Hutton and Schweinle are the 2008 recipients of the Belbas-Larson Awards for Excellence in Teaching. They will be recognized at the May 10 commencement ceremony and each will receive a $5,000 tribute and framed certificate commemorating their accomplishment. The Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching is the highest honor The U bestows upon its educators.

Honored in the tenured category, Hutton, J.D., is a professor of law in the School of Law. She teaches courses in Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence and Advanced Criminal Procedure. In addition to her teaching and advising roles on campus, Hutton also serves as publisher of the South Dakota Criminal Law and Procedure Review,and edits the treatise South Dakota Evidenceby John Larson. Her professional publications include commentary on the death penalty, evidence issues in criminal trials, retroactivity and standards of review. She supervises approximately 40 law school students annually who volunteer with the Innocence Project of South Dakota, which is based at the USD School of Law to investigate claims of innocence raised by inmates in the South Dakota State Penitentiary.

"Each year, I have the privilege of observing Professor Hutton in the classroom. She is such a great teacher it almost, but not quite, makes me want to go back to law school," noted Barry Vickrey, dean of the School of Law. "In addition to her teaching, Professor Hutton is a fine legal scholar and is tireless in providing public and professional service nationally, in South Dakota, and within the law school. She is both a model for and outstanding representative of the great faculty in the law school and the University."

Hutton received a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College, juris doctor from Washburn University and a master’s of law degree from Harvard University. She is also a member of the bar in South Dakota and Kansas.

Recognized in the tenure-track category, Schweinle, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Education and program coordinator for educational psychology at The U. Her courses include Foundations of Educational Statistics, Advanced Statistics: Correlational Analysis, Advanced Statistics: Experimental Analysis, Multivariate Techniques and, on occasion, she also teaches Repeated Measures Analysis and Teaching Statistics. Some of her recent publications are “Striking the Right Balance: Students’ Motivation and Affect in Upper Elementary Mathematics Classes,” which appeared in the Journal of Educational Research; “Can Challenging Classes Be Enjoyable,” which was featured in the Academic Exchange Quarterly; and “Explaining Race Disparities in South Dakota Sentencing and Incarceration” that was the lead article in South Dakota Law Review’s “Sentencing and Punishment Symposium Issue.” The article was also co-written by Richard Braunstein, Ph.D., an associate professor in the political science department at USD.

"Dr. Schweinle teaches in a way that reduces ‘statistics’ fears and helps graduate students replace them with skills," said Linda Reetz, Ed.D, interim dean of the School of Education. "She makes statistics understandable by using real data, helping students interpret their data and display findings in poster sessions, and providing ongoing feedback and mentoring to students. She provides sophisticated direction to graduate students in their individual thesis and dissertation studies. This award supports what the School of Education holds in highest regard, quality teaching, and we thank Amy for representing this ideal."

Schweinle earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Midwestern State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Texas-Arlington. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society and American Educational Research Association.

The Belbas-Larson Awards were established by a 1956 graduate of USD, Dean Belbas of Edina, Minn., and Sioux Falls, S.D., and his friends, Harold W. and Kathryn Larson of Bemidji, Minn., and Scottsdale, Ariz.

Photographs of the honorees can be downloaded at and

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