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Senate and federation honor the best in teaching, research

By Dave Jones on April 26, 2012 in University



Faculty Research Lecture

  • Michael Turelli

Distinguished Teaching Award: Undergraduate

  • Frances Dolan
  • Ari Kelman
  • David Osleger
  • Jay Stachowicz

Distinguished Teaching Award: Graduate and Professional

  • Richard Sexton
  • Richard Tucker

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

  • Liz Applegate
  • John Largier
  • Mark J. Mannis
  • Robert K. Washino


Excellence in Teaching Award

  • Eric Mann
  • John Rundin

Excellence in Research Award

  • Wei Yao


AWARDS RECEPTION, for all of the recipients, Academic Senate and Academic Federation.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 2

  • 5:30 p.m. — Light refreshments and hors d’oeuvres
  • 6 — Welcome and awards presentation

WHERE: Ballroom A, Activities and Recreation Center

RSVP: People planning to attend are asked to make reservations by contacting Bryan Rodman, (530) 752-3920 or

Vice Provost Maureen Stanton elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

More Laurels

By Dateline staff

They are “distinguished.” They are “excellent.” They are the recipients of 2012’s top teaching and research prizes from the Academic Senate and the Academic Federation.

The senate each year presents Distinguished Teaching Awards and Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Awards. The federation honors its members for Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Research.

In addition, the senate has chosen Michael Turelli, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, as the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Research Lecture Award —  the highest honor given by the Davis Division of the Academic Senate to its members. Look for a story on Turelli once a date has been announced for his lecture.

All of the recipients, Academic Senate and Academic Federation, have been invited to an awards reception on Wednesday (May 2). See box for details.

Here are the rest of the award recipients:


Distinguished Teaching Award: Undergraduate

• Frances Dolan, professor, Department of English — Teaching is central in her work and in her own scholarship. Describing her as a “dazzling lecturer” and mentor for students, English professor Margaret Ferguson said: “Whether teaching a course of 200 or mentoring a single MURALS (Mentorships for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science) student, Fran pays extraordinary attention to the details of pedagogy; she is interested not only in introducing students to new texts, genres and critical questions, but also in strengthening their ability to read closely and to ask big questions of what they read.”

Ari Kelman, associate professor, Department of History — He shines at the front of a lecture hall in a way that few others do, said David Biale, professor and chair, Department of History. “Working largely without notes, responding frequently to student questions without losing the thread of his own thought, he proceeds through a lecture, crafting a clear narrative and analysis as he goes along.” He added: “While he sometimes ventures into theater — his lecture on the caning of Sen. Charles Sumner is legendary — students appreciate his lectures most for their combination of sophistication and accessibility.”

David Osleger, lecturer, Department of Geology — He has “an exceptional ability to get students involved in the course material,” his faculty colleagues wrote in nominating him. In evaluating his classes, students use words like “fascinating,” “fun” and “enlightening.” For many students, taking a general education geology class from Osleger led them to either take more geology classes, or to become geology or natural sciences majors. Osleger also is committed to recruiting students, especially from underrepresented groups, into natural sciences and geology, and mentoring undergraduates on career choices in geological sciences.

Jay Stachowicz, associate professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology — He is a motivator, engaging and entertaining in the classroom, and “an incredible mentor,” encouraging students to participate in his lab. “He teaches students more than just the skills needed to run different marine ecology experiments,” Natalie Caulk, Elise Hinman and Kristen Kelley wrote in a nomination letter. “He teaches the process of scientific inquiry.” Faculty colleagues Artyom Kopp and Rick Grossberg said Stachowicz’s research experience energizes all of his classes: “His teaching embodies all that a great research university stands for.”

Distinguished Teaching Award: Graduate and Professional

Richard Sexton, professor and chair, department of Agricultural and Resource Economics — Faculty colleagues describe him as a master of his subject matter and a good communicator with a gift for cultivating student enthusiasm, and a key contributor to curriculum development. His colleagues especially praised master’s-level macroeconomic theory, a two-course sequence that draws students from many other disciplines. He continually receives high rankings from his graduate students and is making sure his courses are welcoming and relevant for students from many different countries and cultures.

Richard Tucker, professor of cellular biology and human anatomy, School of Medicine — He is the primary instructor for the single largest course in the four-year curriculum: “Gross, Radiologic and Developmental Anatomy,” which includes foreign terminology and physically demanding laboratory sessions. Students laud his caring and motivational style, “fantastic ability to present a large amount of developmental information in a short period of time,” and his knowledge of the material, which he “can explain at any level of detail the moment demands.”

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

• Liz Applegate, senior lecturer, Department of NutritionShe puts as much effort into public service as she does to her teaching, notably Nutrition 10, which draws rave reviews, owing to her philosophy of making nutrition and fitness education actionable and pertinent. Off campus, she gives countless lectures and workshops to a broad range of community groups, particularly those comprising underrepresented populations — people who are disabled or chronically ill, for example. She also works with state and national organizations, and youth sport groups. In addition, she is a valuable resource for the media.

• John Largier, professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Bodega Marine Laboratory — He has played a notable and sustained role in service to the public by providing scientific advice on matters related to the health of marine and coastal environments via media events and interviews, membership on assessment and advisory teams, participation in working groups and on task forces, and presentations at public meetings. His efforts are across the spectrum from service intended to spur development of science beyond the university, to the application of science in policy, advising agencies and informing the public.

• Mark J. Mannis, professor and chair, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, and director, Eye Center — Recognized for his efforts to increase the number of high-quality ocular tissues available for transplant, as well as the number of ophthalmologists and technicians trained in the latest corneal transplant and eye-banking methodologies — thus restoring sight for tens of thousands of people with blinding diseases around the globe. Starting 30 years ago, Mannis and the UC Davis Medical Center turned the Lions Club’s fledgling eye bank into the well-established Sierra Eye and Tissue Donor Services.

• Robert K. Washino, emeritus professor, Department of Entomology — Throughout his academic career and now in retirement, he gives freely of his time and expertise to local, state, federal and international agencies, as well as the private sector. He served on U.S. Department of Agriculture and California Department of Food and Agriculture task forces targeting such insects as the Africanized honeybee and Mediterranean fruit fly. He added breadth and depth to such organizations as the Entomological Society of America and the World Health Organization.


Excellence in Teaching

• Eric Mann, lecturer, Department of Microbiology — His faculty colleagues said he is enthusiastic about his teaching and strives to stimulate his students to think independently. In their evaluations, students praise his clear lecture style, meticulous organization and remarkable sense of humor. His extensive work in curriculum development included a revamp of introductory microbiology to meet the needs of preprofessional students, and a reorganization of the MIC 101 labs so they could be offered in the summer. His dedication is astounding, said his colleagues, noting that he supervises lab instruction 18 hours a week in a typical quarter.

• John Rundin, lecturer, Classics Program — He is described as being abundantly generous to students inside the classroom and out, keeping an open door for those in need of assistance in one of the most difficult subjects: Latin. “His office is next to mine, so I can hear him patiently explaining Latin forms or grammar — never losing his sense of compassion and his conviction that every student can grasp the language — and also offering encouragement and advice,” wrote Emily Albu, associate professor and Classics Program director. “I see the academic results in the number of students who continue to a classics major or minor.”

Excellence in Research

• Wei Yao, assistant adjunct professor, School of Medicine — Her most recent work, published in Nature Medicine earlier this year, involved the development of a novel technique (using the molecule LLP2A-Ale) to enhance bone growth — offering a potential treatment for osteoporosis. Nancy E. Lane, who holds the Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging and Geriatric Medicine, said Yao has made a number of seminal scientific discoveries at UC Davis. “The scope of inquiry, the importance of the topic matter, the methodical construction of a unified approach to the questions and the gratifying results all speak for

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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,