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Laney Graduate School faculty Ellen Ott Marshall receives inaugural Provost's Award

Ellen Ott Marshall, PhD is the Laney Graduate School recipient of the inaugural Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education. Marshall is a Laney Graduate School faculty member in the Graduate Division of Religion and associate professor of Christian Ethics & Conflict Transformation in the Candler School of Theology. She is an accomplished leader in the field of Christian ethics, violence, peacebuilding, and conflict transformation. Marshall’s recognition takes place at the 2019 Laney Graduate School Diploma ceremony.

The Provost’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Education honors one outstanding faculty member from each of Emory’s seven graduate and professional schools. The faculty member, nominated by colleagues, students, and alumni, should exemplify exceptional teaching in graduate and professional education. Each school’s selection committee reviews and selects the awardee.

“Dr. Marshall’s selection reflects her tremendous impact and guidance within and beyond the classroom,” explains Lisa Tedesco, PhD, dean of the Laney Graduate School. “Nominations from both her colleagues and students tout her unyielding commitment to research as well as mentorship. Students value her innovative methods for developing their pedagogical skills, scholarship, and careers. She equips them to become valuable contributors to their fields.”

Before joining Emory in 2009, Marshall worked with the refugee resettlement programs of Church World Service and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. She has a range of interests including gender and moral agency, and the dynamic relationship between faith, history, and ethics. Marshall is the author of two books, the editor of two, and has published essays on welfare reform, the use of film to teach ethics, and the United Methodist response to war. Her book Christians in the Public Square argues for the value of love, moral ambiguity, and theological humility in contexts of contentious debate.

Marshall earned her doctorate in Religion, Ethics, and Society from Vanderbilt University. Her accomplished portfolio and education reflect her ability to impact others significantly. Many of Marshall’s nominations praised her contributions to an inclusive and diverse learning environment. 

One excerpt from a student nomination reads, “My student peers and I were, and remain, in awe of Dr. Marshall’s ability to promote respectful listening by example and to create a space were a diversity of students felt – rightly so- that they could speak up and be taken seriously.”

Another nomination speaks to Marshall’s skill at transforming conflict by acknowledging it as a foundation for essential dialogue. Her research in conflict transformation is widely

“The award decision is the result of a highly competitive selection process,” explains Tedesco. “Dr. Marshall not only met the award criteria, but she sets the highest bar for future recipients of this prestigious award.”

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