MSU College of Law

Kristi L. Bowman

Kristi L. Bowman
[Hi-Res Photo]
Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 419
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

Kristi Bowman serves as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law. As the academic dean, she is a member of the College’s senior leadership team and oversees the organization and delivery of the College’s instructional program.

Dean Bowman is also an education law scholar. She is a co-author of the 5th edition of a leading textbook in the field, Educational Policy and the Law (2012), editor of Pursuing Racial and Ethnic Equality in American Public Schools: Mendez, Brown, and Beyond (2015), and author of a textbook written for non-American education law scholars and practitioners, An Introduction to Constitutional Rights to and in Education in the United States (forthcoming 2016). In 2010, she received the Education Law Association's Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law. She also is a faculty affiliate of the Education Policy Center at the Michigan State University College of Education.

Dean Bowman’s numerous publications have examined a range of education law issues including public schools in fiscal crisis, students' free speech rights, racial/ethnic equality in education, and religion in public schools. These publications have appeared in books and in journals including the North Carolina Law Review, the American University Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, and the University of Cincinnati Law Review. She regularly presents her scholarship across the country and around the world, having taught or lectured in Belgium, Canada, Dubai, France, Japan, Italy, Israel, and Germany.

The founder and editor of the SSRN Education Law Abstracting Journal, Dean Bowman is active in several professional organizations including the American Association of Law Schools, for which she was the Education Law Section Chair in 2010, and has served on the Committee for Sections and the Annual Meeting. She was the recipient of a Michigan State University Lilly Teaching Fellowship for the 2009-10 academic year and has been a member of the Law College faculty since 2007.

Prior to teaching, she practiced at Franczek Sullivan, P.C. (now Franczek Radelet), in Chicago, where she represented school districts, and clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. During law school she worked at the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. In 2001, Dean Bowman graduated magna cum laude from the Duke University Law School, having served as both the Articles Editor of the Duke Law Journal and the Associate Executive Editor of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy. She simultaneously received her M.A. in Humanities from Duke University.

J.D. magna cum laude with high honors 2001, Duke University; M.A. 2001, Duke University; B.A. summa cum laude 1998, Drake University

  • Education Law
    (Formerly DCL 456) This course provides an overview of students’ rights in K-12 public schools in the United States with a focus on federal constitutional law. Specific topics covered can include free speech, search and seizure, racial and ethnic equity including desegregation, gender equity, corporal punishment, school finance, and federal statutory law including the No Child Left Behind Act. The course can be benefit individuals interested in representing districts or students, and also those who may represent a public sector client, even if employed by a private firm.
  • Property
    (Formerly DCL 113) This is a survey course of the fundamentals of property law. Possessory interests of real and personal property including findings, bailments and adverse possession are discussed and analyzed. Topics also include future interests, concurrent ownership, lease holds, transfers of land and land use controls.

U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Illinois, Michigan

Digital Commons Publications »

SSRN Author Page »


Educational Policy and the Law, with Mark Yudof, Betsy Levin, Rachel Moran & James Ryan (5th ed., 2012, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning; previous editions published by West and Thomson West).

Law Review Articles

Before School Districts Go Broke: A Proposal for Federal Reform, 79 Univ. of Cincinnati Law Review 895(2011).

Pursuing Educational Opportunities for Latino/a Students, 88 North Carolina Law Review 913 (2010).

The Civil Rights Roots of Tinker’s Disruption Tests, 57 American Univ. Law Review 1129(2009).

A New Strategy for Pursuing Racial and Ethnic Equality in Public Schools, 1 Duke Forum for Law & Social Change 47 (2009).

Rebuilding Schools, Rebuilding Communities: The Civic Role of Mississippi’s Public Schools after Hurricane Katrina, book chapter in Children and Disasters: What We Have Learned From the Hurricanes of 2005 (2009, ABA), excerpted in 77 Mississippi Law Journal 711 (2008).

Public School Students’ Religious Speech and Viewpoint Discrimination, 110 West Virginia Law Review 187 (2007).

An Empirical Study of Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design Instruction in Public Schools, 36 Journal of Law & Education 301(2007).

Seeing Government Purpose Through the Objective Observer’s Eyes: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Debates, 29 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 417 (2006).

The New Face of School Desegregation, 50 Duke Law Journal 1751 (2001) (note).

Essays and Short Articles for International and Multidisciplinary Audiences

Plyler’s Legacy: Immigration and Higher Education in the 21st Century, with Michael A. Olivas, 2011 Michigan State Law Review 261 (symposium introduction); reprinted in __ Immigration and Nationality Law Review __ (2012).

Before School Districts Go Broke: A Proposal for Federal Reform, Education Week (April 20, 2011) (1,200-word op-ed adapted from a law review article published in 79 Univ. of Cincinnati Law Review 895(2011); print circulation 50,000 and online access).

The Evolution Battles in High School Science Classes: Who is Teaching What?, 6:2 Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 69 (March 2008) (peer-reviewed science journal, official journal of the Ecological Society of America, print circulation 10,000).

Science Under Siege, Counsel 8 (April 2006) (solicited article in the official journal of the bar of England and Wales, print circulation 23,000).

A Different Shade of Brown: Latinos and School Desegregation, 88:2 Judicature 85 (2004) (solicited article, peer-reviewed journal sponsored by the American Judicature Society).

Contributions to Legal Reference Texts

CQ Press Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (2008, Congressional Quarterly Press). Author of essays about Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), Evolution, Marsh v. Chambers (1946), and West Virginia v. Barnette (1943).

Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed., 2006, Thomson West Publishing Group).  Edited over 100 pages of text, modified definitions and suggested new terms and definitions.