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Tulane Law faculty honored for their scholarship and mentorship

November 09, 2023 10:45 AM
Alina Hernandez ahernandez4@tulane.edu

Professors Laila Hlass (left) and Saru Matambanadzo were honored at the university-wide Research, Scholarship, and Artistic Achievement Awards.


Tulane Law Professors Laila Hlass and Saru Matambanadzo have been honored by Tulane University for their innovation and dedication to education as part of the annual Research, Scholarship, and Artistic Achievement Awards.

Hlass, Associate Provost for International Affairs and the Co-Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, received the 2023 Spirit of Tulane Research Award, which honors faculty who best represent the university motto of “Not for oneself, but for one’s own” while enhancing the research mission through education, creative expression, mentorship, and collaborative effort to advance knowledge.

Matambanadzo, the Moise S. Steeg Jr. Associate Professor of Law and the Director of the law school’s Online Legal Education Program, received the Student/Trainee Research Mentoring Award, which recognizes her as an exceptional research mentor.

“We are extraordinarily proud of our two faculty members who were honored by the university,” said Law Interim Dean Sally Richardson. “Their contributions to Tulane, our law students, and our community are immeasurable and show just how committed our faculty is to excellence, education and service.”

At a ceremony held Nov. 3, Hlass and Matambanadzo joined dozens of other faculty members honored for their contributions in diverse fields, emphasizing Tulane’s research environment and multidisciplinary approach. 

University President Michael A. Fitts welcomed attendees and recognized the significance of Tulane faculty's impressive work. 

“Each and every person in this room should take tremendous pride in Tulane’s university-wide research portfolio. Fiscal year 2023 saw Tulanians garner over $200 million in research funding – obliterating the previous year’s historic total.”

Dean Richardson (left), with Profs. Matambanadzo and

Hlass teaches and writes about the convergence of the immigration enforcement and criminal legal regimes, immigrant children, and experiential pedagogy, and she co-directs Tulane’s Immigrant Rights Clinic. In 2022, she was recognized with the Elisabeth S. “Lisa” Brodyaga Award from the National Immigration Project for outstanding contributions to immigrant rights and was honored as a 2021-22 Bellows Scholar with Prof. Mary Yanik for their research regarding habeas litigation of prolonged and punitive immigrant detention.  Prof. Hlass was awarded a 2018 Carol Lavin Bernick Faculty Grant to develop pedagogical films for experiential faculty

, as part of the Legal Interviewing and Language Access Film Project

Hlass’ work on the convergence of immigration enforcement and criminal legal regimes infuses a mixture of legal doctrine, policy considerations, and real-life practices to highlight how the immigration legal system perpetuates racial subordination.

Matambanadzo is the Senior Director of Online Legal Education, overseeing the entire landscape of Tulane’s online educational programs.  In addition, she is the Faculty Director of the Master of Jurisprudence in Labor and Employment Law program, with responsibility for its curriculum, faculty, and student experience. In her time at Tulane, Matambanadzo has supervised more than 100 research and journal papers, in addition to her regular supervision of student writing through her seminar classes on topics including Feminist Legal Theory, Law and Sexuality, and Race and Constitutional Law.

Matambanadzo is a nationally known authority on gender and workplace equity whose scholarship examines modern challenges in the workplace through the lenses of critical race theory, feminist legal theory, and LatCrit theory. From 2016 - 2020, Matambanadzo was the Ratner Family Professor in Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane's Taylor Center, an interdisciplinary program focused on applying design thinking to public policy challenges. In addition, she served as a founding board member for ClassCrits.org and she currently serves on the board of LatCrit.org. Before her time at Tulane, Matambanadzo taught seminars and courses in gender and legal studies at a variety of institutions including UCLA, California State University-Long Beach, and the University of Oregon, and was a summer fellow at the UCLA Williams Project.