Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

May 08, 2012
Professors Hart, Aronovsky, D'Italia and Ryan Receive 2012 Excellence in Teaching Awards

Southwestern is pleased to announce that Professors Danielle K. Hart, Ronald G. Aronovsky, Alexandra D'Italia and Gabriela E. Ryan have been selected to receive the law school's 2012 Excellence in Teaching Awards. "This year, numerous thoughtful nominations were received," said Michael Friedman, President of the Student Bar Association (SBA). "The SBA was impressed by the strength of individual student observations related to the various faculty members and to learn of the many positive and significant contributions faculty are making to improve student learning and performance."

Professor Danielle HartProfessor Danielle Kie Hart

This is the second time that Professor Hart has been recognized for her work as First-Year Professor; that is, as one who teaches first-year (or 1L) students. (She also received this honor in 2010.) A member of Southwestern's faculty since 1999, she teaches Contracts, Law and Sexual Orientation Seminar, Sales, and Secured Transactions. In their written comments, students attested to Professor Hart's effective methods of instruction, saying: "Professor Hart is truly passionate about what she teaches, and that really comes out in the classroom. She doesn't sugarcoat things and not only teaches us the topic, she teaches us a more important lesson - if you want something in life, you have to work for it. She is entertaining in class, and helps keeps students engaged and interested in the material."

Professor Ronald AronovskyProfessor Ronald G. Aronovsky

Professor Aronovsky is being recognized for his efforts as an Upper Division Professor. He joined Southwestern's faculty 2003, and he teaches Alternative Dispute Resolution, Civil Procedure, Environmental Law, and for the SCALE program, Jurisdiction. Students admire his ability to convey complicated principles: "Professor Aronovsky was well versed in the material and palpably enthusiastic about it. He communicated the materials, especially the importance in practical settings and practical application, by having students act out the roles of principals, negotiators, mediators and arbitrators. Students thereby felt a sense of relevance and reality of the material. Similarly, bringing in the Vice President of major arbitration organization further underscored the significance of the material.

Professor Alexandra D'ItaliaProfessor Alexandra D'Italia

Admired for her ability to help students master the concept of Legal Writing, the Excellence in Teaching in the Adjunct Professor category has been awarded to Professor D'Italia. Her students said, "Not only is Professor D'Italia extremely knowledgeable in her subject matter, but she is able to convey this knowledge accurately and in a way that allows each student to firmly grasp the material. Legal writing can be a foreign language to any law student, but Professor D'Italia's courses allow a student to become fluent with the requisite hard-work and determination."

Professor Gabriela RyanProfessor Gabriela E. Ryan

This year, a Special Award of Recognition was presented to Professor Ryan, who joined Southwestern's faculty in 2010 as Director of Academic Support and Bar-Related Programs and Associate Professor of Law. Students were effusive about the benefits of her First-Year Academic Skills Program. "Professor Ryan is a dedicated and amazing role model, counselor, and academic advisor," they said. "As a result of her help, we have obtained meaningful academic advice. She has taught us how to outline, brief and read cases. She helped us with our time management. She is truly passionate about her work! She wants to help us so that we make Southwestern a better place for present and future Southwestern students."

Established in 1997, the Excellence in Teaching Awards are designed to reinforce Southwestern's believe that the day-to-day teaching of students is of primary importance. The recipients are recognized by the student body through a unique nomination and selection process, in which members of the Southwestern Community submit names for the First-Year, Upper Division and Adjunct categories. The top nominees are chose by the SBA Board and then vote on by students to determine the winners.