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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2015-16 Distinguished Teaching Award

James H. 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!