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Distinguished Teaching Awards
to be Presented To UC San Diego
Faculty at May 29 Reception

May 26, 2009

By Pat JaCoby

In acknowledgement of their extraordinary teaching methods, seven University of California, San Diego faculty members and two graduate students will receive awards from the campus Academic Senate at a May 29 reception in the Faculty Club.

Distinguished Teaching Awards for Senate members will go to Wayne Cornelius, political science; Edmund Fantino, psychology; Rebecca Klatch, sociology; James Nieh, biological sciences, and Paul Pickowicz, history.

Christine Johnson, cognitive science, and Kamau Kenyatta, music, non-Senate members, will receive Barbara J. And Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching Awards. Joe Fontana, biological sciences, and Traci Brynne Voyles, ethnic studies, will be awarded Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Excellent Teaching Awards for graduate students.

Participating in the program and presenting the awards will be Chancellor Marye Anne Fox; Jack K. Wolf, chair, Committee on Distinguished Teaching, San Diego Division of the Academic Senate, and Daniel J. Donoghue, chair, San Diego Division of the Academic Senate.

Cornelius’ award cites him as a “deeply committed, effective and highly respected teacher who has achieved outstanding success in creating an inclusive classroom where students with competing ideologies are able to learn from one another.”

Fantino, his citation notes, “is not just a professor, but a role model, an advisor, a mentor, and a friend. Students who leave his classroom are filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment in the success they have achieved from their studies.”

“Sociology professor Klatch plays an unparalleled role in teaching many of the best graduate students to become superb teachers themselves,” her citation says. “Students constantly state how she cares about the material, and really cares about us.”

Nieh’s award notes that in the last five years, more than 50 undergraduates have done research in his laboratories, making his group of undergraduates the largest in the  Division of Biological Sciences. “Nieh’s phenomenal research includes a strong devotion to teaching and outreach that clearly inspires students during their most formative years,” the citation notes.

Pickowicz is named as “an extraordinary teacher whose knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm motivate individuals inside and outside of class. As one of the first young scholars to visit China—when it was illegal to do so in 1971—Pickowicz has shaped an extraordinary class experience filled with rare materials that bring the past of China to students in the present.”

“With a passion for teaching, Johnson motivates students with unique intellectual experiences provided by her finely woven courses. Her unwavering, creative effort to intellectually inspire her students teaches them to think critically and scientifically about the discipline at hand,” her award notes.

Kenyatta is described as “a person who teaches students not simply to prepare them for a midterm or final, but to prepare them for life.” His citation notes that “with great exuberance, Kenyatta has generously bestowed his broad expertise, superb teaching skills and musical talent upon UCSD.”

Biological sciences teaching assistant Fontana is recognized for “his commitment, reliability and willingness to help students. His extraordinary teaching ability exemplifies what it means to be a teacher in the role of a TA,” his award says.

Voyles is cited “for creating an environment in the classroom that extends outside of it in life-changing ways. Her new and refreshing approach to teaching gives the students a space to use their intellect, imagination and creativity in academia,” the award notes.


Media Contact: Pat JaCoby, 858-534-7404 or pjacoby@ucsd.edu

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