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October 15, 2001

Three UCSC professors honored for excellent teaching

By Jennifer McNulty

Three social scientists were honored by the Division of Social Sciences last week for their excellence in teaching.

The recipients of the Division of Social Sciences' 2000-01 Distinguished Teaching Awards are:

  • Michael Brown, professor of politics
  • Heather Bullock, assistant professor of psychology
  • Andrew Szasz, associate professor of sociology

The awards were presented at an annual division convocation hosted by Dean Martin Chemers. The awards, which recognize outstanding undergraduate teaching in the social sciences, carry with them a $500 cash prize and an engraved plaque that features a "golden apple."

Brown specializes in American politics and public policy and is an authority on
African American politics since the New Deal. He joined the UCSC faculty in 1982. His most recent book is Race, Money, and the American Welfare State (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999).

Bullock joined the faculty in 1999. She is a social psychologist who specializes in how attitudes influence public policy, with an emphasis on how stereotypes about poverty shape welfare policy. She also studies discrimination against low-income women and welfare recipients. Prior to coming to UCSC, Bullock spent one year as an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellow in the Democratic Committee Office of Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, chaired by U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.

Szasz, who is also provost of College Eight, is a leading researcher in the field of environmental justice. He uses Census data and Environmental Protection Agency records to tell the story of environmental inequality in Silicon Valley. Szasz has documented changes in the racial makeup and median income levels of specific neighborhoods, and he uses the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory to track the presence of toxic materials. He joined the faculty in 1986.

"As recent world events have reminded us, social scientists can play an important role in helping us understand our world," said Chemers. "These three professors share a commitment to increasing public understanding, and they bring a passion to their work in the classroom that energizes and inspires their students. It is my pleasure to honor their work."

The recipients were selected by Chemers from a list of recommendations compiled by a faculty committee based on nominations put forth by department chairs. The committee is chaired by Daniel Press, an associate professor of environmental studies and a former award winner. The annual awards were established in 1991.

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