Miriam Seifter receives UW–Madison’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Miriam Seifter
Miriam Seifter, assistant professor of law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaches during a Law 724: Property Law course in the Law Building on Feb. 21, 2018. Seifter is a recipient of a 2018 Distinguished Teaching Award. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Law professor Miriam Seifter says her teaching philosophy is twofold.

“First, law school should be empowering, not deflating. I want my classes to be a place where students find their voices rather than only hearing mine.”

“But second, I believe the way to empower students is to challenge them,” she adds. “When given the opportunity, students rise to the occasion.”

Seifter is one of twelve campus educators who received UW–Madison’s Distinguished
Teaching Awards in 2018. She joined the University of Wisconsin Law School faculty in 2014 to teach administrative law, property law, and energy law.

In the three years since, law students and colleagues alike have voiced consistent
praise for her teaching. Students say Seifter’s high expectations— combined with her preparedness, her sense of humor, and her ability to explain tough concepts clearly—build their confidence and motivate them to learn. Seifter’s colleagues are impressed with her knack for the “cold call” as a teaching strategy. Cold calling often inspires fear in first-year law students, but Seifter’s system keeps students engaged and thinking critically, they say. Seifter’s Distinguished Teaching honor comes just months after law students voted her the 2017 Teacher of the Year.

According to Dean Margaret Raymond, “These accolades for Professor Seifter’s teaching are not only well-deserved, they’re very special for an academic in such early stages of her career. It’s my great honor as dean to celebrate her achievements in our classrooms.” Beyond her teaching expertise, Seifter has built a reputation as a talented scholar whose articles on administrative law have appeared in several major law reviews. Prior to coming to UW Law, Seifter served as a litigation associate for the San Francisco-based Munger, Tolles & Olson. She also completed clerkships with Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court and Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. •