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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Who’s your favorite professor?

Every so often there is a teacher who extends office hours a precious two hours before the day of the midterm or sparks a communication major’s interest in organic chemistry that leads to an unexpected minor.

The 10th annual ASUCD Excellence in Education Awards aim at making sure these educators are noticed and honored for their service. The awards are run and funded by the ASUCD Academic Affairs Commission (AAC). Students who put on the event hope to give their undergraduate peers a chance to show appreciation for the teachers and professors who go above and beyond when it comes to instructing.

“We want to celebrate those teachers who we think are really dedicated toward teaching,” said Annemarie Stone, junior English major and ASUCD AAC Chair. “Because we go to a research university, I’m sure everybody’s had a professor that they could tell was here for mainly research, and we really want to cherish those professors who have found a good balance and really dedicate a lot of their time toward students.”

Undergraduate students are the only individuals involved in nominating and ultimately deciding who will receive the awards. Teachers and professors are first narrowed down to a winner for each college within UC Davis through student nominations. These finalists are then interviewed for the top award.

“We’ve had professors from various colleges and divisions win the Excellence in Education Award,” said Jessica Jaswal, senior psychology major and AAC member, in an e-mail interview. “Generally the professors that win the award are highly distinguished by students and colleagues. They go above and beyond their role as a professor and mentor for their students.”

The awards are extremely broad in who is capable of winning, giving graduate student TAs just as much of a chance as tenured professors. “If they are in front of a classroom disseminating knowledge, they can win,”  Stone said. Students have in the past enjoyed the awards and the impact that it has upon teachers and professors.

“I went to the awards ceremony last year,” said Marcel Bernucci, a second-year biological chemistry major. “I felt like the professors that attended really felt like they had been noticed.”

Any student can nominate an educator of their choosing until Sunday. The online form to nominate a teacher or professor can be found at asucd.ucdavis.edu.

The awards are set for late May with an exact location and date to be announced.

MAX GARRITY RUSSER can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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