Laurie Kratky Doré, the Ellis and Nelle Levitt distinguished professor of law, has been named the 2009 recipient of the Madelyn Levitt Teacher of the Year Award.
This award recognizes Doré for excellence in teaching, inspirational leadership and intellectual rigor. Doré received the award at Drake University Law School’s Commencement Ceremony on May 15.
In presenting the award, Provost Ron Troyer said students appreciate Doré’s “contagious enthusiasm” for her subject matter and her ability to explain difficult material in a way that is effective and accessible. Troyer noted that those who nominated her for the University’s top teaching award describe her as personable, prepared and having a true passion for the law.
“I aim to create an effective teaching and learning environment by communicating enthusiasm, high expectations and respect for my students,” Doré said. “A teacher must demonstrate passion and excitement for her subject, for if she appears bored or disinterested, her students will quickly follow suit.”
Doré joined Drake in 1992 after practicing law for nearly eight years. She earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1984 and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas. She also was admitted to the Iowa State Bar Association in 1996, and maintains a close affiliation with the legal profession.
“When asked to identify my occupation, I tend to respond, ‘I’m a law professor’ — a title that aptly captures my dual conception of myself. I am a lawyer who readies her students to become lawyers themselves,” Doré added.
A third-year law student said, “Doré never forgets that she is teaching the next generation of attorneys. She helped me to understand what it takes to be a leader and to know how to delegate, how to take control and how to accept responsibility.”
Doré also serves as faculty adviser for the Law School’s National Moot Court team, which finished in the top eight out of 28 teams that competed in the national finals of the 59th Annual National Moot Court Competition earlier this year. The team’s brief was judged as Third Best Brief in the national finals.
“As coach, professor Doré knew our abilities well enough to challenge us to work harder and to be better than we realized we were capable of being without pushing us past our limits,” said a second-year law student and member of the Moot Court team.
“At the same time, she inspired our confidence by making it clear she trusted us to apply the concepts that she taught us successfully at competition,” he added.
Dore’s attitude toward teaching can be seen in her classroom environment, where students repeatedly report feeling challenged and motivated.
“A positive learning environment requires an atmosphere of mutual respect — students’ respect for me, my respect for the students and students’ respect for their colleagues,” Doré added. “I hope to make students feel ‘safe’ enough to venture answers, pose questions and, most importantly, make mistakes.”