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Jesica Fernandez working with students at a table

Jesica Fernandez working with students at a table

Top Teaching Scholars for 2019

Faculty honored for outstanding contributions in teaching, research, and service.

Faculty honored for outstanding contributions in teaching, research, and service. 

With the new school year just days away, Santa Clara University took one more opportunity to look back on the 2018–19 academic year. On September 17, President Kevin O’Brien, S.J. and Interim Provost Lisa Kloppenberg celebrated the achievements of Santa Clara’s faculty with an award ceremony on campus. Here are this year’s winners.

Louis and Dorina Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence

Diane Dreher, English 

Diane Dreher exemplifies Cura Personalis in her teaching, from facilitating creative lessons and meaningful discussions to providing an environment where students’ passions and unique perspectives are valued. Under her careful guidance, students flourish. “She sees the best potential in others,” one alum said in her nomination, “and makes them want to achieve more than they might have imagined on their own.”

Diane Dreher wearing a hat

Diane Dreher

Her influence spreads beyond the classroom, helping students not only deepen their knowledge, but discern their vocation in life. As one alum put it, “She listens without judgement, understands without pretension, and loves without conditions.” Colleagues praise her mentorship, particularly as a facilitator for the Ignatian Faculty Forum, but also for her interdisciplinary approach to teaching. One colleague said she “boldly breaks through disciplinary walls, expanding the limits of students’ minds in the process.”

Brutocao Family Foundation Award for Curriculum Innovation 

Gangshu (George) Cai, Information Systems & Analytics 

George Cai has led curricular innovations within his classroom and department. Recently, he led a task force to establish the new Business Analytics minor and curriculum, and he will also lead a new task force to create a major in Business Analytics.

George Cai

George Cai

In the classroom, Cai creates opportunities for students to experience real-world scenarios and processes. For example, students in his Operations Management course participate in the “Plan Visit Project,” in which they visit area companies to learn about the businesses’ operations and make operations management recommendations based on coursework. In another class, Cai created an auction decision-making game in which students apply bidding theories to auction off a collection of donated items. With the revenue generated from the auctions, his students have donated more than $10,000 with matching funds to a variety of charities.

One student wrote that Cai’s “advocacy for playful learning and compassionate teaching came as one of the best management lessons.”

University Award for Sustained Excellence in Scholarship 

Eric Goldman, Law 

As an influential thought leader in the fields of internet and intellectual property law, Eric Goldman is this year’s recipient of the University’s highest award for scholarly achievement. His interdisciplinary research on Internet, IP, and advertising law has resulted in more than 25 articles in prestigious journals and several book chapters.

Eric Goldman standing in front of brick wall

Eric Goldman

Goldman is the author of the Internet Law casebooks and co-author of the textbook, Advertising & Marketing Law. His influence is widespread, as evidenced by the hundreds of presentations he has given to academics, legal practitioners, and Silicon Valley leaders. He is also one of the most downloaded authors in the Social Science Research Network.

In addition to his scholarly productivity, he is regularly quoted in prominent media outlets, has more than 10,000 Twitter followers, and is a “LinkedIn Influencer.” He was named one of “The 50 Most Influential Law Professors Alive Today” in 2013 and earned the prestigious IP Vanguard Award in the academics/public policy category from the IP Section of the California Bar in 2011. He also influences the law by testifying before Congress and policy-making groups.

University Award for Recent Achievement in Scholarship

Chris Kitts, Engineering

Chris Kitts is currently leading an internationally regarded field robotics program as the Director of the Robotic Systems Laboratory. He also holds an Associate Researcher appointment at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and is the Mission Operations Director for the NASA Ames Research Center Small Spacecraft Missions. His research focuses on collaborative multi-robot control systems and model-based anomaly management.

Chris Kitts speaks with a student in one of the on-campus garages

Chris Kitts

In the past five years, Kitts published 14 peer-reviewed articles and four book chapters, received one patent, and was awarded more than $4 million in grant funding. He routinely collaborates with personnel from government organizations, industry, academia, and non-profit institutions. He leads a new multi-university consortium in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle technology, applications, and real-world engineering education. He has won many awards as a result of his research, and his Robotic Systems program was recently recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as an Exemplar Real World Engineering Program for its integrative research and education program.

Francisco Jiménez Inclusive Excellence Award

Ethnic Studies Department, Ethnic Studies

The Francisco Jiménez Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes a Santa Clara University faculty member, group of faculty members, or department demonstrating an outstanding commitment to the advancement of excellence through diversity and inclusion, through innovative teaching or program development beyond an individual's usual job responsibilities or a department’s usual mission.

Anna Sampaio

Anna Sampaio, Chair, Department of Ethnic Studies

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this spring, the Department of Ethnic Studies has a long and cherished history in demonstrating a strong and effective commitment to issues of social justice and excellence through diversity and inclusion through its faculty, its programs, its direct engagement and support of students and through its academic offerings.

Its faculty stand out in their service and commitment to enhancing and expanding social justice and inclusion within the SCU community.

Faculty of Ethnic Studies

Courtesy Faculty

  • Christina Zanfagna, Associate Professor, Ethnomusicology, Pop Culture & Race, Global Music

Affiliated Faculty

Presidential Recognition Awards

Pratheepan (Deep) Gulasekaram, Law 

The first Presidential Recognition Award is presented to a faculty member who has made substantial contributions to the Law School, the university, and the wider world.

Pratheepan (Deep) Gulasekaram

A prolific scholar and a well-loved teacher, Pratheepan (Deep) Gulasekaram is also regularly sought out by the media for his keen analysis of constitutional and immigration issues. As a faculty scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, he regularly participates in Center events which further teaching, research, and community programs in applied ethics.

Gulasekaram serves on a number of committees in the Law School and often directs its Shanghai Summer Abroad program. He is the co-founder of a non-profit foundation called the World Children’s Initiative, which focuses on international development issues. Through the foundation, he has completed projects in Sri Lanka and Uganda, including the development of the first Children’s Heart Center in East Africa. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Mural Music & Arts Project, a Bay Area non-profit serving underprivileged youth by engaging them in the creation of public art.

2018-19 University Coordinating Committee 

During a complex period of leadership transitions, this year’s University Coordinating Committee—comprised of Kitty Murphy, UCC chair, Aldo Billingslea, chair-elect, and Katie Wilson, Faculty Senate President—worked constructively with three different individuals in the role of Provost. They brought a calm, candid, and constructive perspective to their leadership role. Under Murphy’s leadership, the UCC created and guided task forces, working groups, and committees on four different areas. They helped form the Sub-Committee on Lecturers and Adjuncts, developed a prototype for transparent documentation of progress on policy decisions for the University Policy Committee and Task Force initiatives, and reinstated the year-end governance wrap-up meeting. The UCC did all this and more without administrative support for most of the year. Their work is particularly valuable in modeling effective governance practices.

2017-2019 STEM Leaders

This group of faculty made a significant contribution over the past two years to the university's integrated STEM initiative. Each of these individuals has had an important leadership role and has worked collaboratively across departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. Each has helped the university envision innovative facilities, transformative curricula, and inclusive teaching and research collaborations. And each has found graceful ways of negotiating the many challenges associated with transformations in buildings and in disciplines.

Faculty Senate Professor

Dan Ostrov, Mathematics and Computer Science 

The Faculty Senate Professor Award recognizes those who have made important contributions to the Santa Clara University academic community across the board, through excellence in scholarship and teaching, as well as a commitment to the values of the University.

Dan Ostrov

Dan Ostrov

Dan Ostrov’s scholarly production has been prolific and engaged in a wide variety of topics that matter. He has co-authored 27 articles and given 34 presentations at professional meetings, dealing with practical issues like “Constructing Tax Efficient Withdrawal Strategies for Retirees with 401ks” and strategic allocation in stock portfolios, among other multi-disciplinary topics. Ostrov also has represented the faculty on almost as many committees at the University and held nearly as many department positions as he has published articles.

Along with three colleagues, Ostrov received the Harry M. Markowitz Award for a selection committee of four Nobel Laureates in 2010 and awards from the National Science Foundation. He has also been honored for his innovation and teaching in an area many students are required to take but dread. In all, Ostrov has been not only an inspiring teacher but an outstanding and collaborative scholar who has reached across disciplines. He has stood for faculty and student interests and worked for the best at SCU.

Promoted to Senior Lecturer

  • Sally Vance-Trembath, from the Department of Religious Studies, is a Catholic Theologian with particular interest in the Second Vatican Council.
  • Stephanie Hughes in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences, teams with Bay Area wastewater and storm water agencies to reduce releases of metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals and other pollutants to the environment.
  • Jean-Pierre Lacrampe, Department of English

Receiving Tenure and Promoted to Associate Professor

  • Patrick Lopez-Aguado, Department of Sociology. His research focuses on how mass incarceration shapes popular ideas about criminality and rationalizes state violence against the poor and people of color.
  • Harry Odamtten, Department of History. An editor for the Journal of West African History, he researches African & African Diasporic Intellectual and Social Histories, Public Culture and Hip-Hop, as well as Women and Gender Studies.
  • Sami Najafi-Asadolahi, Department of Information Systems and Analytics history. His current research provides novel tools to assist web publishers and advertising agencies with pricing and revenue management of display ads in online display advertising, sparked by the abundance of the operational challenges faced by major Silicon Valley online advertising firms such as Google and Yahoo!

Promoted to Professor 

  • Chris Kitts is the William and Janice Terry Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the director of the Robotic Systems Laboratory.
  • Silvia Figueira is a member of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Her research is in the area of energy-efficient computing. She is also the director of the Frugal Innovation Hub, and she leads projects related to the use of technology for social benefit.
  • James Lai is a member of the Department of Ethnic Studies. His research interests and specialties include U.S racial and ethnic politic, California local politics, and Asian American politics.
  • Amy Randall is a member of the Department of History. She is currently working on two projects: serving as editor of and contributing author to the expanded and updated second edition of Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey (forthcoming 2020); and researching and writing about Soviet masculinities from 1955-1975.
  • Katherine Morris of the Department of Art and Art History is a scholar of Indigenous and contemporary art. Her most recent publications are on Indigenous landscape representation and humor in Native American art.

Named Endowed Professor

  • Jean-Francois Racine from the Jesuit School of Theology, is the new Shea-Heusman Professor of Sacred Scripture.

Service Awards

25 Years of Service 


features, top stories

Jesica Fernández, center, and the Department of Ethnic Studies were awarded The Francisco Jiménez Inclusive Excellence Award for outstanding commitment to the advancement of excellence through diversity and inclusion.