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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2016-17 Distinguished Teaching Award

Dana B. Driskel - Film and Media Studies

Dana Driskel has taught at UCSB in Film and Media Studies since 1980. He has produced dozens of film video projects, the most recent being the documentary AN AMERICAN FILM COMPANY (2003) which was one of the early film production companies, based in Santa Barbara from 1912. Driskel’s fascination with film production and history is evident in all his courses. At the same time, students are prepared in his courses to understand the latest media technologies, without fetishizing the latest “thing.” Dana Driskel stands out for having designed the production curriculum and pioneered most of its courses. Students who take his courses are taught every aspect of filmmaking from fund raising, to casting, set building, lighting, sound, shooting, editing, and mixing.

Driskel’ dedication is evident from the fact that he has formed lasting relationships with generations of UCSB students, and these “graduates” then became part of the curriculum. Driskel takes his students on field trips to places such as DreamWorks, Disney, and Pixar, where he introduces students to his former students and professional filmmakers. In addition to this hands-on approach, as one former student wrote: “Professor Driskel’s lectures were legendary.” This student continued: “but I believe the true reason why Dana deserves this award is how much time and effort he invests in each student. Despite teaching multiple classes and overseeing all aspects of film production in the department, his attention was remarkably individualized.” Driskel has an incredible respect for the subject matter and his students, he is a true mentor.