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STANFORD -- Karen Williams Biestman has been selected by Stanford Law School as its new assistant dean for student affairs. Her appointment became effective on Aug. 8.
"Karen brings an unusual range of talents and experience," said Paul Brest, dean of Stanford Law School. "She has studied and taught law and ethnic studies, counseled students and served as an university administrator. In short, she is a wonderful addition to our law school community."
Biestman comes to Stanford with 11 years experience in administrative and teaching positions at the University of California-Berkeley, where she received both her bachelor's (Native American Studies, 1979) and law (1982) degrees.
Biestman has taught in Berkeley's Native American and Ethnic Studies programs since 1983, and served as Native American Studies coordinator from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 until her appointment at Stanford. From 1990 to 1993, she was assistant dean of student life.
Her career also includes many years of active campus and Indian community service. Among her awards at U.C.-Berkeley are an American Cultures and Management Fellowship and a Staff Special Performance Award.
Biestman is active as a spokeswoman and teacher in the areas of federal Indian law, race relations and the law, and diversity in higher education. She has written and published on a range of issues; her most recent research involves the implementation of federal law governing the welfare of Native American children.
As Stanford Law School's assistant dean for student affairs, Biestman will provide academic, career and personal counseling. She also will seek to maintain and increase the diversity of the student body and coordinate a wide variety of student programs and services. Already an experienced teacher of law and policy-related subjects at the undergraduate level, Biestman looks forward to working at the professional school level.
She was drawn to Stanford Law School, she said, by its "smaller, more intimate environment, and the opportunity to work one-on-one with such exceptional students, faculty and colleagues."
She also said she appreciates the "intellectual rigor and maturity" of the graduate students who make up her new constituency.
Biestman names her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Billie Williams of Bakersfield, Calif., as her professional role models and educational mentors. Her father is a former math professor, while her mother, Jessie Williams, recently retired as a teacher and school district administrator.
Karen Biestman is married to Mark Biestman, vice president of Metaphor Computers in Mountain View and a graduate of the Stanford Business School's Executive Program. They have two sons, Ross, 9, and Jeffrey, 7.
Biestman succeeds Sally Dickson, who became director of Stanford's universitywide Office of Multicultural Development in March after six years in the Law School post.
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