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University of Tennessee Law Professor Penny J. White has been elected Faculty Council chair of the National Judicial College.

UT Law Professor Penny J. White

White, a former Tennessee Supreme Court justice, joined the UT College of Law faculty full-time in 2000. She takes over from the Honorable Ken Kawaichi, of Oakland, Calif., and will serve in her new capacity for one year while continuing to teach at UT.

White has been a member of the NJC faculty for 12 years, teaching more than 40 courses for judges on the subjects of evidence, criminal procedure and judicial ethics. She has served on the Faculty Council for five years and is nearing the end of her second three-year term.

“Teaching law has been an integral part of my life,” White said, “and teaching at the National Judicial College enables me to share the knowledge and experience I gained as a judge with other judges.

“I am honored to take on the position of Faculty Council chair because, in that capacity, I can help guarantee that their high judicial education standards are maintained, if not exceeded.”

UT Law College Dean Tom Galligan said this is a great honor for White and for the college.

“Penny’s commitment to classroom education and legal research are great assets to UT, and we’re proud of her selection to the NJC Faculty Council chair,” Galligan said.

The National Judicial College provides judicial education and professional development for the U.S. judiciary as well as for judges from other countries.

The council is made up of nine NJC faculty members from across the nation and represents the interests of the volunteer faculty of the National Judicial

Faculty help ensure that quality teaching standards are maintained and that the curriculum offered is relevant, challenging and invigorating to today-s judge-participants.

“Our faculty council is a vital component of our quality programs,” NJC President William F. Dressel said. “Professor White has enhanced and will continue to enhance NJC’s many programs and courses.”

As the youngest member of the Tennessee Supreme Court, White participated in several decisions that impacted Tennessee law, including decisions on class actions, rights of tort victims and capital punishment.

Before taking the bench in 1990, White practiced law in state and federal court, successfully arguing a case, as a solo practitioner, in the United States Supreme Court in 1988.

Since leaving the bench, White has authored benchbooks for Tennessee circuit, general sessions and municipal court judges. She has taught judicial education programs in 35 states and spoken and written frequently on the topic of judicial independence.