Cincinnati Law Professors Honored at University Faculty Awards Celebration
The University of Cincinnati presented its All-University Faculty Awards to 15 faculty members and one team in a celebration of teaching excellence on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. Three College of Law faculty members were honored.
Professor Emily Houh, the Gustavus Henry Wald Professor of the Law and Contracts | Co-director, Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice
Presented with: the Distinguished Teaching Professor. This award represents the highest level of recognition for achievements and contributions in university teaching. It recognizes long-term commitment to excellence, and is awarded to instructors who represent the ideals of the educational profession and have made impactful contributions in teaching, curricular development, and the mentoring and supervision of students.
When Emily Houh, JD, first began teaching, her father, a university math professor known for his seemingly never-ending well of patience, offered her sage advice that’s come to be a guiding principal in how she approaches education.
In every class you teach, regardless of how good or bad a teacher you are, Houh’s father told her, there will be 10 percent of the class who will get the material and 10 percent who will not. The challenge, he said, is how to reach the 80 percent of students for whom it will matter how good of a teacher you are.
“You have to pay attention to the students at the ends, but you’ve got to pitch mostly to those in the middle, and it’s really challenging to do all three of those things simultaneously,” said Houh. “That advice carries me through in all of my teaching. That’s how you reach the most students.”
Reaching students across the spectrum has never been a challenge for Houh, say her students, who consistently give her among the highest teaching ratings and thrice awarded her the college’s Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence. Two students even asked Houh to officiate their weddings.
Beyond the classroom, Houh works tirelessly to bring innovative programming to campus and create unique professional opportunities for students through her role as co-director of the college’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.
Colleague Professor Kristin Kalsem, whose office is next to Houh’s, sees the dedicated law professor’s commitment to student success on a daily basis in the hours she spends with students — both current and former — discussing papers, exams, careers or just life.
“Professor Houh does much more than share her knowledge; she shares herself,” said Kalsem. “She is outstanding in the classroom, but truly extraordinary outside it.”
Janet Moore, Associate Professor of Law
Presented with: Mrs. A.B. "Dolly" Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award recognizes individuals committed to excellence in teaching, demonstrating creativity, respect for diverse opinions and experiences, and provides an atmosphere that fosters self-confidence, positive self-concept and mutual respect.
When the UC College of Law first asked Janet Moore, JD, to teach classes, the capital defense attorney and policy advocate decided to test a hypothesis: “Would I be able to accomplish more system change from this position than I was doing by case-by-case litigation or policy research and advocacy?”
It wasn’t long before Moore, now a law professor at UC, had her answer.
“I still get to do that policy-oriented research and advocacy, but now I get to teach it,” she said. “It’s such an honor to be a part of raising up the next generation of change-makers.”
For Moore, it’s that tireless dedication to pursuing justice that’s earned her a reputation as an exceptional educator who devotes an incredible amount of her time both in and outside of the classroom to ensure student engagement and success.
Students regularly say that Moore’s classes are among the most challenging — and memorable — of their law school careers.
Students prosecute houseplants and question stuffed animals on the witness stand. Lesson plans are supplemented with vintage film clips, card games and the opera Don Giovanni. Classes sing the Federal Rules of Evidence recorded to the tune of nursery rhymes.
Last year, Moore allowed first-year law students to work with her on an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which cited the brief in its majority opinion — an experience the jubilant students described as “surreal,” “profound,” and the “highlight” of their year.
“Janet is a professor who sets high expectations for her students, balancing both joy and rigor in the classroom. Her classes reflect the kind of deep learning that represents the highest standards of teaching,” said Verna Williams, the college’s interim dean and Nippert Professor of Law.
Professor Michael Solimine and Professor Emily Houh
Inductees: Fellows of the Graduate School
Professor Michael Solimine, the Donald P. Klekamp Professor of Law, and Professor Emily Houh also were inducted as Fellows of the Graduate School. This honor recognizes distinguished researchers and scholars from across the university. In addition to their outstanding individual accomplishments, Fellow are among the most accomplished graduate-student mentors at UC.
Writer: Rachel Richardson, UC Public Relations