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University cites Law Center Profs. Hoffman and Nelson for teaching excellence

Geoffrey Hoffman

James Nelson

April 12, 2019 — University of Houston Law Center Professors Geoffrey Hoffman and James Nelson are recipients of 2018-19 Teaching Excellence Awards, one of the highest distinctions bestowed by the university.

UH Provost Paula Myrick Short will present their awards and $8,000 prizes at a dinner April 18 at the University of Houston Hilton.

“I am delighted that Professors Hoffman and Nelson are being recognized by the university for their excellent teaching!” said Dean Leonard M. Baynes. “They are just two examples of our outstanding Law Center faculty who are comprised of highly credentialed scholars and teachers who help us educate and graduate terrific students. I give Professors Hoffman and Nelson a hearty congratulation!”  

Hoffman, a clinical associate professor and director of the Law Center’s Immigration Clinic, was honored with the Community Engagement Award. He also won the Teaching Excellence Award for clinical faculty in 2015.

The award is given to “faculty who involve students in service to the community through service learning activities or community engagement projects related to courses that they teach demonstrating leadership in advancing students’ civic learning, fostering reciprocal community partnerships, building institutional commitments to service-learning and civic engagement, and other means of enhancing higher education’s contributions to the public good.”

Hoffman and his clinic colleagues assist clients in various immigration matters, including asylum and other hearings in immigration courts, and conduct community workshops and continuing education seminars for attorneys. He is a frequent speaker and prolific writer on immigration issues.

“Because the award is due to the community work which is shared among all our wonderful faculty in our immigration clinic,” Hoffman said, “I accept this UH system-wide award on behalf of my colleagues: Clinical Supervising Attorney Josephine Sorgwe and Clinical Lecturer Rosemary Vega.” He added that he will share the prize money with his two colleagues.

Hoffman joined the Law Center faculty in 2009. He earned an A.B. degree from Columbia University in 1991, a J.D. from Tulane University School of Law in 1997, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 2004.

Nelson’s award recognizes “exceptional tenured or tenure-track professors who have demonstrated excellence in teaching.” 

“I am honored to receive this award,” said Nelson, an assistant professor of law. “I am also very grateful to the UHLC students, alumni, faculty and administrators who supported my nomination.”

He also was named 2019 “Professor of the Year” by the Law Center’s Order of the Barons.

Nelson joined the Law Center faculty in 2015. He writes and teaches in the areas of corporate law, contracts, and constitutional law. He earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2006 and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2009. Prior to joining the Law Center faculty, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Corporate Governance at Columbia Law School.

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