Harris Earns UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award

June 27, 2022
Cheryl Harris
Cheryl Harris

UCLA School of Law professor Cheryl Harris has won the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award for 2022, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in the classroom.

The UCLA Academic Senate has presented the award since 1961 “to increase awareness of UCLA’s leadership in teaching and public service by honoring individuals who bring respect and admiration to teaching, at UCLA.” Each year, only six faculty members across the UCLA campus are so recognized. In addition to the honor for members of the university’s tenure-track faculty, awards go to leading lecturers and teaching assistants, and in 2022, UCLA Law lecturer Justin Bernstein won the award for non-tenure-track teachers.

Harris is the 33rd member of the UCLA Law community to earn this campus-wide accolade.

She teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights, employment discrimination, critical race theory, and race conscious remedies. In 2018, she received the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching, the law school’s top teaching honor.

A leading national voice in civil rights law and critical race theory, Harris joined UCLA Law in 1998 and is the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor of Law. She is a founding faculty member of the law school’s trailblazing Critical Race Studies program and a widely published scholar. Her 1993 Harvard Law Review article “Whiteness as Property” stands as a landmark in the field. In 2021, she became the law school’s inaugural vice dean for community, equality, and justice.

“In this current moment, as we confront the intense challenges of the pandemic, ongoing inequality, and torrents of disinformation, teaching has never been more difficult, more meaningful, or more rewarding, and I am deeply appreciative of receiving this honor now,” Harris says.

Harris earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and J.D. from Northwestern University’s law school.

In a message to the UCLA Law community following the announcement of Harris’s award, then-Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin described Harris as “a treasured member of our faculty” who drew a standing-room-only crowd for the celebration of her receipt of the law school’s Rutter Award four years ago.

“Professor Harris is more than a towering figure in legal scholarship and the academy. She is a towering figure in the careers and lives of untold numbers of students and colleagues, past and present,” Mnookin said.

“In supporting her for this award, a great many members of our community emphasized the value that Professor Harris brings to our law school, as a listener, a builder, and a doer – someone who keeps the best interests of her students, colleagues, and community at the center, at all times,” Mnookin said. “We are so fortunate to have her in the UCLA Law family, and I am absolutely delighted that the UCLA Academic Senate has given her this well-deserved award.”

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