Jason P. Nance

Headshot of Jason P. Nance, faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law

Full-time faculty



Jason P. Nance is the Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law. He received his B.A., cum laude with University Honors with Honors Thesis, from Brigham Young University in 1996, his M.A. in 2000 and Ph.D. in 2002 from The Ohio State University, and his J.D. in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he was Articles Editor and Associate Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

Prior to joining SMU, Dean Nance was a member of the law faculty at the University of Florida Levin College of Law from 2011 to 2022. He most recently served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. Previously at UF Law, he served as Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs, as an Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Relations, and as an Associate Director for Education and Law at the Center on Children and Families. As Professor of Law, he taught education law, torts and remedies. He also oversaw the continued development and implementation of the Introduction to Lawyering and the Legal Profession Program, which was designed to help first-year law students develop key competencies to become effective lawyers. Prior to joining UF Law, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Villanova University School of Law and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Applied Statistics at The Ohio State University’s College of Education and Human Ecology.

Dean Nance clerked for the Honorable Kent A. Jordan in the United Stated Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware after graduating from law school. Following his clerkships, he was a litigation associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Wilmington, Delaware, from 2007 to 2011, focusing on corporate and securities law.

Dean Nance began his career in education as a public middle school math teacher in Houston, Texas. He also taught GED and ESL courses to adults at a community college on nights and weekends. After three years, he began to prepare for a career in education administration, intending to become a school principal, but developed an interest in education policy and law through his graduate studies, ultimately earning a Ph.D. in education policy and administration before completing his law degree.

Dean Nance’s scholarship explores the intersection between law, education policy and the criminal justice system using empirical and legal methodologies. His research has been cited extensively by courts, party and amicus briefs, law journals, books, treatises, and social science journals and featured in numerous national media outlets. He served as the reporter for the American Bar Association’s Joint Task Force on Reversing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, where he co-authored a report and proposed resolutions that were adopted by the ABA to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline nationwide.

Area of expertise

  • Education Policy and Law
  • Empirical Legal Studies
  • Legal Profession
  • School-to-Prison Pipeline


B. A., cum laude, Brigham Young University
M.A., The Ohio State University
Ph.D., The Ohio State University
J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School


Students, Threat, Race, and Police: An Empirical Study, 50 Florida State University Law Review __ (forthcoming) (with Michael Heise)

School Law Enforcement Officers, Students, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: A Longitudinal Perspective, 54 Arizona State Law Journal 527 (2022) (with Michael Heise)
SSRNSMU Repository 

Per Pupil and School Safety Spending: An Empirical Perspective, 47 Journal of Education Finance 225 (2022) (with Michael Heise) (peer reviewed)

Do Perceptions Become Reality?: Exploring Principals’ Perceptions, Schools’ SRO/Police Presence, and Student Discipline Reporting Policies, 20 Journal of School Violence 499 (2022) (with Michael Heise) (peer reviewed)

To Report or Not to Report: Data on School Law Enforcement, Student Discipline, Race, and the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”, 55 U.C. Davis Law Review 209 (2021) (with Michael Heise)

Defund the (School) Police?: Bringing Data to Key School-to-Prison Pipeline Claims, 111 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 717 (2021) (with Michael Heise) (peer reviewed)

Following Data: The “Defund the Police” Movement’s Implications for Elementary and Secondary Schools, 110 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online 63 (2020) (with Michael Heise)
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online

Implicit Racial Bias and Students’ Fourth Amendment Rights, 94 Indiana Law Journal 47 (2019)

Student Surveillance, Racial Inequalities, and Implicit Racial Bias, 66 Emory Law Journal 765 (2017)

Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Tools for Change, 48 Arizona State Law Journal 313 (2016)

Over-Disciplining Students, Racial Bias, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, 50 Richmond Law Review 1063 (2016)

Rethinking Law Enforcement Officers in Schools, 84 George Washington Law Review Arguendo 151 (2016)

Students, Police, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline, 93 Washington University Law Review 919 (2016)

An Empirical Analysis of Diversity in the Legal Profession, 47 Connecticut Law Review 271 (2014) (with Paul E. Madsen) (reprinted in abbreviated form in INSTITUTE FOR INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, IILP REVIEW 2017: THE STATE OF DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION 112–118 (Elizabeth Chambliss et al. eds. 2017))

School Surveillance and the Fourth Amendment, 2014 Wisconsin Law Review 79 (2014)

Students, Security, and Race, 63 Emory Law Journal 1 (2013)

School Security Considerations After Newtown, 65 Stanford Law Review Online 103 (2013)

Random, Suspicionless Searches of Students’ Belongings: A Legal, Empirical, and Normative Analysis, 84 University of Colorado Law Review 367 (2013)

The Law Review Article Selection Process: Results from a National Study, 71 Albany Law Review 565 (2008) (with Dylan J. Steinberg)

Protecting Students from Abuse: Public School District Liability for Student Sexual Abuse Under State Child Abuse Reporting Laws, 36 Journal of Law and Education 33 (2007) (with Philip T.K. Daniel)

Contexts of Accountability Under Systemic Reform: Implications for Principal Influence on Instruction and Supervision, 43 Education Administration Quarterly 3 (2007) (with Helen M. Marks) (peer reviewed)

Public School Administrators and Technology Policy Making, 39 Education Administration Quarterly 434 (2003) (peer reviewed)

The Role of the Administrator in Instructional Technology Policy, 2002 Brigham Young University Education and Law Journal 211 (with Philip T.K. Daniel) (2002)

Book chapters

Surveillance and Security Practices in Schools, in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF U.S. EDUCATION LAW 469 (Kristi L. Bowman ed. 2021)

The Intersection Between Schools and the Criminal Justice System, in OXFORD HANDBOOK OF CHILDREN AND THE LAW 665 (James G. Dwyer ed. 2020)

The Justifications for a Stronger Federal Response to Address Education Inequalities, in A FEDERAL RIGHT TO EDUCATION: FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS FOR OUR DEMOCRACY 35 (NYU Press 2019)

Curriculum and Instruction Policy in the Context of Multiple Accountabilities, in IMPROVING SCHOOLS: STUDIES IN LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE 193 (Wayne K. Hoy & Michael DiPaola eds. 2008) (with Helen M. Marks)

Other publications

Teachers, SROs Must Learn to Manage Students Without Using Justice SystemJuvenile Justice Information Exchange (September 2016)

Strategies, Tools for Educators to Dismantle School-to-Prison PipelineJuvenile Justice Information Exchange (August 2016)

ABA Task Force Wants to Help Disrupt School-to-Prison PipelineJuvenile Justice Information Exchange (February 2016) (with Sarah E. Redfield)


Fostering Safe Learning Environments, 71 Educational Leadership (September 2013)


NBC News, quoted in Predictive Policing Strategies for Children Face Pushback (June 2021) 

The Medium, cited in The Digital Divide: A Critical Review of Tech’s Role in Education (December 2020)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, quoted in A Wisconsin Teen’s Death Behind Bars Reveals How Children Get Trapped in the Justice System – and How We Can Stop the Cycle (October 2020)

SIRIUSXM 143, Interview, Top of the Mind with Julie Rose (BYU-Radio’s satellite channel) (July 2020)

The Economist, quoted in Do Police Officers in Schools Help or Hinder Teachers? (July 2020)

The Washington Postquoted in Do #BlackLivesMatter in Schools? Why the Answer Is ‘No’ (July 2020)

Concord Monitor, quoted in Role of Police Officers Questioned, Justified in Concord Schools (July 2020)

IOL, quoted in Should Facial Recognition Technology Be Rolled Out in US Schools? (April 2020)

Reuters, quoted in ‘Wild West’: Caution Urged on Facial Recognition Rollout in U.S. Schools (March 2020)

VICE, cited in Weapon Detecting AI’ is Now Scanning Students in South Carolina Schools (February 2020)

New York Times, quoted in Facial Recognition Moves Into a Few Front: Schools (February 2020)