05 Oct 2021
Professor Steve Schmidt is the recipient of this year’s John H. Binning Award based on his outstanding teaching and service to the College. With regard to teaching, Schmidt may have had one of the toughest course-adjustments necessary to adjust to remote learning and COVID-19 protocols, with a live clinic in a courthouse and a practical skills class like trial advocacy that puts a premium on in-person skills development. By all accounts Schmidt successfully taught the classes despite the difficult circumstances, as demonstrated by the extremely positive student evaluations. Schmidt’s Criminal Clinic course is one of the most highly rated courses at the College each semester. In addition, he singlehandedly revamped our trial advocacy program to create an intense and rewarding student experience. He teaches the course himself each semester in addition to his Criminal Clinic teaching. This teaching is time-intensive and requires coordinating multiple adjuncts and teaching assistants for the course each semester and managing multiple full trials for the students’ final project. The difficulties inherent in these logistics were multiplied by the COVID-19 protocols required by the pandemic.
Schmidt also provided excellent service to the College this year. His most time-consuming work involved him taking on head coaching responsibilities for our National Trial Team for the first time this year. He made an immediate impact, with one of the teams winning the regional competition and making it to nationals. Schmidt also smartly and successfully incorporated College alumni as consultants and judges for the Trial Team practices, which both strengthened our connection with those individuals and gave the students terrific role-models and mentors.