Oregon Law's Professor McKinley recipient of UO's Distinguished Teacher Award

Provost Jayanth Banavar and Dean Marcilynn Burke present Michelle McKinley with the Distinguished Teaching Award

Each year, the University of Oregon recognizes a select group of faculty for excellence in teaching through the Distinguished Teacher Award. Michelle McKinley, the School of Law’s Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law, was named recipient of this year’s prestigious Thomas F.Herman Award for Specialized Pedagogy in Undergraduate Legal Studies.

McKinley, who has taught undergraduate and law students about Immigration and Citizenship, Human Rights and Culture, Public International Law, and Gender and Justicefor more than 10 years, was presented the award at the School of Law.

UO Provost and Senior Vice President Jayanth Banavar, who bestowed the award during a surprise visit, noted that Professor McKinley was being recognized for her work in creating “collaborative and inclusive learning environments across our campus.”  

“You have even taken this work beyond your classroom to help colleagues improve their teaching through workshops with the Teaching Engagement Program and the Provost’s Summer Teaching Academy,” said Provost Banavar in his direct remarks to McKinley.

Provost Banavar further noted that although McKinley often teaches politically charged topics, she uses them “to help students reflect upon their own opinions and think beyond the literal letter of the law.” He additionally commented that “Through legal topics she not only invites marginalized voices into the classroom but helps students find their own voices.”

One of McKinley’s students gave feedback affirming her impact in the classroom.

“Professor McKinley is a professor who challenges her students to work harder, think more critically, and to develop more empathy for others,” said the student. “She is constructive without ever being demanding, a balance that other professors sometimes struggle to achieve. I am thankful to have been able to take this course with someone who has as much legal experience and someone who has as much empathy for her clients as she does.”

Previous Oregon Law Recipients

The Thomas F. Herman Award for Specialized Pedagogy

  • 2016 Elizabeth Ruiz Frost, for Legal Research and Writing
  • 2014 Suzanne Rowe, for Legal Writing and Research

The Ersted Award For Distinguished Teaching

  • 2012 Jennifer W. Reynolds
  • 2004 Michael L. Moffitt, Elizabeth Reis
  • 1994 Mary C. Wood 

The Thomas F. Herman Faculty Achievement Award for Distinguished Teaching

  • 1992 Dominick Vetri

About the Award

The Herman Award for Specialized Pedagogy recognizes senior career instructional or tenure track faculty, teaching for at least an average of .5 FTE across the academic year, who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and expertise in a particular area of teaching. Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • specialized instructional environments (e.g. large-classes; advanced, small-seminar teaching; studios; or labs) 
  • pedagogical advancements (such as innovative instruction or curriculum design)
  • enrichment of the student learning experience (e.g., extensive mentoring of undergraduate or graduate students, engaging undergraduates in research, creating avenues for equity and inclusion, or developing skills in public presentation).

Winners of the Herman Award for Specialized Pedagogy receive a $5,000 award.

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