Skip to main content

Previous Honorees

2014- Patti Simone (Psychology)
2013- Jeff Zorn (English)
2012 - Scott LaBarge (Philosophy and Classics)
2011 - Chuck Powers (Sociology)
2010 - Brian McNelis (Chemistry)
2009 - William J. Prior (Philosophy)
2008 - David Pinault (Religious Studies)
2007 - Eileen Elrod (English)
2006 - Phil Kesten (Physics)
2005 - Marilyn Fernandez (Anthropology and Sociology)
2004 - John Heath (Classics)
2003 - Linda Brunauer (Chemistry)
2002 - Rose Marie Beebe (Modern Language and Literature)
2001 - Bill Greenwalt (Classics)
2000 - Mario Belotti (Economics)
1999 - M. Ann Brady (English)
1998 - Robert Senkewicz, S.J. (History)
1997 - Fred D. White (English)
1996 - Steven C. Chiesa (Civil Engineering)
1995 - Robert J. Pfeiffer (Chemistry)
1994 - Frederick J. Parrella (Religious Studies)
1993 - George F. Giacomini, Jr. (History)
1992 - Eric O. Hanson (Political Science)
1991 - Eugene J. Fisher (Mechanical Engineering)
1990 - Carolyn A. Mitchell (English)
1989 - Timothy O'Keefe (History)
1988 - Gerald E. Markle (Applied Mathematics)
1987 - Theodore J. Mackin, S. J. (Religious Studies)

The Louis and Dorina Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence recognizes outstanding faculty who promote intellectual curiosity and active learning; model and foster intellectual rigor and honesty and a zest for learning; develop connections between course material and life outside the classroom; are available to students, attentive to their needs, and enjoy the teacher-student relationship. This award honors those teachers who, over a period of years, have made a real difference: those who have served as exemplars in the Santa Clara, Jesuit tradition of service, who have challenged their students in ways that have forced them to look at the world afresh, who have exerted a major influence over the intellectual and moral development of their students, who have, in short, made an imprint that is still felt in some way years after graduation.


For nomination guidelines, please see below:

1. Only students and alumni/alumnae may nominate a faculty member for the Brutocao Award for Teaching Excellence.

2. All nominations must be completed through the Teaching Excellence Nomination Form

3. The following criteria are required for eligibility:

  • 10 years or more at Santa Clara University (the year a faculty member joined the University is given in parentheses next to the faculty member's name in the back of the Undergraduate Bulletin)
  • substantial teaching at the undergraduate level
  • has not previously won this award (previous winners listed below and right)

5. Once nominated, a faculty member stays in the pool of candidates under active consideration for three years.

6. The deadline for nominations is Monday, April 22, 2019.

Selection Considerations
  • Candidate's teaching promotes intellectual curiosity and active learning.
  • Candidate models and fosters intellectual rigor and honesty and a zest for learning.
  • Candidate develops connections between the course material and life outside the classroom.
  • Candidate is available to students, attentive to their needs, and enjoys the teacher-student relationship.
  • The candidate supports Santa Clara University's values, goals and tradition.
    • Brian Buckley accepting the Brutocao award with Father Engh and Provost, Dennis Jacobs

      2018 Winner

      Brian Buckley, Philosophy

      Brian Buckley brings great energy to his classrooms and department, engaging students with his passion for philosophy. Presents conceptually complex materials and expects high level results, his former students describe how he "ignites a passion for learning." His reputation for making thinkers and helping students learn how to self-analyze and question has led to a stream of new majors and minors since he began in 2007. In addition to his excellent classroom teaching, he also directs the University's Pre-Law Advising program and is the Faculty Coordinator for the newly launched Arts & Humanities Salon program.

    • Lisa Whitfield accepting her Brutocao award with Father Engh and Provost, Dennis Jacobs

      2018 Winner

      Lisa Whitfield, Psychology

      Her colleagues call Lisa the MVP of her department, she raises the bar for teaching standards and she generously mentors and supports other teachers. She is known for her attention to individuals, meeting students and advisees, having a real interest and helping as they navigate class, college and career decisions. Her style of teaching often includes more conversations and questions than lectures, as she delivers complex concepts that have real world connections to every lesson. Further, she engages students in research, presenting papers with more than 30 students in the last few years, further enriching the student experience. She has an extraordinary commitment to student learning and mentorship.

    • Image links to full content

      2017 Winner

      Simone Billings, English

      For over 35 years, Dr. Simone Billings has insisted on the very best from her students. Nomination letters (many!) described her demanding teaching style. One writer called her the “quintessential teaching model for rigor and honesty,” while another noted that “not every demanding professor is as beloved as Professor Billings.” She strikes a balance between high expectations and deep care for her students, who appreciate her because, as one alum put it, “she works as hard (if not harder) than she expects us to.” Simone's impact on students is not only a result of her teaching, but her guidance and encouragement throughout their time on campus and beyond.

    • Image links to full content

      2016 Winner

      Silvia Figueira, Computer Engineering

      Silvia is widely praised for motivating and inspiring students and is described by her students as a “model for intellectual curiosity”. Silvia has had an impact on students from their earliest courses in programming to their senior projects and beyond. At every stage, she pushes her students to use their knowledge, skills, and talent in service of community. Students have recounted that she consistently takes time to encourage them to pursue competitive scholarships and internships, advised them on whether and why to attend graduate school, and helped them cultivate contacts in industry. She has also been a tireless advocate for women in engineering, creating opportunities for them on campus and promoting their involvement in national organizations and conferences.

    • Image links to full content

      2015 Winner

      Shannon Vallor, Philosophy

      Shannon's intense passion for her subject matter and clear interest in fostering a deeper student understanding of complex philosophical questions creates great interest and motivation amongst her students. Many of her advisees have gone on to excellent graduate schools, including Rhodes Scholar Noelle Lopez, who earned a doctorate from Oxford and now has a post-doc at Harvard. One of her students said she taught them to "judge less, think more, and never stop asking questions", and that "you leave the classroom with a new vigor and a sense of cognitive satisfaction".