Skip to Content

Department of English Language and Literature


Banner Image

English Department Announces Teaching Award Winners

Department and Students Recognize Outstanding Teachers


When asked why he esteemed his teacher more than his own father, Alexander the Great is famously said to have answered: “Because my father was a cause of my life, whereas my tutor was a cause of the enhancement of my life.”

The English Department’s 2016 Teaching Award goes to two professors who, through their lectures and their mentoring, have undoubtedly made the intellectual lives of our USC students better, richer, and wiser: Dr. Eli Jelly-Schapiro and Dr. Esther Richey.

During the award academic year, Jelly-Schapiro, Assistant Professor of English with an expertise in Global Contemporary Literature, Transnational American Studies, Theories of Race, Capital, and Empire, taught the following courses: ENGL 391 (Great Books of the Western World, Part II), ENGL 353 for the Honors College (Literature and Globalization), ENGL 288 (English Literature) and ENGL 439 (Capitalism and Contemporary Literature).

One student said of his Great Books course that “it really helped me think critically about the books we read and the topics we covered,” and another student described him thus: “Eli’s greatest strength is his care for his students’ progress… If a student is struggling, he is always willing to help and slow down.” His teaching methods leaves a powerful mark on his riveted audiences: “Eli leads thoughtful discussions, effectively bringing students together in meaningful conversation. His selection of texts was superb… He is understanding of college schedules and works with us to ensure we have enough time to focus on his readings. He is brilliant and connects well with students to convey his message.”

Associate Professor Esther Richey, an expert in 17th Century Poetry and Prose, Milton, Renaissance Literature, Shakespeare, and Women Writers in the Early Modern Period, taught ENGL 405 (Shakespeare’s Tragedies), ENGL 288 (English Literature), and the graduate course Engl 712 (Shakespeare II: The Tragedies). Her students adore her teaching style, are in awe of her knowledge, and appreciate the time and effort she devotes to lecture preparation and one-on-one mentoring. “I cannot give enough praise to Dr. Richey,” says one of her ENGL 288 participants: “She is beyond knowledgeable in the subject matter and she’s always open to discussion and questions…She is the best professor I’ve ever had.” Another student echoes this sentiment, commenting: “Dr. Richey is a beautiful human being and an outstanding professor. She demonstrates both passion and proficiency regarding her content area as well as exhibits care and understanding for her students.”

The English Department congratulates these amazing award winners on their unwavering commitment to teaching excellence.