To say that Rachel Barkow, Segal Family Professor of Regulatory Law and Policy and faculty director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law, is beloved by her students is an understatement. Inspirational, life-changing, encouraging, and patient are just a few of the adjectives current and former students use to describe their teacher and mentor. This past spring, Barkow’s achievements as a teacher were formally recognized when she received NYU’s Distinguished Teaching Award, which is given to outstanding faculty members across the university who have made a significant contribution to NYU’s intellectual life through teaching.
Students, faculty, and alumni submit nominations, which are then examined by NYU’s All-University Selection Committee, which makes the final decision. Winners of the award receive $5,000 and a medal in recognition of their outstanding teaching accomplishments.
Barkow, who teaches courses in administrative law and criminal law, is renowned among her students for her accessibility and mentorship. “For Professor Barkow, teaching isn’t just a necessary part of her job description; it’s her passion. She takes a keen interest in her students and invests in their personal and professional development,” wrote Alex Levy ’14 in his nomination, adding that Barkow is “the kind of educator who expands horizons, brings clarity to otherwise dense subjects, and mentors students for years after they’ve left her classroom.”
Nicholas Bagley ’05, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, took Barkow’s Advanced Administrative Law class when he was a student at NYU Law, and he credits this course with shaping his future career in legal academia. “It’s no exaggeration to say that Advanced Administrative Law, in Rachel’s hands, was gripping. So much so, in fact, that it cemented my own desire to become a professor of administrative law,” said Bagley in his letter of support for Barkow’s nomination. “I can say categorically that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today were it not for Rachel’s class.”
The care and attention that Barkow gives to her students is particularly remarkable given her own impressive range of commitments. Just this spring, President Barack Obama nominated Barkow to the US Sentencing Commission. Confirmed in June, Barkow will serve on the commission through October 2017. Luckily, this position will not conflict with her role as a professor at the Law School. Even with this added responsibility, Barkow will continue to teach, mentor, and inspire students of criminal and administrative law.
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