Excellence in Scholarship, Service, and Teaching: Professors Breger, Clark, and Taranto Receive Faculty Awards at Commencement

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Professors Melissa Breger, Stephen Clark, and Jenean Taranto; 168th Commencement on May 24, 2019.

Albany Law School recently recognized three outstanding members of the faculty for excellence in the categories of scholarship, service, and teaching.

Professors Melissa Breger, Stephen Clark, and Jenean Taranto were announced as recipients of the annual faculty awards at the law school's 168th Commencement on May 24, 2019.

Professor Melissa Breger received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Through her scholarship on domestic violence, human trafficking, bias in the courts, and the rights of children and families, Professor Breger has influenced discussion and policy among practitioners, judges, legal educators, and scholars alike. In the past two years alone, Professor Breger has published or been accepted to publish: "Re-Norming Sport for Inclusivity: How the Sport Community Has the Potential to Change a Toxic Culture of Harassment and Abuse" in the Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology; "Making the Invisible Visible: Exploring Implicit Bias, Judicial Diversity, and the Bench Trial" in the University of Richmond Law Review; "Reforming by Re-Norming: How the Legal System Has the Potential to Change a Toxic Culture of Domestic Violence" in the Notre Dame Journal of Legislation; the chapter "Trauma in Sex-Trafficked Children" in HUMAN TRAFFICKING: EMERGING LEGAL ISSUES AND APPLICATIONS; and annual cumulative supplements to her co-authored NEW YORK LAW OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, which has been described as the "seminal treatise" on the topic. Recently, Professor Breger has been conducting interdisciplinary research on child abuse and corporal punishment with faculty at the University at Albany. Professor Breger has also made a significant impact on academic scholarship elsewhere through her peer mentoring, peer reviews of articles, and many scholarly presentations.

Professor Stephen Clark received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Service. As co-chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, Professor Clark has brought his colleagues together on several proposals, many of which had been tabled for complex and varied reasons. His contributions were described as "extraordinary," as he spent considerable time and effort assessing each problem, reaching out to other faculty members and committees for input, building consensus, and drafting proposals calling for specific action for the welfare of the law school. In addition, Professor Clark has both delivered stimulating community lectures and supported student-organized events and symposia by volunteering as a panelist and moderator. As the faculty advisor to OUTLaw, Professor Clark has also been an invaluable source of counseling and advocacy for LGBTQ students and their allies—"often serving as a guiding light through his example," one nominator wrote—keeping the community informed of recent developments in many areas of the law, including the transgender military ban and discrimination cases approaching or in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professor Jenean Taranto received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Over a dozen students made multiple nominations for Professor Taranto, noting that "she is one of the school's kindest and most thoughtful educators. … She is a confidante on the days we need someone to talk to, a mentor when we need guidance, and a friendly face in the hallways when we need a hello and a smile to get us through the day." One student in Introduction to Lawyering described her as a teacher who "brings both mastery of her craft and genuine passion for her students." Another said Professor Taranto is "tireless in her efforts" to connect with her students and transform them into quality lawyers. "She is always available, will always find time for her students, and she always shows that she cares about our success," the nomination stated. "She makes us better legal writers and thinkers; she makes us better in our other classes; and when we indeed go on to become quality lawyers, Professor Taranto will be a key part of the reason why."