Gail Thomas '96 to receive Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track

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Gail Thomas '96 to receive Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track

April 23, 2018, by Pete Rosenbery

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CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale will honor six members of the faculty and staff for superior scholarship, teaching and service. 

Chancellor Carlo Montemagno will host a recognition ceremony honoring the recipients of the Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards at 3 p.m., Thursday, April 26, in the University Museum Auditorium. Refreshments in the museum’s north gallery will be available after the program.

The recipients are: Qingfeng Ge (Scholar Excellence Award), Dr. John D. Mellinger (Teaching Excellence Award, tenured and tenure-track), Gail Thomas (Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track), Trent W. Ford (Early Career Faculty Excellence Award), and Richard Cole and Emily J. Spann(Staff Excellence Award).

“The winners exemplify what makes SIU great,” said Chancellor Carlo Montemagno. “They are committed to our students and campus and dedicated to outstanding teaching, research and service. I'm grateful for the many ways in which they contribute to our mission as members of the SIU community.”

Gail Thomas to receive Teaching Excellence Award, non-tenure track

Thomas, a clinical associate professor, heads the School of Law Domestic Violence Clinic. Thomas, the only teacher and attorney for the clinic is “an inspiring teacher who doesn’t just talk to her students about dedication to clients, she lives it,” Sheila Simon wrote in her nomination letter.

Thomas returned to college while raising a family and earned her bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies from SIU Carbondale and her law degree from the SIU School of Law. She worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Jackson County, prosecuting domestic battery cases for many years, and as an assistant appellate prosecutor for the Fifth District. She has been with the university since 2003 when she began as a lecturer in the paralegal studies program. She has been with the Domestic Violence Clinic since 2004.

The clinic includes a classroom component where Thomas’ topics include laws involving domestic violence and no contact orders. She invites guest speakers from a variety of domestic violence-related areas.

Thomas works with and supervises second- and third-year law students whose goal is helping domestic violence survivors “get safety and justice,” Simon wrote. She notes Thomas’ impact on students, who will “follow her lead and consistently work more hours than are expected of them.”

“Because of her work many survivors of domestic violence are safe,” Simon wrote. “But that impact is small compared to the exponential impact of the work of Gail’s students. Because of Gail’s inspirational teaching, there is a new group of lawyers every year who know how to do the work, how to achieve the high standards that we should all set for ourselves, and why.”

Thomas will receive the permanent title of Distinguished Teacher.

To see Gail's faculty profile click here