The Center for Teaching Excellence


Since 2001, The Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Award annually recognizes four SMU faculty members for their notable commitment to and achievements in fostering student learning. These are teachers whose concerns for higher education go beyond classroom boundaries and often the boundaries of their own disciplines. In student mentoring, in discussions about teaching, and in continuous reflection about their own successes and ways to improve, they represent the highest achievement in reaching the goals of higher education.

Recipients receive a $10,000 award and membership in SMU's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. For two years following the award, they participate actively with other members of the Academy in providing campus-wide leadership in teaching and learning.

For nomination and selection guidelines, click here.

2020 Altshuler Recipients

Jeffrey Kahn is Professor of Law and Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow at SMU.  He is a graduate of Yale College, Oxford University (where he won the Hodgson Martin Prize for Best Dissertation for his doctoral work on Russian federalism), and the University of Michigan Law School. He joined the faculty in Fall 2006 and teaches and writes on American constitutional law, administrative law, Russian law, human rights, and counterterrorism. 

In 2007-2008, he received the Maguire Teaching Fellow Award from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for his seminar, “Perspectives on Counterterrorism.” In 2008-2009, he was named a Colin Powell Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. In 2010, he received SMU’s Outstanding Faculty Award, a university-wide award given each year to a junior, tenure-track faculty member for excellence in teaching, curricular development, and scholarship. In 2011, the year he was tenured and promoted to associate professor, he received the Law School's Excellence in Teaching Award.  He was promoted to full professor in 2014.

Jill E. Kelly is associate professor of history in the William P. Clements Department of History within Dedman College. In 2012, she received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Kelly published “To Swim with Crocodiles: Land, Violence, and Belonging in South Africa, 1800-1996” (2018, Michigan State University Press) and her research broadly uses archival research and oral history to examine wider concerns of African studies including land, violence, chieftaincy, ethnic and nationalist politics, and development.

Kelly teaches courses on early and modern African history. She also teaches seminars on oral history and extensively uses oral history techniques to help her students better understand class topics. Kelly has received numerous recognitions at SMU including the M Award, Engaged Learning Excellence in Mentoring Award, and the Golden Mustang Teaching Award.

William Maxwell is a Professor of Finance at the Cox School of Business.  He received his PhD. from the George Washington University in 1998.  He holds the Mary Jo Vaughn Rauscher Chair in Financial Investments and is theDirector of the Don Jackson Center for Financial Studies and the EnCap Investments & LCM Group Alternative Asset Management Center.  He has taught at the University of Arizona, Texas Tech, Georgetown and George Washington University. Before studying for the PhD, he worked for five years specializing in mergers & acquisitions and corporate valuations.  

Dr. Maxwell teaches in the undergraduate Alternative Assets Management Program. He has been recognized for his outstanding teaching with numerous awards and was named as one of Poets and Quants’ 2017 Top 40 Undergraduate Business School ProfessorsDr. Maxwell's research has focused on corporate finance and corporate bond microstructure.  His work is cited over 2,300/8,500 times (Web of Science & Google Scholar). 

James Kang Hoon Lee is associate professor of the History of Early Christianity and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program in the Perkins School of Theology. Lee holds a Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. His research interests include Augustine, Latina and Greek patristics, ecclesiology, and Biblical exegesis. He recently published The Church in the Latin Fathers: Unity in Charity (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic).

Lee’s graduate courses focus on the history of Christianity, early Christian spirituality and the Bible, and the theology of Augustine. He has received grants and awards from the Wabash Center for Teaching & Learning and the Kaneb Center at the University of Notre Dame. Lee has served as president of the Korean American Catholic Theological Society.