A headshot of Nancy McLoughlin with jacaranda trees in the background

Nancy McLoughlin, associate professor of history, has been named the School of Humanities Dean’s Honoree for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching as part of UCI’s 2022 Celebration of Teaching. An annual series of awards conferred upon UCI instructors for their pedagogical excellence, the Celebration of Teaching is sponsored by the Academic Senate Council on Teaching, Learning and Student Experience and the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning.

Nominators of the award praised McLoughlin for going above and beyond as a champion of high-quality undergraduate education, particularly in her role as director of the Humanities Honors Program. The Humanities Honors Program is a two-year, upper-division program designed to challenge exceptional students from all humanities majors by providing opportunities for intellectual growth in an interdisciplinary setting. During the pandemic, McLoughlin helped students in the program foster community by incorporating regular peer reviews and organizing students to work in small groups.

“Her directorship has contributed to a renewal of the program, even under difficult circumstances,” School of Humanities Dean Tyrus Miller said. “When she passes the baton to a new director this year, I feel confident that her work to keep the program healthy and adapting to our honors students' needs during the pandemic period will also have strengthened the program for the future.”

McLoughlin has been an advocate for, and mentor to, undergraduates since she joined UCI’s History Department in 2008. She has guided undergraduates in directed readings, in writing papers for independent studies, and in executing theses for the Humanities Honors Program and Campuswide Honors Collegium. In the spring of 2019, she encouraged all her honors students to apply for Summer Undergraduate Research Program fellowships and six of them were awarded a grant. Many of McLoughlin’s mentees have written prize-winning essays, published their work in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program journal and have gone on to graduate school.

McLoughlin’s research focuses on understanding why some individuals are allowed to intervene authoritatively in political and intellectual debates and others are discounted as irrelevant to the conversation. She teaches courses on late medieval history.

“I was delighted to receive the SOH Dean’s Teaching Award for my work with the Humanities Honors students,” McLoughlin said. “It has been a great privilege and adventure to help students write their best thesis. I have learned so much from my students and am grateful to the school for supporting this important program.”