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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2013-14 Distinguished Teaching Award

Amber M. VanDerwarker - Anthropology

Professor Amber VanDerwarker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, where she has taught since 2007. Her extraordinary mentoring of undergraduate students is tied to her commitment to involving them in her research projects. This point is underscored by an undergraduate who states “Her level of support and involvement in undergraduate education and research is unparalleled to that of other professors on campus.” She sets a strong pedagogical example, as evidence by a graduate student teaching assistant, who writes that Professor VanDerwarker “provides ample opportunities for undergraduate students to get involved in research beyond the classroom as well, which can often be difficult for undergraduates to find at large universities when they taking are taking classes alongside hundreds of other students.” In fact, many of her undergraduate students have gone on to present their senior honors theses at conferences, received awards, been accepted into prestigious graduate programs, and even gotten published under her guidance.

Another of her former undergraduate students writes, “Dr. VanDerwarker is the most influential person I met during my undergraduate and graduate careers. Her innovative teaching methods and ability to engage students was inspirational. She encouraged me to push myself in academics and was a brilliant instructor and mentor.”

For her dedication to teaching excellence Professor Amber VanDerwarker is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!