Peggy Cooper Davis, John S. R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics, has been awarded the University’s 2015-2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award. Davis was nominated by her students and selected by a committee composed of faculty, administrators, and students in recognition of her leadership, excellence in scholarship and teaching, and commitment to the values of community service and social justice.
Davis is a prolific scholar, having written two books and more than 50 articles and chapters. Her 1997 book Neglected Stories: The Constitution and Family Values and her book-in-progress Enacting Freedom show how anti-slavery and civil rights traditions can serve as guides for interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment.
Davis, who taught Critical Narratives of Civil Rights this past semester, “brings constitutional debates on race and history to life for her students through both rigorous analysis and searching inquiries,” wrote Leo Gertner ’16 in his nomination. “In fact, her classroom is one of the most intellectually dynamic places I’ve found at NYU, where questioning the historical underpinnings of constitutional personhood has led me to think more deeply about my moral autonomy in the world as a future lawyer and as a person.”
Over the course of her career, Davis has also had a deep impact on the evolution of legal pedagogy. Along with University Professor Emeritus Anthony Amsterdam, Davis was one of the architects of the Lawyering Program, which introduces first-year students to practical lawyering skills. Today, she directs the Law School’s Experiential Learning Lab, where she works with students to develop strategies for addressing the interpretive, interactive, ethical, and social dimensions of professional training.
Davis was presented with her award at a ceremony held yesterday at the University.
Posted February 3, 2016