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 profesor 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.


The 2018-19 Williams Instructional Proposals will be announced mid-spring term 2018

Reconstructing Color
Vera Keller, associate professor of history, Clark Honors College

This project, part of a new Clark Honors College seminar on Color in World History, will highlight historical techniques and meanings of color. It will include a visit and public lecture by Marie-France LeMay, a conservator at Yale University Library who specializes in reconstructing historical recipes for inks and pigments. LeMay will bring the Traveling Scriptorium, a teaching resource showcasing the raw ingredients for colors used in illuminated medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. The Traveling Scriptorium, which has never before left Yale, will inform efforts to create a similar teaching resource at UO.

The Catalyst Journalism Project
Nicole Dahmen, assistant professor; Brent Walth, assistant professor; Kathryn Thier, instructor; School of Journalism and Communication

The Catalyst Journalism Project brings together investigative reporting and solutions journalism to spark action and response to Oregon’s most perplexing issues. Investigative reporting identifies social problems and names the people in power who should be held accountable, while solutions journalism is a rigorous and fact-driven approach to reporting credible solutions to societal problems. By combining the two methods, journalists can show the community how to solve problems often dismissed as intractable. Students involved in The Catalyst Journalism Project will learn how to combine these reporting methods, preparing them to become leaders as journalism seeks new ways of engaging audiences who have lost trust in the news media.

Enhancing Experiential Learning: The Archaeology of Wild Foods
Madonna Moss, professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Williams Council funding is supporting the re-visioning of the new 125-person course, The Archaeology of Wild Foods (ANTH 248). The course raises awareness of how much we take for granted about the agricultural origins of food today, while many indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska still depend on wild foods. In this course students learn about those Northwest wild foods and their importance to Native Americans, First Nations, and Alaska Natives. Moss is using principles of backward design and scientific teaching to develop lectures with more student interaction and work with the Many Nations Longhouse to set up laboratory exercises and demonstrations that reflect the multi-cultural content of the material.

Leverage Mobile Technology to Help Teach Non-Science Majors
Andrew Karduna, professor, Department of Human Physiology, College of Arts and Sciences

Biomechanics has the ability to excite and engage students in science, because it allows for a study of the movement of their own body. This project will take advantage of the enormous sensor and computing technology contained within the smartphones to develop labs for a biomechanics class for non-science majors. This is a crucial component of the class, since best practices in science education call for active learning to increase student retention and success.

The Study Group Initiative
Randy Sullivan, lecture demonstrator, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

The Study Group Initiative (SGI) is an innovative program to catalyze freshman learning outside of the classroom at the University of Oregon. The goal of SGI is to get freshman students at the University of Oregon into effective course-specific study groups with other students in their residence hall. SGI will use trained peer facilitators and a custom web interface to help students form and find study groups that work for them. Research has shown that by far the most effective way of mastering knowledge and skills is "re-teaching" it. That is why study groups are so effective; they provide an environment where students can "re-teach" the material to each other in a relatively risk-free environment. Also, the residence halls are an effective incubator to initiate cultural change at a university. This initiative has the potential to transform the "dorm" culture into a learning community. The program will run in the Walton South and North residence halls in collaboration with the student life coordinators and resident assistants.

Sustainable Invention Immersion Week
Kate Harmon, instructor, Lundquist College of Business, and Julie Haack, senior instructor II, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Arts and Sciences

Sustainable Invention Immersion Week is a one-week, co-curricular summer entrepreneurial boot camp for students that integrates sustainability at the point of invention. The program asks interdisciplinary student teams to ideate on an environmental problem to solve while providing students with a framework for assessing the potential impacts on human health and the environment of their ideas and then show them how to use the principles of green chemistry to minimize those impacts early in the ideation and development process while also building a ‘green’ business model around their project. The boot camp is the first-step toward building a wider campus ‘Community of Practice’ around sustainable invention which will allow students to connect to resources, mentorship, competitions and funding sources to further their sustainable venture.  Sustainable Invention Immersion Week is a collaborative program sponsored by the University of Oregon's Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship and Tyler Invention Greenhouse with partners from the School of Journalism and Communication, the Department of Product Design and the Center for Sustainable Business Practices.

Wolves: Conversations in Conservation and Controversy, an Interdisciplinary Field Course
Peg Boulay, senior instructor I, and Kathryn Lynch, instructor, Environmental Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences

The Environmental Studies Program trains students in creative problem solving, critical thinking and responsible citizenship. Environmental Studies and Science majors gain a strong understanding of current environmental problems; the underlying social, economic and ecological causes; and potential solutions from interdisciplinary viewpoints. Environmental Studies majors are required to take an interdisciplinary capstone course in which they draw upon and synthesize the full range of their academic and personal experiences. The Williams Fund Instructional Grant supports the creation of a new field-based, publically-engaged interdisciplinary capstone course. We will use wolves as a lens to examine the interplay of ecology, sociology and policy in complex, controversial environmental issues.