Four professors have been chosen to receive the 2010 University of Memphis Alumni
Association Distinguished Teaching Award. Each accepted a $2,000 award during the
University’s annual Faculty Convocation in April at the Cecil C. Humphreys School
The honored teachers were Dr. Julia Heath, professor of economics; Dr. Marian Levy,
associate professor and director of the Master of Public Health program; Andrew McClurg,
professor of law; and Dr. Anna Bess Sorin, a biology instructor.
Heath serves as director of the Center for Economic Education at the U of M. She received
her PhD in economics from the University of South Carolina in 1986. Heath teaches
both undergraduate and graduate classes, primarily micro theory, principles and the
economics of sports and labor. She has won several teaching awards at the U of M,
including the Thomas W. Briggs Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award, and has been
recognized at the national level with the Kenneth Elzinga Award, the top teaching
award in the economics profession.
Heath brings energy and creativity to every course she teaches. She focuses on the
“everydayness” of economics and shows students how their world is informed by economics.
Through hands-on demonstrations and meaningful questions, Heath leads her students
to their own discovery of difficult economic concepts. Students appreciate her “vibrant
personality” and “unrivaled approachability” which, in the words of one student, make
Heath a “one in a million professor.”
The recipients of the 2010 University of Memphis Alumni Association Distinguished
Teaching Awards are: (from left) Dr. Julia A. Heath, Dr. Marian Levy and Dr. Anna
Bess Sorin. Not pictured is award-winner Andrew Jay McClurg. (Photo by Lindsey Lissau)
A registered dietitian, Levy has spearheaded numerous initiatives to reduce child
obesity, promote health equity and increase access to health care. She received her
doctorate in public health from UCLA, specializing in behavioral sciences and health
Levy captivates students with her passion for her profession. Her students describe
her as kind, approachable and always willing to go the extra mile in order to mentor
them and help them grow professionally. Many former students seek out Levy for advice
as they make career and life choices.
In February she received the Ruby R. Wharton Outstanding Woman Award in the area of
race relations. Her research interests include the promotion of schoolbased health,
cultural competence, Latino health and community-based participatory research. Levy
is most noted for her focus in ensuring that the Hispanic community has a gateway
to suitable, quality health care.
McClurg is a nationally and internationally known teacher and scholar of tort law,
products liability, privacy law and firearms policy.
He is recognized as a gifted teacher by his students, who affectionately refer to
him as “tort man.” His teaching evaluations are phenomenally positive, and he makes
class enjoyable and fun without sacrificing intellectual rigor. Students refer to
him as “challenging, wellorganized, entertaining,” as well as “caring and committed.”
Several students noted that McClurg will go out of his way to help students, including
scheduling extra classes to ensure that they understand the material.
McClurg’s strength as a teacher is also acknowledged by his colleagues, who often
seek him out for advice about teaching. Last year, McClurg received the Excellence
in Legal Education Award from the U of M Law Alumni Board, given annually to a professor
who has excelled in three areas: classroom teaching and instruction; service to the
profession, the community, the law school and the University; and research, scholarship
Sorin is coordinator of undergraduate advising, as well as an instructor, for the
Department of Biology. She received her MS and PhD from the University of Michigan,
specializing in animal biology, evolutionary biology and molecular ecology.
Sorin came to the U of M for a post-doctoral position in molecular ecology and microbiology
and molecular cell sciences. She teaches the introductory biology course to non-biology
majors. These classes have some of the largest enrollments in the department, yet
Sorin is praised as an engaging educator and caring mentor.
Students describe her as intensely passionate about biology, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic
and approachable. Sorin strives to have students appreciate why and how biology is
relevant to their daily lives and the many topics society wrestles with, including
obesity, flu pandemics, cancer, HIV/AIDS and DNA technologies.
Sorin was a recipient of the 2009 Thomas W. Briggs Foundation’s Excellence in Teaching