Distinguished Faculty Award


The Distinguished Faculty Award recognizes a current Nebraska Law faculty member whose teaching supports the College’s mission to develop inclusive leaders and whose research, writing and service solves problems or advances justice.


  • Each year all faculty members are considered through information provided by their yearly submission of the Annual Report to the Dean. 
  • No individual can win the award more than once every five years.

Cash prize and medal awarded at the Dean's Advisory Board Awards banquet and permanent recognition through a publicly-displayed plaque at the college.

Most Recent Winner

Professor Jessica A. Shoemaker

Professor Jessica Shoemaker joined the law faculty in 2012 and is currently Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her work on adaptive change in pluralistic land-tenure systems, as well as property law’s power to shape the contours of human communities and natural environments. Her work focuses specifically on issues of racial justice and agricultural sustainability in the American countryside and on systems of Indigenous land tenure and land governance in the United States and Canada. Her most recent law-review articles, including Fee Simple Failures: Rural Landscapes and Race and Transforming Property: Reclaiming Modern Indigenous Land Tenures, have been placed in top journals, including the Michigan Law Review and the California Law Review. Her work has been reviewed three times in JOTWELL, an online journal that highlights important and notable recent legal scholarship, and she is cited widely by interdisciplinary and international scholars. 

She is a Founding Fellow of the Rural Futures Institute, a Fellow and former Governor of the Center for Great Plains Studies, and the current Program Chair for the Association of Law, Property, and Society. A product of a chore farm in Iowa and generations of Wisconsin farmers who grew everything from strawberries to ginseng, she is also currently working to establish and co-direct The Rural Reconciliation Project at the University of Nebraska.

Jessica Shoemaker portrait.
Previous Winners
  • 2022: Robert C. Denicola
  • 2020/21: Harvey Perlman
  • 2019: C. Steven Bradford
  • 2018: Eric Berger
  • 2017: Anna W. Shavers
  • 2016: Sandra Zellmer
  • 2015: Brian D. Lepard
  • 2014: Richard E. Moberly
  • 2013: Kevin Ruser
  • 2012: Matthew P. Schaefer
  • 2011: Craig M. Lawson
  • 2010: Steven L. Willborn
  • 2009: Martin R. Gardner
  • 2008: John P. Lenich
  • 2007: Colleen Medill
  • 2006: William H. Lyons
  • 2005: Robert F. Schopp
  • 2004: Roger W. Kirst
  • 2003: Josephine R. Potuto
  • 2002: Robert C. Denicola
Katie Pfannenstiel portrait
Contact Katie with Questions

Katie Pfannenstiel
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and Event Planning