Two UC Santa Cruz professors honored for teaching

An expert on the psychological effects of incarceration and a political theorist were honored for their teaching today (Thursday, October 7) by the UC Santa Cruz Division of Social Sciences.

Craig Haney, a professor of psychology who joined the UCSC faculty in 1977, and Vanita Seth, an assistant professor of politics who came to UCSC in 2001, received the division's Distinguished Teaching Award, also known as the "Golden Apple Award," during the dean's annual convocation. The awards recognize outstanding undergraduate teaching in the social sciences; each award carries with it a cash prize and an engraved plaque.

"These professors represent the best of UCSC," said Michael Hutchison, interim dean of the Social Sciences Division. "They are outstanding teachers whose cutting-edge research comes to life in the classroom. Our undergraduates benefit from their commitment to teaching, and it's a pleasure to honor their contributions."

Haney's students uniformly name him their favorite instructor at UCSC. He teaches both large, popular courses, such as Psychology and Law, and small graduate seminars. With degrees in both law and psychology, Haney has devoted his career to exploring the psychology of society's most violent criminals and documenting the devastating psychological effects of imprisonment. In the process, Haney has become one of the nation's leading researchers in the areas of capital punishment and penal institutions.

After only three years at UCSC, Seth receives high praise from students, who appreciate her ability to offer rewarding, challenging classes that engage students in critical thinking and discussion, even in large lectures. Seth is a political theorist whose interests include feminist theory, race as a historical concept, postcolonial and postmodern theory, and nationalism. Seth earned her doctorate in political science from the University of Melbourne.

The Golden Apple Award is presented annually to as many as three faculty members.

The recipients were selected by Hutchison from a list of recommendations compiled by a faculty committee based on nominations put forth by department chairs. The committee is chaired by Daniel Press, a professor of environmental studies. The annual awards were established in 1991.

Social sciences is one of five academic divisions at UCSC; the others are arts, engineering, humanities, and physical and biological sciences. Each division is home to a wide range of departments and programs. Social sciences includes anthropology, community studies, economics, environmental studies, Latin American and Latino studies, legal studies, politics, psychology, and sociology.