Professor Smita Narula Receives 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching

June 1, 2022
Professor Smita Narula

Professor Smita Narula has been selected to receive the 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Each spring, the Faculty Development Committee selects a member of the tenured or tenure-track faculty or a visiting professor with a contract longer than one year in duration to receive the award . The Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes that outstanding pedagogy occurs in a variety of settings at the Law School—it can be found in courses of all sizes and types, in teachers with diverse styles, and across subject matters.

This year, the Faculty Development Committee received several nominations, and reviewed class recordings and student evaluations of professors. “All of the nominations were extremely impressive.  We learned a lot from seeing how our colleagues taught their classes and how the students responded, especially during the unique times of Zoom/hybrid teaching,” said Emily Waldman, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development. “While there were so many wonderful comments about all of the nominees, the comments regarding Professor Narula really stood out. Students noted not only her subject matter expertise, but also the way that she managed to engage them and create a truly warm, nurturing classroom environment even while teaching remotely.  Professor Narula’s intellect, energy, and compassion make her an excellent colleague and professor.”

When she learned that she had received this award, Professor Narula expressed her gratitude: “I feel so honored and moved by this recognition, especially as it comes from a community of incredible and inspiring educators that I feel lucky to be a part of. It is a privilege to teach the next generation of lawyers, scholars, and advocates at Haub Law, from whom I have learned a great deal.”  

Professor Smita Narula is the Elisabeth Haub School of Law’s inaugural Haub Distinguished Chair of International Law and Co-Director of the law school’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies. Professor Narula teaches International Environmental Law, International Human Rights Law, Environmental Justice, Human Rights and the Environment, and Property. She is author of dozens of widely-cited publications on human rights, food systems, and the environment, and has helped formulate policy, legal, and community-led responses to a range of social justice and ecological issues worldwide.

In 2021, Professor Narula was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Prior to joining Haub Law School, she was Distinguished Lecturer and Interim Director of the Human Rights Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Prior to Hunter, Professor Narula was an Associate Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law where she taught the International Human Rights Clinic and served as Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. In these capacities, she helped found and grow the law school’s human rights program—a top-ranked program for international law in the United States.

In 2008 she was appointed legal advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and served in this capacity for the duration of the Rapporteur’s six-year mandate. From 1997 to 2003, Professor Narula served as India researcher and Senior Researcher for South Asia at Human Rights Watch, and in 2000, she co-founded the International Dalit Solidarity Network, a transnational advocacy network that helps advance the right to equality for 260 million people affected by caste-based discrimination worldwide. Professor Narula's most recent article, tentatively titled Confronting State Violence: Lessons from India’s Farmer Protests, is forthcoming in the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. 

Professor Narula graduated with honors from Harvard Law School where she was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Prior to law school, she earned a B.A. and M.A. with honors from Brown University and worked on HIV and public health issues at UNICEF and the United Nations Development Fund.

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