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Kathryn Reyerson Receives 2016-17 Distinguished Teacher Award

May 11, 2017

Portrait: Kathryn Reyerson

Portrait: Kathryn Reyerson
Kathryn Reyerson, professor, Department of History (Photo by Patrick O'Leary)
“Each generation of scholars will produce their own Middle Ages. It is my mission to train students in past historical insights and give them old and new skills to create that new vision.”

A distinguished scholar of the medieval world, Kathryn Reyerson has embraced the modern one with gusto.

She has developed techniques to let students use their smartphones and other devices to engage with lectures. She teaches innovative graduate courses on such topics as “the medieval Mediterranean,” and has created and taught courses in skills like the study of ancient writing and the science of studying documents.

Reyerson has a knack for “helping a student to break a problem down into manageable pieces, discussing with them what they will have to do to accomplish each piece, and providing prompt and usable feedback about what they have done,” says one colleague.

She initiated a series of FrancoAmerican graduate student exchanges, a move that helps students in medieval history and related fields grow by leaps and bounds. She also sponsors and edits the proceedings of conferences where U of M graduate students mingle with peers and prominent scholars from around the world. In 1988 she became the founding director of the Center for Medieval Studies, which has taken the University of Minnesota to national leadership in this field of graduate education and garnered her the top prize of the Medieval Academy of America.

A former student professes to love the U of M “because of the intellectual environment it provided me, and for me the biggest provider of that environment was Kay Reyerson.”