Professors honored with ASUU Student Choice Teaching Award

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After serving 19 years behind bars, Bruce Goodman was released from prison when advanced DNA testing proved him innocent. Yet the state of Utah gave him no compensation, because the law doesn’t allow it.

If officials had released Goodman on parole, he would have received cash and benefits to help him get started in his new life.

Daniel Medwed, associate professor of law, shared this story and others like it in his wrongful conviction class. Third-year law student Heather Harris was inspired to try to change that law and spent time lobbying the Utah State Legislature this past session to try and accomplish her goal.

Inspiring students to change the law is just one of the many things Medwed does that resulted in his being one of six instructors to win an Associated Students of the University of Utah Student Choice Teaching Award.

“He leads a life many people strive to accomplish over a lifetime,” Harris said.

Other winners included Marshall Welch, director of the Bennion Center; Matthew Basso, of the history department; William Richards, from the College of Law; John Hollerbach, a robotics professor and Gordan Savin in the mathematics department.

“(This award) is the closest thing in this university to the students giving you a knighthood,” said University of Utah President Michael Young.

Students wrote essays to nominate instructors explaining how the teachers meet the criteria of dependability, access to students, class performance, personal experience, teaching style and motivation.

A committee of five students selected the winners after reviewing the essays.