Criminal Law Professor Medwed Receives University Teaching Award

The University of Utah has conferred College of Law criminal law professor Daniel S. Medwed with an Early Career University Teaching Award. 

The award recognizes distinction in teaching by a faculty member at an early career stage, as demonstrated by classroom techniques that enhance learning, develop pedagogical methods or create curricular innovation.  The university-wide Teaching Committee assesses nominees based on letters of support, student evaluations, and a teaching portfolio.

“Respect as a professor is earned, not conferred by virtue of the position,” Medwed said.  “To that end, I aspire to establish a courteous and clear, yet challenging, classroom environment in which students feel comfortable expressing their opinions.”

Medwed, an Associate Professor of Law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, teaches criminal law, evidence, wrongful convictions, and civil rights law.

Monica Maio, a 2006 College of Law graduate who studied under Medwed, described him as “a passionate, energetic, and ‘hands on’ educator.”

“He is always available to meet with students, and he knows the vast majority of the student body by their first names,” she said. “He is a wonderful friend and mentor. Professor Medwed routinely goes above and beyond what is merely required of him, and he does so because he cares for his students and genuinely wants to see them succeed.”

Medwed came to the University of Utah in 2004, after teaching at the Brooklyn Law School and holding jobs as a public defender at the New York City Legal Aid Society and an attorney for private law firms in Boston and New York City.  Medwed holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from Yale University, where he graduated summa cum laude.  He is a Boston native.

Of his teaching approach, Medwed says he seeks to blend theory with practice and to promote a “mentor-mentee model” for learning, and the small class sizes at the College of Law facilitates those practices.

“When I was a student, I was trained mainly under the master-disciple model —perpetually living in fear of distant, intimidating professors,” he said. “And I did not find it conducive to my development as a budding lawyer.”

In addition to teaching, Medwed is a member of the boards of directors for the National Innocence Network; the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center; and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  He and his wife, Sharissa Jones, have a one-year-old daughter, Mili.