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UCR Academic Senate announces awards for top teaching, research

UCR Academic Senate announces awards for top teaching, research

(May 31, 2001)

The Academic Senate at the University of California, Riverside today (Thursday, May 31) honored a Victorian literature scholar, a biologist, and a soil physicist with the campus' top teaching and research awards.

Image of Dr. ChildersJoseph Childers, an associate professor of English and Bradley Hyman, a professor of biology, were named recipients of the 2000-2001 Distinguished Teaching Award. William A. Jury, a distinguished professor of soil physics, was named the Faculty Research Lecturer for 2002.

The campus' Distinguished Teaching Award is conferred on the basis of student evaluations and peer review.

"Considering who it comes from, this is a very significant award," Childers said.

Childers, who joined UCR in 1989, is trained as a Victorian scholar and literary theorist, but his teaching and research are marked by his commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry. He has collaborated with faculty from political science, economics, and physical education in various teaching efforts.

Among his courses is the undergraduate class "The Big Picture: The Theory and Practice of Everyday Life," co-taught with UCR karate instructor and psychotherapist Edmond Otis. Childers co-taught a graduate seminar with a colleague from the Economics Department called "(Re)valuating Marx," that attracted 25 Ph.D. students from the departments of dance, economics, English, philosophy and political science. He is currently teaching in a yearlong series of interdisciplinary courses on "conflict," which he co-designed for the campus' Hewlett Project. In 1998, Childers was appointed Associate Dean of the Graduate Division, but continued to teach at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He currently handles an array of assignments, including directing seven doctoral dissertations and sitting on committees for 12 others. He also continues to develop new courses.

Image of Dr. HymanHyman was cited as an instructor who "can clearly bring the beauty and mystery of science to students at all levels." In particular, he was lauded for his success teaching the large introductory course Biology 5A, "Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology," a freshman-level course required of all majors in the biological sciences and biomedical sciences.

To connect with the 220 students who typically enroll in the class, Hyman said he regularly visits the dozen smaller laboratory sections of the course, directed by teaching assistants, to get to know students on an individual basis. The visits show sometimes-timid freshmen that "professors can be accessed, helpful and interactive," he said.

He is currently teaching Advanced Molecular Biology, a course of his own design for undergraduate biological sciences majors concentrating in cell, molecular and developmental biology. The course covers three to four timely topics in the field, such as genomics. One student said: "Brad taught his Molecular Biology course as a road to discovery. His teaching integrated the methods, developments and concepts of molecular biology in such a way to have me eager to return to the next class to see how a problem was solved."

Image of Dr. JuryIn addition to the Distinguished Teaching Award, the Academic Senate annually chooses a renowned scholar to be named Faculty Research Lecturer. As the recipient for 2002, Jury will deliver a major lecture on his research next spring.
Jury joined UCR in 1974 and is a world expert on the movement of chemicals through soil. He has studied how pesticides and fertilizers move below agricultural fields and contaminate ground water, and he has developed methods for minimizing pollution by toxic chemicals. As part of the research, Jury has developed screening models that predict the contamination tendencies of various pesticides, models that are widely used by regulatory agencies and industry to evaluate new pesticides before they pollute the environment.

A year ago, he was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an honor considered one of the highest that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. He also received the campus' Distinguished Teaching Award in 1986-87 and was awarded the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary's National Award for Environmental Protection in 1999.

His two books, "Soil Physics" and "Transfer Functions and Solute Movement Through Soil: Theory and Applications" have become standard texts in the field.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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