Congratulations to Mika for receiving the 2024 Individual Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education! 

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts holds the excellence of our undergraduate teaching in high regard. To recognize outstanding teaching faculty, the LSA Dean designates a number of Individual Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. This award recognizes faculty members who are exceptionally dedicated to the educational experiences of undergraduates, and who demonstrate this dedication through achievements and innovations in their own and others’ classrooms or academic programs.

Mika LaVaque-Manty was trained as a philosopher, but has been a political scientist for more than a decade. He is interested in political thought from the seventeenth century to today, particularly in questions regarding political action and agency and in their explanation. His main historical research interests are in eighteenth-century continental liberals, especially Immanuel Kant. In contemporary political theory, he focuses on liberal and democratic theory. His current projects focus on autonomy and agency in educational institutions and practices.

Tim McKay called out how Mika has

developed a unique pedagogical approach over the years, one characterized by team-based learning and gamified designs that go far beyond “surface-level gamification” to “designs that motivate students to explore and foster their autonomy.” One former student summed up your teaching with these words: “Within just a few minutes of Mika’s class, his passion for teaching, enthusiasm to work with students, and lively energy lights up the room. Mika supports the vision of our University by inspiring students to follow their passions, challenge themselves, and protect their mental health.”

Tim also made clear that Mika has

provided outstanding leadership to the Honors Program for many years, and your teaching, advising, mentorship, and service to your department, LSA, and UM are characterized by deep dedication to both the professional success and the well-being of all students. Former students speak of you as “constantly innovating,” “clearly an educational visionary,” “brilliant, witty, and engaging,” asking “thoughtful and evocative questions,” a “truly exceptional leader and educator,” “an absolutely crucial part of my positive experiences at Michigan,” “a master at making those he interacts with feel valued.”  “Mika has a transformative effect on undergraduate education at UM.” 

He joins this astonishing group of previous recipients of the award: Barry Rabe, Mary Gallagher, Lisa Disch, and Arthur (Skip) Lupia.