Distinguished Professor Hiroshi Motomura and Professor Timothy Malloy were presented with the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching at a virtual ceremony on April 28. They are the 43rd and 44th recipients of UCLA School of Law’s highest honor for distinction in the classroom.
The award, founded in 1979 by famed legal publisher William Rutter, is presented annually to legal educators at five top California law schools. Rutter’s son Paul Rutter ’78, a UCLA Law alumnus who is a member of law school’s board of advisors and practices real estate law at Cozen O’Connor, delivered welcome remarks along with UCLA Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin.
Mnookin commended both professors on the remarkable connections that they make with their students, who value them as teachers, mentors, and collaborators – educators whom students consistently credit with their future successes as practicing attorneys.
Motomura, the Susan Westerberg Prager Distinguished Professor of Law, won the 2021 Rutter Award. A nationally renowned immigration law expert, he serves as the faculty co-director of UCLA Law’s Center for Immigration Law and Policy and received a 2018 Guggenheim fellowship, among numerous accomplishments and accolades for his impactful scholarship and advocacy. A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 2007, Motomura’s courses include immigration law and the Immigrants’ Rights Policy Clinic.
Motomura thanked his family and students for shaping how he teaches: Good teaching is “not really about what I say or do, but instead, it’s about what my students say or do.”
He focused his acceptance lecture on stories from his personal and professional experience that offer keys to making positive contributions in education, the law, and life. These included co-founding of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network and his attendance at an annual music camp where he hones his skills as an accomplished guitarist – and has learned that students should be inspired to take chances and embrace the vital skill of listening. “The essence of teaching is helping your students be their best,” he said. “The best things that teachers enable are often things they can’t predict.”
Malloy won the 2020 Rutter Award, and his ceremony was delayed a year due to the pandemic. He holds the Frank G. Wells Endowed Chair in Environmental Law and serves as the faculty director of the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program. He is an authority in environmental law, regulatory policy, chemical and nanotechnology policy, and organizational theory and decision analysis. A member of the UCLA Law faculty since 1998, Malloy teaches contracts and courses on regulation and the Environmental Aspects of Business Transactions.
“I feel like I’m just here representing all the terrific teachers that inhabit the halls here at the law school,” he said. “It could have been anybody, there are so many wonderful professors at this school.”
Malloy presented a slideshow in which he showed photographs of and discussed the major law professors and colleagues who had the greatest impact on his career and classroom work. He also credited his children – a high school teacher and a law student – for helping him refine his skills and focus as a teacher.
“We’re all educators here, and we’re all learning about learning,” he said, “and I am so thankful to have that opportunity.”