Since joining the faculty of the Department of Geography in 1980, Professor Richard Church has advised 14 PhD dissertation committees and 28 Masters theses. He has also served on 25 doctoral and 22 Masters committees. Professor Church has been engaged in many aspects of graduate education at UCSB, from service on committees of the department, college, and university, to competing for the external funding that is needed to maintain and support an active research group. All of this speaks to a very strong commitment on his part to the very best aspects of a successful academic community. One of his colleagues writes, "It has always amazed me that he can give so much time to his students and still get so many of his own sole-authored papers published and give freely of his time to department and university service."
According to a colleague of Professor Church, "During the working day it is unusual for his office door to be closed, and equally unusual to see him not in close conversation with one of his current students, as they discuss the latest developments in the student’s work. He has been enormously successful at inculcating a sense of rigor and scientific objectivity in his students, in taking care of their personal needs, and in seeing them through the graduate-school process and into careers."
One of his students offers the following praise: "[Professor Church] has played an integral part in my development as a scholar: he has shared his technical expertise and served as a role model. His influence will be felt in my own academic career, as well as those of my future students."
Finally, another student states, "Rick [Professor Church] excels as a mentor by every possible measure. His keen intellect, innovative scientific approaches, and high productivity make him a leader in the field of geographic analysis. Moreover, he inspires and enables graduate students to follow his example…. Rick has been accessible, communicative, personable, and patient. I notice this collegial interaction is the way Rick treats all students."
For his dedication and exemplary mentorship of graduate students Professor Richard Church is awarded an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. Congratulations, Professor Church!