2008-09 Distinguished Faculty and Teaching Assistant Awards

 
Faculty Research Lecturer Award
 
Reginald Golledge
Department of Geography

Chancellor Yang's June 2, 2009 Memo

The Faculty Research Lectureship is the highest honor that UCSB can bestow upon one of its own faculty. This year, the committee had the privilege of considering an array of outstanding nominees; and while the decision was difficult, it was unanimous. The 2008-09 Lectureship, the 54th since the creation of the award in 1955, is awarded to Professor Reginald Golledge, of the Department of Geography. In the words of his supporters, Professor Golledge “is a living legend in the discipline of geography,” and “a giant in the field.”

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Plous Award
 
Tommaso Treu
Department of Physics

Currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics, Dr. Treu has achieved a truly remarkable record of research, teaching and service since joining the UCSB faculty in 2004. His diverse intellectual and educational contributions to the campus have been impressive, and his innovative research efforts are dramatically reshaping the field of astrophysics. In addition, Dr. Treu effectively conveys the values of scientific learning and research to the broader public. In all ways, he upholds the very highest standards of scholarly excellence and pedagogical commitment that we seek to recognize with the Harold J. Plous Award.
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  Distinguished Teaching Award
 
Tamara D. Afifi
Department of Communication

Professor Tamara Afifi has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Communication since 2006. Her supporters praise her and assert that she excels in every aspect of teaching, which includes interpersonal communication, family communication, and conflict management. Her nominator states that “student after student insist that her courses are the best they’ve had at UCSB.”

One student states, “In all facets, I have seen Dr. Afifi change the way students learn about the Communication discipline, incite a surge of student interest in the research field, and most certainly influence the impressions students hold towards academia and the faculty we encounter each day. I believe that it is more than just her teaching style and ways of interactions with students that make her so unique. It is her sincere interest in helping students succeed as she offers herself as a resource…”

She also receives high praise not only for her classroom teaching but also for her use of research as an instructional tool. One of her students writes, “During the course I was introduced to her research as she smoothly inserted her own research into our lectures. This was especially interesting, because it seemed so real to hear that my professor actually produced the results that she explained as opposed to some other professor that I had never heard of before.” And one of her student research assistants notes that “…the students who work under her flourish because she respects and has faith in our abilities to be valuable contributors to her projects.”

One student states, “I had taken a multitude of classes in just about every subject, had a few ‘nice’ professors, a few ‘interesting’ professors, but was absolutely blown away in Family Communication fall quarter of my junior year with my professor Tamara Afifi… [I]t was so obvious within the first five minutes of the class that this was what she lived to do. She caught my attention and held it, she was so excited about teaching and enthusiastic about the topic it was contagious, I was mesmerized and couldn’t wait for the next lecture.”

  Distinguished Teaching Award
 
Kip Fulbeck
Department of Art

Prof. Kip Fulbeck has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Art (with affiliated appointments in Asian American Studies and Film & Media Studies) since 1992. One of his supporters writes, “Taking a class with Professor Fulbeck entails far more than a simple learning experience… Fulbeck’s charismatic yet highly focused approach forces them to completely re-evaluate what it means to be an artist and an individual.”

According to one of his students, “Kip’s teaching style is as engaging as it is informative… I cannot express fully to you how much Kip deserves this award. Kip has made me think about every action I take, every word that I speak, and every impact I may have on anyone around me.” The student continues, “No one is able to be shy or unwilling to contribute to class, because he demands the same effort from everyone: his or her personal best.”

Professor Fulbeck regularly incorporates non-traditional modes and strategies into his classes, and has created several new courses that are now part of the core major. One such strategy is to immerse his class into foreign environments, thereby “removing their default footings and expand[ing] their idea of what art, teaching, and education is.” One of his graduate students writes, “Professor Fulbeck distinguishes himself in the UCSB community through his relentlessly vibrant and passionate engagement with students in the creative practices that explore globally minded and intellectually inquisitive art making across all media.” And she continues by stating, “The just, purposeful, and challenging learning environment he cultivates propels students to stretch themselves in impressive and unprecedented ways.”

Finally, an undergraduate student writes, “there is not a week that goes by that I do not think of how his classes have profoundly impacted me, not only as an Art major, but also as a person. Kip goes beyond the classroom to deliver an education, both academically and experientially, which makes him the idea professor for the Distinguished Teaching Award.”

  Distinguished Teaching Award
 

Professor Chandra Krintz has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science since 2001. She also holds affiliated appointments in Electrical & Computer Engineering as well as the Media Arts & Technology Program.

One of her colleagues writes, “Scientists like Dr. Krintz who can combine highest levels of excellence both in teaching and research are rare, and we are very lucky to have her as a member of the Department.”

According to one of her undergraduate students, “the passion that Chandra has for the subject and for teaching it to others shows through and ignites interest in every student and a desire to want to know all of the interesting things she is going to teach that day.”

In addition, one student writes, “She is an intelligent professor and brilliant lecturer managing to do the impossible, sparking an interest in the material, keeping every student’s attention, all the while making sure the material is understood. Chandra always goes above and beyond and has made a real impact on me in her role as a professor, as a group leader, and as an advisor. She is truly one of a kind.”

Finally, the chair of her department also makes note of Chandra’s exceptional dedication to teaching, stating that “Recently, Chandra has designed and implemented two new classes that she has taught over and above her required teaching load. Such volunteer effort is rare in most departments and is evidence of Chandra’s dedication to her students.”

  Distinguished Teaching Award
 

Prof. Bhaskar Sarkar has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Film & Media Studies since 1999. He also holds an affiliated appointment in Art History.

One undergraduate student comments, “He always had the enthusiasm to see me push myself harder, to go beyond average and strive for what I didn’t know I was capable of. I came out of the experience with confidence knowing how to challenge myself to create better work. Of all my experiences at UCSB, this is what has prepared me the most for a pursuit of graduate education.”

Another student writes simply, “He has been my most inspiring professor during my years at the University of California, Santa Barbara.”

One student writes of being impressed by Dr. Sarkar’s “ability to make a large group of students in a lecture hall join in a cohesive and thought-provoking conversation amongst themselves and with him. I have seen him bring lecture halls usually filled with snoring students to life with his ability to connect to them.”

One graduate student describes him as “a brilliant scholar, and an immensely supportive and enthusiastic mentor.” And another graduate student who has worked with Dr. Sarkar since 2005 writes, “Throughout the years, I have been greatly impressed and inspired by the vast scope of his scholarly knowledge,… his tireless passion for engaging in critical thought, his acuity of mind, and his dedication as a mentor.”

  Distinguished Teaching Award
 
Barbara Tomlinson
Department of Feminist Studies

Professor Barbara Tomlinson has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Feminist Studies (formerly known as Women’s Studies) since 2005, after serving for 25 years on the faculty of the Department of Literature at UC San Diego. “BT”, as she is referred to by her students and colleagues alike, receives much praise for her teaching of graduate as well as undergraduate students. One colleague extols her skill in developing “fully realized and creative syllabi at all levels of instruction” and describes both her undergraduate and graduate level classes as “beautifully crafted.”

Professor Tomlinson also receives a great deal of praise for incorporating her background in teaching and research in literature to “devise a unique pedagogy and curriculum for Feminist Studies” at UCSB. Her writing intensive courses are noted for their ability not only to expose students to “advanced methods and advanced currents of research” but also to address “the need to train students to be careful readers and competent writers,” and to help students develop “the skills they need to become critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and successful interlocutors in written and oral contexts.”

Again and again, she is described by such phrases as “demanding but encouraging.” An undergraduate senior who has taken three of Professor Tomlinson’s classes offers the following assessment: “Never have I worked so hard, learned so much, and relished the learning than I did while in her classes. I’ve been a professional writer for thirty years, and Dr. Tomlinson taught me more about writing than anyone else has ever done.” Furthermore, her chair describes her ESCI scores as “nearly perfect – despite offering challenging material and demanding considerable effort.”

  Non-Senate Academic
Distinguished Teaching Award
 
Anna Laura Jansma
Department of Communication

Dr. Laura Jansma has been a continuing lecturer with the Department of Communication since 1996. Dr. Jansma annually teaches 400-500 undergraduate students in both upper and lower division classes, including a theory class that enrolls 225 students and in which she supervises several teaching assistants.

She is noted by her nominator for her “excellence in instructing multiple levels of lower and upper division instruction, her innovative teaching efforts, and her accessibility and support of undergraduate students.”

One student notes that what “sets Professor Jansma apart from other instructors is her ability to teach abstract, academic concepts as they relate to real-world situations, so that students can gain better understanding.” Many of her student letters of support praise her ability to connect “academic theory to personal, emotional situations…”

Another student who has taken several of Dr. Jansma’s classes writes that it “is a great honor” to write a letter of recommendation and that “[s]he has been the most influential communication professor in my undergraduate career.” And the student continues by stating, “For the last four years she has been there for me not just as a professor but also as a mentor.”


  Graduate Mentor Award
 
Patricia Cline Cohen
Department of History

A member of the faculty in the Department of History for 31 years, Professor Cohen has served on 30 doctoral committees, 15 of which she has chaired.

A graduate student of hers states, “Dr. Cohen does more than help her students succeed as graduate students – she prepares them for careers as historians…The impressive professional success of many of her students is a testament to her sound advice and stellar reputation.” Another adds, “Pat Cohen consciously makes space for the student to articulate his interests and fears, and she has the most extraordinary capacity for turning interests toward workable scholarship and conciliating fears into energy to fuel achievement.” And regarding her mentorship strategies, one Ph. D. student writes, “rather than creating protégés, she trains students to become confident, self-sufficient intellectuals.”

Finally, Dr. Cohen also receives high praise for the way she role models responsible and professional academic citizenry. According to a Ph.D. candidate, “Pat articulates a clear and ethical sense of community, …” showing students how to “create mutually supportive relationships with our peers rather than perceiving them as competitors or accolades and resources.”

  Graduate Mentor Award
 
Katharina J. Schreiber
Department of Anthropology

Professor Katharina Schreiber is current chair and has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Anthropology for over 24 years, starting her career here in 1985. She also holds an affiliated appointment in the Latin American & Iberian Studies Program.

Many of her supporters comment on the patient and thoughtful way in which Professor Schreiber introduces her students to the current cultural environment of the archaeological sites in Peru. A former student notes that a “vital thing I learned from Dr. Schreiber is the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships with local people when conducting research in foreign countries.” And a current student writes, “Professor Schreiber’s responsibility and professional ethic is not only evident in her successful collaboration with Peruvian colleagues but also in her commitment to the communities in which she works.” This student notes that Dr. Schreiber is the “madrina, or godmother, of the elementary school and contributes money for uniforms as well as the graduating class’s annual trip to Machu Picchu.”

One of her former students notes his awareness of the reputation of recent UCSB anthropology graduates as “being some of the most well-prepared, best trained, and most professional of all recent PhDs.” He continues by stating “Having gone through the program at UCSB, I can say with confidence that Kathy is one of the primary reasons for this.”

  Graduate Mentor Award
 
Douglas Burbank
Department of Earth Science

Professor Douglas Burbank is a faculty member of the Department of Earth Science as well as the Director of the Institute for Crustal Studies. His graduate student nominator notes that Prof. Burbank “has been an international leader in the field of tectonic-geomorphology over the last two decades and is a true intellectual… pioneer.” Another student describes him as “a unifying force in his research group as well as in our department as a whole.”

Professor Burbank is well-noted for his enthusiasm and vigor for out-of-classroom activities, and for bridging the gap between research and adventure. One of his colleagues describes him this way: “He is both an intellectual leader and a friend. I often see him sitting at a table outside our building having lunch with his students. He regularly invites them over to his home for Sunday pancake breakfasts. And, as a biking enthusiast, many of his students accompany him on backcountry mountain bike trips.”

A former student writes, “Volumes could be written by all of Doug’s students about the many ways in which he has helped develop our intellectual, research, and critical thinking skills. To summarize them, Doug maintains the perfect balance between inspiring students with his own passion, intellect, and creativity, while giving students the resources and freedom to develop as individual scientists.”


  Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
   
William Laurence Christian

Mr. Christian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History, where he has been a graduate student since 2002. His several years of teaching experience have included courses in Chicana and Chicano Studies, Black Studies, as well as history classes in pre-history and Western civilization.

A fellow graduate student describes Mr. Christian’s teaching style as that of “a seasoned teacher and leader.” The colleague continues by saying that “He stood out from the rest. He became a role model for other TAs to emulate… His unwavering commitment to high standards, challenging intellectual endeavors, and compassionate service makes our department shine.”

One of his professors states “without exaggeration or hyperbole that Laurence was the most effective, passionate, and hard-working teaching assistant that I have worked with since arriving at UCSB ten years ago.”

Many of his student evaluation comments indicate that while Mr. Christian expects high standards for his students, he does so with compassion and heart. One of his former students writes, “When sitting down thinking of what has caused such a dramatic change in my scholarly habits, the person who came first to my mind was you. While you didn’t necessarily make me smart, you definitely helped me to realize my potential. I owe you big. Thanks a lot Laurence, you’ve really helped to make a difference in my life.” That student is now in his second year of medical school.

  Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
   
Mario Guerrero

Mr. Guerrero is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, where he has been a graduate student since 2006. Upon starting his studies at UCSB “[h]e immediately distinguished himself in the classroom,” according to one of his professors.

A professor of his notes, “Mario really reaches students. I hear this from students in my office. And I see it in our teaching evaluations. They praise him across the board…but are especially thankful for his availability and the way he welcomes students.” And another of his professors describes Mario in the following way, “He is flourishing as a scholar; he is a leader among his peers; and as a teacher, he is remarkably gifted.”

Several of his supporters commented on the great lengths to which Mario goes to convey the material to his classes. One student commented on the extensive material found on his course website, including “ten YouTube videos he made himself showing us how to generate statistics and graphs in SPSS that we needed for our final papers. This detailed website is a demonstration of how devoted Mario is to his students’ success.”

One student praises Mr. Guerrero, stating, “Mario exemplifies exactly what a teaching assistant should be: brilliant, patient, creative, honest, critical, and the list can go on.”

  Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
   
Indy Marie Hurt

Indy Hurt, is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography. Most of the classes for which Indy has served as a TA involved GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and she is highly acclaimed for her understanding and use of technology as a teaching tool.

One of her professors writes, “The courses I have taught over the past 40 years have employed well over 100 graduate students as TAs, and I can say without qualification that Indy ranks among the absolute best – in a small group that have all won campus-level awards for their work.” Another professor writes simply, “Indy Hurt is one of our very best graduate students.” And adds, “More than anything else, it is the fact I hear from undergraduates about her excellence that convinces me that Indy deserves broad recognition for her style, her commitment, and her valuable time.”

According to one of her students, “Indy’s rapport among students in amazing. Everyone who knows her loves her. Once a student has had one class with her they try to get into her class for the next quarter…. I am saddened that she has now taken time off from teaching to finish her PhD, however, if and when she becomes a professor, I will be the first person signed up for her class.”

Another student writes, “Over my undergraduate career at UC Santa Barbara I have had many caring, smart, and helpful teaching assistants. In fact, I have never had a TA at UCSB that I didn’t like or get along with, or who didn’t seem to have some concern for how the students are doing in the class. However, not a single one of them can even compare to the phenomenal Indy Hurt.”

Finally, one of Ms. Hurt’s students states simply, “If Indy Hurt doesn’t deserve this award I really don’t know who would.”

  Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award
   
Nicole Ann Molinari

Ms. Molinari is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology, where she has been a graduate student since 2006. She has served as the TA for several courses in the department, including classes in botany, ecology, and phycology. She receives particular praise for TAing a class in physiological plant ecology, which includes upper division undergraduates as well as fellow graduate students. Her professor commends her ability to “handle her TA duties with tremendous effect and sensitivity.”

One of her professors comments that Nicole is “one of those rare students who is a natural born teacher with an instinctual ability to convey knowledge to students with a range of backgrounds and learning modes, stimulate thinking, and make students want to learn.” She is described as “a creative, open minded problem solver with excellent listening skills and deep patience for helping students learn to think and ask clear questions rather than simply to memorize and regurgitate information.”

Many of her supporters comment on Ms. Molinari’s enthusiasm. One student compares her enthusiasm and desire for her students to do well with that of “a soccer coach that wants his team to win the division.” Another student writes, “At the same time that she is enthusiastic and accessible, Nicole is an accomplished intellectual.”

Finally, one of her students writes, “You are probably already aware that Nicole is a highly competent scientist. What I would like to share with you today is that she is also an outstanding instructor and academic mentor, she raises the motivation level of both individual students and entire classes, and thereby elevates student performance. She will make a fine addition to the faculty of any university.”


    
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