At the Georgia State University annual faculty awards on May 10, several members of the Georgia State Law faculty, <a title=”Natsu Taylor Saito” href=”http://law.gsu.edu/profile/natsu-taylor-saito/” target=”_blank”>Natsu Saito</a>, <a title=”Tanya Monique Washington” href=”http://law.gsu.edu/profile/tanya-monique-washington/” target=”_blank”>Tanya Washington</a> and <a title=”Lisa Radtke Bliss” href=”http://law.gsu.edu/profile/lisa-radtke-bliss/” target=”_blank”>Lisa Radtke Bliss</a>, earned top honors.
Saito was named University Distinguished Professor; Washington, professor of law, received the Alumni Distinguished Professor Award; and Bliss, associate clinical professor, director of experiential education and co-director of HeLP Legal Services Clinic, received the Exceptional Service Award.
Natsu Saito, Distinguished University Professor
The <strong>Distinguished University Professor</strong> appointment, which Saito received, was created in 2013 to recognize professors who have records of exemplary scholarship in their respective fields of study, and whose research and teaching trajectories demonstrate a commitment to sustained high levels of academic achievement.
A member of the Georgia State Law faculty since 1994, Saito teaches public international law and international human rights. Her scholarship focuses on the legal history of race in the U.S. and various aspects of human rights implications of law and government policies.
“I became a lawyer in the hopes of furthering social justice, and I’ve always been grateful that my job allows me to research write, and teach about international human rights law, the legal history of race and law in the United States, and contemporary human rights struggles in Indigenous communities,” Saito said.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to pursue these interests for more than 20 years here at Georgia State’s College of Law, and very much appreciate the support I have received from the university,” she said.
Tanya Washington, Alumni Distinguished Professor Award
“I am so passionate about my work and my students, and it is truly an honor to be recognized by the administration for my research, scholarship and my teaching,” Washington said of her award that recognizes a faculty member who “embodies the balance between teacher and scholar.”
<a href=”http://law.gsu.edu/2015/06/26/obergefell-hodges/” target=”_blank”>Washington</a> focuses her research and scholarship on issues related to educational equity, as well as those involving domestic relations, race and children’s constitutional rights. She works collaboratively to ensure legal scholarship has a practical and positive impact for vulnerable individuals and communities.
In addition to courses at Georgia State Law, Washington has taught comparative law classes in study-abroad programs in Brazil, Europe and China, as well as in pipeline programs designed to increase enrollment of diverse students in U.S. law schools.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between teaching and scholarship. My teaching at Georgia State Law and abroad has informed my scholarship and I share my scholarly endeavors in the classroom,” she said. “My students are creative and thoughtful and often their questions inspire research ideas and frameworks. I use the classroom as a laboratory for analyzing ideas, issues and legal frameworks. I am a better teacher because I am a scholar, and I am a better scholar because I am a teacher.”
Washington’s belief in the law’s capacity to improve the human condition drives her research and teaching—and she believes that idea is one of the most important that she imparts to her students.
“Giving back is best expressed as paying it forward. I am a member of a community, and I am not in my position as a law professor by myself or for myself,” she said. “I am morally obligated to share the benefits of my position out of respect for the sacrifices made for me to occupy this space. The law informs people’s lived experiences and the practice of law should benefit those affected by it.”
<h4>Lisa Radtke Bliss, Exceptional Service Award</h4>
Bliss also is active in discipline-related service, which led to her nomination for the <strong>2016 Exceptional Service Award</strong> that recognizes her excellence in scholarship and teaching, as well.
“My goal is to foster an educational environment in which students explore the meaning and application of law, ethics, and professional identity in real situations, thus preparing them for their future as professionals,” she said.
<a href=”http://law.gsu.edu/files/2016/05/5-20-16-Lisa-post.png”><img class=”size-full wp-image-187247″ src=”http://law.gsu.edu/files/2016/05/5-20-16-Lisa-post.png” alt=”Lisa Radtke Bliss” width=”300″ height=”300″ /></a> Lisa Radtke Bliss, associate clinical professor, director of experiential learning and co-director of HeLP Legal Services Clinic, received the Exceptional Service Award.
Bliss became a clinical professor in 2006 and co-launched the <a title=”HeLP Legal Services Clinic” href=”http://law.gsu.edu/clinics/help-legal-services-clinic/” target=”_blank”>HeLP Legal Services Clinic</a>. Soon after, she took on the responsibility of broadening Georgia State Law’s focus and commitment to greater integration of clinical education into its curriculum. In 2014, she became director of <a title=”Practice-Based Learning” href=”http://law.gsu.edu/practice-based-learning/” target=”_blank”>experiential education</a> and has executed a strategic agenda to further enhance experiential education and the development of interactive teaching.
An active participant in the larger clinical legal education community, Bliss holds elected leadership positions for the Section on Clinical Legal Education of the Association of American Law Schools and the Global Alliance for Justice Education, and formerly served on the board of directors of the Clinical Legal Education Association. She has traveled to developing countries, including Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam, to train teachers in clinical legal education methods and models.
“Participating on national and international committees that support the development of clinical legal education has enriched my work tremendously. Through my service, I’ve learned so much about culture, teaching, leadership and how we as law professors have the power to transform the justice system through education,” she said.
Bliss says it’s important for law professors to be active in service across the globe because when combined with research, the experience can “deepen one’s knowledge and inform one’s scholarship.”
“My service to the Global Alliance for Justice Education has helped me gain an appreciation for how justice is taught and delivered around the globe, and has positively influenced my own teaching,” she said. “Our students become judges, lawyers, politicians, and play other important roles in the justice system. Ensuring that they have an appreciation and respect for the rule of law and the role of justice ensures the health of our justice system in the future.”
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