PUBLISHED:April 07, 2015

Bowling receives Distinguished Teaching Award as Duke Bar Association honors students, student groups, and faculty at 2015 D.O.N.E. Awards

Duke Law students and faculty gathered for a Monday lunchtime presentation honoring the recipients of the 2015 Duke’s Outstanding and Noteworthy Endeavors (D.O.N.E.) Awards. Senior Lecturing Fellow Daniel Bowling III was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award, and was joined by several students and student groups whose contribution to law school life led fellow students to nominate them for the annual awards, given near the end of each academic year by the Duke Bar Association (DBA).

Third-year students Patrick Spaugh and Jana Kovich won the awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Duke Community and Outstanding Student Organization Leader, respectively. Spaugh, a 2014-15 LEAD Fellow, has held multiple positions in DBA and, according to presenter Stephanie Kim ’17, is a ubiquitous presence at Law School events and a relentless promoter of Duke Law.  “He is an active advocate for the school, and actually spent an hour on the phone with me last summer, convincing me to come here,” Kim said.

Kovich, who is pursuing her JD/LLM degree, is the outgoing DBA president, a LEAD Fellow, Moot Court Board Alumni and Social Chair, and, according to one of the nominations read by Kim, “a pretty wicked softball player.”

The Women Law Students Association (WLSA) was honored for the Greatest Contribution to Civic Discourse, traditionally given to the organization that promotes the law school as a forum for engaged dialogue. “In one of their earliest events this year, the room was so packed that students were literally sitting on the floor to hear a panel discussion of the Hobby Lobby decision,” said Kim, the DBA’s incoming Academics Chair. Kim also cited WLSA’s professional development speaker series, an informal dinner where students were able to meet and interact with judges from the North Carolina Supreme Court.

The Business Law Society (BLS) was awarded for providing the Greatest Role in Building Relationships. “This award recognizes the organization that highlights the value of community and loyalty at Duke Law. By connecting current students to faculty, practitioners, Duke alumni and each other, this year’s winner makes our relatively small community feel large,” Kim said. BLS was recognized for their part in the ESQ symposium and networking event, as well as sponsoring lunchtime speakers and other events.

The award for Greatest Service to the Outside Community was given to the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which trains law students to provide pro bono tax assistance to members of the community who otherwise could not afford professional help. “As students, our most precious commodity seems to be time,” Kim said. “[Members of VITA] selflessly give that up.”

More than 70 percent of the students who wrote in to nominate a faculty member for the Distinguished Teaching Award nominated Bowling, Kim said. “His enthusiasm is infectious,” Kim said. “Multiple students also wrote that they’ve decided to pursue labor law because of his classes.”

Bowling teaches labor and employment law in addition to a course he designed on lawyers and personal well-being, and he also leads seminar courses exploring the connection between happiness, legal professionalism, and work satisfaction. During his 25-year career with Coca-Cola Enterprises, Bowling held many roles, including senior vice-president of human resources. As part of his teaching award, Bowling will receive a $5,000 stipend. This support was gener­ously provided by The Class of 1967 Fund.

"To be recognized by our students for this award is one of the great honors of my life,” he said. “It shows students appreciate experienced practitioners with a love of teaching and mentoring who can work alongside our world-class permanent faculty to offer them the finest and most balanced legal education possible. In that sense, the award isn't just in recognition of me, but in recognition of all members of the extended faculty who bring practical wisdom and life experience into our classrooms."

Bowling said that his teaching approach includes "bringing positive energy, engagement, and humor into every class, every day.”

“I realize I am competing with multiple demands on students' attention so I switch gears a lot during a class, mixing lecture, open discussion, and hands-on experimentation,” Bowling said. “Nobody gets bored and they retain more information, I believe. Also, my focus is more than on just teaching students to ‘think like lawyers.’ I want students to think like complete professionals, recognizing that emotion and psychology are of critical importance in the practice of law, not just analysis."