Chris Behan starts work as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Southern Illinois University



Chris Behan starts work as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

July 17, 2014

${image-alt} Professor Behan coaching students as they prepare for a mock trial competition.

Christopher Behan, an associate professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law, was selected to serve as associate dean of academic affairs effective July 1, 2014.  As associate dean, Behan will oversee the implementation of the curriculum and academic policies and advise students on academic matters.

Read Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article about Dean Behan.

Dean Cynthia Fountaine said that SIU Law is fortunate to have Dean Behan. 

“His demonstrated commitment to our students’ success, his exceptional interpersonal skills, along with his military experience, equip him well for the challenges of this position,” Fountaine said.

Behan joined the law faculty at SIU in 2006. He teaches and writes about criminal law, evidence, military law, international criminal law and trial advocacy.

“I am looking forward to serving our students, helping my colleagues, and working with the University administration as we continue to provide a rigorous, high-quality education at the School of Law,” he said.

Prior to joining the faculty at SIU School of Law, Behan was a United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corp officer for more than 10 years. During his military career, he also served as a legal assistance attorney, military prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, administrative law attorney, international and operational law attorney, and legal advisor to U.S. forces in the Sinai Desert as part of the Multinational Force and Observers.

Behan has served as the faculty advisor for the Mock Trial Board since 2009. Since that time he has coached or supervised the preparation of teams in 2-3 competitions per semester.

In 2011, he pioneered a new mock trial competition format, the small-scale mock jury trial competition. In this format, students try their cases to a panel of lay jurors. Prior to trial, students negotiate jury instructions and pretrial orders with their opponents from other schools. The trials begin with voir dire of the jury and proceed to a jury verdict on the merits. The small-scale mock jury trial format closely replicates what happens at an actual trial and provides a superior advocacy and competition experience for students. 

Behan plans to continue teaching and writing about trial advocacy during his service as Associate Dean. He is currently involved in plans to host an international comparative common law trial advocacy course and competition at SIU in Spring 2015, featuring students and mock trial competitors from SIU, Australia, Kenya, and Hong Kong.

Behan also serves as the faculty advisor for the newly established Litigation and Dispute Resolution Specialization.

Behan earned an L.L.M. in Military Law (Criminal Law Specialty) from the Judge Advocate General's School in 2003 and was named to the Commandant's List. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, in 1995 from Brigham Young University's J. Reuben Clark Law School.

Recent honors include:

  • Award of a fellowship from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies for the 2013-2014 academic year.
  • Selection by Justice Advocacy Africa, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving trial advocacy and access to justice throughout Africa, to teach trial advocacy to police prosecutors and attorneys in Gaborone, Botswana, in Spring 2014.
  • Receipt of the SIU School of Law’s Outstanding Scholar Award in 2014, and the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012.

For a full biography, see Dean Behan’s faculty page.