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Penn Law recognizes excellence in teaching

May 19, 2014

The University of Pennsylvania Law School has named four recipients of teaching awards for the 2013-14 academic year. They are: Tom Baker (A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course); Michael Wachter (Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching); Kedric Payne L’01 (Adjunct Teaching Award); and Tess Wilkinson-Ryan (Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence).

Tom Baker Receives the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course

Tom Baker, the William Maul Measey Professor Law and Health Sciences, joined the Penn Law faculty in 2008. A preeminent scholar in insurance law, he teaches courses on Regulation of Health Insurance Markets, Insurance Insolvency, Risk Management, Insurance Law and Policy, and Torts.

What Students Said

  • “Professor Baker is a fantastic professor. He is one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. He made class fun and interesting.”
  • “Prof. Baker demonstrated infectious enthusiasm for the material, which he presented with great clarity. He stimulated independent thought among students and encouraged productive classroom discussion through his questions and observations.”
  • “Professor Baker was just an amazing professor who ensured we learned and did an amazing job teaching and reinforcing concepts. He knows his stuff, but more importantly he makes it fun and accessible.”

Michael L. Wachter Receives the Robert A. Gorman Award for Excellence in Teaching

Michael Wachter is the William B. and Mary Barb Johnson Professor of Law and Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Law and Economics. Since joining the Penn faculty in 1970, he has held full professorships in three of Penn’s schools: Arts and Sciences, the Wharton School, and the Law School, where he became Professor of Law and Economics in 1984. He teaches courses in Corporate Law, Corporate Finance, and Corporate Theory.

What Students Said

  • “Professor Wachter is as good as they come, plain and simple.”
  •  “Prof. Wachter is not only very entertaining in class, but can easily explain more complex financial subjects.”
  • “The professor is clear, entertaining and engaging. This is my favorite class.”

Kedric L. Payne L’01 Receives the Adjunct Teaching Award

Kedric Payne L’01, Lecturer in Law, received the Adjunct Teaching Award for his course, Political Law, which focuses on issues of lobbying, campaign finance, and ethics.  A 2001 Law School graduate, Payne is the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, where he investigates ethics violations of Members and staff of Congress. Before joining the OCE, he practiced political law with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and was a litigator with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

What Students Said

  • “Great professor. Professor Payne knows this material well and teaches it with enthusiasm.”
  • “This class and Professor Payne combined to be the best class and professor experience I have had at Penn Law. He did a great job of incorporating interesting material into bland, black letter law. He is absolutely fantastic.”
  • Professor Payne takes the time to meet individually with every student to talk both about the course materials and career goals.”

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L’05 Receives the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence

By democratic vote, the Penn Law 2014 graduating class has selected Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L’05, Assistant Professor of Law and Psychology, to receive the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. Prof. Wilkinson-Ryan joined the Law School faculty in 2008 as a George Sharswood Fellow and Lecturer in Law and was appointed Assistant Professor of Law in 2010. She teaches courses in Contracts, Psychological Analysis of Legal Decision-Making, and Gender, Psychology, and Law. In 2012, she received the A. Leo Levin Award for Excellence in an Introductory Course.

What Students Said

  • “What a wonderful course. Professor Wilkinson-Ryan has a special talent for Socratic method, which is that she really listens to what students say and is able to use almost any comment to help everyone make progress. This made for an active, engaging (and fun!) learning experience.
  • “She did a really great job in making the course and cases relevant and interesting. I especially enjoyed when she brought in behavioral economics analyses to make the subjects pop. I really enjoyed going to class each day.”
  • “Prof. Wilkinson-Ryan was a wonderful professor to have for contracts. She clearly knows the subject in and out and used her background in psychology effectively in order both to help explain the reasoning behind certain concepts, or sometimes just to provide another, interesting way to think about the material. Her sense of humor helped to make class an enjoyable experience each day.”