Professor McDaniel earns Excellence in Teaching Award


Dr. Judith McDaniel recently earned Union’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Union students and professors recommended Dr. McDaniel for the award, citing her intellectual depth and breadth, her pedagogical expertise, and her unwavering commitment to her students.

Her students praise her academic insight and guidance and describe her as a mentor whose generosity of time and constructive feedback have served them as a steady source of support as they move on from their academic research into their professional careers.

Dr. McDaniel’s academic training and her intellectual pursuits reflect an intentional emphasis on interdisciplinarity and social responsibility. She holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Tufts University and a J.D. from Rutgers University. As a professor of women’s studies and political science, she has taught and researched sexual discrimination and harassment. Other areas of expertise include gender studies, human rights law and activism, women and the law, and women in western culture. As a lawyer, Dr. McDaniel has experience in complaint processes and investigative procedures.

After teaching for several years as an affiliate faculty member in Union’s undergraduate program, she joined the MA program in 2009 where she leads the Literature & Writing major. She has directed tutorials and theses on subjects as diverse as: political symbolism in Dante’s Inferno; a comparative analysis of the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books and Gregory Maguire’s Wicked; a postcolonial analysis of Native American literature; an exploration of the idea of kingship in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Namia.

Her expertise in online education is fundamental to the MA program’s development. She was an early and thoughtful advocate of online education, and her insights have shaped the program’s approach to online courses. She is quick to see untapped technological possibilities, improve course structures, integrate elements such as student blogs, and find new ways for faculty to help refine and assess student writing.

Dr. McDaniel is a regular contributor and editor to the Education, Technology, and Change Journal—an online publication highlighting new developments and topics related to technology in the classroom. Most recently, she has been exploring the possibility of integrating ePortfolios as an important new pedagogical tool for the MA program.

Union Institute & University’s annual Faculty Awards Program provides a means of peer recognition for exemplary efforts and achievements on the part of Union faculty members in the area of teaching. The recipient for the Excellence in Teaching Award receives a cash honorarium and will be publicly recognized at the National Commencement Exercises in Cincinnati on October 25, 2015.