Monday, December 10, 2012

Prof. Knudsen awarded Masters in Judicial Studies

Prof. Kristin Knudsen, Justice faculty, was awarded a Masters in Judicial Studies by the University of Nevada, Reno on December 8, 2012.  The Judicial Studies program at UNR is organized jointly with the National Judicial College and is one of only two such programs in the U.S.  The program integrates technical studies of the judicial process with graduate academic courses to promote intellectual evaluation of the American judiciary.

Prof. Knudsen’s 302-page thesis, “Citizen Adjudicators – Lay Members of Alaska's Mixed Administrative Tribunals as Lay Judges in Mixed Courts,” examined the participation, attitudes, and recruitment of lay members of mixed (lawyer and non-lawyer) administrative tribunals in Alaska and compared findings to survey-based studies of lay judges in European mixed courts.

 Research for her thesis included a comprehensive anonymous survey of lay members of Alaska’s state administrative tribunals.  Among other findings, Prof. Knudsen found little evidence for a judicial dominance effect (inhibiting deliberative expression and dissent) equivalent to that seen in European mixed courts associated with Alaska’s mixed tribunal structures.  However, tribunal practices that do not support lay member contribution during deliberation were associated with member dissatisfaction and a perception of unfairness of the tribunal and hearing outcomes.
Prof. Knudsen joined the Justice faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2012 and teaches in the Legal Studies program.  She received her J.D. from the University of Santa Clara School of Law.