VA - William & Mary announces it will dissolve the Virginia Coastal Policy Center later this year

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary will dissolve the Virginia Coastal Policy Centerat its law school later this year.

The school announced Tuesday that the center will close June 30. Law school Dean A. Benjamin Spencer made the decision after center director Elizabeth Andrews gave notice of her plan to retire after seven years in the role.

Andrews’ leadership “has been so vital to VCPC’s success,” Spencer said in a statement. “While the VCPC will be dissolved at the Law School, I am thankful for the university’s commitment and willingness to ensure William & Mary’s leadership in these areas grows even stronger.

“William & Mary knows what a valuable resource this policy work of VCPC has been to Virginia and future plans will build on that research and analysis.”

Spencer went on to say that the school is developing plans with the leadership of William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science to strengthen its role as a leader in the areas of coastal policy, ecology and engagement.

“It’s time for me to cut back some,” Andrews said in an email. “It’s been a wonderful experience but I’ve put in some long hours.”

Andrews, a professor of the practice of law, graduated from William & Mary and received her law degree from American University. She previously served as senior assistant attorney general and chief of the environmental section of the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. She’s also served as water policy manager for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

During her time as VCPC’s director, Andrews has had a number of responsibilities, including seeking grants, overseeing grants and projects, teaching classes, speaking at conferences, serving on committees and hosting events. When she officially steps down as director in June, she would like to travel with her husband, who retired last year.

“This is a good time for me to reduce my workload,” she said.

According to Andrews, the decision to close the center came as a surprise.

“When I told the administration that I planned to step down at the end of this academic year, I thought that they would replace me,” she said, adding that she is encouraged by Spencer’s statement, which discusses development of a university-wide coastal resilience initiative.

In addition to Andrews, there are three staff members at the VCPC who were given notice that their positions will be eliminated with the closure of the center, William & Mary spokesperson Suzanne Clavet said.

“The decision to close VCPC this summer is not one I made lightly,” said Spencer, thanking Andrews and the VCPC team. “The Center has provided critical, science-based legal and policy analysis of ecological issues affecting coastal resources, offering education and advice to a host of Virginia’s decision-makers, from government officials and legal scholars to non-profit and business leaders.”

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