2014 teachers of the year

Why do we come to the UW? To learn. Lucky for us, we had the chance to meet the exceptional teachers honored here. They didn’t just teach us course material or put us on the path to a career. They inspired us. Challenged us. Pushed us. Opened our minds. Made us be our best. Today, we salute these hard-working, creative souls who give students the best education found anywhere on the planet.

Elizabeth Porter

Assistant Professor, School of Law

I was a high school teacher before becoming a professor. My first day was terrifying. Twenty years later, my first day as a law professor was also terrifying. I still feel like I’m leaping off of a cliff at the beginning of every course.

Donald Chinn

Associate Professor, Technology, UW Tacoma

In part, what makes a great teacher is the ability to instill a love for knowledge in general and a respect for the process by which knowledge is created and understood—discussion, debate, argument and critique. I want students to learn how to make knowledge and learning “their own” by developing their own voice.

Moon-Ho Jung

Associate Professor, History

There are great stakes involved in how we frame and pursue knowledge. More practically, I strive to encourage and enable students to think critically and to write convincingly.

Tom Halverson

S. Sterling Munro Public Service Teaching Award; Professor, College of Education

I think the field may have chosen me! Both my parents were teachers, and my sister became a teacher as well, and while I fought it for a few years following an undergraduate degree in psychology, I succumbed to its pull when I went back to get an MEd at WWU—and have been exceptionally happy ever since!

Margaret O’Mara

Associate Professor, History

After college, I had no choice but to move back in with my parents. Home was Little Rock, the year was 1992, and the governor was running for president. I went down to campaign headquarters to volunteer, and as luck would have it they had a job for me—in the mailroom. I took it, and ultimately ended up working in the White House.

Matt McGarrity

Senior Lecturer, Communication

Coming to UW was the turning point in my life and career. Being a lecturer at a major university has allowed me to position myself as someone who teaches classes on campus, but also serves as a public resource to the citizens of Washington.

Lance Forshay

Senior Lecturer, Linguistics

When I was in 2nd grade, I helped a classmate who was struggling with his math class work. He understood after my explanations and the teacher was impressed. She said, “maybe you will become a teacher one day.”

Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen

Professor, School of Social Work

Teaching is my passion. I ensure that the classroom is both challenging and inviting so that students feel safe to question their own assumptions.

Benjamin Gardner

Assistant Professor, Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell

I want students to question the common sense framing of issues and be able to critically evaluate and analyze everything they encounter. I hope my students use their knowledge to actively shape their lives and the lives of others.

Gaetano Borriello

Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award; Professor, Computer Science & Engineering

“Gaetano once told me that he treats every student as a peer. He sees graduate students as our future colleagues, and therefore he treats them with the respect and collegiality that a colleague would deserve. This is true at every level—graduate student, undergraduate, or high-school student – all are potential future colleagues and deserve the same respect.” — Prof. Henry M. Levy