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Art Historian, Criminal Law Expert Named Top Teachers

February 05, 2009

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.

Ben David: Undergraduate Teacher of the Year

In April, students in the College of Arts and Sciences named Benjamin David, associate professor of art, Teacher of the Year.

“Ben doesn’t merely value student input; he uses it. Questions do not only influence his lectures; they determine them,” said senior Max Fulton, who introduced David at the Teacher of the Year ceremony. “Ben always comes through with buoyancy, balance, and brilliance.”

David, who also serves as chair of the art department, joined Lewis & Clark in 2005. He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in art history from New York University. His areas of specialization include Italian Renaissance painting and manuscript illumination, late medieval art, theories of narrative, and visualization of Dante’s Divine Comedy. He is currently writing a book titled Practices of Narrative in Italian Renaissance Painting and Illumination.

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

John Kroger: Law School’s Leo Levenson Award

For the third time in four years, John Kroger, associate professor of law, has won the Leo Levenson Award for Teaching Excellence. However, it will be his last teaching award for a while because he was elected Oregon’s attorney general this fall and will be leaving the law school in January.

“In John’s classes, you not only learn the law, you learn how to engage the law,” said graduating law student Micah Steinhilb, as he announced Kroger’s award during commencement in May. “He challenges students to look beyond textbook answers and to see the law not as a series of rules to be memorized and regurgitated, but as a dynamic process that we will all take part in as lawyers.”

Kroger earned his B.A. and M.A. from Yale and his J.D. from Harvard Law School. He joined the law school faculty in 2002. Prior to teaching at Lewis & Clark, Kroger served as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, successfully prosecuting more than 200 federal criminal cases involving the Mafia, public corruption, and narcotics trafficking.

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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