Cynthia Nance

Dean Emeritus and Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law

School of Law


Cynthia E. Nance (Cyndi), Dean Emeritus, Nathan G. Gordon earned her B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Chicago State University. She holds a J.D., with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law and an M.A. from the University of Iowa College of Business. She joined the Arkansas Law faculty as an assistant professor in 1994, and served as dean of the law school from 2006-2011. She teaches Labor and Employment Law, Workplace Legislation and Poverty Law.

Professor Nance is the Eighth Circuit Member of the American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, and represents the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section in in House of Delegates. Nance is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and an elected member of its Board of Governors. She is also an elected member of the American Law Institute and The Labor Law Group, and serves on the Arkansas Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission. She is also a former member of the Council Member of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar.

Nance is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Commission on Diversity and the Arkansas Bar Foundation Trust Committee. An Association of American Law Schools Founding Fellow, she is a former chair of the Association’s Labor and Employment Law and Employment Discrimination sections. Nance also previously served on the American Bar Association Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, the National Association of Law Placement Foundation Board and the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program Committee. Nance is a member of the Harold Flowers Law Society, an affiliate of the National Bar Association, the International Women's Forum, Arkansas Forum and a Board Member of the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. She formerly served on the boards of WelcomeHealth and Bikes, Blues and Barbecue of Northwest Arkansas. (Her bike is a Harley named Beatus meaning “blessed”.)

A member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Professor Nance currently serves on the Graduate Advisor’s Council and as faculty Advisor to the Kappa Iota Chapter. She previously served in leadership roles including the positions of Vice-president and President and is a charter member of the Phi Alpha Omega Chapter. Additional examples of her commitment to service include her past roles as a member of the Law School Admissions Council Board of Trustees, the Interfaith Worker Justice Board, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and as an Anti-Racism Trainer for the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She served as a member of the Greensboro Massacre Truth and Reconciliation Commission Advisory Group, and the Boards of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Arkansas ACLU, Sources for Independent Living, AFSCME Local 965, the Women's Foundation of Arkansas, and the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Center.

Professor Nance’s articles appear in journals including the Iowa Law Review, Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law, Iowa Law Review, Rutgers Law Review and Brandeis Law Review. She has given presentations on various legal and educational issues nationally as well as in Mexico, Brunei, Singapore and Ukraine. She served as keynote speaker for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas' inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

She has received various awards for her outstanding service, including the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement, Arthur A. Fletcher Award of the American Association for Affirmative Action, the American Bar Association Spirit of Excellence Award, Arkansas Bar Association Outstanding Lawyer-Citizen Award, and the University of Arkansas, Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award in Public Service. She is a recipient of the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Commission Individual Achievement Award, and was recognized as one of Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine's "25 Women Making a Difference," as a "Woman of Influence" by Arkansas Business, and as one of the most influential lawyers on Twitter by On Being a Black Lawyer. She has been featured as one of Arkansas 12 Most Powerful Women by AY Magazine and Talk Business Quarterly. Professor Nance is also the inaugural recipient of the Harold Flowers Association's Judge Andree Layton Roaf Award of Excellence, and received the Women Law Students' Gayle Pettus Pontz award. In 2016, Nance received the Community Leader Award from the Northwest Arkansas Worker Justice Center. Professor Nance views as her most special honor the fact that in 2009, the University of Arkansas' Black Law Students Association Chapter renamed its chapter the Cynthia E. Nance Chapter of BLSA.

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