Dean Paul Koch receives 'Insight Into Diversity' magazine's Giving Back Award

National award honors university administrators for their commitment to diversity and for giving back to others

Paul Koch
Paul Koch (photo by C. Lagattuta)

Paul Koch, distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences and dean of the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, has received the 2017 Giving Back Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Giving Back Award honors college and university administrators who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and give back to their campuses and communities. Koch will be featured, along with 38 other recipients, in the April 2017 Leadership Support and Giving Back issue of Insight Into Diversity magazine.

Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues and selected by Insight Into Diversity based on their outstanding demonstration of social responsibility; involvement with students, faculty, staff, and the community; and commitment to serving underrepresented populations. Each honoree is recognized for his or her passion, dedication, and support for diversity and inclusion.

"We have great science programs at UC Santa Cruz. Raising funds and building programs to ensure that the students and faculty in the sciences reflect the diversity of California has been a priority for me as dean, and one of the best parts of the job," Koch said.

As dean of physical and biological sciences, Koch has been a strong supporter of diversity programs and a vocal advocate for diversity across the campus. He has committed and raised funding for a variety of diversity programs that support underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, including programs outside of his division. He also contributes to the Office of STEM Diversity Programs, an umbrella office that includes three NIH-funded, one NSF-funded, and two state-funded diversity programs.

"Dean Koch is not only supporting diversity through financial support, he is creating a culture of diversity at UC Santa Cruz that will become part of our institutional ethos long after he steps down," wrote Zia Isola, director of the UCSC Genomics Institute Office of Diversity, in a nomination letter.

“The Giving Back Award is being awarded to leaders of institutions of higher education who exemplify what it truly means to ‘give back’ to others,” said Holly Mendelson, publisher of Insight Into Diversity magazine. “These administrators are role models, and we honor their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion on their campuses and in their communities.”

For more information about the 2017 Giving Back Award and Insight Into Diversity magazine, visit