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Service Excellence Awards

The College of Arts and Letters is pleased to announce its new annual prize for Excellence in Service award in the Humanities and the Social Sciences.  The three recipients will be recognized at the College Commencement and receive $1,500 in support of their professional activities.

In selecting recipients of the award, the evaluating committee will look for contributions of the faculty member to the department, the college, university, profession and/or community. CAL is particularly interested in recognizing those faculty members performing extraordinary service or service that is otherwise uncompensated by other measures. 

Award recipients will be recognized at the last Chairs and Directors meeting of the semester.

Congratulations to the Winners of the 2019-2020 Award

Dr. Roberto Hernández, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies

Dr. Roberto Hernández

Dr. Roberto D. Hernández is an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies and an actively engaged, community-based researcher, scholar, teacher and writer. In the last few years he has taken an active role serving on several college (curriculum, assessment, diversity council) and university committees (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; two stints on the Library Dean search committee, and the HSI Taskforce). After joining the Professors of Equity team last summer, he transitioned into the role of Chair of HSI Affairs in Spring 2020. Most recently, he successfully chaired the search for a new CAL Dean and is overseeing the implementation of HSI taskforce recommendations. As a strong advocate for student engagement both on and off-campus, he has served as the advisor to MEChA de SDSU (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o/x de Aztlán) and TASO (Transfronterizo Alliance Student Organization), helping students connect with community organizations such as some he is actively involved with, including OMDR (Otay Mesa Detention Resistance) and the Centro Cultural de la Raza. In the case of the Centro Cultural de la Raza, he serves as Treasurer on its Board of Directors. His service equally extends into his field, where he was elected Chair-elect last year and will soon become Chair of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS).

Dr. Hernández’ research, publications and teaching focus on the intersections of colonial and border violence, the geopolitics of knowledge and cultural production, decolonial political theory and comparative border studies. Specifically, he teaches courses on the U-S///Mexico border history, theory and contemporary issues, Chicana/o and border folklore, Community Studies, and racialized/gendered captivity and incarceration. He co-edited the anthology Decolonizing the Westernized University: Interventions in Philosophy of Education from Within and Without (Lexington, 2016) and is the author of Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative (Univ. of AZ Press, 2018), which received an honorable mention for the NACCS 2020 Book Award. 

He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a BA (Chicana/o Studies/Political Theory), and PhD in Comparative Ethnic Studies (focusing on the intersections of Black, Native and Chicana/o Studies). Prior to coming to SDSU, he was a Visiting Researcher in the Center for Black Studies Research and the Chicana/o Studies Institute at UC Santa Barbara.

Dr. Edith Benkov, Department of European Studies

Dr. Edith Benkov

Dr. Edith J. Benkov is Professor Emerita in the Department of European Studies. She began her career at SDSU in 1983 as a member of the Department of French and Italian. She chaired that department from 1989 to 1996. After the creation of the European Studies Department, she served as its chair from 2002 to 2010. A strong of advocate for internationalization of the curriculum, she was instrumental in adding an international experience to the four majors housed in European Studies.  She also serves as co-advisor for the student Fulbright Program. Dr. Benkov is committed to shared governance. She became a member University Senate 1999 and served as its Chair from 2007-2010. She was the Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs from 2010-2015. She currently works with the Director of Academic Labor Relations and department chairs from across the university on issues of conflict management and resolution. Her engagement with the greater San Diego community includes serving on the Board of Directors of MOXIE theatre.

At SDSU, her primary areas of teaching have been in French, European, and LGBTQ Studies. She also worked on the development of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Queer Studies major. She is co-director of the LGBTQ Research Consortium. Her research specialties include gender, sexuality, religious conflict, and theater in early modern Europe. She is an internationally recognized in her field. She has published over seventy articles and essays and is an active scholar. Her most recent essays are “Courtship and Ritual,” in A Cultural History of Marriage in the Medieval Age (500-1450), 2019 and Gender and the Prosecution of Heresy in the French Courts,” in Representing Heresy in Renaissance France, 2017.

She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she received her Ph.D. in French Studies.  Prior to coming to SDSU, she taught at Washington State University.

Dr. Deborah Poole, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages

Dr. Deborah Poole

Dr. Deborah Poole is Professor Emerita in her final FERP year in the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages. She has taught at SDSU since 1989, when she finished her Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Southern California.  Throughout this period, she has taught a variety of applied linguistics and related courses as well as directed her department’s multi-leveled English for Academic Purposes composition program for international students and English learners.  In this position, she has focused on curriculum development, mentoring new teachers, and supporting their career aspirations.

Since 2004, she has served as faculty coordinator for The Looking Glass Neighborhood, an after-school, service-learning program held at Rosa Parks Elementary.  LGN, one of the longest-running of UCSD’s 5th Dimension network of similar programs, has brought together hundreds of SDSU undergraduates and Rosa Parks children in an innovative play- and literacy-focused setting through which SDSU students conduct field-research related to their linguistics classes.

Her research has focused on the analysis of teacher-student interaction, language/literacy socialization, and reading pedagogy, and her articles in these areas have appeared in journals including Linguistics & Education, Reading Research Quarterly, and Mind, Culture & Activity.  Since coming to SDSU, she has chaired 34 MA theses, allowing her to share these research interests with students in the MA program in Applied Linguistics/TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).  In her department, she has also devoted considerable time and energy during her thirty years of service to recruitment of applied linguists and to multiple committees and leadership responsibilities.