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University of California Santa Barbara
Academic Senate Awards

Prior Year Recipients

2012-13 Distinguished Teaching Award

Michael Gordon - Chemical Engineering

Michael Gordon has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering since 2007. According to the chair of his department, Professor Gordon is "without doubt the most gifted, the most dedicated, and most popular teacher we have in this department." He is acknowledged for his teaching skills in spite of being assigned to teach some of the most demanding (and least popular) courses in the curriculum. As an aside, his chair also notes that Professor Gordon "is an equally dedicated researcher, having won the NSF CAREER and Packard Awards for his extraordinary research potential."

Professor Gordon’s teaching evaluations for both undergraduate and graduate courses are exemplary. Remarkably, 100% of the students in his recent Chemical Engineering (132A) differential equations class rated his teaching as excellent.

One of his student nominators writes, "As a graduating senior, I’ve encountered many good professors and a few great professors. They gave excellent lectures and engaged students like me into the course. But none of them stands out as worthy to receive this award as Professor Gordon." And another of his undergraduates states, "his classes were the best classes I've ever taken, and I've learned more from his classes than my fifteen years of education combined. He is a charismatic teacher and got us to be excited about math at eight in the morning."

One of his graduate students praises Professor Gordon for his approachable style: "Unlike many professors I've met, Mike has a strong desire to work side-by-side with his graduate and undergraduate researchers. This collaborative atmosphere creates a teacher-apprentice, rather than an employer-employee, relationship between professor and student. Mike leads us by example, often arriving to school the earliest and leaving the latest out of everyone in our group.… His attitude, hands-on influence, and lead-by-example policy are an inspiration to everyone around him."

In summary, one of his undergraduates offers the following praise: "After having spent four and a half years in my undergraduate education experiencing many different teaching styles and techniques I can say, without a doubt, that Prof. Mike Gordon is one of the best instructors I have had. He has been an amazing instructor not simply by virtue of his breadth of knowledge, as well as his level of understanding of the material, but his ability to motivate and inspire his students to think about the material in countless ways and support them through the learning process."

For his dedication and exemplary teaching Professor Michael Gordon is awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award. Congratulations!