Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Page 3


Southwestern Law School Honors Three for ‘Excellence in Teaching’


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Southwestern officials on Friday announced that professors Karen R. Smith, Butler D. Shaffer and Christine Chorba have been selected to receive the law school’s 2011 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Dean Bryant Garth remarked that he was “gratif[ied] to see these honors going to professors who embody the kind of commitment to teaching excellence and student support that we so highly value.”

Established in 1997, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are designed to reinforce the belief that the day-to-day teaching of students is of primary importance, the schol said in a reaease.  The recipients are selected nominations submitted by members of the Southwestern community by the SBA Board and then voted on by students.

This year marks the fifth time—and third consecutive year—that Smith, who has been teaching at Southwestern since 1982, has received an Excellence in Teaching Award, officials said.

Her course list includes Advanced Criminal Procedure; Constitutional Criminal Procedure; Criminal Law; Defenses in the Law; and Interviewing, Counseling and Negotiating, as well as multiple courses in the SCALE ® Program.

Comments from voters, released by the school, praised Smith as someone who “truly exemplifies the characteristics that make a great teacher,” “is always available for discussions, whether during her traditional office hours or otherwise,” and “engages students in class by bringing in her own stories during her time in practice, and she takes the time to make sure all her students understand the minute distinctions in the law.”

Shaffer joined Southwestern’s faculty in 1977 and teaches courses in Administrative Law, Antitrust Law, Informal Systems of Order Seminar, Property and Property Transactions Practice, as well as multiple courses in the SCALE® Program.

One voter said that Shaffer’s “ability to engage students in the material and his dedication to making sure the topics are crystal clear have been so helpful for someone who has never had any prior legal experience.”

Another predicted that the professor’s “method of approaching any legal question will stay with me throughout the rest of my classes in law school, and I am confident that I will do well, solely because of his teaching methods.”

Chorba, who began teaching at Southwestern in 2004 as an adjunct, is the director of the law school’s Writing Center and teaches an intersession course in Appellate Process and Opinion Drafting.

One voter reflected that “[i]f all academia were infused with such professors, how could any student fail? It is her supportive and inspiring passion that makes every student of hers want to succeed. My writing style definitely improved!”


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