CHASS College Awards Recipients

CHASS Patricia McSweeny McCauley Chair in Teaching Excellence

Bella MerlinThe College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences presents the 2016-2017 CHASS Patricia McSweeny McCauley Chair in Teaching Excellence to Professor of Theatre, Film, and Digital Production Bella Merlin.

Across the numerous letters of recommendation that were submitted in support of Dr. Merlin’s nomination, a clear picture developed: one of a teacher who has made a significant impact on the learning experience of students at UCR at all levels.  Dr. Merlin was described as approachable, easy to get along with, and possessing an ability to transmit skills to students with exceptional success.  She was further described in letters as demanding in course requirements and always willing to promote academic excellence both in and out of the classroom. One student stated that “I take full advantage of Dr. Merlin’s office hours because of the individual attention that she devotes to students.” Another wrote that Dr. Merlin “gives me honest and constructive feedback, guidance to point me in the right direction, and resources for my future as an aspiring actor. She gives real life lessons, someone to talk to with an attentive listening ear and a consistent excellence in her work day in and day out.” Still another student added that “I wanted to write this letter of nomination because Bella Merlin is a teacher in the purest sense of the word. From the day that I met her, she has been a motivating and inspiring presence in my life. She not only teaches me to be a better actor, but she teaches me to be mentally present in my everyday life, she teaches me to respect and acknowledge my emotions, and she teaches me to listen dynamically.”

Letters of support came not only from students but also from colleagues and faculty members in Dr. Merlin’s department.  These letters echoed the sentiments expressed by her student nominators and expressed their admiration for Dr. Merlin as an excellent teacher, actor, and director. They noted her devotion to the profession and recognized her unique contributions to the teaching mission of the department and college. In sum, Dr. Merlin is a perfect candidate for this Teaching Excellence Award: a dedicated instructor who challenges and supports her students and serves as a role model for their success.

CHASS Faculty Award for Civic Engagement

Ronald LeveridgeThe College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences presents the 2016-2017 CHASS Faculty Civic Engagement Award to Professor of Political Science Ronald Loveridge.

Dr. Loveridge’s record of service perfectly exemplifies the spirit of this award. After serving for 18 years as the Mayor of Riverside, Dr. Loveridge returned to UCR with a passion for involving students in public service. He currently serves as the Director of UCR’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development, and he leads internship programs in both the Department of Political Science and Public Policy. To say that Dr. Loveridge leads these internship programs understates his impact—he has single-handedly created a set of approximately 50 internship opportunities, personally interviews students to match them with the best-fitting opportunity, directs the academic components of the internship, and even hosts students for dinners at his home when the internships conclude.

Numerous students submitted letters of support for Dr. Loveridge’s nomination, and their comments confirm his deep commitment to both promoting involvement in public service and to improving the lives of UCR students. As a small sample of these remarks:

“Whatever success I have in the future, whatever I accomplish, [Dr. Loveridge] will be a part of it.”

“Professor Loveridge and his course taught me…why it matters to participate in our communities and to civically engage.”

“[Dr. Loveridge’s] work as an educator exemplifies his deep affection for his students’ success, and his role as a community leader makes him the quintessential upstanding citizen as he leads the charge in preparing our young people to become America’s future leaders.”

“To put it simply, I have never met any other professor in my life who has the dedication and devotion to his students and the community as Professor Loveridge does.”

Beyond his exemplary work with students, Dr. Loveridge also maintains the highest level of commitment to public service in his own life. He is the vice chair of the Ontario International Airport Authority, president of the Civil Rights Institute of Southern California, President of the Friends of California Citrus Park, and a member of the executive committee of the Coalition for Clean Air, among numerous other leadership and service positions.

In sum, Dr. Loveridge is a model of civic engagement. He tirelessly fights to improve conditions in Riverside and beyond, and he has devoted his professional life to inspiring others to do the same in their own communities.

CHASS Distinguished Research Lecturer Award

Jane WardThe College of Art, Humanities, and Social Sciences presents the 2016-2017 CHASS Distinguished Research Lecturer Award to Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies Jane Ward.

Dr. Ward is a rigorous interdisciplinary scholar whose work falls at the intersection of the study of sexuality, race, and gender. Professor Ward is a creative scholar whose contributions have developed new and significant approaches in sociology, sexuality, and gender. Her research is theoretically innovative, philosophically sophisticated, and timely.

During her career at UCR, Professor Ward has produced two books, a co-edited special issue ina top peer-reviewed journal, and numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters—a remarkably high and consistent level of production. Professor Ward’s first book, Respectably Queer, has been positively reviewed in prestigious journals and was named “favorite book of 2008” by Progressive Magazine. Respectably Queer is widely regarded as the first book to document and analyze diversity initiatives within major LGBTQ non-profit organizations. In her second book, Not Gay, Ward turns to the intersection of whiteness and masculinity, developing a critical approach to heterosexuality. Her approach opens a new terrain, catalyzing scholarly conversations and public debates, and creating a new and important area of scholarly inquiry. Her nominator notes that “Not Gay is a strikingly original, bold, and beautifully written, and a refreshing voice in the fields of queer studies, critical white studies, gender and sexuality studies, sociology, and American Studies.” The book is a high-profile bestseller and is already in its second printing. In short, Dr. Ward is a prolific, influential, and visible scholar whose work is well-deserving of the highest recognition.

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