Five Professors Recognized for Their Teaching and Service to the AUWCL Community

Nov. 9, 2020

American University Washington College of Law is proud to announce five outstanding professors as winners of the law school’s annual Teaching and Service Awards. Recipients of the awards were recognized for their innovative teaching and service both in and outside of the classroom during virtual ceremony held Thursday, Nov. 5.

Excellence in Teaching Award: Professor Jenny Roberts

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The Excellence in Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching, reflected by thoughtful pedagogy, commitment to student mentoring and advising, institutional leadership focused on improving the variety, quality, and rigor of teaching at Washington College of Law.

Professor Jenny Roberts was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award with numerous nominations from colleagues and students for her service and unwavering mentorship, with glowing reviews submitted for both her teaching in the doctrinal Criminal Law course and from students within the Criminal Justice Clinic, which Roberts co-directs.

Roberts specializes in the areas of clinical legal education, criminal law and procedure, and sentencing law, and has written numerous articles on plea bargaining, misdemeanors, and collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Roberts sits on the National Research Advisory Board for the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College. Previously, she served on the board and as co-president of the Clinical Legal Education Association, the nation's largest association of law teachers.

Innovation in Pedagogy Award: Professor Fernando Laguarda

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The Innovation in Pedagogy Award recognizes exceptional creativity and innovation in instruction, including but not limited to, the use of technology.

Fernando Laguarda, professorial lecturer and faculty director of the Program on Law & Government, is creator of the class “Advanced Topics in Oversight and Accountability.” The two-credit seminar explores and analyzes the work of the Inspectors General, Office of Government Ethics, Office of Special Counsel, Government Accountability Office, and the Office of Government Ethics. As part of the seminar, students create and write content for an oversight and accountability blog, The Oversight Project.

Laguarda’s areas of expertise include antitrust law, communications and media Law, law and government, and the legislative process. Laguarda is currently on the Board of the FPF Innovation Foundation and a director of TPRC, the research conference on Internet, Telecommunications and Technology, where he previously served as board chair and program committee chair. Previously, he served as Vice President, External Affairs and Policy Counselor for Time Warner Cable.

Outstanding Service Award: Professor Michael Carroll  

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The Outstanding Service Award recognizes a faculty member’s outstanding service either outside or within the law school or university.

Professor Michael Carroll’s contributions extend to public interest advocacy and scholarship in the intellectual property community and to the AUWCL community. His external service includes being a founding member of Creative Commons, Inc., a global organization that provides free, standardized copyright licenses to enable and to encourage legal sharing of creative and other copyrighted works. He remains involved with the Creative Commons USA project at AUWCL. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Library of Science, an early open access publisher that publishes the largest science journal in the world. He also has served in various roles at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

At AUWCL, Carroll has served as faculty co-director of the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property since 2009. He has chaired and served on numerous faculty committees at the law school and as an informal IT advisor. In recent years, his service has focused on outreach to the AUWCL alumni community and support for the Office of Career and Professional Development. Carroll, who teaches and writes in the areas of intellectual property, copyright law, and cyberlaw, focuses on the balance in IP law over time in the face of emerging technologies. He is recognized as a leading advocate for open access over the Internet to the research that appears in scholarly and scientific journals and as an advocate for the creation and adoption of open educational resources.

Adjunct Teaching Award: Professors Catherine Newcombe and Joseph Kaplan (posthumous)

The Adjunct Teaching Award recognizes outstanding teaching, thoughtful pedagogy, committed student mentoring, or exceptional creativity and innovation in instruction by a member of the adjunct faculty.

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Adjunct Professor Catherine Newcombe has served as coach and professor of the AUWCL Jessup Moot Court Team and its associated course for several years with a track record of success, winning the regional competition the last three years. Newcombe currently serves as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division in the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT), and brings her passion for international law to the classroom.

At the DOJ, Newcombe oversees the Department's legal assistance programs in Eurasia, dealing with a variety of transnational criminal matters including money laundering, organized crime, corruption and trafficking in persons. Before joining the Justice Department, she managed criminal justice reform projects in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union at the American Bar Association's Central and East European Law Initiative.

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Adjunct Professor Joseph Kaplan, founding principal of Passman & Kaplan, P.C., was selected in light of glowing reviews from past students and colleagues. Students described Kaplan’s classes as “engaging,” “challenging,” “practical,” and Kaplan himself as “passionate, interesting, and extremely knowledgeable.” Kaplan often went the extra mile, picking up extra classes when other professors were unable to teach and sharing his class materials with other faculty members. Along with teaching at AUWCL, he also served as adjunct professorial lecturer in the School of Public Affairs.

Kaplan practiced primarily in the areas of employment, labor, and discrimination law, and was twice elected as the National President of the Society of Federal Labor and Employee Relations Professionals. For six years, Kaplan was the author of the Federal Merit Systems Year Book, a leading reference book on the Merit Systems Protection Board. He is also the lead editor and co-author of the Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide.