Skip to main content

Redding Receives 2023 Morningstar Family Teaching Award

Recognized for being an empathetic and genuine teacher who makes her students feel seen and valued
Alexis Redding
Photo: Jill Anderson

Lecturer Alexis Redding, Ed.M.'10, Ed.D.'18, is the 2023 recipient of the Morningstar Family Teaching Award, presented annually to a Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty member who makes an outstanding impact on their students and the Harvard community.

Redding was presented the award at HGSE’s Convocation exercises on Wednesday, May 24. The Morningstar winner is chosen based on nominations by HGSE students and a review process by a student advisory committee and the HGSE dean. Students praised Redding’s ability to create connections through her teaching, mentorship, and demeanor in the classroom.

“Professor Redding genuinely cares about her students. Beyond teaching us each week, she is a mentor and an advocate for each and every one of us,” one student wrote. “She has the unique ability to make all of her students feel seen and valued in a manner that is authentic.”

“Alexis has a remarkable capacity for creating an environment of genuine welcome and deep care in every setting,” wrote another. “It’s so natural it feels almost unconscious on her part — makes it all the more impressive, because she has clearly put so much effort into being the incredible instructor she is and creating a safe, thoughtful, and supportive classroom environment. Alexis is a remarkable facilitator, responding to each student with empathy, curiosity, and insight, while also encouraging new voices and ensuring a balance of ideas in the room.”

Redding is the faculty co-chair of the Higher Education Concentration at HGSE where she also teaches courses in youth development, higher education organizations, and research methods. In addition to her teaching and research, she is a developmental psychologist who has counseled students in the United States and Europe for more than two decades, focusing on the transition of young adults to college and professional life. 

Redding was a Presidential Scholar at Harvard University and earned her doctorate in Human Development and Education from HGSE in 2018. Student nominations stressed Redding’s understanding of the HGSE community and its students, and detailed the long-lasting impact she’s made on their careers and their lives in innumerable ways.

“She has empowered me to envision a future for myself dedicated to creating educational experiences that are as meaningful to the students I will serve as the experiences she provided to me and my HGSE colleagues,” wrote another student. “Beyond her excellence in teaching, Dr. Redding fostered the most important community I have at Harvard. My colleagues from her courses I consider thought partners, professional associates, and, importantly, friends.”

While praise from her students was voluminous, Redding admitted the honor made her “genuinely speechless.” She expressed her thanks to students, faculty, and staff in light of the announcement.

Established in 2000 with a gift from Faith Morningstar, Ed.M.’87, Ed.D.’96, and her husband, the Honorable Richard Morningstar, an alumnus of Harvard College, the Morningstar Family Teaching Award is intended to recognize faculty members that help create supportive environments for their students. Redding was nominated along with 36 other faculty members, with 104 students making nominations.

Current faculty members who have received the Morningstar Award include Professors Andrew Ho, Deborah Jewell-Sherman, Jal Mehta, Catherine Snow, Paul Harris, and Monica Higgins; Associate Professor Karen Brennan; Lecturers Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Aaliyah El-Amin, and Joe McIntyre; Senior Lecturers Joe Blatt and Elizabeth City; Principal Research Scientist Tina Grotzer; and Dean Bridget Terry Long.


The latest research, perspectives, and highlights from the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Related Articles