Prof. Peter Sankoff receives Tevie Miller Teaching Excellence Award

Honoured for innovative teaching methods and mentorship

Sarah Kent and Helen Metella - 22 July 2021

For his multi-format teaching tools and tireless mentorship, law professor Peter Sankoff was awarded the 2021 Hon. Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award.

The award recognizes excellence in teaching by a full-time faculty member at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law.

Students say that Sankoff, who teaches criminal law, evidence and animal law, is a passionately supportive instructor whose ever-evolving techniques foster rigorous learning. His adeptness with technology and dedication to ensuring that all students rise to their potential were especially helpful when classes moved online due to COVID-19. “He helped maintain a sense of collegiality,” said one student nominator.

Sankoff also initiated and successfully executed the #100InternsProject. It funded and secured 100 internships for Canadian law students who saw summer employment evaporating early in the pandemic. The initiative resumed in spring 2021, with assistance from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, and placed another 100 students by April 25.

“Don’t let Professor Sankoff’s tough outer shell fool you,” wrote another student. “He is one of the most caring, committed and supportive people I’ve ever met.”

Sankoff embraces innovation as an instructor. He was the first at the Faculty to use interactive clicker responses (for instantly gathering and tabulating a classroom of student responses), and the first law professor in Canada to adopt the “flipped classroom” model (in which lectures are pre-recorded to create more time for in-class discussion and problem-solving).

He has more than100 videos on YouTube, on substantive issues of law, on teaching law and on succeeding at law school. In 2021, he created and co-hosted (with his pre-teen daughter), the podcast Translating Criminal Law: Rated G; since 2018 he has co-hosted the animal law podcast Paw and Order.

Sankoff’ supervises four students annually in a criminal law internship. For six years he was a moot coach, co-coaching the U of A to three Gale Cups and taking the Commonwealth Moot.

“I am thrilled to win this award, especially in light of the accomplished list of nominees — all of whom were equally deserving,” said Sankoff.

The Hon. Tevie H. Miller Teaching Excellence Award is named in honour of the former associate chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.