Oregon Law announces outstanding faculty teaching award recipient


Rebekah Hanley

2020 Orlando John Hollis Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award

Senior Legal Research and Writing (LRW) Professor Rebekah Hanley has been named the recipient of the 2020 Orlando John Hollis Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award.  

The award was established in 1990 by an endowment gift from Wallace and Ellen Kaapcke in honor of Orlando John Hollis. It is awarded annually to an outstanding teacher at the law school who displays excellence in classroom instruction.

Hanley joined Oregon Law’s faculty in 2004 and has spent over fifteen years teaching in the nationally ranked LRW Program. Looking back on her time at the law school, she says that there are many aspects of teaching and working with students that she loves.

“I appreciate having the opportunity to listen—in class, office conferences, or even hallway conversations—as students explain complicated concepts to one another,” Hanley said. “That kind of collaboration helps students confirm and deepen their learning.  It helps them develop confidence.  And it helps them build critical communication skills along with community.  Those are some of the special moments I get to witness.”

The connection that Hanley has with her students both inside and outside of the classroom was noted multiple times during the award nomination process. 

One colleague wrote, “Rebekah teaches not only analysis, research, writing, and citation, but also growth mindset, resilience, and professionalism.”  The faculty member also noted that Hanley’s excellence extends beyond the classroom. “She proactively asks about students’ goals and opens doors for them whenever possible,” her colleague noted. “This type of effort goes beyond advising and demonstrates the kind of ‘next level mentoring’ that Rebekah routinely provides to law students.”  

Classes with Hanley:

Law 649
Legal Profession
Law 622
Legal Research & Writing
Law 623
Legal Research & Writing II
Law 607
Intensive Writing


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“Much of my work would be quite dull without my daily interaction with students. And students’ curiosity is contagious: their thoughtful questions frequently prompt me to re-examine things I’ve long taken for granted.” 
Rebekah Hanley

The colleague’s statement was echoed by one student who said, “Professor Hanley has gone above and beyond to provide an outstanding 1L LRW experience. She works tirelessly to provide personalized feedback to all of her students. She wants everyone to succeed and grow.” 

This “growth mindset” is something that Hanley herself takes to heart. She says that she learns from her students every day. 

 “Much of my work would be quite dull without my daily interaction with students,” Hanley said. “Their experiences, perspectives, and passions inform their classroom comments and written work.  And students’ curiosity is contagious: their thoughtful questions frequently prompt me to re-examine things I’ve long taken for granted.” 

Teaching during the coronavirus pandemic

Even with the transition to teaching remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hanley’s dedication to students hasn’t waned. In fact, for her, it is all the more reason to stay connected to her students. She says that she tries to help students adjust to the remote teaching environment by highlighting the positive.   

“The COVID-19 crisis required us all to quickly learn as much as possible about relevant technology and best practices for distance education, just like lawyers often need to quickly learn about a client’s problem and the law that governs it,” Hanley said. “So, the move to remote learning served as a unique teachable moment--an unexpected one that helped students practice flexibility and develop resilience.” 

One student remarked, “Her devotion to our well-being was only amplified when we made the transition to remote learning, and through her constant communication and transparency with us, she helped us navigate these uncertain times.”  

Get to Know Rebekah Hanley




What teacher made the most impact on you? 
When I was a law student, my Dean of Students encouraged me to pursue the opportunity to design and lead an undergraduate seminar. I had already served as a law school teaching assistant, but assuming sole responsibility for a course—from syllabus design to final grades--challenged me in new and exciting ways.  The deep rewards of that work prompted me to pursue law school teaching as a profession. 
What book are you reading?  
I have a giant stack of books I would love to plow through this summer. Usually I like fiction, but recently I’ve been more drawn to non-fiction. I put aside Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, by Stephanie Land, to read Ibram Kendi’s How to Be an Anti-Racist. I’ve also been reading shorter works by a variety of authors to expand my exposure to diverse voices. 
Do you have a hobby?  
I’m not sure I have a “hobby” so much as I have a few “interests,” like reading, cooking, hiking, traveling, and carrying on conversations with my dog. I also really enjoy tap dancing, which I began at age three. Though my tap dancing career peaked the next year (when I was featured as the youngest in a large group that danced its way into the Guinness Book of World Records), I do still dance on occasion, and it brings me great joy. 

By Rayna Jackson, School of Law Communications