Cheng, George, Sharfstein, Sherry and Vandenbergh honored for outstanding teaching with Hall-Hartman Awards

Apr 16, 2012

Five Vanderbilt Law professors were honored April 12 with Hall-Hartman Awards for outstanding teaching during the 2011-12 academic year. The awards recognize faculty whose teaching is deemed outstanding in each of the three first-year student sections and for large and small upper-level elective courses and are based on the results of a student poll conducted by the Vanderbilt Bar Association.

Professors Michael P Vandenbergh, Tracey George and Suzanna Sherry were honored for their first-year courses in, respectively, Property Law (Section A), Contracts (Section B) and Civil Procedure (Section C).

Professor Edward K. Cheng was honored for his upper-level Evidence course, and Professor Daniel J. Sharfstein for his seminar on the Legal History of Race in America.

“This recognition is especially significant here at Vanderbilt, because the overall quality of teaching is so high,” Dean Chris Guthrie said.

Michael P. Vandenbergh, who heads Vanderbilt’s Energy and Environmental Law Program and currently holds the Tarkington Chair in Teaching Excellence, is a leading scholar in environmental and energy law whose research explores the relationship between formal legal regulation and informal social regulation of individual and corporate behavior. Professor Vandenbergh co-founded and directs Vanderbilt University’s Climate Change Research Network. He teaches courses in environmental and energy law in addition to Property. He also received a Hall-Hartman Award for his Property course in 2011.

Tracey George directs the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program. Her research on the behavior of federal judges and courts has been published in the American Political Science Review, Judicature, North Carolina Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Supreme Court Economic Review and Vanderbilt Law Review, among others. She also has published studies of legal education and legal scholarship and serves on the LSAC Grants Subcommittee, which supports work on legal education and the legal profession. George has been honored with Hall-Hartman Awards in 2004 and 2010

Suzanna Sherry, who is the Herman O. Loewenstein Professor of Law, is a noted scholar of constitutional law who writes extensively on federal courts and federal court procedures. She was honored for her creative scholarship and stimulating and inspiring teaching as Vanderbilt’s 2012 Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor in March. Her influential book, Judgment Calls: Principle and Politics in Constitutional Law, co-authored with Daniel Farber (Oxford University Press, 2009) explores how constitutional adjudication works in practice. Sherry has been honored with with Hall-Hartman Awards in 2005, 2009 and 2010. In 2011, she was honored with awards for both first-year and upper-level courses.

Together, Professors George and Sherry developed the Life of the Law, an introductory course all first-year law students take during Orientation Week, and they co-authored the course textbook, What Every Law Student Really Needs to Know: An Introduction to the Study of Law (Aspen, 2009).


Edward K. Cheng is a coauthor of Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony, a five-volume treatise which is updated annually. His articles, in which he explores evidence law from an empirical and statistical perspective, have been published in the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Columbia Law Review and Stanford Law Review, among other prestigious law journals. Cheng is affiliated with Vanderbilt’s Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program and teaches Torts and Statistical Inference in Law in addition to Evidence. Cheng has been honored with a Hall-Hartman Award in his first year of teaching at Vanderbilt.


Daniel J. Sharfstein‘s scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the United States. His book, The Invisible Line: Three American Families and the Secret Journey from Black to White, was released in 2011 by Penguin Press and won the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize in 2012. For his research on civil rights and the color line in the American South, Sharfstein was awarded an Alphonse Fletcher Sr. fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. He was the inaugural recipient of the Raoul Berger Visiting Fellowship in Legal History at Harvard Law School. He teaches Property as well as courses in legal history.

The Hall-Hartman Awards are named in honor of former professor Paul Hartman, a renowned teacher who joined Vanderbilt’s law faculty in 1946, retired in 1976, and continued teaching until 1988, and Professor Emeritus Donald J. Hall, an expert in criminal law and dynamic teacher who taught at Vanderbilt from 1970 until his retirement in 2007.

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