Prof. Shen Named McKnight Presidential Fellow

August 3, 2017

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost has announced that Professor Francis X. Shen has been named a 2017-19 McKnight Presidential Fellow. This fellowship program is targeted at the University’s most promising faculty who have been newly granted tenure and promotion to associate professor; it recognizes their scholarly accomplishments and supports their ongoing research and scholarship with supplemental funding for a three-year period. Shen is one of just five faculty members University-wide to be so honored this year.

In his research and teaching, Shen examines the increasingly important intersection of law and the brain sciences. His work is aimed at delineating the principles by which cognitive neuroscience should—and should not—be embraced by courts and legislatures. He uses innovative empirical methods to explore how the effective use of neuroscientific evidence can enhance legal doctrine, and how the premature misuse of such evidence can be detrimental to justice. Shen co-authored Law and Neuroscience, the first coursebook on the subject (Aspen Publishers, 2014), and last fall he received one of the University’s first Grand Challenges Grants as the leader of a study entitled “Toward a Minnesota model for brain health in youth sports.”

“Francis Shen’s work on neurolaw is both groundbreaking and far-reaching—and a model for how scholars and practitioners alike can integrate new science into the law,” said Dean Garry W. Jenkins. “His selection as a McKnight Presidential Fellow is a reflection of the importance of his research and the skill and judgment with which he pursues it.”

Shen joined the Law School faculty in 2012. He is an affiliated faculty member with the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences, and with the Center for Cognitive Sciences. He also serves as executive director of education and outreach for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. He has taught at Tulane University Law School and at Harvard (receiving five certificates of distinction for excellence in teaching from the university’s Derek Bok Center) and has been a visiting scholar at Vanderbilt University Law School.

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