Schar School Professor Justin Gest Wins Teaching Excellence Award

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2020 Mason Excellence in Teaching Award Winner Justin Gest

Originally published on May 19, 2020

Schar School of Policy and Government Associate Professor Justin Gest has received George Mason University’s highest teaching honor, the 2020 Teaching Excellence Award. Recipients of the annual award are recognized for their significant work in course planning, innovation, and curriculum development.

“I was particularly impressed by the variety of problem-based learning opportunities, hands-on experience through field trips, connecting with clients, and inviting important speakers to your courses that your students receive,” a representative of the award’s selection committee wrote in the judges’ comments.

Gest is a professor of public policy researching comparative politics, immigration policy, minority politics, and qualitative methods. He has published commentary in a number of major news outlets including the Washington PostPolitico, and Reuters. His well-received books include The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality (2016) and Crossroads: Comparative Immigration Regimes in a World of Demographic Change (2018).

Before joining the Schar School, Gest was a Harvard College Fellow and lecturer in Harvard University’s Departments of Government and Sociology. In 2014, he received the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, Harvard’s highest award for teaching.

“With a broad-minded education and equipped with strong communication skills, students can develop their ideas, share them, and own them,” said Gest. “That is what I hope that they take away from my courses—not my ideas, but their own.

“And in this way, the student becomes my achievement,” he said. “The student becomes my legacy. The student becomes me, and I become the student.”