Grant and Westbrook Chosen as Professors of the Year

Photograph: Professor Emily GrantWashburn Law’s graduating class of 2016 has honored Associate Professor Emily Grant and Professor Amy Deen Westbrook as the 2015-16 William O. Douglas Professors of the Year. 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.

Professor Grant joined Washburn Law in 2011, and teaches courses in legal writing and estates and trusts. She is also a co-director of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, an organization committed to improving the quality of teaching and learning in legal education.

“It is a tremendous honor and a huge surprise to be named as one of the Professors of the Year by the Class of 2016,” said Grant. “It's very validating to have my efforts in the classroom recognized and appreciated by the very people I'm trying to serve.”

Grant’s goal is to make her classes fun and relevant. “Learning isn't always a joy, but if I can engage my students in the classroom with positive energy (and sometimes bad jokes or 80s hair band music), then I can help them have a better mindset and be more open to the educational process,” said Grant. 

“It's also vitally important to me that I demonstrate for the students how exactly what they're learning will be useful and relevant once they enter the working world,” emphasized Grant. “I talk about situations in "the real world" where they will use the knowledge and skills that I'm trying to teach, which hopefully can help them put their learning into context both in the classroom and in a job setting.”

Westbrook, the Kurt M. Sager Memorial Distinguished Professor of International and Commercial Law, joined Washburn Law in 2009. Her teaching and research focus on financial, international, and transactional subjects. Her current endeavors center on various anti-corruption initiatives, particularly whistleblower bounty programs.  Westbrook continues her longstanding work relating to executive compensation, as well as her research into director fiduciary duties.

Photograph: Professor Amy Westbrook“I am honored to receive the Professor of the Year award,” said Westbrook. “The Class of 2016 is an amazing group of young lawyers who will make important contributions to the practicing bar. This class includes students who have run large organizations, volunteered for hundreds of hours, completed the demanding requirements to obtain certificates in nine different areas of specialization, and obtained dual degrees with several of our graduate schools. It also includes two highly qualified non-U.S. LLM students who have specialized in U.S. and International Corporate and Commercial Law.” 

“Thanks to Washburn’s unique learning environment, I have had the opportunity to get to know many of these students,” said Westbrook. 

Westbrook credits Washburn Law’s strong commitment to teaching every student, and to preparing them for the practice of law, for the reason she teaches here. “I am proud to say that I am confident in the abilities, the professionalism, and the commitment of these students to making the world a better place.”

Grant and Westbrook were honored for their achievements at Washburn Law’s Commencement on May 14, 2016, and a related article appears in Vol. 55, No. 3 of the Washburn Law Journal.