Regulatory policy

CRF expands law school curriculum with addition of mental health and environmental policy faculty


  • Florida International University College of Law added three new adjunct professors to its faculty this week
  • Taleed El-Sabawi, John (Alex) Erwin, and Amber Polk were announced as the additions
  • The trio, who collectively specialize in mental health and addictions policy and environmental law, will help broaden the scope of study program offerings within the program

The Florida International University (FIU) College of Law expanded the scope of its program this week by adding a trio of adjunct professors specializing in mental health and addictions policy and environmental law.

Taleed El-Sabawi, John (Alex) Erwinand Amber Polk were announced Friday evening to join the FIU Law School as faculty members and will strive to expand scholarships and degree programs in their respective fields.

El-Sabawi specializes in using qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze texts, including congressional testimony, regulations, laws, media, political speeches and interview transcripts, according to a statement from the university.

“My research focuses on how policy changes are made. What motivates lawmakers, how numbers are used to influence policy, and what stories are we telling with data,” she says.

Erwin, who specializes in environmental and natural resources law, complements a field that is growing in importance in Florida. Heads of state and legislators are more frequently turning to environmental policy experts to help craft new regulations and bills.

Like Erwin, Polk’s research focuses on rights-based environmentalism as a legal, political, and moral movement. A former lecturer at Stanford University Law School, Polk will help establish environmental law studies at CRF.

“A lot of science goes into policy decisions, but there’s more to it,” says Polk. “It is often tempting to make environmental policy decisions based solely on science and some form of cost-benefit analysis, but there are other normative factors to consider, such as issues of equity, which neither can resolve.”

The additions represent a growing university-wide initiative to strengthen research and curriculum efforts. Additions to the program’s capabilities will help FIU Law School continue to rise in national rankings. Currently, FIU Law is one of the top 100 law schools in the nation and tracks only three institutions in the state – University of Florida, Florida State University, and University of Miami – in the Statewide ranking measures.

“FIU Law is delighted to have these three accomplished teachers and scholars join us. They are each proven and their work will make a vital contribution to our students and to South Florida and beyond,” said Antoine PageDean of the Faculty of Law.

CRF law graduates achieved the highest pass rate of any law school in the state on the Florida bar exam this year, marking the eighth straight year the university has achieved this feat. .

81.2% of FIU law school graduates passed the bar exam during its last administration. With the most recent results, more than 88% of FIU law graduates passed the bar exam on their first attempt – the highest pass rate of any Florida law school since 2015.

“This year’s graduates overcame many unusual challenges during their law school experience, and they should all be commended for their resilience,” said FIU Law Page. “They did it with a composure that served them well for the rest of their studies and will continue to serve them well in their professional endeavors.”