Law Professor Marcus Gadson receives 2022 Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award

Photo of Professor Marcus Gadson

RALEIGH — Professor Marcus Gadson is Campbell Law School’s recipient of the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 2022. Professor Gadson joined the Campbell Law faculty as a tenure-track professor in 2019. He arrived with an established, successful career as a scholar.  

Professor Gadson teaches Civil Procedure to two-thirds of the first-year students and lends his personal and scholarly interests to critical upper-level electives, regularly teaching seminar courses on Race, Justice, & American Law and State Constitutional Law.  

Professor Gadson is renowned for fostering a classroom environment that is compassionate, approachable and intellectually engaging, Dean J. Rich Leonard explained. “He has a special skill for taking deeply complex material and making it accessible to incoming students who are encountering law for the first time,” he said. “Professor Gadson employs a host of teaching tools, resources and formative assessments to foster student success in his classes.” 

These commitments to student learning outcomes, engaging podium style and genuine care for students are vital qualities that make Professor Gadon a worthy recipient of the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching Award, Leonard added. “Professor Gadon’s supportive, engaging teaching style is best described by students under his care,” he continued. “His student course evaluations for class preparation, knowledge of the subject matter and effective teaching methods are stellar.”

Professor Gadon’s reputation as an intellectually gifted academic who channels difficult subjects into understandable concepts is reflected by the following comments reprinted from recent evaluations:  

  • “Professor Gadson is brilliant, empathetic, respectful and helpful beyond anything that is asked of him. He goes above and beyond to not only help us do well in law school, but also to prepare us for the real world. The world needs more professors like Professor Gadson.” 
  • “Professor Gadson is a credit to the legal profession and a credit to teaching. Schools would be lucky to, and students would be better for, having more teachers like him.” 
  • “Professor Gadson made class entertaining and interesting. He made class enjoyable rather than a chore. Not many teachers can do that.”
  • “Professor Gadson is brilliant yet incredibly humble and kind. I wish I could have him teach all of my classes.”
  • “Professor Gadson is an excellent source of knowledge and articulates difficult concepts with ease. He also helps students learn through engaging in a compassionate and humorous manner.”  
  • “He is very intelligent in the subject matter (no pun intended) and really helped me understand some complex ideas.” 
  • “A truly enlightened person; a kind professor.” 
  • “Gadson is the GOAT!” 

The student body has repeatedly recognized the profound impact Professor Gadson has on students pursuing their first-year studies. Beginning in his second full year at Campbell Law, Professor Gadson has been voted 1L Professor of the Year for three consecutive years: 2020, 2021 and 2022.  

Beyond his classroom pedagogy, Professor Gadson is a deeply respected scholar whose research focuses on civil procedure and the emerging emphasis on state constitutional alw issues. His publications include: “Stolen Plausibility,” 110 GEO. L.J. 291 (2021), “Time to Reconcile,” 43 CAMPBELL LAW REVIEW 223 (2021), “Afterword,” 69 J. LEGAL EDUC. 708 (2020), “Legal Education in the Era of Black Lives Matter,” 69 J. LEGAL EDUC. 637 (2020), “State Constitutional Provisions Allowing Juries to Interpret the Law are not as Crazy as they Sound,” 93 ST. JOHN’S L. REV. 1 (2019), “Constitutionalizing Rehabilitation Did Not Work: Lessons from Indiana and Oregon and a Way Forward,” 54 WILLAMETTE L. REV. 269 (2018), “Rethinking Solitary Confinement,” CRIM. JUST., Spring 2016, at 1, and “Reevaluating the Importance of Civics Education,”11 DARTMOUTH L.J. 45 (2013). 

In addition to his heavy teaching load, Professor Gadson serves Campbell Law in a host of ways. Notably, he serves on multiple committees, including Academic Appeals, Curriculum, Academic Standards and Support, Law School Community, Diversity & Student Life and Library Committee. Professor Gadson also serves as the Chair of the Judicial Clerkship Task Force Committee.  

Professor Gadson graduated with high honors from Dartmouth College, earning an A.B. in History and a minor in Asian and Middle Eastern studies while being named a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar. He later earned his juris doctorate from Harvard Law School where he was named an Academic Fellow. At Harvard Law, Professor Gadson served on the Harvard Journal on Legislation and was a member of the Black Law Students’ Association, Harvard Mediation Program and the AMES Moot Court Competition.  

Professor Gadson began his prestigious legal career as a law clerk to Judge Bernice B. Donald of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Memphis, Tennessee. From there, he moved into private practice as an associate at one of the country’s leading law firms, Steptoe & Johnson, where he successfully represented clients at both the trial and appellate level.  

“Campbell Law is fortunate to have such an exceptional professor, colleague and friend who is committed to the lives and careers of its students,” Leonard said. “We take enormous pride in recognizing Professor Gadson for his excellence in the classroom and contributions as a servant-scholar.”  


Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,500 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law celebrated 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 12 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.