Board of Advisors

Ebony Dawkins-Meeks

Instructor and Undergraduate Coordinator
Department of Political Science

Ebony Dawkins-MeeksEbony Dawkins-Meeks currently serves as a full-time instructor and undergraduate coordinator for the Department of Political Science at The University of Memphis. She teaches courses in American Government, Constitutional Law with a focus on civil liberties and division of power between federal branches of government as well as a course focusing on the structure of the American judiciary. Prior to her time as a faculty member at The University of Memphis, she founded a small law firm focusing on criminal defense litigation, appellate work, and post-conviction relief. As a graduate of The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, a career criminal defense attorney, and a life-long Memphian, she is invested in assisting in sociopolitical progress within in the city that helps to make all of its residents safer.

Bill Gibbons

Bill GibbonsBill Gibbons became Executive Director of the Public Safety Institute (PSI) at The University of Memphis in September of 2016, as well as President of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission.

Prior to joining the PSI and Crime Commission, from 2011 through August of 2016, Gibbons served in Governor Bill Haslam's cabinet as Commissioner for the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and chaired a subcabinet of all state executive branch departments and agencies involved in public safety to develop a single, consistent state agenda to combat crime.

Gibbons began his state government career in 1979 as a special policy assistant to former Governor Lamar Alexander and then returned to private law practice in 1981. He rejoined state government in 1996, when then Governor Don Sundquist named him District Attorney General for Shelby County in order to fill an unexpired term. Gibbons was then elected to a pair of eight-year terms in 1998 and 2006 and served a total of approximately 14 years.

Prior to serving as District Attorney, Gibbons was a partner in the law firm of Evans & Petree.

The Crime Commission is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves as a facilitator to bring public and private leaders and agencies together to focus on comprehensive crime prevention, intervention, and reduction practices in Shelby County. Spearheaded by the Crime Commission, Operation: Safe Community is a crime plan with goals and objectives designed to meet the crime challenge. The Public Safety Institute (PSI), in addition to other assignments, serves as a research arm to evaluate individually each objective of the Operation: Safe Community crime plan.

Gibbons chaired Operation: Safe Community from 2009-2015. He has also served on the Board of Directors for the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), and the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), as well as the U. S. Department of Justice's Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Gibbons also served in part-time elective positions as a member of both the Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission.

Born in El Dorado, Arkansas, Gibbons holds both undergraduate and law degrees from Vanderbilt University.

He is married to United States Court of Appeals Judge Julia S. Gibbons. They have two children.

Daphene R. McFerren

Executive Director
Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change

Daphene R. McFerrenDaphene R. McFerren is the Executive Director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Daphene McFerren manages the Hooks Institute's strategic planning; program creation and implementation; local and national fundraising efforts; and its staff, faculty, and contractors. McFerren is responsible for creating budgets for the Hooks Institute programs and monitoring program expenses to ensure that financial targets are met. She is the primary media contact for the Hooks Institute and has made numerous television and radio appearances to promote its work.

Under her leadership the Hooks Institute has increased its focus on innovative ways to promote civil discourse on civil and human rights, and on implementation of impactful community service programs. As director of the Hooks Institute, McFerren has chaired national conferences on civil and human rights issues. Under McFerren's leadership the Hooks Institute has created websites on civil rights featuring state-of-the-art technology such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). McFerren was the executive producer of the film Duty of the Hour, a film about the life of Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks. She is also the executive producer, director, and narrator of the award-winning documentary short, The Civil Rights Movement: A Cultural Revolution, winner of the Silver and Bronze Annual Telly Awards (36th Annual Competition, 2015); The People's Telly (2015) and The Best Shorts Competition (Award of Merit, 2015). In fall 2016, McFerren taught a Helen Hardins Honors Course, on Civil and Human Rights today that focused on how the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s continues to shape movements today, including the BlackLivesMatter Movement, and human rights movements both in the United States and abroad. McFerren was a 1995 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Award recipient.

Prior to joining the Hooks Institute, McFerren litigated complex civil litigation matters in private practice and with the U.S. Department of Justice. She is also a former federal prosecutor and secured convictions in human trafficking cases of national and international interest. From 1999 to 2001, McFerren served as counsel to the Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States.

Robin Poston

Papasan Family Professorship for Exemplary Leadership
Professor and Department Chair for Business Information & Technology
Director of the Systems Testing Excellence Program at the FedEx Institute of Technology, University of Memphis

Robin PostonDr. Poston leads strategic knowledge sharing initiatives about information systems and technology for the Fogelman College of Business to modernize the college's academic and research approaches. This includes serving as the Department Chair of Business Information and Technology with responsibility to serve all aspects of the department's portfolio of 17 scholarly faculty, 6 part-time faculty, 10 PhD students, 95 graduate students, 225 undergraduate students who participate in 3 minor programs, Bachelor of Business Administration in BIT, Master's of Science in Information Systems, and 4 graduate certificate programs in information assurance, data analytics, project management, and software testing. As Director of the Systems Testing Excellence Program (STEP) at the FedEx Institute of Technology, she supports interdisciplinary research initiatives under the umbrella of the FedEx Institute of Technology with academic program support from the Fogelman College. STEP is tasked with building up research and curricular competencies at the University of Memphis that will help position the university as a national and internationally recognized thought leader in the science of systems testing.

Dr. Poston's research mission focuses on understanding how individuals use web-based knowledge management applications, internet-based dissemination of information, and systems testing management. Dr. Poston has over 16 years of experience in the information systems field working for KPMG Consulting, Educational Computer Corporation, Meta Group Research, and Convergys, as well as consulting with several Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. Today, she works with members of local organizations and international groups to conduct projects and educational programs. She has published articles in journals such as MIS Quarterly, Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences Journal, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, Communications of the ACM, IEEE Computer, and others, as well as in major international conference proceedings. She currently serves as an Associate Editor at Decision Sciences and the European Journal of Information Systems. Dr. Poston received her B.A.S. in Computer Science of the University of Pennsylvania (1987), Masters of Science in Accounting from the University of Central Florida (1992), and Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Michigan State University (2003).


David S. Romantz

Associate Professor of Law
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

David S. RomantzProfessor David S. Romantz has served on the faculty at The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law since 1999. He served as Director of the Legal Methods Program from 1999–2009 and he served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2009-2015. He is the faculty advisor for the Student Bar Association and the Law School's Honor Council. Considered a national leader in legal education, Professor Romantz was elected to the board of directors of the Association of Legal Writing Directors and the Executive Committee for the AALS Section on Legislation and Political Process. He and serves on the American Bar Association's law school accreditation teams. Professor Romantz was educated at the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Suffolk University law School (Boston; J.D.) and is licensed to practice law in New York and Massachusetts.

Professor Romantz's teaching interests include Criminal Law, Legislation, Legislative Drafting, Administrative Law, Administrative Law Clinic (Housing Adjudication Clinic), Legal Writing and Methods, Legal Argument, and Advocacy. His research interests include judicial interpretation of statutes, criminal law and procedure, administrative law issues, and legal analysis. Professor Romantz has published a variety of works including, "You Have the Right to Remain Silent": A Case for the Use of Silence as Substantive Proof of the Criminal Defendant's Guilt, 38 Ind. L. Rev. 1 (2005 (lead article), and The Truth About Cats & Dogs: Legal Writing Courses and the Law School Curriculum, 52 Kan. L. Rev. 105 (2003). He has also published in the Stetson Law Review, Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, and the Suffolk University Law Review. He co-authored a book titled, Legal Analysis: The Fundamental Skill (2D ed. 2008, Carolina Academic Press) and formerly served as editor of Martindale-Hubbell's Massachusetts Law Digest. Professor Romantz has spoken at a variety of regional and national academic conferences, including the Legal Writing Institute Conference, ALWD Conference, New England Legal Writing Consortium, the Rocky Mountain LRW Conference, SEALS Conference, and the Central Regional LRW Conference.


Daniel M. Schaffzin

Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Experiential Learning
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Daniel M. SchaffzinDaniel M. Schaffzin is an Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of Experiential Learning at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. Professor Schaffzin co-directs and teaches the University of Memphis Neighborhood Preservation Clinic, through which faculty and law student attorneys represent the City of Memphis in civil lawsuits against the owners of neglected, vacant and abandoned properties filed pursuant to the Tennessee Neighborhood Preservation Act. In connection with his Clinic casework, Professor Schaffzin holds an appointment as a Senior Assistant City Attorney for Neighborhood Preservation. Professor Schaffzin also directs Memphis Law's Externship Program and teaches the accompanying Externship Seminar course.

Professor Schaffzin joined the Memphis Law faculty in 2009 and led the development of the Law School's Clinic and Externship courses since 2011. In addition to his current courses, Professor Schaffzin has developed the Housing Adjudication Clinic, a course in which law students serve as hearing officers for administrative appeals involving participants in the Memphis Housing Authority's Housing Choice Voucher Program, and the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, a course in which law students represent low-income pediatric patients at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital and their families in a wide range of matters affecting their health, including landlord-tenant and other housing-related disputes. Professor Schaffzin has also developed the Children's Defense Clinic, the Mediation Clinic, and the Advanced Criminal Prosecution simulation course.

Professor Schaffzin's scholarship has focused on strategies for addressing distressed properties and on clinical pedagogy. Recently, Professor Schaffzin published (B)light at the End of the Tunnel? How a City's Need to Fight Vacant and Abandoned Properties Gave Rise to a Law School Clinic Like No Other, 52 Wash. U. J. L. & Pol'y 115 (2016), and Ten Years of Fighting Blighted Properties in Memphis: How Innovative Litigation Inspired Systems Change and a Local Culture of Collaboration to Resolve Vacant and Abandoned Properties, 25 J. Affordable Housing & Commun. Dev. L. 347 (2017) (with S. Barlow and B. Williams). He has also published articles in the Clinical Law Review, the Elon Law Review, and the Charleston Law Review. Professor Schaffzin co-authored the Delivering Effective Education in Externship Programs chapter in the 2015 book BUILDING ON BEST PRACTICES: TRANSFORMING LEGAL EDUCATION IN A CHANGING WORLD.

Professor Schaffzin is also an emerging leader in the national clinical teaching community. In January 2017, he began a three-year term as a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law School's (AALS) Clinical Section. He also serves as co-chair of the Clinical Legal Education Association's Externships Committee and recently completed a two-year term as co-chair of the AALS Externships Committee. Professor Schaffzin hosted and chaired the planning committee for the 2015 Southern Clinical Conference in Memphis and has served on the planning committees for several other national and regional conferences, including the 2016 AALS Annual Conference on Clinical Legal Education (Baltimore) and the 2014 Externships 7 Conference (Denver). He is a regular conference presenter on topics relating to clinical teaching and pedagogy.

Professor Schaffzin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) from Temple University (magna cum laude) and his law degree (cum laude) from Temple University School of Law. Following law school, Professor Schaffzin worked for five years as an associate at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Philadelphia, practicing in the firm's Health Effects Litigation Practice Group. At Pepper, Professor Schaffzin also maintained an active pro bono practice, including work on a successful death penalty appeal under the Pennsylvania Post-Conviction Relief Act. He received the Pennsylvania Bar Association Pro Bono Award in 2005.

In 2005, Professor Schaffzin joined GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as Counsel in the pharmaceutical company's U.S. Legal Operations group. At GSK, Professor Schaffzin served on the Sales, Marketing, and Managed Care Legal Team, providing guidance to the company's diabetes franchise and pediatric vaccines product teams, as well as to several sales regions, concerning product promotion, fraud and abuse, and general regulatory compliance issues.

Prior to joining the Memphis Law faculty, Professor Schaffzin was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law, instructing the school's Housing and Employment Litigation Clinic. While at the University of North Dakota Law School, he also coached the school's National Trial Team. In both 2008 and 2009, the UND team won its Regional Championship and advanced to the National Final rounds of the National Trial Competition.

K.B. Turner

Chairman of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
University of Memphis

KB TurnerDr. K.B. Turner is a native of Columbus, Mississippi and the current Chairman of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at The University of Memphis that includes a Department on the Lambuth Campus in Jackson, Tennessee. He has also held teaching posts in Alabama and Nebraska where he received the Recognition Award for Contributions to Students. He is a previous recipient of The University of Memphis College of Arts and Sciences award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Turner is honored to have been selected as a Maxine Smith Fellow for 2012 and was a member of the Leadership Memphis class of 2015.

Dr. Turner graduated from Jackson State University with a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice. He received his M.S. degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Public Administration from The University of Nebraska at Omaha and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has written and published several articles and book chapters on police and criminal justice issues. He has taught most of the courses in the criminal justice curriculum. His research interests are varied, including a focus on judicial decision making, race, ethnicity and gender issues and police administration concerns. He is also a former consultant for the University of the Virgin Islands where he redesigned the Criminal Justice Program for the A.A., B.A., and B.S. degrees.

Dr. Turner is also a commissioned police officer and trainer in a law enforcement and corrections career that commenced over 30 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska. During his tenure with various agencies, Dr. Turner has been assigned to several units including patrol, traffic, accident investigations, background investigations, training, research and planning, undercover operations, and served as diplomatic protection and body guard for the Mayor of Omaha. Dr. Turner has served as a consultant for the Bolivar County Mississippi Sheriff's Department and the Columbus, Mississippi Police Department. He still serves his community by working with criminal justice agencies. He is an officer in the Mississippi State Guard holding the rank of Major and is the Executive Officer of the 2nd Brigade, 217th MP Company.

Dr. Turner is a faithful member of the New Hope Baptist Church in Southaven, MS, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS), American Society of Criminology (ASC), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and a life member of the Jackson State University Alumni Association.