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Sometimes it’s gentle prodding by urging a student to try something a little tougher than they think they can handle to gain confidence.

Other times it’s downright “tough love.”

Faculty members have various ways of encouraging their students to succeed.

Erin Smith, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in French, calls Katherine Kong “one of the most influential teachers that I had in college.”

Katherine Kong
Katherine Kong

Kong is an assistant professor of French in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures and also works with the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

“Dr. Kong encouraged me to work hard and showed her students that she truly cared about them. She was passionate about French literature and about teaching, and her energy motivated me to learn,” Smith said. “She also encouraged me to take her graduate-level course on medieval French literature during my last semester of college, which gave me confidence that I could handle graduate school.

“When I applied for graduate school, Dr. Kong helped me by reviewing my statement of purpose and résumé and by submitting a letter of reference on my behalf. And after I was accepted and began my coursework toward a Master of Education in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, I often found myself reflecting on Dr. Kong’s teaching practices when asked to discuss successful learning experiences that I had had in foreign language classrooms.

“I am grateful that I had the opportunity to have Dr. Kong as a teacher at UT and will always appreciate the help and encouragement she gave me.”


Law Professor Joan Heminway wrote this tribute for the UT Law Review about colleague Bob Lloyd, who will retire this year.

Bob Lloyd
Bob Lloyd

Lloyd, the Lindsay Young Distinguished Professor of Law, came to the UT College of Law in 1983 after a career in commercial law with the Los Angeles firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. He helped develop UT’s concentration in business transactions and served as the first director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Law.

In her tribute, Heminway praises his “tough love” of students and intense desire to see the college be the best it can be.

“Bob is almost always irreverent; sometimes, even cheeky. Students and colleagues alike might be tempted to find his semi-confrontational style intimidating …. But he would not want to foster that view. I am confident that, instead, he would want others to interpret his impertinence as motivational, as encouragement to others to challenge assumptions and change. To the extent that he comes across as tough, it’s toughness with a purpose. He believes in the College if Law as well as his students and colleagues; he wants us all to succeed,” she wrote.

Heminway said Lloyd has penned two journal articles in which “he has begun to share this tough love approach and high standards with those outside the College of Law family.”

“In Why Every Law Student Should Be a Gunner and Hard Law Firms and Soft Law Schools, Bob takes aim at the aspirations that law students have for themselves and the objectives that law school administrators and faculty set for their institutions and their students. Unlike others who are critical of legal education, he hasn’t given up on it; rather, he’s trying to improve it.”