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2006 Golman Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Thought-provoking discussions. Immeasurable impact. Raising the bar. Not just words, these phrases aptly describe the teaching skills and methods of the 2006 Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching recipients: Emily Houh, Professor of Law; Christo Lassiter, Professor of Law; and, William Rands, Professor of Law. "We celebrate and congratulate this year's recipients," said UC College of Law Dean Louis D. Bilionis. "These professors have truly distinguished themselves by their commitment to excellence in teaching—be it in the classroom, or mentoring students as they work to build their careers."

The Goldman Prize has been awarded for 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipient—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. The 2006 recipients are a distinctive group, having served UC College of Law students for as little as three years to as long as 28 years. Most importantly, their impact is unparalleled.

In just three years Professor Emily Houh has made an immeasurable impact on her students. Students note that though her courses include sometimes confusing legal issues, she pushes them to "raise the bar," inspiring them to work to their full potential. Professor Houh teaches critical race theory, contracts, sales and payment systems. Because of her effective use of the Socratic Method, clear explanations, and seamless integration of policy discussions, no student walks out of her class without having learned a great deal. In fact, one student mentioned that she has "earned the Goldman Prize several times over." Not only that, Professor Houh has earned the respect of her students.

There’s never a dull day in Professor Christo Lassiter's classroom, say his students. His teaching style merges thought-provoking questions and meaningful discussions. In such a classroom students are constantly on their toes! Professor Lassiter teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, psychiatry and law, and white collar crime. In nominating him, students cited his scholarship, capability and willingness to serve as a mentor as evidence of his excellence. In addition to his open door policy, he is always eager to help, whether judging Moot Court practice rounds or participating in panel discussions. Professor Lassiter demonstrates that he genuinely cares about his students, in the process building a following of individuals who seek out any class they can take with him.

It can be said that the worth of a true legal educator can be measured by his ability to help students understand black letter law, complex theories, and abstract principles.Professor William Rands does this and more. For over 28 years he has introduced students to potentially dry courses as corporations, corporate finance, partnership, and international taxation. However, his courses are anything but dry. Known for peppering lectures with wry jokes and humorous anecdotes drawn from personal and professional experience, Professor Rands keeps students' attention, earning their respect with his thorough knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. In the end students agree that they've learned more than most initially thought possible. Professor Rands willingly provides advice on issues as diverse as course scheduling to career paths and makes sure students can effectively apply what they've learned.

"All three recipients are outstanding teachers and mentors," said Dean Bilionis. "Their commitment to teaching is inspiring to students and their faculty colleagues as well."