Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, in 2012 the Jefferson Scholars Foundation began recognizing University faculty who have demonstrated both excellence in teaching and exceeding care for their students. This award honors those teachers in the UVA community who have gone the extra mile in fulfilling their vocation without regard for their own advancement. Included in this year’s recipients for Excellence in Teaching is the School of Architecture’s Lisa Reilly, Associate Professor of Architectural History.
Recognizing teaching excellence, the honorees of this award stand out for their ability to transform the lives of their students through not only curricular innovations, but also through their commitment to student mentorship. Lisa exemplifies these strengths through her deep and critical investment in education and the impact it has had on her students’ UVA experiences and their futures.
Chair of the Architectural History Department, Sheila Crane, describes, “Even as she has been on the cutting-edge of innovations in teaching large lecture courses, [Lisa] has also been a cutting-edge explorer of new technologies, which she has thoughtfully harnessed as powerful tools for encouraging student engagement and critical thinking as well as developing new modes of research and presentation.” Supporting the exploration of these tools within her classes, Lisa has successfully been awarded a series of grants, including an Academy of Teaching Fellowship, a Hybrid Challenge Grant, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute Grant, among many others.
Recently, Lisa and her students have worked in partnership with James Monroe’s Highland estate and its Executive Director, Sara Bon-Harper, architectural historian Carl Lounsbury, and others to uncover the site’s history and to create a series of proposals for new tours to effectively engage visitors. Of this work, Kevin Murphy, Andrew Mellon Chair and Professor of Art History at Vanderbilt University observed that Lisa and her students “proposed various approaches to the interpretation of Highland, a problematic site, drawing on sophisticated technological tools at the same time that it served to bring out a variety of points of view on the place, for instance, those of the enslaved inhabitants and of women.” Two of the four student teams partnered with the tech firm ARTGlass to develop tours using augmented reality, the first use of such technology at a cultural site in the United States.
In addition to her innovative teaching, Lisa is recognized for her dedication to her students. Hannah Glatt, a fourth-year undergraduate student studying Architectural History, notes, “In my experience, [Lisa’s] availability and approachability is incomparable…. she has provided me with knowledge, passion and opportunity in order to realize my own future and abilities. As a professor and advisor at this University, Lisa Reilly embodies the qualities of an excellent teacher and mentor.” This mentorship has had considerable impact on her students as they embark on and build their own careers. Jennifer Grayburn, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Temple University, and a former student of Lisa (completing her M.A. and Ph.D. under her supervision), states, “I cannot overstate the influence Lisa has had on both my research and teaching. I have not only modeled Lisa’s student-centered objectives and project-based assignments in my own courses, but also continue to strive as she does for improvement in the face of educational and technological changes. Through the process of implementing Lisa’s pedagogy in my classroom and mentorship roles, my appreciation for her endless dedication and passion for teaching has only increased. These courses are difficult, time-consuming and unpredictable; yet, in a world of increasing access to information, I view Lisa’s focus on the process of knowledge creation and reorganization more relevant than ever before. I continue to look to Lisa as a source of inspiration for my own career.”
Each year, Lisa’s enthusiastic, dynamic, and inspired teaching has engaged students at all levels at UVA. The mission of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation is to serve the University of Virginia by identifying, attracting, and nurturing individuals of extraordinary intellectual range and depth who possess the highest concomitant qualities of leadership, scholarship, and citizenship. Lisa is a well-deserving recipient of this award and an embodiment of these values. The School of Architecture congratulates Lisa on this extraordinary recognition.