Menu Menu
Academic Senate
Menu Academic Senate
Menu UCSB - Senate
Menu University of California Santa Barbara
Menu Menu
University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

2015-16 Recipients

Distinguished Teaching Award

Tommy Dickey - Geography

Professor Dickey joined the Department of Geography at UCSB in 1996. He is the principle investigator of the Ocean Physics Laboratory and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He discovered a passion for teaching while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard to do humanitarian service and while pursuing a graduate degree.

A student veteran relates that Professor Dickey truly understands the needs and challenges of student veterans. She was honored when Professor Dicky presented her with an Inspiring Student Award. Furthermore, the student states: “[He] agreed to be my mentor…and with his help…McNair accepted me in their program.” Originally majoring in English, the student now considers pursuing a PhD in Geography with an emphasis in Human Geography or a PhD in English with an emphasis in Environmental Literature.

Professor Dickey is described as “innovative,” “approachable,” and “inspiring.” A former doctoral students stated: “he has provided me with invaluable support that has guided and shaped my academic career” and another student, who is now an Earth Observation Scientist shared: “[his] guidance provided an essential contribution for the success of my graduate studies.”

Professor Dickey has put into action his teaching philosophy of “placing my highest priority on creating an educational environment that is safe, inclusive, respectful, and enjoyable.” The Chair of the Department of Geography commends Professor Dickey for his humility, humor, and devotion. He noted Professor Dickey’s impressive scholarly bio (180 publications) and high teaching evaluations with large class sizes, while serving well over 100 graduate committees, and complimented: “Professor Dickey inspires his students as more than just a teacher, but as a role model.”

For his passion and dedication to teaching, Professor Tommy Dickey is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!

John Latto - Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, College of Creative Studies

Dr. Latto joined UCSB in 2007 and shares a joint appointment in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology (EEMB) and the College of Creative Studies (CCS). While carrying a heavy teaching load, a total of 9-10 courses a year, in sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, he also served as the Program Coordinator of the Biology major for 7 years. In addition, his teaching evaluations are “unilaterally outstanding,” “extraordinarily strong,” and well above departmental averages.

The Chair of EEMB praised Dr. Latto’s teaching and commitment to students, and the use of a wide range of supplemental resources, including videos, blogs, and GauchoSpace (over 1,000 posts) to inspire students of all levels. The Dean of the College of Creative Studies applauded Dr. Latto’s success in student involvement extending beyond the classroom, as an extraordinary advisor throughout their educational journey in CCS.

Dr. Latto is described as “remarkable,” “invaluable,” “enthusiastic,” “superb,” “witty,” and “an amazing teacher.” Citing his current and former students, “[h]is class had an incredible impact on my education,” “this man has changed my perception of what an education can be,” and “I have used [his] advice to secure a summer research fellowship, to present posters and talks on campus and elsewhere, and secure interviews at many of my top-choice programs for graduate students.”

In his own words, Dr. Latto believes that “the single most important feature of good instructors is enthusiasm. Clarity, mastery of the subject and organization are all essential but without enthusiasm the audience, especially in large classes, is not engaged…Research isn’t something behind the science I teach, it is at the heart of it.”

For his enthusiasm and commitment to teaching, Dr. John Latto is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!

Erika Rappaport - History

Professor Rappaport joined the Department of History at UCSB in 1997 and teaches British and British Empire history. Her teaching philosophy is to “encourage students to take charge of their own education, to see themselves as researchers, and feel a part of a broader community of scholars.” She takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching, using sources from literature, popular culture, photography, visual arts, and written documents to create a transparent and collaborative classroom.

Professor Rappaport is a superb undergraduate instructor in large introductory classes, small upper division lectures, and undergraduate seminars, reflected in her student evaluations that are well above departmental norms. As the result of Professor Rappaport’s mentorship, a former undergraduate student attests: “She helped me secure a grant to travel to London for archival research,” which eventually led to her winning the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research and beginning a professional career in the United Kingdom.

At the graduate level, she has served on an impressive number of graduate committees both in History and in other departments, devoting her time and expertise to mentoring students. One doctoral candidate writes: “Her support allowed me to embark a project about British Burma, a decision that changed my life. Over the past three years I have received numerous major fellowships, including a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to study Burmese, a yearlong Graduate Opportunity Fellowship from the University of California, a Mellon Fellowship from the Institute of Historical Research in London, departmental funding to research my project in Myanmar, and most recently, a yearlong Humanities Research Assistant Fellowship from the University of California…I can only hope to one day inspire students the way she has inspired me.”

For her dedication and excellence in teaching, Professor Erika Rappaport is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!

Salim Yaqub - History

Professor Yaqub joined the Department of History at UCSB in 2005 and has served as the Director of the Center for Cold War Studies and International History since 2008. He teaches upper division, lower division, and graduate courses that reflect his areas of specialization in U.S.-Middle East relations, the history of U.S. politics, public policy, and political economy. On teaching philosophy, Professor Yaqub’s overriding objective has been to “help students discover for themselves that studying history is an exciting and absorbing activity.”

A former student shares: “My own career as a historian was inspired by and is supremely indebted to Salim’s instruction.” With Professor Yaqub’s advice and support, the student subsequently earned a doctoral degree from UC Irvine, received an Ernest May postdoctoral fellowship at the Belfer Center at Harvard University, and a postdoctoral fellowship offer at the Dickey Center at Darthmouth College.

Professor Yaqub is also described as “enthusiastic,” “humorous,” and “infectious.” A graduate student in the History Department speaks of Professor Yaqub’s commitment to teaching: “wide array of topics reflected his priority to provide us with a comprehensive reading of the period rather than serve his own research interests.”

Professor Yaqub regularly updates his syllabi and lecture plans, maintaining rigorous standards while keeping students engaged. In addition to his teaching load, he also supervises independent research projects, senior honors theses, public policy theses, and research assistantships.

For his passion and devotion in teaching, Professor Salim Yaqub is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!

James Donelan - Writing Program

Professor Donelan is described as a “highly effective teacher across a range of courses.” With prior teaching experiences at Yale University and UC Berkeley, Professor Donelan joined UCSB in 2002 teaching upper and lower division courses primarily in the Writing Program, but also in the Comparative Literature Program, Department of English, and the College of Creative Studies (CCS). Professor Donelan had “always believed in helping students become a whole in a fragmented world.” He also believes that the “pursuit of knowledge cannot be taught well except through example; no matter what I am teaching, I feel I must demonstrate the habits and ethos of a scholar.”

His philosophy has transpired through his genuine and approachable demeanor, as shared by a former student reminiscing an interdisciplinary course on Romanticism: “Professor Donelan secured a string quartet to perform one of Beethoven’s Middle string quartet pieces live for a class of 40 students in South Hall!” And, “[a]t my [graduate program] orientation, a professor asked if any of us had a conducted library visit as part of our undergraduate curriculum. I alone raised my hand amid 70 colleagues. Because of Donelan I learned to utilize the library to its full potential for every class.” This student now holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Another student also credits Professor Donelan for his support and the British Literature (1789-1900) course he taught, as those were main reasons she is now in pursuit of a doctoral degree in Nineteenth-Century literature.

Professor Donelan is described as “efficient,” “accessible,” “genuine,” and “brilliant.” For his commitment to offering students the best possible classroom experience and his dedication to teaching, Professor James Donelan is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!

Harold J. Plous Award

Javier Read de Alaniz - Chemistry and Biochemistry

The 2015-16 Harold J. Plous award was received by Javier Read de Alaniz, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara.

Presented by the College of Letters and Science, the Plous award is one of the university’s most prestigious faculty honors. It is given annually to an assistant professor in the humanities, social sciences or natural sciences for exceptional achievement in research, teaching, and service to the university.

The award was established in 1957 to honor the memory of Harold J. Plous, an assistant professor of economics. Read de Alaniz will showcase his research when he delivers the annual Plous Lecture next spring.

“I am extraordinarily pleased that Professor Read de Alaniz is this year’s Plous award recipient,” said Pierre Wiltzius, the Bruce and Susan Worster Dean of Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences. “In a short few years he has built an excellent research program in important areas of organic chemistry, and has become a great teacher. In addition to his classroom teaching, Javier has been a wonderful mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students. I particularly commend him on his advising of underrepresented minorities.”

Said Steven Buratto, professor and chair of chemistry and biochemisty, “Professor Javier Read de Alaniz’s selection as this year Plous Award winner confirms what we have known in the chemistry department for many years. Professor Read de Alaniz is a shining star and a professor of the highest order. He runs a world-class research effort in organic chemistry; he is a dynamic and dedicated lecturer; he is an outstanding mentor to his undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers; and he serves as an ambassador for chemistry by promoting our science to the community at large and inspiring the next-generation chemists. We are indeed proud to have him as our colleague.”

Joining the faculty at UCSB in 2009, Read de Alaniz earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Colorado State University and continued his studies as a UC President’s Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Irvine. His current research focuses on developing more efficient chemical reactions for new materials and applications in synthesis. He seeks to make these materials in a way that is both economically efficient and environmentally sound, using sustainable resources that reduce or eliminate hazardous chemicals.

Read de Alaniz’s research also involves creating a novel class of organic photochromic materials that undergo a reversible color change upon exposure to light. In addition, his development of novel synthetic organics promises to provide chemists with new tools to accelerate drug discovery and material synthesis. His research has been widely published in high-impact journals and generally supported by extramural funding.

Read de Alaniz is the recipient of numerous honors, including the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award, the Amgen Young Investigator Award and the Eli Lilly New Faculty Award. He leads an exciting and productive research program in fundamental and applied chemistry, as well as establishing bridges with materials science.

A gifted and popular instructor, Read de Alaniz has earned a strong reputation among students as an effective and caring educator in large introductory lectures as well as more advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. During his time at UCSB he has led active research groups that include undergraduates, Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars. He also has been an innovator, developing workshops such as “Academics 2 Industry,” which exposes students to the pharmaceutical-biotechnology sector and fosters practical connections that benefit students across disciplines.

Read de Alaniz also helped establish an honors lecture and laboratory courses in organic chemistry, enrollment for which has grown steadily. Students have commented that they not only learn the fundamentals in his courses, they also come away with a sense of how to apply those concepts. Equally important, they have the sense that Read de Alaniz cares about their success as students and as individuals.

Contributing significantly to the success of underrepresented students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, Read de Alaniz served as the main faculty mentor for UC’s Leadership Excellence Through Advanced Degree (UC-LEAD) program from 2009-2014. The program is designed to encourage strong upper-division undergraduates who have experienced adversity to pursue graduate training in STEM fields. Read de Alaniz serves as the faculty adviser to the Society of Chicanos and Native American Scientists and is actively involved in the Partnership for Research and Education in Materials Program, which seek to promote advanced degree attainment among Hispanic students.

Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award

Tevfik Bultan - Computer Science

Professor Bultan joined the Department of Computer Science at UCSB in 1998, where he directs the Verification Laboratory, and his research focuses on software engineering, program analysis and software security. His mentoring philosophy is inspired by his own experiences in graduate school, where it was about creativity, problem-solving, and contributing new knowledge. Professor Bultan’s main goal as an advisor is to “ignite the same spark in my students that I experienced in graduate school.”

Professor Bultan has advised 18 Ph.D. and M.S. students, served on additional 29 Ph.D. and M.S. committees, chaired or co-chaired the department Graduate Admissions Committee for 6 years, served as the department Graduate Advisor and Graduate Affairs committee co-chair for 4 years, taught 6 different graduate courses 20 times, offered 15 graduate seminars, and published 88 refereed papers in top scientific publication venues with his advisees. In addition, his retention rate as a graduate advisor is 100%, and he has placed 6 of his Ph.D. graduates to tenure-track positions.

A former student, who is now an Associate Professor at National Chengchi University in Taiwan, won the 2010 UCSB Computer Science Outstanding Dissertation Award. Another former student, who is now an Assistant Professor at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, recently won the 2015 ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Dissertation Award, in spite of critical health conditions. He shows gratitude for Professor Bultan’s encouragement and support, and shares: “Tevfik helped me…believed in me…and pushed me so hard to compete…with the best in the world in software engineering. This led me to win.”

Professor Bultan’s mentees also offer these words: “his enthusiasm for research is infectious,” and “his knowledge and expertise…has equipped us well to tackle exciting and challenging engineering problems.” For his dedication and exemplary mentorship of graduate students, Professor Tevfik Bultan is awarded an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Congratulations!

Judith Green - Education

Professor Green joined the faculty of the Department of Education at UC Santa Barbara in 1990. A “socially committed academic,” Professor Green focuses her teaching and research on “teaching-learning relationships, disciplinary knowledge as socially constructed, and ethnographic research and discourse studies of the patterns of everyday life in classroom.” She encourages collaboration and her students see her as a wise counselor, adviser, cultural guide, and advocate.

In her 25-year career at UCSB, Professor Green has mentored 54 doctoral and MA students. She has built mentoring communities of 16 visiting scholars with her students and colleagues. Her mentees have excelled in careers in academia and education worldwide. Many of them became teachers from the elementary level to high schools to universities, and some have become deans, professors, directors, and a president. Most recently one of her former students was named the 2015 Biotechnology Educator of the Year by the California Life Sciences Association, who was also named the Women’s Hall of Fame in Alameda County.

When students are asked to describe Professor Green, her life-changing influence is a recurring theme. One student states: “Our work together…reshaped my life course and views of the world.” Another doctoral student shares: “when I was debating whether to continue or quit graduate school…[i]t was Dr. Green…who had a tremendous impact on my decision to continue pursuing a Ph.D. She considers her time with students and mentees not as a burden, but as a time to develop ideas and learn together.”

Colleagues complimented that Professor Green “has been a model of a mentor that stops at nothing to support her students,” and “commits wholeheartedly and in great depth, intellectually and socially, to our graduate students—at the recruitment stage, during their graduate career and throughout their professional careers—because she cares deeply.”

For her commitment and exemplary mentorship of graduate students, Professor Judith Green is awarded an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Congratulations!

Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award

Jeffrey Carmichael - Chemistry

Jeffrey Carmichael is a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. Jeffrey’s teaching philosophy is: “Anyone can learn chemistry.” He wants his students to enjoy learning and absorb broader concepts and reasoning behind course materials. His supporters share these sentiments: “Jeff is a natural teacher” and “the only thing that Jeff is more passionate about than chemistry is teaching; he has made it clear to all of his students that the reason he wants a Ph.D. is so that he can teach his passion at the highest level.”

Through teaching Jeffrey also demonstrates excellent leadership skills. One of his faculty shares that after teaching general chemistry lab courses in his first year, Jeffrey was selected to be Lead Teaching Assistant in his second year. Jeffrey participated in the UC Santa Barbara campus-wide Lead TA Institute and assisted with the departmental two-week TA Training Program, in which he helped new TAs overcome challenges and provided informative techniques for teaching lab sections.

For his motivated and love of teaching Jeffrey Carmichael is awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

Hannah Goodwin - Film and Media Studies

Hannah Goodwin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Film and Media Studies. She is described as “conscientious,” “creative,” and “knowledgeable.” Her teaching philosophy is to “help shape the way students engage with other people, objects, and ideas beyond the parameters of a course or discipline.” Students compliment that Hannah goes above and beyond to encourage independent thinking and provide mentorship. Her supporter stated “undoubtedly” that Hannah is “one of the most articulate and intelligent people I have ever met.”

Hannah’s teaching style is based on solid theoretical foundation. She is praised for her willingness to experiment and improve or update the curriculum with latest theories and fresh material. In addition to her studies and teaching, Hannah has worked as graduate senate mentor for the Academic Resource Consortium Summer Program advising talented undergraduate students.

For her devotion and excellence in teaching, Hannah is awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

Becky Robinson - Communication

Becky Robinson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication. Her teaching philosophy is to help students succeed in their major and to develop skills that will enable them to accomplish future personal and professional goals. Becky is described as “uplifting,” “innovative,” and “caring.” To quote her supporter, “Becky consistently displays a strong work ethic and almost giddy desire to engage our students and their learning.”

Students appreciate Becky’s extraordinary efforts, as she goes above and beyond to demonstrate flexibility and willingness to help with course materials, while encouraging students to be confident moving forward. Becky’s student shared: “Not only is she incredibly talented at connecting and mentoring her students, but she has played [a] significant role in my undergraduate experience…I am inspired daily by observing her dedication to her students and commitment to enhancing the classroom environment.”

For her commitment and dedicated teaching, Becky is awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

Andrew Swafford - Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology

Andrew Swafford is a graduate student in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology. He is committed to a “flexible teaching style focused on honest communication and student enthusiasm” and his goal is to become an “excellent scientist who focuses not only on research, but also on the education and outreach necessary to inspire future generations.”

Some of the lab and lecture courses Andrew teaches demand broad knowledge of animal diversity and biology, while others are rather quantitative and very conceptual. In either situation, his supporter offers praise that “Andrew is always prepared, knowledgeable and professional.” And one of his students stated: “The two coursed that he taught [me] welcomed questions and displayed how invested he was in making the class succeed.” Andrew is also described as “approachable” and “engaging,” and he “cares about the trajectory of every student.”

For his dedication and excellence in teaching, Andrew is awarded an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Congratulations!

Faculty Research Lecturer Award

Joseph R. Incandela - Physics

The Faculty Research Lecturer is the highest academic honor that UCSB bestows on a member of its faculty. The 2015-16 Faculty Research Lectureship, the 61st since the creation of the award in 1955, is awarded to Professor Joseph Incandela.

Dr. Incandela completed his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1986, and became a Fellow of the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). In 1991 Dr. Incandela joined the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as a Fermilab Wilson Fellow, where he led several detector projects and co-led the search for top quarks that provided the most significant contribution to their discovery in 1995. In 2001 he joined UC Santa Barbara as a professor in the Department of Physics. For the past two decades, he has been involved with the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, initially leading the construction of a large part of the tracking system for the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment.

Joe Incandela is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society.

In 2011 Dr. Incandela was elected as leader of the CMS experiment, involving more than 3,000 scientists from 39 countries; the following year, on July 4, 2012, Dr. Incandela announced the monumental discovery of the Higgs Boson, a fundamental particle of nature whose detection provided the final experimental verification of the so-called Standard Model of particle physics. The paper announcing this discovery has been cited over 5,000 times. In 2013 he was appointed the inaugural Joe and Pat Yzurdiaga Chair in Experimental Science, and he was also the recipient of the Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Dr. Incandela’s current research is focused on finding evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics and one that could help explain the existence of the Higgs Boson at the electroweak scale; this has the potential to also provide a better understanding of dark matter.

The Higgs Boson is the first elementary particle to be discovered that has no intrinsic angular momentum. As such its mass is susceptible to divergent quantum corrections. A possible symmetry between bosons and fermions, Supersymmetry, offers counter-terms to stabilize the Higgs mass at the electroweak scale. A by-product of this symmetry, when it is combined with a new conserved parity, would be the existence of a new particle that is an excellent candidate for dark matter particles. Joe is currently in the process of developing new particle detectors to enable continued studies of the Higgs Boson. Further, in a future, extremely high intensity period of the LHC program, slated to start in 2025, he will also be part of the searches for new particles. He has also initiated studies in physics that are relevant to a future collider, that will operate at approximately 10 times the energy of the LHC.

Internationally Dr. Incandela is among the top world leaders in the large and active field of experimental particle physics. His “ability to present a lecture of interest to a broad community of scholars, and in general, to a cultivated public” was highly commended by his nominator, and has brought him to numerous public talks and colloquia around the world.

It is also my pleasure to note that Dr. Incandela has been an active participant in campus governance. He has served as a member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Faculty and Staff Housing, and the Design Review Committee. He also served as a member of the Academic Senate’s Council on Planning and Budget, chairing the subpanel on Social Sciences, as well as the Committee on Capital and Space Planning. Most recently he has been appointed as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Research at UCSB.

It is with no doubt that Dr. Incandela continues to be highly respected, particularly in the community of those shaping the future of particle physics. Time and again his supporters applaud his managerial and leadership abilities, and, as one stated: “Besides his exceptional scientific creativity and productivity, and his managerial talents…prestigious awards, he always ‘kept his feet on the floor.’ This was striking [whether] with media, or general public. or students. One could really sense that science is his motivation, not personal fame and glory.”


  • John Bowers (2013), Chair
    Electrical and Computer Engineering, Materials, Technology Management Program
  • Leda Cosmides (2012 co-recipient), Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Howard Giles (2006), Communication
  • Linda Petzold (2011), Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science
  • Linda Putnam (2015), Communication
  • John Tooby (2012 co-recipient), Anthropology

In reviewing many exceptional nominees, the Committee on Faculty Research Lectureship gives primary consideration to:

  • Extraordinary and/or high impact achievements in research and scholarly work;
  • Outstanding professional competence and international recognition in a field; and
  • Ability to present a lecture of interest to a broad community of scholars and, in general, to a cultivated public