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2007 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

04/25/2007 - A professor who receives a round of applause upon walking into the classroom. A professor admired for her ability to transform oral advocacy from an intimidating obstacle to an empowering achievement. A professor acknowledged for his ability to teach students not only how to think, but how to think just so. Each phrase aptly describes the caliber of legal educators at the College of Law and, particularly, the 2007 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients: Professor A. Christopher Bryant, Professor of Law; Professor Rachel Smith, Research and Writing Professor; and Professor Adam Steinman, Assistant Professor of Law.

Christopher Bryant, Professor of Law
Called a master of the Socratic Method, Professor A. Christopher Bryant is a unique educator who can effectively teach Constitutional Law while referencing rock-n-roll singer John Cougar Mellencamp. Known for his vast knowledge of legal material and scholarly wit, Professor Bryant works hard to ensure that his most difficult topics are thoroughly understood by students. If he is unable to impart a thorough understanding of a subject to students, he makes a point of sorting through any lingering issues with them after class. When nominating him one student wrote, "Many students leave Professor Bryant's classroom giving him a simple yet superb complement That is a law professor.'"

Professor Rachel Smith, Research and Writing Professor
A well-honed skill at recognizing and responding to students' strengths and weaknesses to assist them in understanding the curriculum marks Professor Rachel Smith. Since joining the law school in 2004 she has had a profound effect on students. "Professor Smith makes us better advocates, more articulate at the podium, and more expressive and compelling brief writers... stated one student's nomination letter. She is recognized for her ability to incorporate her extensive professional experience and vast substantive knowledge of the law into problems, bringing a sense of reality and challenge to the classroom. Professor Smith's commitment to students and their success extends beyond those in her class. Her open door policy, professional advice on career decisions, and support of student programs and events are additional reasons she is recognized with this award.

Professor Adam Steinman, Assistant Professor of Law
A deep understanding of the intricacies of his subject matter coupled with an ability to relate material using humor, wit and an extensive knowledge of "curiously law-related lyrics from the pop-culture music scene," describe Professor Adam Steinman. As one student wrote in a nomination letter, "Professor Steinman has given new meaning to the words Civil Procedure.'" An energetic and personable teaching style encourages students to participate in class and empowers them to continue the discussion of complex Federal Rules...in the cafeteria! Professor Steinman teaches a variety of classes for first-year and upper-level classes; his effect has been so positive that many choose to take subsequent classes with him based on his teaching ability and class presence. As one student commented in a nomination letter, "You want to attend class because its fun and you know Professor Steinman cares about you."

The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients-their professors. To make this decision the committee considers the professor's research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.