Recipients of 2021 Excellence in Teaching Awards announced

UC Santa Cruz celebrates its innovative and dedicated teachers with the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Awards. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, the luncheon with Chancellor Cynthia Larive had to be postponed.

The Committee on Teaching (COT) is delighted to announce the 10 recipients of this prestigious campus-wide award from all five divisions. The committee received approximately 436 student nominations and selected ten instructors to receive this award. The student comments about the impact their excellent pedagogical practice has had on their lives were inspiring for COT to read. COT appreciates their contribution to the important mission of teaching on our campus.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Elizabeth Beaumont, Associate Professor, Politics
  • David Bernick, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Biomolecular Engineering
  • Nandini Bhattacharya, Mathematics, Continuing Lecturer: Ron Ruby Award Recipient
  • Audun Dahl, Associate Professor, Psychology
  • Alegra Eroy-Reveles, Assistant Teaching Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Michael Hance, Assistant Professor, Physics
  • David Ingleman, Anthropology, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Philip Longo, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program
  • Ana Maria Seara, Lecturer, Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • Donald Williams, Lecturer, Theater Arts

Elizabeth Beaumont, Associate Professor, Politics

“Professor Beaumont is incomparably kind and thoughtful with students. She also created a canvas site that was easy to navigate and understand, because she caught on/learned the online classroom but very well. Incredibly accommodating and always available for students. I really enjoyed the class even though it was challenging at times.”

“Liz, as her graduate students call her, teaches classes, writes brilliant syllabi, conducts discussion, advises, researches and mentors, but perhaps the most consequential impact that Liz has on her students does not stem from the individual success of each of her job descriptions, but rather from the intentions of her actions and the ways in which she creates a welcoming, non-competitive and exploratory classroom (even virtually!) Between the fall election and ongoing racial injustice, the pandemic, and virtual classes, fall 2020 was a tough quarter. Liz brought so much energy, intention, and positivity to our 3-hour Zoom seminars. The clunkiness of online discussions didn’t seem to phase Liz; she effortlessly helped us connect our thoughts, explore them more deeply, and gave us a space to intellectually process the current events of fall 2020. Not only this, but Liz gave each and every one of us generous constructive feedback on our weekly reading responses and final papers. Through this feedback, I improved my written communication of ideas, and was able to explore more deeply how exactly the course’s content could provide my developing thesis project with a theoretical framework.”

David Bernick, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Biomolecular Engineering

“Dr. David Bernick possesses qualities that many other science professors have trouble showing. He cares and becomes very invested in his students both academically and on a personal level. Bernick has touched the lives of many and changed them for the better. Dr.B has even virtually met my little sister and presented at her high school research club where he very much enjoyed answering the questions of very eager and curious teenagers. Engineering needs more humans like him because he cares so so so much and is very generous. He is also an excellent lecturer, almost cryptic, which makes class interesting and humorous. He has great wit and his personality makes the student feel safe to make mistakes and ask questions. Dr.B has a 10/10 in excellence. best UCSC faculty. deserves all the awards. We all love him very very very much. He is the absolute best. He deserves this award and many more.”

“Dr. Bernick is an amazing professor that makes everybody feel welcome but also challenges us to excel as students, people, and engineers.”

Nandini Bhattacharya, Mathematics, Continuing Lecturer: Ron Ruby Award Recipient

“I am an international student, and due to my limited math background I was very nervous taking math classes again as part of my continuing education. My past professors were not very good, and math was my greatest fear about studying in the USA. COVID added to my stress, as there was no direct class interaction. When Prof. Nandini started teaching my first class I realized she was an excellent teacher and really cared about the students. And much to my surprise I rapidly became comfortable with math, and indeed have come to love math. She was always available during office hours when I had questions, whether from myself or other students. Her dedication to teaching is obvious. To my great surprise math is now my favorite subject! I used to fear math and now I love it! That was the last thing I expected, and I owe this to Prof. Nandini. If there is someone who should be awarded an Excellent Teaching Award, that should be Nandini. She fully deserves it!”

“Nandini is really sweet and cares a lot about students. She made sure the course materials were affordable and listened to our feedback. She wants to help us succeed. Her lectures are very fast-paced but she posts recordings so you can rewatch them at your own pace.”

Audun Dahl, Associate Professor, Psychology

“Professor Dahl was extremely supportive of his students. He made sure that the topics were relevant to the examples of the students and continued the conversation by making sure we either had breakout rooms with new people or with the same people. While COVID and marches were going on, we also faced the CZU fires and he was more than accommodating for the students. Seeing him also become extremely affected because of the fires and then powering through afterwards provided a chance for us to be motivated to continue with our class while placing our safety as our top priority.”

“Dr. Dahl is an incredibly supportive and enthusiastic instructor who cares greatly about the understanding and learning of his students. He has an incredible ability to make seemingly daunting subjects, such as learning a coding language, very accessible and easy to understand. He focuses on guiding the student in building a skill rather than memorizing formulas, placing importance on the student’s development into a self-sufficient and confident coder. His class is structured to incorporate plenty of activities and examples to help students apply their knowledge to new problems. His passion for his students’ interest in the topic and success with their projects also extends beyond the class. He has stressed a continued availability if we ever get stuck and mentioned that he would love to have us reach out so that he can continue to mentor us throughout our coding journeys! I would take another class with Dr. Dahl in a heartbeat.”

Alegra Eroy-Reveles, Assistant Teaching Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

“Professor Eroy-Reveles truly cares about each and every student, and gives us many tools for success. She is always available outside of class time to help students individually or in small groups. Additionally, she is very clear about the schedule and requirements of her class, making the course very accessible. She implemented the “flipped classroom” model, so we watched the lectures ahead of time and worked on problem-solving during synchronous class time. This mode of learning greatly increased engagement during class time and aided in learning problem-solving strategies.”

“She made us all feel like we had the power and ability to easily learn anything and it gave me the best confidence to always try my best in her class. I am a DRC student and she presented herself with all the support she could offer me to succeed. I earned an A in her class and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good about receiving an A in my life before. She knows the process of learning.”

Michael Hance, Assistant Professor, Physics

“Professor Hance explains concepts very clearly and checks in regularly with the class that we’re keeping up with material. His notes are short, succinct and clear, and he explains difficult concepts well with metaphors and referring to introductory level concepts. He often checks in with us at the beginning of class on our mental state and genuinely cares about our well being. Midway through PHYS 110A he experimented with asynchronous lectures to see if it would work better for us, and while it wasn’t a hit with the class I appreciate that he was willing to try different teaching styles for us. At the end of the course, the entire class organized a group “We love you, Hance” chant to him to show him our appreciation for how understanding, accommodating, and helpful he was. He is deserving of this award as he did excel during an unprecedented time.”

“Hance performed exceptionally well in the transfer to remote learning. His lectures were instructive and engaging, and he maintained himself an open and available professor, both in teaching the subject and in his presence as a caring, passionate instructor.”

David Ingleman, Anthropology, Graduate Student Instructor

“David is perhaps the most experienced and passionate teacher in the anthropology department. Despite being a graduate student, he has put more thought and care into his course and supporting his students in and outside of the classroom than any professor I’ve had. He truly wants you to not only succeed in his course for a letter grade but understand the concepts and understand anthropology’s importance to the world. Despite being online for both spring and summer quarters, he made a fun and interactive course that really helped understand the material such as: virtual tours of museums, online archaeological activities to simulate excavating a site, and many more. His passion for this subject is demonstrated in his detail heavy lectures and personal experiences with the concepts. I have always been a lazy student, although I got better each year, David had noticed my essay draft wasn’t up to par, and asked if I would like support during office hours. I took up his offer and ended up producing perhaps the best paper I’ve ever written. Because of this it made me more confident to not only ask for help but analyze, critically think, and write better. This has given me life skills to use outside of academics. I had learned I was capable of succeeding and working hard, as long as I learned to discipline myself and develop better study habits. In summary, David has given me great intellectual growth which I have already begun using. Whether his effect on his students be small or large, I truly believe they all take away something important from his class.”

“His teaching method was something that I have never seen before. To put it into words, it was perfect. He dedicates most of his time to his students. That shows how much he cares about his student’s education.”

Philip Longo, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program

“Professor Longo provided students incredibly constructive feedback to all assignments, and brought in many guest speakers from the McHenry Library and other areas to guide us on research and producing different types of writing. His passion for rhetoric really inspired and motivated us all, to the point where we made memes about rhetoric and Professor Longo outside of class, with classmates on weekends. We also ended up compiling these memes into a digital quarterbook (yearbook) that we gifted to Professor Longo. This class and Professor Longo’s instruction was consistent and provided such a collaborative, welcoming environment, something we all needed as first-years learning remotely. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the process of publishing academic work, how to refine and meta-cognitively reflect on my writing, understanding the expansiveness of rhetorical ecologies, and understanding how literacy sponsors have molded my writing and education. Professor Longo really helped me learn about research, rhetoric, and writing, and I made many friends in that class that I still talk to almost daily!”

“Professor Longo brought really positive energy, solid teaching, and a welcoming atmosphere as we approached new styles of writing and writing projects. He made himself available to talk to us and ensured that we had ample access to resources so that we knew not only what was accessible to us but also how to find external sources. Professor Longo not only spent time teaching us but also time with us, taking time to be serious when needed and light hearted to balance it out. I feel that my confidence has grown exponentially since taking his course, and now feel that writing and research is a lot easier than before. He treated writing with the weight it deserves, but he also recognized that this was a time for us to grow. He didn’t make us feel like we needed to get it perfect instantly, through drafts and revisions he showed us that nothing is ever perfect and instead the only thing we can do is improve.”

Ana Maria Seara, Lecturer, Languages and Applied Linguistics

“Professor Seara is an amazing professor. It is very difficult to learn a foreign language even in the best of circumstances but with the move to a fully online class, it’s even harder. Professor Seara adapted seamlessly to the new online format. She is an engaging creative instructor who managed to create a community out of our class. I looked forward to every single class as an opportunity to see my classmates and learn more Portuguese through all of the varied exercises that she gave us. Her true passion for teaching and her native tongue are infectious and evident through all of the hard work that she put in to help us learn.”

“Professor Seara is an amazing teacher. Learning another language is difficult and yet she makes it fun. She obviously spends a lot of time and effort on the class and it shows. She thinks of so many creative and engaging ways for us to practice what we learn that I always look forward to class. Even during this strange online world she manages to create a close knit community out of the class. Truly one of the best teachers I have ever had.”

Donald Williams, Lecturer, Theater Arts

“Mr. Williams is not only an inspiring teacher, but also an uplifting one. I probably would have dropped out of or transferred from UCSC if not for Mr. Williams facilitating Rainbow Theater. He is the only African-American faculty in the entire Theater Arts Department, and as a theater student, without him I would have been very discouraged to continue my studies. In every class, he works hard to meet students where they are at and treat his students as human beings first. His empathy surpasses most professors I’ve met here. It is also apparent he works tirelessly to provide us with opportunities within and outside of UCSC. He also keeps great contact with Rainbow Theater alumni and gives his current students every opportunity to connect with former students and learn about the entertainment industry in a real-world capacity. He is simply the best.”

“Without the work I’ve done with Mr Williams and his organization Cultural Arts and Diversity, I would’ve taken an academic leave. Mr Williams has been a driving force inspiring myself and many other students to push on during the turmoil.”

Congratulations to all of the 2020–21 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients! This has been an extraordinary year and the Committee on Teaching are proud and grateful for the teaching and learning that all of our instructors have provided for our UC Santa Cruz community!