NIU College of Law Professor Meredith Stange was voted “Professor of the Year” by the Class of 2021. As Professor of the Year, Professor Stange will have the honor of addressing the class on Monday, May 31, during commencement and assist with hooding the graduates during the ceremony.
Professor Stange is the first legal writing professor professor to receive this coveted award. She is the director of the NIU College of Law Legal Writing Program where she teaches Legal Writing I and II, Legal Methods, Legal Analysis: Skills and Strategies, Writing for Practice, and Health Law. She is also a coordinator for the NIU College of Law Academic Success Program.
“I didn’t believe it,” was Professor Stange’s first reaction upon hearing the exciting news. “I never thought that this would happen for a legal writing professor. When I speak at graduation, I honor all the legal writing professors who have fought so hard to increase our status,” she said.
Jennifer Sariol, third-year law student and president of the Student Bar Association, had the privilege of sharing the results with Professor Stange.
“It isn’t surprising to me that Professor Stange was selected as Professor of the Year. She has always been there for the Class of 2021,” said Jennifer. “She has had an open-door policy for her office, which led the students to feel comfortable going to her with any type of problem. When the pandemic happened, she managed to still be available online through weekly meltdown meetings.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Professor Stange provided an outlet for students by hosting weekly virtual meltdown meetings that were attended by both students and alums. “It’s been a really good way to stay connected because we could not meet in person anymore, but I wanted to let people know that I’m there to talk,” said Professor Stange. The meetings were originally held during the day, but due to a strong interest, they were moved to Friday nights to allow the opportunity for more people to join.
Professor Stange has been inside the classroom for 19 years and brings a cheerful personality and energy to keep her students engaged. She also sprinkles her lectures with Harry Potter quotes and other entertainment trivia and allows plenty of time for students to work on their writing assignments. In addition, her current and former students know her infamous signature comment, “So what?” This is the most common piece of advice she says she gives to students on graded assignments to remind them that they always have to explain themselves a little more. She loves seeing the students’ growth during the course of a semester as well as over their three years of law school.
“The students are my favorite part of teaching, and I try to always be a resource for all students, not just the ones who are taking my class. I would like to give a huge thank you to the Class of 2021. I am very stunned, honored, and touched that they did this – and very thankful.”