Rutgers University–Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon recognized Rutgers Law School Professor Kathryn Kovacs for her excellence in teaching, service, and research with the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence for Full-Time Faculty at the Rutgers Law commencement in Camden on May 23, 2019.
The award is given annually to a Rutgers–Camden faculty member who exemplifies the exceptional commitment to teaching and mentoring students that is a hallmark of the Rutgers University–Camden experience.
"Law school can be a very intimidating experience," said Kovacs. "I think my sense of humor keeps students engaged and relaxed."
Kovacs teaches administrative law, natural resources law, environmental law, and property utilizing a variety of storytelling and teaching strategies—from roleplaying to her famous "brain cell" reviews—to help Rutgers Law students gain valuable lawyering skills while learning the course material.
"I teach students not only the substance of the law but also the skills they will need to be effective and happy lawyers," said Kovacs. "I practiced for fifteen years before coming to Rutgers, so I have much to share beyond the usual law school fare."
Kovacs joined the Rutgers faculty in 2011 after twelve years in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, Appellate Section. She wrote more than 100 appellate and Supreme Court briefs and argued more than sixty appeals in all thirteen of the federal circuit courts of appeals, twice en banc, and in three state supreme courts. Her cases covered a wide range of areas including environmental, administrative, and constitutional law—both civil and criminal.
In 2016, Kovacs was a political appointee serving as Senior Advisor to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management in the U.S. Department of the Interior. She also spent three years litigating primarily constitutional claims as an attorney in the Baltimore City Law Department, and she clerked for the Honorable Robert C. Murphy, former Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
"My door is always open, and students take full advantage of that, whether they’ve had a class with me or not," said Kovacs. "I love helping students to build their futures. Being a teacher brings so much joy to my life."