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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2015-16 Distinguished Teaching Award

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!