Lehmann receives Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Excellence Award

Courtney Lehmann

Pacific English Professor Courtney Lehmann has received the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Excellence Award

Known for her energy and spirited teaching—complete with quirky Shakespeare hats—English Professor Courtney Lehmann has received the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Excellence Award.

The prize recognizes excellence in teaching and the ability to inspire intellectual and personal development in and beyond the classroom. Lehmann is one of four winners of the award this year, chosen from one of eight Phi Beta Kappa institutions in Northern California that with Pacific include Mills College, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz.

"Being recognized with the Phi Beta Kappa award provides validation for me, but also for our university," said Lehmann. "At Pacific, teaching is paramount and this award shows that the hard work being done by educators to positively impact the lives of our students is still valued."

Pacific is known for its personalized teaching and learning environment and Lehmann embraces the student-centered approach.

"The ethos of Pacific is to build relationships and understand our students beyond a classroom setting," explained Lehmann. "I enjoy getting to know my students and help them not only recognize their potential but to live it out in their daily lives."

Lehmann also is director for the Powell Scholars Program, the university’s premier academic scholarship. Powell Scholars are high achieving students who demonstrate leadership potential, pursue creative endeavors and innovative research, and become game-changers in their communities both locally and globally.

"The Powell Scholars are truly a living and learning community," explained Lehmann. "My role is to be embedded in Callison Hall, which is their study space, and be available to mentor them. I consider it a tremendous opportunity to get to know these students so well and I wish I had the opportunity to be this close with all of my students."

In her 23 years of teaching at Pacific, Lehmann has been instrumental in the success of many students.

"During my time at Pacific, Dr. Lehmann has been my biggest supporter through all the academic and personal challenges I’ve faced," said Arooba Lodhi, a Powell Scholar. "She transcends the title of being a professor and is truly the most extraordinary individual I have been blessed with knowing."

In 2016, Lehmann was named the University Distinguished Faculty Award winner, Pacific's highest faculty honor for outstanding accomplishments by a tenured faculty member in any or all of the following areas: teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the university.

"Dr. Lehmann is a dedicated teacher-scholar for whom students have always come first," said Pacific Provost Maria Pallavicini. "She is very deserving of the Teaching Excellence Award, as evidenced by the extraordinary service and dedication that she has given to her students and Pacific."

Lehmann and the other winners will receive their Teaching Excellence Award at a virtual awards dinner in May.

"It really is astonishing for me to receive an award for what I do for a living," explained Lehmann. "For me, teaching is not just a job, it's a way of being in the world."