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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2013-14 Distinguished Teaching Award

Gaye Theresa Johnson - Black Studies

Professor Gaye Johnson has been a faculty member in the Department of Black Studies since 2005, and she holds affiliate appointments in Chicana & Chicano Studies and History. Her teaching covers a wide range of topics, ranging from race and racism, to cultural history and social movements.

Her department chair singles her out “without qualification … she is the best teacher I have encountered on this campus.” He goes on to speak of her commitment to teaching, “which is manifested through the most innovative pedagogical interventions that I have seen mounted by a teacher of lower as well as upper division undergraduate courses” noting “the energy she puts into making these classes dialogical learning environments, where students learn through questions rather than direct lecture.”

The superlatives in her evaluations abound, as one colleague notes “Student comments in these courses frequently credit Professor Johnson with being the best instructor the students have ever encountered and with exposing them to ideas and analyses that are genuinely life changing.” One of her graduate student teaching assistants praises the ways in which she creates balance “between providing students with important concepts, frameworks, and the language to understand complex social issues, on the one hand, and inviting them to actively participate in the leaning process, on the other.”

Finally, one of her supporters writes, “The key to Professor Johnson’s eminence as a teacher on this campus is that she inspires her students to become knowledge producers themselves, and to use that knowledge to transform the world in which they live. This is the highest possible calling for a professor, and Dr. Johnson performs that role, reaches those heights, and motivates her students, quarter after quarter.”

For her dedication and excellence in teaching Professor Gaye Theresa Johnson is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!