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UC San Diego Faculty
Members to be Honored at
Faculty Excellence Awards Ceremony

Annual UCSD Chancellor’s Associates event fetes outstanding faculty members.

March 19, 2008

By Laura Margoni

Five outstanding University of California, San Diego faculty members will be presented with prestigious awards for excellence in teaching, research and community service by the UCSD Chancellor’s Associates on March 25.  The recognition ceremony and reception will be held at 5 p.m. at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) building 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 $1,500 or more to the university, will recognize the outstanding accomplishments of UCSD faculty members with a citation and $2,500 honorarium.

The recipients of the 2008 Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards include: Valerie Ramey, Ph.D., professor of Economics, for excellence in undergraduate teaching; Mathew McCubbins, Ph.D., professor of Political Science, for excellence in graduate teaching; Steven Epstein, Ph.D., professor of Sociology, for excellence in research in arts, humanities and social sciences; Shankar Subramaniam, Ph.D., professor of Bioengineering, for excellence in research in science and engineering; and Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D., professor of History and Science Studies—and the new provost for UC San Diego’s Sixth College effective July 1—for  excellence in community service.

“Each of the Faculty Excellence Award honorees is a truly remarkable faculty member,” said Paul Drake, UC San Diego senior vice chancellor of Academic Affairs.  “They are exceptional teachers, researchers, campus citizens and community leaders, as well as excellent representatives of the outstanding quality of our faculty.  It is a pleasure to see them receive the recognition they deserve.”

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 2008 Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Awards recipients:

  • Valerie Ramey, Professor of Economics
    Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

    Photo of Valerie Ramey, Professor of EconomicsRamey will be honored for her work as an exemplary and innovative Department of Economics teacher. Each year, she consistently earns rave reviews from her more than 500 students, especially for her popular class on public policy. She fosters lively discussion of current policy issues by virtue of her “Oprah Act,” in which she walks up and down the aisles with her microphone soliciting comments from students. In addition to teaching numerous students, Ramey is also an active undergraduate advisor, inspiring many of her students to pursue advanced degrees and careers in economics.

    “Professor Ramey is a superb teacher,” said Jeff Elman, interim dean of the Division of Social Sciences. “Despite teaching classes to hundreds of students, her teaching evaluations are among the highest in the Department of Economics. Her ability to engage students and bring important but complex and difficult material to life—making it relevant and accessible—is truly remarkable.”
  • Mathew McCubbins, Professor of Political Science
    Excellence in Graduate Teaching

    Photo of Mathew McCubbins, Professor of Political ScienceMcCubbins will be recognized for his contributions to the Department of Political Science graduate-level program as a teacher, mentor and advisor. His critical core classes and graduate workshops are considered challenging and rewarding by his students, and he is committed to nurturing students’ analytical and practical skills. His work outside the classroom has also had a tremendous impact on the program. McCubbins serves as a dissertation advisor, research advisor and mentor to an impressive number of graduate students each year, and has been instrumental in revising the graduate curriculum to become one of the most groundbreaking programs in the country.

    “While the transition from graduate school to the real-world of academia or industry is challenging for all students, Professor McCubbins’ students are among the best prepared as a result of his commitment to their training,” noted Gary Cox, chair of the Department of Political Science. “He has a profound impact on their education and lives.”
  • Steven Epstein, Professor of Sociology
    Excellence in Research in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

    Photo of Steven Epstein, Professor of SociologyEpstein will be honored for his research which encompasses many branches of sociology and is having a major impact in the humanities and social sciences. He is recognized for his thoughtful leadership in the sociology of science and sexuality, and has written two highly regarded books that demonstrate how social movements influence the conduct of scientific inquiry.  Epstein has received the American Sociological Association’s prestigious Robert Merton Award for both books and is the only scholar to win this award twice.  His body of work is widely cited and his first book has become required reading for bioethics scholars.

    “Professor Epstein is an outstanding scholar whose research is meticulous, deep and thorough,” said Richard Madsen, chair of the Department of Sociology. “Our science studies program has a stellar reputation and he has been instrumental in building that reputation. We are fortunate to have him here at UC San Diego.”
  • Shankar Subramaniam, Professor of Bioengineering
    Excellence in Research in Science and Engineering

    Photo of Shankar Subramaniam, Professor of BioengineeringSubramaniam will be recognized for his contributions to the field of bioinformatics, computational and systems biology. The world-renowned scientist has had a wide impact in the field of biomedical engineering and his innovative research has led to many discoveries, including an incisive understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance. His work has garnered him major research funding from the National Institutes of Health and he has been published extensively in leading scientific journals. In addition to his research, Subramaniam has played a key role in raising national awareness for training and research of bioinformatics.

    “Professor Subramaniam has conducted superb research and had a major impact in bioinformatics and systems biology as well as lipid metabolism, intracellular signaling and transcriptional biology,” said Jeanne Ferrante, associate dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering. “His record of accomplishment is extraordinary.”
  • Naomi Oreskes,Professor of History and Science Studies
    Excellence in Community Service

    Photo of Naomi Oreskes,Professor of History and Science StudiesOreskes will be honored for her remarkable record of service to UC San Diego and as a public intellectual whose work on global climate change issues has been brought into the national spotlight. Her study of the scientific consensus on global warming led to congressional testimony and inclusion in Al Gore’s slide show and film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” She has been published and interviewed extensively by the media, as well as invited to present numerous lectures on her work, all of which has served to elevate consciousness of the scientific evidence of global warming, influencing the national discourse and society in general.

    “The nature of Professor Oreskes’ service is to air in public debate a question that is vital to the future of the planet,” said Eric Van Young, interim dean of the Division of Arts and Humanities. “It is hard to imagine public service of larger historical import done by a university professor in recent times.”

About UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates
The UCSD 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 nearly 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 $1,500 or more to be used at the Chancellor’s discretion. For more information on Chancellor’s Associates, please visit www.chancellorsassociates.ucsd.edu.


Media Contact: Laura Margoni, 858-822-2485

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