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Dr. Mark Leeper Receives State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award

Published Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Dr. Mark Leeper, professor of politics at Wayne State, received the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award at the undergraduate commencement ceremony May 4.

Dr. Mark Leeper, professor of politics at Wayne State, received the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award at the undergraduate commencement ceremony May 4. Matt Ley, chief executive officer of State National Bank in Wayne, presented the award. 

David Ley, the bank’s chairman of the board, established the award in 1998 as a way of recognizing and strengthening outstanding teaching at Wayne State. David Ley and State National Bank of Wayne support the college in many ways, including scholarships and as a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

This prestigious honor is awarded on the basis of rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching. Leeper also was Wayne State's nominee for the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award.

This is Leeper’s fourth recognition for excellence in teaching, two at Wayne State and two at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Leeper has been at Wayne State for 17 years, teaching American government, constitutional law, elections, and American political culture through literature and film. He earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina and his bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Leeper has taken students to observe oral arguments of the U.S. Supreme Court as a part of their honors projects; has taken students to Iowa caucus events to interact with major party candidates for president; and has co-authored papers with undergraduates and presented their findings at professional political science conferences.

His nomination materials note that he “exhibits the traits embodied in the great teachers of politics: he is engaging, feisty, reverent, and when necessary, irreverent, critical, humorous, and intellectually curious. His approach to teaching has profoundly affected students for over a generation. His former students are now lawyers, teachers, political activists, lobbyists, and more. Most importantly, his students see the world more clearly, engage in their communities more passionately and find politics more interesting than they would otherwise.”