to you?

Success is so much more than “superficial” metrics like career titles and money in the bank. Success is waking up every morning and being grateful for the day to come. It’s enjoying the pursuit of my professional and life goals while striving to make a positive impact. It’s being resilient and joyful, and maintaining positivity and balance in my life.

What is it about Westminster that makes it the kind of community that empowers students to discover their purpose and find success?

Westminster is the quintessential small liberal arts college where students can discover their purpose and find success. The dedicated faculty and staff invested in me and prompted me to be introspective about my purpose. This type of student-centered environment creates a culture in which students can truly flourish.

Do you recommend Westminster to prospective college students?

Definitely! Every time to talk a high school student who has an interest in attending a smaller college, I mention the wonderful experience I had a Westminster. The educational experience at Westminster is unparalleled.

Favorite professor(s)?

As I psychology major, I admired Dr. Ted Jaeger, Professor of Psychology. He taught me the knowledge and skills I needed to be a successful student, and he also served as an influential mentor. Outside of my major, I thoroughly enjoyed all Professor Hardeman’s classes. I still remember watching “About Last Night” in one of his classes, and our class discussion taught me so much about interpersonal communication.

Favorite spot on campus?

While I absolutely love the Columns (who doesn’t?), I was at home in the Kappa Alpha Theta lounge.

Last book you read?

Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia by Meera E. Deo.

Favorite movie or TV show?

The Neflix hit Schitt’s Creek is spectacular on so many levels. I also tend to watch a lot of Chopped and Property Brothers. And it might sound a little bit crazy, but I really like the Deadpool movies.

Favorite app?

Super close call . . . Amazon (for its utility) and Pinterest (to feed my creativity).

Favorite way to spend a Sunday?

Engaging in self-restoration, mentally and physically.

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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.