Academic Senate, Academic Federation Announce Annual Award Recipients

Academic award recipients, 2020, 12 mugshots
Academic Senate and Academic Federation award recipients, from left: Top row — James Adams, Christyann Darwent, Tonya Fancher, Micaela Godzich, Linda Harris, Pam Houston, Lisa Klotz and Nathan Kuppermann. Bottom row — Walter Leal, Bruce Linquist, Jonathan London, Jeffrey Mitchell, Bettina Ng’weno, Kadee Russ, Rajiv Singh and Kenneth Tate.

The Academic Senate and Academic Federation have chosen their award recipients for 2020, members honored for their teaching, research and public service.

The awards reception has been postponed to the next academic year, along with the lecture traditionally given by the recipient of the Academic Senate’s highest honor, the Faculty Distinguished Research Award. It goes this year to Nathan Kuppermann, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

The Academic Federation’s highest honor, the James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award, named after the late chancellor, goes to Linda Harris, Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Food Science and Technology.

Read more about Kuppermann and Harris and all of the Academic Senate and Academic Federation award recipients, in the write-ups below from the senate and federation:.

Academic Senate

Nathan Kuppermann in scrubs, stethoscope around neck, big smile.
Faculty Distinguished Research Award: Nathan Kuppermann.

Faculty Distinguished Research Award

Nathan Kuppermann, Distinguished Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine — He has made outstanding contributions to the science of pediatric emergency medicine. His research has improved infant care and helped establish the Pediatric Emergency Research Networks, a multisite international collaborative research team that conducts rigorous, pioneering investigations into the prevention and management of acute illnesses and injuries in children. His work on traumatic brain injuries, hemorrhagic torso trauma, diabetic ketoacidosis and life-threatening bacterial infections in febrile infants has established best practices for effectively treating major childhood emergencies

Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Awards

Tonya Fancher mugshot

Jonathan London mugshotJonathan London, associate professor, Department of Human Ecology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — As director of the Center for Regional Change and co-director of the Community Engagement Core, he fosters collaborations among researchers, community groups and policymakers to address public health, housing, education equity and environmental justice issues. These efforts develop policies and programs supported by hundreds of millions of state and foundation dollars, effectively addressing issues including equitable drinking water access, identification of locations in greatest need of environmental protection, and climate-smart transportation. He also serves on the state task force on nitrates in drinking water and on the advisory board of a California public environmental health program.

Kadee Russ mugshotKadee Russ, associate professor, Department of Economics, College of Letters and Science — She substantially improves public discourse and policy related to international trade. She served in the Obama administration as the senior economist for international trade and finance, Council of Economic Advisers, and she devotes considerable effort to educating the public on the costs of tariffs and policy uncertainty. She has published multiple pieces at the nonpartisan EconoFact and interacts extensively with the media, including PBS, CNBC, BBC, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, she has testified in several California legislative committees to educate legislators on how tariffs and potential trade deals might impact California’s economy.

Distinguished Teaching Awards: Undergraduate

Christyann Darwent mugshotChristyann Darwent, professor, Department of Anthropology, College of Letters and Science — She is recognized for her outstanding ability to make the subject of archaeology personally meaningful to students. She incorporates popular culture, local events, hands-on material exploration and personal anecdotes into her lectures. Students also greatly appreciate her enthusiasm and sense of humor. Beyond the classroom, her dedicated mentoring enables students to learn how to curate museum collections or conduct fieldwork under difficult conditions in the Arctic. Under her mentorship, undergraduates have presented papers about their research at scientific conferences, published papers on their research, and moved on to museum jobs or graduate school.

Walter Leal mugshotWalter Leal, Distinguished Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences — He is renowned for both his research in chemical ecology and his highly innovative classes in insect physiology and biochemistry. He has fully embraced the digital revolution in classroom instruction and mentorship through a variety of media, including podcasts, Zoom and Skype, and Camtasia, which allows him to create videos to explain solutions to assigned problems (eSolutions), answer questions from lectures (eClarifications) and address questions before exams (eReviews). Students recognize the time, effort and attention to detail that he puts into his classes, and it inspires them to work just as hard to excel.

Bettina Ng'weno mugshotBettina Ng’weno, associate professor, Department of African American and African Studies, College of Letters and Science — She has demonstrated a profound commitment to undergraduate teaching and student learning throughout the years. A kind and inquisitive teacher, she promotes intellectual curiosity in the classroom that goes beyond the limits of her syllabus. Students praise her for demanding critical thinking, comparative broad perspectives, and introspection about self-perceptions. She excels at explaining and presenting to her students the complex history of the African people and their diaspora around the world. Her approach to teaching is rigorous yet humorous and engaging. Finally, as a mentor, she genuinely lives the practices and beliefs she exemplifies when she teaches.

Distinguished Teaching Award: Graduate and Professional

James Adams mugshotJames Adams, professor, Department of Political Science, College of Letters and Science — He is recognized for his exceptional efforts in the area of graduate teaching and mentorship. He is an extraordinary teacher, and his courses are among the most popular and highly enrolled in his department’s Ph.D. program. Moreover, he is a dedicated and highly engaged mentor, and graduate students routinely seek his advice. He publishes frequently with his students and helps them develop rich and productive research programs. He has an impressive record of placing his Ph.D. students in prestigious positions, and many of his former students comment on how he taps into his enormous network within the larger political science community for the benefit of his students.

Pam Houston mugshot

Rajiv Singh mugshotRajiv Singh, professor, Department of Physics, College of Letters and Science — He has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in graduate academic advising and research. He has a notable record of teaching excellence across a wide range of courses, including the introductory sequences for physical science, engineering and biological science majors as well as more than 50 graduate courses in the 30 years he has been teaching. Many students comment on his extensive knowledge, enthusiasm, teaching clarity and lecture organization. Even as a vice chair in his department, he chooses to maintain a full teaching load rather than take a teaching release — a clear example of his love for teaching and exemplary service to the physics department.

Academic Federation

Linda Harris at microscope.
James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award: Linda Harris.

James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award

Linda Harris mugshot

Excellence in Graduate/Professional Teaching or Mentoring

Micaela Godzich mugshotMicaela Godzich, assistant clinical professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, School of Medicine — She has quickly become recognized as a leader in mentorship of trainees. She is the director of the newly created and highly successful Academic Coaching program designed to mentor and support medical students. She also serves as the associate director for the Family and Community Medicine residency program, where she has updated the curriculum and has become a highly sought mentor for trainees.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Jeffrey Mitchell mugshotJeffrey Mitchell, Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — He is the primary instructor for courses in field and vegetable crop production. He has created transformative learning experiences that provide students with hands-on training in the field, numerous opportunities to interact with growers and industry professionals, and exposure to the latest crop production methods. His extensive experience with diverse agricultural systems, use of innovative classroom technology and dedication to student success ensures that his students are well prepared for the next steps in their careers in the agricultural sciences.

Lisa Klotz mugshotLisa Klotz, continuing lecturer, University Writing Program — She is the primary instructor for the UWP’s course on writing for the legal profession. She has created a foundational learning experience for undergraduate students interested in legal careers. Her experience as an attorney, extensive knowledge of legal writing practices, use of carefully structured assignments and individual mentorship of students ensures that students are not only successful in developing the writing skills required of her course, but that they are also well prepared to make informed decisions about pursuing careers in the legal profession.

Excellence in Research

Bruce Linquist mugshotBruce Linquist, Cooperative Extension specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences — He leads a world-class, well-funded and well-published research program focused on rice production with a broader goal of reducing the negative effects on the environment, food safety and water use. He and his team developed an innovative approach that can significantly reduce water use, methane emissions and heavy metal uptake, while maintaining rice yields. In 2016-17, he led two teams to develop the metrics for a Fieldprint Calculator for quantifying greenhouse emissions and a yield gap analysis of U.S. rice systems. His research is of immediate and direct importance to California growers, as well as to growers nationally and internationally.

Distinguished Service

Ken Tate mugshotKenneth Tate, Cooperative Extension specialist (Russell L. Rustici Endowed Specialist in Cooperative Extension in Rangeland Watershed Science) and professor, Department of Plant Sciences — Abandoning a planned sabattical, he offered workshops and webcasts to serve residents suffering through the multiyear California drought. Furthermore, he has demonstrated an impressive ability to build consensus among diverse audiences on controversial topics. His service to the state is matched by an extensive history of committee work across campus. His  outstanding work and dedication exemplify distinguished service.

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