Excellence in Teaching: Sonia Bychkov Green
Each year, UIC honors some of its most dedicated and outstanding teachers with the Award for Excellence in Teaching. The winners, who receive a $5,000 salary increase, are selected by past recipients of the award from nominations made by departments and colleges.
Sonia Bychkov Green
Associate Professor of Law
Years at UIC: 22
What does it mean to win an Excellence in Teaching Award?
It means the world to me to be recognized for my teaching, and especially at UIC, which has long been a special part of my life. My family emigrated to the U.S. from the former USSR when I was a child, and my father, Vladimir Bychkov, was a doctor and professor in Moscow. He had to redo his medical training in the U.S. His first teaching job in the U.S. was at the UIC College of Medicine, and throughout his life, he was always recognized for his teaching. Teaching is my passion as well; being recognized for doing something I love only pushes me to do even better. My oldest son just started a PhD program and hopes to go into academia; I hope that he pursues excellence in his teaching as well.
What do you teach?
I teach civil procedure courses, conflicts of law, lawyering skills, and a seminar I developed on assisted reproductive technologies and the law.
How do you engage students in your courses?
My goal is to find a way to help each student master the material, feel involved in the course, and see applications of the course to other subjects and to real life. I share information about myself — I am a mom of four sons, I am an advocate for issues that matter to me, and I am a Manchester United supporter (that last one always leads to fun rivalries). I love using a variety of teaching tools: graphics, charts, videos, etc. I try to create a safe, positive and welcoming environment. I think that at any level — and especially in graduate programs — we have so much opportunity to learn from each other and the classroom is a place to build on that.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at UIC?
My students are the best part of teaching at UIC. I try to get to know my students as individuals, and I am constantly impressed by their persistence, intelligence and insights. They are great people, and I truly am honored to be part of their journey. I love staying in touch with them after they graduate and seeing their career and life progress. My colleagues — both at the law school and at UIC overall — are also a terrific part of teaching at UIC. I get to work with people who are passionate about a variety of legal issues, committed to education, and dedicated to making the world a better place.
What are your research interests?
My research focuses on conflicts of law issues, assisted reproductive technologies and access to those for all, and on how the law can improve vaccination rates.
What is your advice to students considering a teaching career?
Go for it! Academia needs a variety of voices and interests, and I hope that students considering a teaching career will seek me out so that I can encourage them.