Boyack and Dees Chosen as Professors of the Year

Photograph: Andrea BoyackWashburn Law’s class of 2015 has honored Associate Professor Andrea Boyack and Adjunct Professor Ron Dees, ’09, as the 2014-15 William O. Douglas Professor and Adjunct Professor of the Year, respectively. This award provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding instructors who motivate, challenge, and inspire excellence in students; who contribute to an understanding of and advancement in legal education; and who are respected by law students and peers alike.

“I am incredibly honored to be awarded Professor of the Year,” said Boyack. “Making a transition to teaching after a decade and a half of practice was quite a leap of faith for me, and I am just thrilled and grateful that my efforts have borne fruit. She joined the faculty at Washburn Law in 2012.

“In planning and conducting Law School courses, I have two main goals: build a bridge to practice and inspire love for the law. I include practical application exercises in all my courses and enrich the classroom experience with small group work, review games, multiple writing opportunities, and the occasional song. My classes are demanding and require significant hands-on active student participation. But, this sort of active engagement is what develops valuable practical legal skills and professional instinct.” 

Outside of classroom, Boyack strives to be an accessible, supportive, and understanding "coach." She emphasizes that she honestly wants to do her best to help students navigate Law School and optimally prepare for their future life in the law.

Boyack teaches courses in contracts, debtor/creditor relations, property, and real estate transactions. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she is co-director of the Business and Transactional Law Center. She is also involved in the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning as well as other joint pedagogical projects focused on improving teaching in law schools. Boyack has participated in Washburn Law's commercial law project in the Republic of Georgia, and was a featured presenter at Free University's 2013 Commercial Law Symposium in Tbilisi.

Photograph: Ron DeesAs an adjunct professor, Dees teaches a course in mastering legal analysis, but his connection with students goes beyond the classroom as Washburn Law’s assistant director of academic skills and bar passage. In 2010, Dees assisted with the development of Washburn Law’s Bar Pass Program as an Institute for Law Teaching and Learning fellow.

“Each student is an individual with his or her own story, hopes, dreams, and needs,” said Dees. “Making a positive difference in a student’s academic skill level, and thereby, helping improve his or her overall performance is what it’s all about. Seeing students improve and succeed is my greatest reward. I am sincerely honored to receive this award because it comes from the students. They are why I do what I do.”

Dees has also participated in the American Bar Association's Counsel on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) as a lecturer in 2011, and as the Midwest Regional Academic consultant in 2012 and 2013. He has lectured on expert learning strategies and essay writing for the CLEO program in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago. Dees has also published articles on law teaching and bar exam preparation on the Law School Academic Support Blog and in The Law Teacher.

Boyack and Dees have made a positive and long-lasting impact on the lives of Washburn Law students. They will be honored for their achievements at Washburn Law’s Commencement ceremonies on May 16, 2015, and will be acknowledged in Vol. 54, No. 3 of the Washburn Law Journal.