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Distinguished Teachers Selected

Two Professors Honored for Teaching Excellence

(May 23, 2002)

The Academic Senate at the University of California, Riverside honored a psychology scholar and a microbiologist Thursday, May 23 with the campus’ top teaching awards.

Robin DiMatteo, a professor of psychology, and Marylynn Yates, a professor and former chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, have received the 2001-2002 Distinguished Teaching Award, given to recognize their outstanding reviews from students and colleagues.

DiMatteo, who joined UCR in 1976, studies how people use the healthcare system, follow doctors’ orders and adjust to the limitations of serious or chronic illness. She teaches at all levels in the psychology department. DiMatteo has impressed students through the years with her enthusiasm for teaching and has impressed colleagues with her depth of knowledge and organization. She is known for not only teaching and guiding her students, but with inspiring them, according to her colleagues at the UCR Academic Senate.

She enjoys all levels of teaching, from the large introductory courses with hundreds of students to her seminars and honors programs that examine the psychological workings of the doctor-patient relationship. DiMatteo also sits on many dissertation committees and has been sought out as a mentor by many people, including physicians in the Clinical Scholars Program. She received her Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University in 1976.

“I am very honored to be recognized and I am confident that teaching UCR students is the best job in the world,” DiMatteo said.

Yates came to UCR in 1987 and specializes in ground water quality and wastewater microbiology. She is also Associate Executive Vice Chancellor, charged primarily with implementing the campus’ long-range plans outlined in the “Vision 2010” report.

“Dr. Yates is widely recognized as a dynamic, accomplished teacher whose skills are highly regarded by faculty and students alike,” said Walter J. Farmer, chair of the Department of Environmental Sciences, in a letter of nomination. “She has been proactive in seeking teaching opportunities and in developing new and innovative courses that are well accepted by her audience.”

Yates has earned a reputation as an outstanding and dedicated teacher, whether she is teaching introductory courses, graduate seminars or fashioning new courses from scratch, Farmer wrote. She provides wide-ranging reading materials for her students and has become a sought-after mentor for both graduate and undergraduate students. She has won numerous lecture fellowships and awards and has pioneered research on groundwater contamination.

Yates has also been involved in the UCR Total Immersion Science Program for minority high school students and with the National Science Foundation Scholars Program. She received her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Arizona in 1984.

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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