Excellence in Teaching Awards announced

The Academic Senate’s Committee on Teaching in collaboration with Chancellor Larive and CP/EVC Kletzer celebrated UC Santa Cruz’s innovative and dedicated teachers with a gathering at the Cowell Provost House in early June.  

Since 1996, our campus has been recognizing and celebrating instructors for their Excellence in Teaching.  This recognition at the highest level promotes and illuminates the long tradition of innovative and creative teaching at UC Santa Cruz and its central importance to the university’s mission.  

The Committee on Teaching (COT) is delighted to announce the 8 recipients of this prestigious campus-wide award from all five divisions for the 2022-23 academic year. Annually, the committee receives approximately 450 student nominations and selects 7-10 instructors. The student comments about the impact their excellent pedagogical practices have had on their lives were inspiring. COT appreciates their contribution to the important mission of teaching on our campus and is grateful for the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments. 

Caitlin Binder, Continuing Lecturer, Chemistry and Biochemistry (recipient in 2015-16)

"Caitlin redeemed my love for all chemistry.  They center[ed] their lectures around topics that would relate to their students and their interests to keep us engaged and help us care more about what we’re learning. I felt that they are one of the few professors I have had who truly care about and understand their students and want to work to help us succeed."

Guido Bordignon, Associate Teaching Professor, Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology (also Ron Ruby Recipient)

"Guido is an EXCELLENT professor, he infused the class with so much enthusiasm and genuine care that made me really take the class to heart. What I learned in this class changed the way I see the world and deeply impacted the path I am choosing to take when it comes to my education and life.

Lindsay Knisely, Continuing Lecturer, Writing Program (recipient in 2012-13)

"She cares deeply about her students as individuals and is the most compassionate and understanding teacher I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. Her teaching and her lessons go beyond the class and she also offers to help us students out with anything outside of it. I have never met a teacher that has such a big impact on my life as much as Lindsay has."

Andrew Quinn, Assistant Professor,  Computer, Science and Engineering 

"Andrew Quinn made one of the hardest classes I've taken very enjoyable and beneficial to my future. He  has been one of the most engaging and communicative professors I have been taught by here at UCSC. He approaches situations with an open mindset and empathetic attitude. He has made the content he teaches approachable and understandable." 

Emily Schach, Lecturer, Anthropology

"She has that rare ability to present dense information not only in an engaging way, but in a way that made it easy to digest and retain. She clearly loves the subject and cares for her students, even in a 90 person class. Dr. Schach always ensures she meets her students where they are at and accommodates them if they are struggling by giving them extra help and allowing them to have extra time to process and work through the material."

Saskias Casanova, Assistant Professor,  Psychology 

"Professor Casanova supported me in this process and made me feel hopeful in my abilities to be able to conduct research, despite my background. Casanova showed her passion for helping students by providing feedback on assignments, bringing snacks to class, and being flexible to individual student accommodations."

Kailani Polzack, Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture 

"Professor Polzak is exceptionally engaged, caring, and deeply knowledgeable, and invested in the whole student. She cares for learning via the class as a whole, rather than simply being invested in imparting her own research on a subject.

Aida Mukharesh, Graduate Student Instructor, Sociology

“Aida is a very caring and encouraging person. She provided her students an alternative way to think about current world issues, which is very enlightening when I face anything after. Aida fueled my curiosity and interest in the class through her engaging lectures and the many conversations we had, connecting our interests and daily lives to what we had learned in class.”

In addition to celebrating the  Excellence in Teaching awards, COT also awarded Alegra Eroy-Reveles, an associate teaching professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry department, the 2022-23 Distinguished Teaching Award.  Based on nominations from faculty and colleagues, this award acknowledges pedagogical contributions that include but also go beyond any one course, in addition to recognizing an instructor who has made significant contributions to educational equity within and beyond UC Santa Cruz.