SWLAW Blog | Awards & Honors

Catherine Carpenter, John Hellman and Larraine Segil win 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award

March 18, 2016

Vice Dean Carpenter and Professors Heilman and Segil Receive 2016 Excellence in Teaching Awards from Southwestern Law School

Southwestern Law School is pleased to announce that Vice Dean Catherine Carpenter, Professor John Heilman, and Professor Larraine Segil have been selected to receive the law school’s 2016 Excellence in Teaching Awards.

Dean Susan Prager said, “Southwestern’s faculty has a longstanding commitment to excellence, and it is satisfying to see these honors going to professors who embody the kind of commitment to outstanding teaching and student support that we so highly value.”

Vice Dean Catherine Carpenter
Vice Dean Catherine Carpenter ‘76 has been recognized for her superior work as a First-Year Professor (a faculty member who teaches first-year– or 1L– students). A nationally recognized expert on law school curricula, Dean Carpenter ‘76 joined Southwestern’s faculty in 1980. She teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Law Seminar: Sex Crimes, and Defenses in the Law. In presenting this honor, SBA Vice President Nadia Merzi said that students who endorsed Dean Carpenter called her, “an exceptional professor who clearly loves to teach.” Dean Carpenter was praised for the detailed feedback given on practice essays. “In the high-stress environment that is law school, this professor helped ease students’ transition into law school as a great mentor with an excellent delivery of material and personal interaction with students.”

Professor John Heilman
For the fourth consecutive year, Professor John Heilman has been singled out for his outstanding teaching abilities. This time, he has been selected for his work as an Upper Division Professor. Professor Heilman joined Southwestern’s faculty in 2012 and teaches Contracts, Criminal Law and Evidence. Merzi said that students praised Professor Heilman for being “a master at breaking down the most difficult of concepts into approachable issues that students can understand.” Students also said that Professor Heilman presents engaging, organized and easy to follow lectures, and that he’s approachable and personable.

Professor Larraine Segil
Professor Larraine Segil ’79, an internationally renowned senior executive, author and pioneer in the creation, implementation and management of complex business alliances, has been selected to receive the award for the Adjunct Professor category. A member of Southwestern’s Board of Trustees, Professor Segil has been teaching the Strategic Alliance course during the January Intersession since 2011. Her students said, “This professor was engaging, authentic, interesting and very accessible.” One student described her as a teacher who empowered her students. In announcing the award, Merzi said, “Professors are much more than teachers, they are role models and give guidance to students. This professor truly inspired students and gave them something to strive for.”

Established in 1997, but in its tenth year in the hands of the SBA, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are designed to reinforce the belief that the day-to-day teaching of students is of primary importance. The recipients are recognized by the student body through a unique nomination and selection process, in which members of the Southwestern Community submit names for the First-Year, Upper Division and Adjunct categories. The top nominees are chosen by the SBA Board and then voted on by students to determine the winners.