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Poet, Law Prof Excel as Teachers

September 08, 2010

  • Mary Szybist
    Mary Szybist
  • Paula Abrams
    Paula Abrams
Each year, students from the College of Arts and Sciences and Lewis & Clark Law School reflect on the extraordinary teaching of their respective professors and select one for top teaching honors.


Mary Szybist: Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

In April, students in the College of Arts and Sciences named Mary Szybist, assistant professor of English, Teacher of the Year.

“I’ve always enjoyed poetry, but because of Mary, I have come to love it,” wrote Larkin Flora B.A. ’10 in her nomination letter. “Mary’s passion for poetry is contagious, and anyone who has heard her read one of the greats, say Wallace Stevens, aloud knows how she weaves her spell.”

Szybist is the author of Granted (2003), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. She recently received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was one of two recipients of the 2009 Witter Bynner Award, selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan for the Library of Congress. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.

The Teacher of the Year is named each year by members of the Pamplin Society of Fellows, who solicit nominations from undergraduate students.

Paula Abrams: Law School’s Leo Levenson Award

Paula Abrams, Jeffrey Bain Faculty Scholar and professor of law, won the law school’s Leo Levenson Award for Teaching Excellence.

“Professor Abrams is brilliant, caring, and a wonderful facilitator of intelligent discussions,” said a student nominator. “She handles sensitive/controversial issues in a respectful and fair manner.” Another student noted her ability to “provoke discussion” and encourage “application of what we had learned outside of class.”

Abrams earned her J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall). She teaches and publishes in the field of constitutional law and is also interested in population policy.

The law school’s teaching award is named for Leo Levenson, who was a distinguished Oregon attorney and a highly respected instructor at the law school for many years. It is presented annually to a faculty member selected by the graduating class.

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