After eight years, Eric Janus plans to step down in 2015 as president and dean of William Mitchell College of Law.

Janus, who has taught at the St. Paul law school for 30 years, plans to return to the classroom, the college announced Wednesday.

Janus, 68, said he is “looking forward to teaching and interacting daily with our students.”

The board of trustees said it would begin a national search for his successor.

“Eric’s contributions to Mitchell’s accelerating success are world class,” Stephen Bonner, the board’s chairman, said in a news release Wednesday.

He thanked Janus for his “visionary leadership” at a time when legal education “has entered an exciting transformation.”

In recent years, law schools throughout the country have been struggling with declining enrollment in the face of a tight job market for lawyers. William Mitchell has followed that pattern, dropping from over 1,000 students in 2011 to 809 last year.

Last fall, Mitchell became the first accredited law school to announce plans to offer a hybrid online law degree program, which will allow students to take most of their coursework online. The program will start in January. Janus also helped lead a $22 million fundraising campaign for scholarships and other programs.

Janus said he would stay on until his replacement arrives and take a year’s sabbatical before returning to teaching full time. He is known as a scholar on psychiatry and the law, and he is the author of a book on the treatment of sexual predators: “Failure to Protect: America’s Sexual Predator Law and the Rise of the Preventive State.”