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Professors Acharya and Stewart awarded Schulich Law's top teaching honours
At Schulich Law, we are known for our dedicated professors who give students an outstanding legal education, while making them feel supported in the classroom and beyond. This past year, in response to a global pandemic, we saw classes move online and students and faculty make significant adjustments to everyday life. Our award recipients left a lasting impression on their students during these unprecedented times.
DLAA & LSS Award for Excellence in Teaching Law – Nayha Acharya
This award is given in recognition and appreciation of excellence in teaching demonstrated by enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and outstanding service to students. Nominations are made by current law students and a recipient is selected by a committee comprised of students and alumni.
Professor Nayha Acharya has an understanding of what it is like to be both a student and teacher at Schulich Law, and it shows in her deep affection for her students. After earning her LLM and PhD here, she became a Professor in 2019.
“I come from a tradition that recognizes the relationship between student and teacher as sacrosanct,” says Acharya. “I feel that the crux of teaching is trust, care, and mutual affection. If those features are present in a teacher-student relationship, then everything else falls into place. This award gave me great joy in the realization that my students felt my care.” She remembers teachers that impacted her life, not only because of the knowledge they imparted, but also because of the authenticity in their manner of relating. She strives to be for others what those teachers have been for her.
This award gave me great joy in the realization that my students felt my care.”
Acharya says that her Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) course in Fall 2020, which most of her nominators were part of, was very special to her because of how intimate the group became through sharing their thoughts on conflict and disputes, law and the legal system, and pandemic life.
“Professor Acharya went above and beyond to make sure that each of us had her support, by making it clear that she was there for us whether or not it related to the ADR course,” says Hannah Davis, third-year student and nominator. “At least a small section of every synchronous class was dedicated to checking in on us. We would have a conversation about how we were doing, what our concerns were, and what we might do to get additional help where needed. She also followed up every single class with an email that was extremely calming and reassuring, as she often included a little confidence boost or nice message to keep us going.”
Hannah and Harold Barnett Excellence in Teaching Award – Brandon Stewart
The Hannah and Harold Barnett Excellence in Teaching Award is given by the Law Students’ Society to recognize a professor who teaches first-year law. Each first-year section collectively puts forward a nomination, and a winner is chosen by a committee of students. This year the winner was nominated by not just one section, but two!
“When I joined the Schulich Law community, I was excited but not sure what to expect when I learned that I would be teaching 120 first-year students online during a pandemic,” says Professor Brandon Stewart. “What I have discovered is a 1L community that is engaged, enthusiastic and resilient and it has been a pleasure to witness and support their growth over the past seven months.”
What I have discovered is a 1L community that is engaged, enthusiastic and resilient and it has been a pleasure to witness and support their growth over the past seven months.”
Stewart explains that he has tried his best to re-create his classroom virtually, so his student get the most out of their 1L experience. He is also always mindful of teaching in a way that supports his students’ well-being and success. His mantra is “excellence without suffering".
“Professor Stewart is incredibly straightforward when explaining both the course concepts and his expectations from students. He is clear about what we need to know, and provides succinct and helpful explanations of ideas,” says one of his nominators. “His whiteboard note–taking structure in class makes it easy to follow along and obvious what the most important ideas are. I greatly appreciate how direct he is as a teacher, and I genuinely feel as though he is there to help students.”
Congratulations to Professor Acharya and Professor Stewart on their awards and a special thank you to all of our faculty for their hard work and dedication!
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