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Published June 05, 2023
By UW Institutional Communications
An accomplished educator, scholar and human rights lawyer is a recipient of a top teaching award at the University of Wyoming.
Noah Novogrodsky, a professor in the College of Law, is one of three recipients of the 2023 John P. Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award. The award was established in 1977 by businessman John P. “Jack” Ellbogen to “foster, encourage and reward excellence in classroom teaching at UW.” This year’s other recipients of the award are Karagh Brummond, an assistant instructional professor in the Honors College, and Sreejayan Nair, a professor in the School of Pharmacy.
Novogrodsky, the Carl M. Williams Professor of Law and Ethics, also serves as the director of the Center for International Human Rights Law and Advocacy.
“He has devoted his life and career to teaching students about the importance of international law and human rights issues while creating a pathway for future young lawyers to follow in his footsteps,” says Klint Alexander, dean of the UW College of Law. “In addition, he has elevated the reputation of the UW College of Law by building one of the most highly regarded international human rights programs in the region.”
Jason Robison, a professor in the UW College of Law, calls Novogrodsky the “cornerstone” of the college’s international human rights law program.
“He has been the chief architect of the program’s structure since joining the faculty in fall 2009,” Robison says. “Noah’s teaching extends across this structure, encompassing traditional podium lecturing, research- and writing-intensive seminars, and field courses in Europe and South America.”
Among the courses Novogrodsky teaches are “Civil Procedure”; “Immigration Law”; “International Law”; and “Transitional Justice.”
A former student says “Transitional Justice” was one of her favorite classes in law school.
“Students were given a safe and civil space to explore the links between their own values and the justice system, which ultimately will create more empathetic and passionate future lawyers,” says Caren Speckner, one of Novogrodsky’s nominators. “This approach to a law school class was appreciated and made the class memorable.”
Hannah Mink, a former student, says Novogrodsky is the reason the law school’s study-abroad programs exist and are the successful programs students love.
“Last winter, I had the chance to travel to Chile and conduct research on international transboundary water disputes, where I met with the Chilean minister of foreign affairs, who also happened to be the lead litigator in a recent transboundary water case before the International Court of Justice,” Mink says. “He (Novogrodsky) found a way to merge my passion for water law and newfound interests in international law and catered aspects of the program to those two subjects.”
When providing course evaluations, students regularly praise Novogrodsky, also known as “Novo,” for his effective and engaging teaching style.
“Novo has the ability to make any subject interesting, no matter how dry it might be,” a student wrote. “He doesn’t use lecture notes or a PowerPoint as a crutch during lecture, which many professors are guilty of. Instead, Novo engages with the class and elicits great class discussions.”
Mink attests that, through his teaching style and encouragement, Novogrodsky inspires students to think beyond the borders of Wyoming, the West and the nation.
“But for Professor Novogrodsky’s diligence in providing these opportunities and encouraging student participation, I would not have had the holistic and well-rounded education I experienced at the University of Wyoming College of Law,” Mink says.
Novogrodsky earned his J.D. (1997) from Yale University; his master’s degree in international relations (1994) from the University of Cambridge; and his bachelor’s degree in political science (1992) from Swarthmore College.