Faculty in Focus: Mary Jo Wiggins, JD

Faculty in Focus: Mary Jo Wiggins, JD

Professor of Law Mary Jo Wiggins, JD, has made substantial contributions to USD School of Law as a scholar, teacher and faculty leader. She teaches and writes in the areas of property, remedies, land use, debtor-creditor law and bankruptcy.

She is an elected member of the American Law Institute. She was appointed to the Judicial Conference of the United States' Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules, where she served two consecutive terms. Professor Wiggins' current research agenda explores tensions between innovations in property ownership and theories, doctrines and policies underlying various fields in private law.

Professor Wiggins served as the law school's associate dean for academic affairs from 2006-2011 and the law school's vice dean from 2011-2016. As associate dean and then vice dean, Professor Wiggins improved the relevancy, vibrancy and accountability of the law school's academic programs during a time of unprecedented change in legal education.

"I love trying to solve the intellectual puzzles one must think hard about in order to teach effectively," says Professor Wiggins, who considers it essential to convey to students both the "big picture theories and policies, and the finer details of the doctrine. Both are vital to genuine understanding."

Professor Wiggins was named a University Professor (USD's highest faculty honor) in 2016, the Herzog Endowed Professor in 1997 and 2020 and the Class of 1975 Endowed Professor in 2009. When a vote by law students awarded Professor Wiggins the Thorsnes Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2020, it was in recognition of her extraordinary commitment to exemplary teaching. She is known by alumni and current students alike as an extremely challenging professor and trusted advisor. Professor Wiggins is an avid sports fan, counting the USD Toreros and the University of Michigan Wolverines among her favorite college teams.

— USD School of Law

Video by Allyson Meyer '16 (BA), '21 (MBA)

Learn more about Wiggins and other faculty members through the ongoing Faculty in Focus video series, featuring USD professors sharing their campus story.