Current Williams Recipients


Anita Chari, associate professor of political science, College of Arts and Sciences

Anita Chari is a political theorist with a deep commitment to teaching. Since arriving at the UO in 2011, she has been a key faculty member teaching in Inside Out, a prison education program that brings UO students inside correctional institutions to take courses alongside students who are incarcerated. Chari takes a humanistic and experiential approach to the study of politics, including embodiment practices, contemplation, and meditation.

Shaul Cohen, director of the prison education program, celebrates Chari’s teaching in the Inside Out program, writing: “The students praise her insight, passion, and drive; they are energized by her teaching style, and are challenged by the range and depth of the readings and exercises that she assigns.  Anita’s classes make an enduring impression upon her students, and they note that she is deeply committed to the course, and to them.”

Daniel Tichenor, Philip H. Knight professor, offers a similar judgment about Chari’s instruction: “She is a gifted and dedicated presence in the classroom…. She also sets herself apart from the usual college faire by integrating what she describes as “embodied pedagogies” – such as yoga and continuum movement – in her instruction strategies.”

Students repeatedly praise Chari’s teaching style. As one student writes, “Professor Chari's unique and genuine style of teaching is unlike that of any professor I have had the opportunity of learning from before. I continue to be amazed at her ability to lead us in connecting with the creative and intellectual parts of ourselves, and combining rather than separating these parts. I also greatly admire her commitment to encouraging us to engage with the political, through our stories and writing, and those of others. It has been an incredible honor and such a wonderful opportunity to be able to take this class with Professor Chari.”

Chari focuses her research on critical theory, including the relationship between somatics and politics, and the role of contemplative and sensate pedagogies and methodologies in political theory. Her most recent book, published by Columbia University Press, is A Political Economy of the Senses: Neoliberalism, Reification, Critique.

Claudia Holguín, assistant professor of Spanish linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences

Claudia Holguín is an assistant professor of Spanish linguistics in the Department of Romance Languages and founding director of Spanish heritage language program, a unique program that expands the typical modes of instruction offered by language learning programs at UO.

Holguín draws on the “third wave” of sociolinguistics. She emphasizes language as an expression of cultural identity for Latinx students, as well as the importance of working with each and every individual as a whole learner. Her approach emphasizes affirmation of the cultural and linguistic significance of the colloquial Spanish spoken in students’ home environments, as well as developing linguistic and cultural fluency relevant to post-graduate life and professional trajectories.

Holguín’s remarkable wisdom and commitment are encapsulated by Robert Davis, director of language instruction in the Department of Romance Languages, “Working with students from a group that is marginalized in the U.S. brings to the forefront issues of race, ethnicity, class, and gender that can challenge even self-professed ‘progressive’ college professors. On numerous occasions, Claudia has put in substantial emotional labor to help our faculty negotiate difficult topics, uncovering implicit biases, and repairing unintended consequences. Her commitment to social justice and to the human beings who are her students ultimately inspires my colleagues and me to do a better job.”

Her research and her teaching are inextricably bound. Julie Weise, Department of History states, “Claudia does not just use the scholarship of teaching and learning, she creates it.”  

Holguín is a prolific researcher, author of over a dozen articles on linguistics and language learning, in high demand as a presenter at conferences and as a special guest lecturer at campuses around the country, and recipient of numerous awards including the 2017 Patos Avanzando Orgullosamente y Sobresaliendo (PATOS) Award for advising and mentoring Latinx students at the UO, the 2015 MLK Equity and Inclusion Innovation Award for the SHL program, and the Faculty-in-Residence Award from the Center on Diversity and Community.

Michelle McKinley, Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law, School of Law

Michelle McKinley is the Bernard B. Kliks Professor of Law at the University of Oregon School of Law, and one of the driving forces behind the law school’s undergraduate legal studies program. She is also the director of the UO’s Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS). McKinley’s undergraduate courses focus on questions of citizenship, immigration, and human rights. She also teaches courses on public international law and issues at the intersection of law, culture, and society.

McKinley brings an exceptional mix of knowledge, passion, commitment, and caring to the classroom—fostering a learning environment that is simultaneously stimulating, challenging, and supportive. In an effort to promote thoughtful exchanges, McKinley brings simulation exercises into the classroom and frequently appoints students to lead discussions.

In the words of law school dean Marcilynn Burke, McKinley “challenges students to think through issues of citizenship, political membership and belonging. . . (and) to confront their own deeply held positions and those that need greater reflection. McKinley explores with her students the implications of certain political choices for those who may be undocumented, from mixed status families, or from non-traditional backgrounds.”

Students are equally laudatory of McKinley’s teaching, many noting that they are, as one student put it, “intellectually and emotionally challenged” by her classes. In the words of another student “the past 10 weeks have taught me so much about citizenship and immigration law, but also about myself, my values, and future aspirations. I think the opportunity to be touched, inspired, and educated at the same time should be given to all UO students.”

McKinley has played a critical role in a faculty learning community on teaching about difference and power and has spearheaded CSWS programs that enrich the learning environment on campus. Moreover, McKinley is one of the nation’s leading scholars of Latin American legal history, the law of slavery, and public international law. She is the author of a string of influential publications, including a recent, widely acclaimed book, Fractional Freedoms: Slavery, Intimacy and Legal Mobilization in Colonial Lima, 1600-1700.


Exploring Oregon
Leslie McLees, instructor, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences

The Exploring Oregon course will serve as an innovative way to show students the value of “doing geography.” Academic geography and budget models have pushed geographers back into the classroom, but geographers, and people in general, learn better by engaging in the areas they know and understand. This course is designed to give students direct hands-on experience with data collection methods, from surveys and interviews to using digital technologies to collect spatial data, and using tools that allow them to measure biophysical properties such as solar radiation and stream flow.  

Physics of Climbing
Graham Kribs, professor, Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences

Physics of Climbing is a 10-week long course aimed at linking the major principles of physics (mechanics) with climbing as a hands-on example. The course will be 1/2 classroom discussion, introducing fundamental physics principles, and 1/2 rock climbing demonstrations with hands-on applications at UO's indoor climbing wall. The course is designed to be an innovative way to teach undergraduate physics (mechanics) for students with no prior experience in physics, but who do have prior experience with climbing (attained through completion of some PE and REC courses on climbing).

History 290: Historian's Craft
Brett Rushford, associate professor and department head; Alex Dracoby, senior instructor II; and Julie Weise, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies; Department of History; College of Arts and Sciences

This will be a foundational gateway course, required within one year of declaring the history major but geared towards all who have declared, or are strongly considering, the history major. The course will enroll 20-30 students per section to create the experience of direct interaction with a faculty member and cohort building among majors earlier in the student's history career. Currently, the history major consists of a flexible structure with distributional requirements across the department's course offerings. The implementation of History 290 will help establish student cohorts that can be solidified through co-curricular activities and future coursework.