Strickland earned his B.A. at Northeastern State University before getting his J.D. from the University of Virginia, M.A. from the University of Arkansas, and S.J.D. from the University of Virginia. After graduation, Strickland joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas School of Law and following it taught law at St. Mary's University, the University of Tulsa, the University of West Florida, the University of Washington, and at the University of Wisconsin. In 1985 he became dean at the Southern Illinois University School of Law and from 1990 to 1995 served as director of the Center for the Study of American Indian Law and Policy, before becoming professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. This was followed by a dean position at the same university and from 1997 to 2002, he also served as dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.
- Jen Woods. "The Life and Career of Rennard Strickland: Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of Oregon School of Law". Law Crossing. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
- "Rennard Strickland". University of Oklahoma College of Law. Retrieved December 8, 2019.