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Michael Garrison

Senior Associate Dean

  • Education
  • B.S., Economics, North Dakota State University
    J.D., Law, University of North Dakota School of Law
  • Research Interests
  • Employee non-compete agreements and trade secrets.

Michael J. Garrison, JD, is the senior associate dean and a professor in the Department of Ethics and Business Law at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. A member of the college leadership group, he is responsible for faculty, research and the quality and integrity of the academic programs, including assessment of student learning.

Garrison loves teaching and interacting with students in the classroom. He employs a modified Socratic method to engage students in the learning process, a method that challenges and guides students to reason through difficult legal and ethical issues. Garrison believes that business professionals need to be legally sophisticated. His courses are designed to instill in students a clear understanding of the legal implications of business decisions and the importance of law to business strategy. He has developed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and law, international law, advanced commercial law, negotiation, and dispute resolution.

Garrison’s current research focuses on employee non-compete agreements and trade secrets, an area of law that has important implications for businesses, employees and society in terms of the ownership of human capital. His extensive record of publications includes four articles in the American Business Law Journal, the premier scholarly journal in the business law discipline, three of which received the prestigious Ralph Hoeber Award for research excellence.

Garrison received a Bachelor of Science in economics from North Dakota State University (NDSU) in 1976 and a JD, with distinction, from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 1979. Prior to joining the business school faculty at NDSU in 1984, he practiced law, specializing in commercial litigation, a practice he continued on a part-time basis during his 20-year tenure at NDSU. He joined St. Thomas in 2006 and served as the chair of the Department of Ethics and Business before assuming the role of associate dean for faculty and scholarship in 2009.


  • Rexeisen, R. J., Owens, E. L., & Garrison, M. J. (2018). Lean six sigma and assurance of learning: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Education for Business, (93)(5), pp. 260-266
  • Garrison, M. J., & Wendt, J. T. (2015). Employee noncompetes and consideration: A proposed good faith standard for the afterthought' agreement. University of Kansas Law Review, (64)(2), pp. 409-465
  • Garrison, M. J., & Rexeisen, R. J. (2014). Faculty ownership of the assurance of learning process: Determinants of faculty engagement and continuing challenges. Journal of Education for Business, (89)(2), pp. 84-89
  • Garrison, M. J., & Wendt, J. T. (2014). Non-compete agreements made after an at-will employee has commenced employment: Toward a good faith standard for the 'afterthought' agreement. University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy, (8)(2), pp. 148-170
  • Rexeisen, R. J., & Garrison, M. J. (2013). Closing-the-loop in assurance of learning programs: Current practices and future challenges. Journal of Education for Business, (88)(5), pp. 280-285
  • Garrison, M. J., & Wendt, J. T. (2008). The evolving law of employee non-competes: Recent trends and an alternative policy approach. American Business Law Journal, (45)(1), pp. 107-186
  • Garrison, M. J., & Reitzel, J. D. (2006). Zoning restrictions and marketability of title. Real Estate Law Journal, (35), pp. 257-286
  • Garrison, M. J. (2005). Limiting the protection of employees from compelled non-compete agreements under state whistleblower laws: A critical analysis of Maw v. Advanced Clinical Communications. ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law, (20), pp. 257-290 (journal previously titled The Labor Lawyer)
  • Garrison, M. J., & Stevens, C. D. (2003). Sign this agreement not to compete or you're fired! Noncompete agreements and the public policy exception to employment at will. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, (15), pp. 103-126
  • Garrison, M. J. (2002). The contributory negligence defense and auditor liability. Midwest Law Review, (18), pp. 1-15
  • Marsnik, S. J., & Garrison, M. J. (2016). ENCYCLOPEDIA OF BUSINESS ETHICS AND SOCIETY. In Richard W. Kolb (Ed.), Trade secrets and corporate espionage. Sage
  • Reitzel, J. D., Bennett, R., & Garrison, M. J. (2002). American law of real estate. South-Western Pub. Co.

  • Best Paper Award, Pacific Southwest Academy of Legal Studies in Business, 2016
  • Senior Faculty Outstanding Paper Award, Mid-Atlantic Academy of Legal Studies, 2002

  • American Business Law Journal, Reviewer
  • Journal of Education for Business, Reviewer

  • Senior Associate Dean, University of St Thomas, (2016 - present)
  • Professor, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul / Mpls (2005 - present)
  • Associate Dean for Faculty and Scholarship, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul / Minneapolis (2009 - 2016)
  • Dept Chair - Ethics and Business Law, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul / Minneapolis (2007 - 2009)
  • Professor of Business Law, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1997 - 2005)
  • Visiting Professor of Business Law, California Polytechnic State University - Orfalea College of Business, San Luis Obispo (2003 - 2003)
  • Coordinator of Business Administration, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1997 - 1998)
  • Associate Professor of Business Law, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1990 - 1996)
  • Associate Dean, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1991 - 1993)
  • Coordinator of Accounting, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1989 - 1991)
  • Assistant Professor of Business Law, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1984 - 1989)
  • Lecturer in Business Law, North Dakota State University - College of Business Administration, Fargo (1980 - 1984)