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UC San Diego Scholars Honored with Faculty Excellence Awards

March 29 event fetes outstanding faculty members

What do a political scientist, pathologist, psychologist, neurobiologist, molecular biologist and musician have in common? They are all recipients of prestigious awards presented by the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates donor group for excellence in teaching, research, community service and performing and visual arts. The annual recognition ceremony and reception will be held Thursday, March 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Atkinson Hall, located at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) on the UC San Diego campus.

The annual event honors UC San Diego faculty as a whole, while highlighting the important contributions of the university’s most exemplary teachers and researchers via brief video presentations. Chancellor’s Associates, a program for donors who give an annual leadership gift of $2,500 or more to the university, will recognize the outstanding accomplishments of university faculty members with a citation and $2,500 award. 

The recipients of the 2012 Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards include: Alan Houston, Ph.D., professor of political science, for excellence in undergraduate teaching; William Kristan, Ph.D., professor of neurobiology, for excellence in graduate teaching; Laura Schreibman, Ph.D., professor of psychology, for excellence in research in humanities and social sciences; James Kadonaga, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology, for excellence in research in science and engineering; Michael Kalichman, Ph.D., a UC San Diego undergraduate alumnus and professor of pathology for  excellence in community service; and Steven Schick, M.M. (Master of Music), professor of music for excellence in performing and visual arts.

“This year’s honorees exemplify our tradition of excellence and innovation,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “They are exceptional teachers, researchers, community leaders and campus citizens. I applaud their achievements and dedication to the university, and I congratulate them on this much-deserved recognition.”

Award candidates are nominated by their academic peers, with final selection by a committee comprising Chancellor’s Associates donors. Criteria for selection are based on faculty member achievements, reputation and impact on students and the academic community. Since 1974, UC San Diego has recognized more than 100 extraordinary faculty members with Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards.

About the 2012 Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards recipients:

  • Alan Houston, Professor of Political Science

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Alan Houston

For nearly 25 years, Alan Houston has shown unwavering dedication as a teacher, advisor, advocate and mentor to undergraduate students. Prior to becoming provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC) in 2010, he regularly taught freshman and senior seminars in addition to core courses in political theory.  He routinely earns instructor approval ratings of 99-100 percent.  As provost of ERC, Houston has maintained the intellectual and pedagogical integrity of the college’s programs in the face of budget cuts and has been instrumental in developing new learning opportunities for transfer students as well as a minor in global health.

“Professor Houston is a leading scholar who is an exceptional classroom instructor and dedicated advisor,” said Clark Gibson, chair of the Department of Political Science in the Division of Social Sciences. “His outstanding work with and on behalf of undergraduate students is truly deserving of this special recognition.”

  • William Kristan, Professor of Neurobiology

Excellence in Graduate Teaching

William Kristan

William Kristan has devoted himself to graduate student education for nearly four decades while maintaining an exceptional level of research productivity as a world-class neuroscientist. He established a highly intensive immersion course called Neurobiology Boot Camp, which is today emulated by other prominent graduate programs across the country, and has been a catalyst in propelling the UC San Diego Neurosciences Graduate Program to one of the top in the nation. Since he established the course in 1998, Kristan has organized and taught the course every year.

“Professor Kristan’s contributions through the Neurosciences Graduate Program have been enormous,” said Darwin Berg, chair of the Section of Neurobiology in the Division of Biological Sciences. “The Boot Camp course he created, oversees and has continuously been directly involved in is now being emulated at other graduate programs at UC San Diego, and at numerous other first-class institutions across the country.”

  • Laura Schreibman, Professor of Psychology

Excellence in Research in Humanities and Social Sciences

Laura Schreibman

Laura Schreibman is a specialist in the experimental analysis and treatment of autism, a severe and pervasive form of developmental psychopathology. In collaboration with her colleagues, she developed Pivotal Response Training, which has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences as one of the top 10 state-of-the-art treatments for autism in the United States. Schreibman is considered very influential in her field and her work is cited frequently.

“Professor Schreibman’s work is very influential in the field of autism,” said John Wixted, chair of the Department of Psychology in the Division of Social Sciences. “Pivotal Response Training, the treatment method she helped to develop, was named one of the top 10 state-of-the-art treatments for autism in the country. That level of impact is exceptional and puts her in league with our most successful scientists.”

  • James T. Kadonaga, Professor of Molecular Biology

Excellence in Research in Science and Engineering

James T. Kadonaga

James T. Kadonaga is world renowned for his research revealing the mechanisms that control gene expression in eukaryotes. This work has provided important conceptual advances into how genes are selectively turned on and off, and has far reaching implications for the understanding of a wide range of disease pathways. Described as a superstar in the field of gene regulation, he is a highly sought after speaker who has published many high impact research papers and consistently receives over 500 journal article citations per year, with over 17,000 career citations.

“Professor Kadonaga continues to explore and define new frontiers in chromatin and DNA dynamics,” said Stephen Hedrick, chair of the Section of Molecular Biology in the Division of Biological Sciences. “He is a world-class molecular biologist with a stellar international reputation well-deserving of this special honor.”

  • Michael Kalichman ’75, Professor of Pathology

Excellence in Community Service

Michael Kalichman

Michael Kalichman is a pioneer of community-based public dialogue to address the ethical dimensions of research. As co-founder of the San Diego-based Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, he has helped create a regional culture of public engagement with scientists and academics. To help prepare the next generation of scientists, the center also works closely with the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education community. These activities have facilitated the region’s reputation as a leader in promoting ethical considerations in science and technology.

“In an era in which research findings have been translated into therapies for patients at an unprecedented rate, Dr. Kalichman developed a program in research ethics for UCSD and our neighboring institutions and then grew this program to national prominence,” said Steven L. Gonias, chair of the Department of Pathology in the School of Medicine. “The importance of what Dr. Kalichman achieved cannot be overstated.”     

  • Steven Schick, Professor of Music

Excellence in Performing and Visual Arts

Steven Schick

Regarded as one of the most important, respected, creative and lauded professional percussionists in the world, Steven Schick is also recognized as a scholar, critic and inspirational teacher. He is a renowned interpreter of the works of several major composers and has co-founded or led several acclaimed new-music ensembles including red fish blue fish and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. Since 2007, he has been the music director and conductor of the La Jolla Symphony and he was recently appointed the International Contemporary Ensemble’s inaugural “Artist in Residence” for 2012-15.

“Professor Schick is one of the most internationally renowned artists on our campus,” said Miller Puckette, chair of the Department of Music in the Division of Arts and Humanities. “His incredible performing career when combined with his stellar record of research, teaching and service make him the personification of the ideal UC San Diego professor.”

About UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates

The UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates program provides an opportunity for the university to connect with friends and supporters within the community. Through the years, the group has grown to include more than 500 alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends from across the country. Chancellor’s Associates donors are recognized for their generosity in providing annual leadership gifts of $2,500 or more to be used at the Chancellor’s discretion. For more information on Chancellor’s Associates, please visit www.chancellorsassociates.ucsd.edu.