Social Sciences recognizes outstanding research, teaching, and staff

Photo of Katharyne Mitchell, Steve McKay, and Debbie Gould

Dean Katharyne Mitchell, left, hosted the division’s annual fall breakfast. She is pictured with Sociology Professor Steve McKay, winner of the 2019 Golden Apple Award presented by Sociology Professor Debbie Gould. (Photo by Andrea Limas)

Photo of John Brown Childs

Distinguished Social Sciences Emeriti Award recipient John Brown Childs, professor emeritus of sociology. (Photo by Flora Lu)

The Division of Social Sciences at UC Santa Cruz presented several major awards recognizing outstanding accomplishments by faculty, staff, researchers, and emeriti faculty.

The awards were presented Friday (Nov. 15) at the annual Fall breakfast hosted by Social Sciences Dean Katharyne Mitchell. In attendance was UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cindy Larive, as well as approximately 100 faculty and staff from across the Social Sciences Division. 

"It’s a pleasure to come together each year to recognize this talented team of faculty and staff," said Mitchell. "I am proud of the Social Science Division's commitment to social justice, equity and environmental protection, a commitment and dedication that is reflected in the work of this year's awardees." 

The awards presented included:

  • Golden Apple Teaching Award: Steve McKay, an associate professor of sociology, was recognized for the innovative pedagogy he has developed over the last six years, called Community Initiated Student Engaged Research (CISER). Students indicate that they learn a tremendous amount in McKay’s courses and are inspired by the experience of becoming producers of knowledge that plays a role in transforming our world. 
  • Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research: Two candidates were recognized this year for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields: Education Professor Judit Moschkovich, and Environmental Studies Professor Weixin Cheng. Moschkovich’s contributions to mathematics education have had a profound impact on the field. She is widely recognized for her groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on the intersection of mathematical reasoning and language, with a special focus on bilingual/multilingual learners. Cheng is known for his cutting-edge research in soil science, particularly plant-soil interactions in a framework of global change. He established the field of rhizosphere priming, and his work highlights its role in the global carbon cycle. 
  • Outstanding Staff Awards: Two recipients were selected this year from department staff: Lin Weyers, department manager for Environmental Studies, and Deanna Slater, college administrative officer of College Nine and College Ten. One recipient from division staff was chosen this year: Doug Niven, academic computing expert for the Division of Social Sciences. Weyers is known as a “go getter” across the Environmental Studies department. Her leadership, competence, and spirit is felt throughout the department, and she is credited with helping get the department through challenging times. Slater was recognized for her vision and her contributions to the academic mission of Colleges Nine and College Ten. She was instrumental in bringing these colleges together and creating programs, such as The CoCurricular Programs Office ("The CoCo"). Niven was chosen for his ITS work within the Social Sciences Division. Niven was recognized for going "above and beyond" as he helped colleagues utilize technology to make their work lives easier and more efficient. The impact of his cheerful support reached people in many different areas of the division. 
  • Distinguished Social Sciences Emeriti Award: John Brown Childs, professor emeritus of sociology, was honored as a pioneer in community engaged scholarship, an inspirational teacher, and a committed local and global citizen. Childs, who retired some ten years ago, has continued to lecture and publish on his theory of transcommunality and transcommunal cooperation; on indigenous studies and the emerging theoretical framework of “indigeneity”; and on the history of African Americans within U.S. and European social movements. His scholarship is inextricably linked to his commitment to conflict resolution and nonviolence. This past winter, Childs created a College Ten course, Transcommunal Cooperation and Peace Making, that brought UCSC undergraduates to the Soledad Correctional Training Facility to learn collaboratively with incarcerated men.