Professor Elliott Receives Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award

Professor Heather Elliott recently received The University of Alabama’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. See Prof. Elliott at the 10:40 mark.


Brilliant. Approachable. Great. Dedicated. Caring.

When you ask Alabama Law students about Professor Heather Elliott, these are words you hear repeated often. When she received The University of Alabama’s Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award at the 2020 Virtual Campus Assembly on October 12, students as well as her colleagues on the faculty and staff were thrilled for this well-deserved recognition.

Second-year student Tucker Crain has Elliott as his academic advisor. “Interacting with Professor Elliott outside of class is awesome,” he says. “She’s one of the smartest people ever, but she’s super approachable and always willing to help with any issue.”

Elliott teaches civil procedure, land use law and planning, water law, legislation and regulation, and professional responsibility, and researches in the areas of Alabama water law and policy and the role of courts and agencies in a democratic society. Having joined the faculty in 2008, she is the Alumni, Class of ’36 Professor of Law.

“Not only has she done terrific scholarship in areas as diverse as environmental law, federalism, administrative law, and the constitutional doctrines of standing, but she has also built a record as a spectacular teacher,” said Mark Brandon, Dean and Thomas E. McMillan Professor of Law.

“She always fully explained the material and was very in tune with specific areas of the course that could be confusing to us. Everything she did had a purpose, and it resulted in a better experience for all of us,” said second-year student Jesse Westerhouse of her legislation and regulation class. “I took her class when we transitioned to online class because of COVID, and the transition was seamless. She set up multiple times a week to meet [virtually] in small groups with students to make sure we had a chance to discuss the material, recorded videos explaining the material, and was generally accessible at just about any time to talk about the class or life in general.”

Second-year student Madelyn Beatty also took Elliott’s legislation and regulation class. “An example of Professor Elliott’s commitment to her students and our law school as a whole came up the spring of my 1L year when she and a few other professors conducted a panel for us on how to choose upper level courses to enroll in,” she said. “After this panel, Professor Elliott let me discuss the specific courses I wanted to take on more than one occasion. She genuinely cared that I found a good upper level course plan.”

The Outstanding Commitment to Teaching award was created in 1976 by the University of Alabama National Alumni Association. The award recognizes four faculty members annually, based on the faculty members’ commitment to teaching and the impact they have had on students through the teaching and learning process.