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.
- 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, Philosophy
Brian Buckley is known to bring great energy to his classrooms and department, engaging students with his enthusiasm. Through presenting conceptually complex materials and expecting high level results, his former students commend him on challenging them "to awaken their minds and ignite 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 teaching, he also directs the University's Pre-Law Advising program and was recently appointed as the first Faculty Coordinator for the newly launched Arts & Humanities Salon program.
Lisa Whitfield, Psychology
Lisa has been called the MVP of her department by her fellow professors. Though she always teaches seven courses a year, she knows her students by name. She is happy to meet with her students and advisees, giving real interest and help as they navigate a class, a college issue or a career decision. Her style of teaching often includes more conversations and questions than lecturers but she delivers complex concepts that have real world connections to every lesson. She does research and has worked with over 30 students in last few years, presenting with them their papers to conferences, further enriching the student experience. She has an extraordinary commitment to student learning and mentorship.
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.
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.
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".