Faculty Excellence Awards

Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity

Awards are given annually: one for a probationary faculty (tenure-track) and one for a tenured faculty (at the associate or professor level). Recipients receive money in support of their scholarship and are selected based on: (1) exceptional promise for significant research achievement; outstanding capability to publish in quality venues and secure grants/awards for probationary faculty or (2) continuous record of research activity; quality of publishing venues; grants/awards; and national and international impact and reputation for tenured faculty.

Tenured Faculty Award

Matthew Lauer, Department of Anthropology

LauerMatthew Lauer is a professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Sustainability Program. He has worked for over 20 years in the Pacific, publishing numerous peer-reviewed articles about environmental change, marine resource management, and disasters. Currently he has a forthcoming book entitled Sensing Disasters: Indigenous ecological knowledge and vulnerability in Oceania (University of California Press) that is one of the first in-depth examinations of how an island society tapped indigenous knowledge and successfully anticipated the arrival of a massive three-story-high tsunami. Their life-saving capacity to flee the destructive waves, however, was just the first phase of a complex story of displacement and recovery as villagers established new communities away from tsunami-prone sites. A key goal of the book is to enable readers to develop new sensitivities to indigenous ways of knowing and being in times of catastrophe. As a result, it will enable readers to revise, improve, and expand their own thinking about living in and understanding our current precarious era of human-induced ecological crises. 

In addition to his work on disasters in the Solomon Islands, Dr. Lauer is also conducting a 5-year interdisciplinary study with colleagues from UC-Santa Barbara and Florida State University that is exploring the interrelations between fishing practices, livelihood strategies, and shifting dominance of coral and algae in the lagoons around the island of Moorea, French Polynesia. Funded by the National Science Foundation the project involves participatory data collection techniques where Polynesia fishers are actively involved in data collection and analysis of their catch and its impact on the coral reef ecosystem.

Erika Robb Larkins, Department of Anthropology

Robb LarkinsErika Robb Larkins is associate professor of Anthropology, Behner Stiefel Chair of Brazilian Studies, and Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies. She received her doctorate in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also holds a M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago. Larkins’ research and teaching focuses on violence and inequality in urban settings. Her first book, The Spectacular Favela: Violence in Modern Brazil (U California Press 2015), explores the political economy of spectacular violence in one of Rio’s most famous favelas. Her second book, The Sensation of Security: Private Guards and the Social Order in Brazil, is forthcoming from Cornell University Press. She has also published on issues of race, gender, and politics in Brazil, with recent articles appearing in American Ethnologist, City and Society, and the Journal for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, and in public outlets including El País and Estadão (O Estado de São Paulo).

Also a writer of fiction, Larkins is a Pushcart nominee, and her 2021 short story, “Working for Nico” won an award from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology in the creative ethnographic prose category. Her next creative project is a book-length work of ethnographic fiction co-authored with one of Rio’s most illustrious former drug traffickers (now incarcerated).

Larkins’ was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant for her research project on the intersection of extreme heat, environmental racism, and inequality in Rio de Janeiro. As well as National Endowment for the Humanities grant to co-teach the second iteration of the NEH Summer Institute, “Race, Modernity, and Urban Spaces in Brazil,” for higher education faculty this summer.

Tenure-Track Faculty Award

Aaron Dinkin, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages

DinkinAaron J. Dinkin is an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages. He is a sociolinguist whose work explores the linguistic, social, and geographic factors that influence variation and change in dialects of North American English; he has published research on the dialects of New England, Philadelphia, Toronto, the Inland South, and his main area of research focus, Upstate New York. Over the past 16 years, he has documented the location and causes of regional dialect boundaries across the central and northern parts of New York State, investigating ongoing changes in the pronunciation of vowels. 

His current major project is an exploration of dialect change in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Using linguistic data from interviews he conducted with Cooperstown locals, he is studying Cooperstown's participation in the ongoing region-wide retreat from a pattern of vowel pronunciation known as the Northern Cities Vowel Shift. He examines how pronunciation norms have changed over recent generations in Cooperstown's population, and how residents' participation in vowel changes is influenced by their attitudes toward their hometown's status as a tourist center.

Other projects include research into ongoing changes in how people respond to being thanked (e.g., you're welcome or no problem), and a collaboration with a colleague researching vowel change in New Orleans. With the assistance of his students in Linguistics 651, a research methods seminar in sociolinguistics, he is beginning to construct a corpus of data that will allow sociolinguistic analysis of the dialects of San Diego as well.

2020-2021

  • Tenured Faculty Award - David Cline, Department of History
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Rebecca Bartel, Department for the Study of Religion

2019-2020

  • Tenured Faculty Award - Ming Tsou, Department of Geography
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award -  Cecilia Benaglia, Department of European Studies

2018-2019

  • Tenured Faculty Award - Ahmet Kuru, Department of Political Science
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Atsushi Nara, Department of Geography

2017-2018

  • Tenured Faculty Award - Li An, Geography
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Hilary McMillan, Geography

2016-2017

  • Tenured Faculty Award - Esther Rothblum, Women’s Studies and LGBT Studies

Teaching

Awards are given annually: one for a tenure or tenure-track faculty and one for a lecturer.   Recipients receive money in support of their teaching activities and are selected based on: the ability to teach a variety of class sizes; a commitment to engaging and motivating diverse student populations in learning and critical thinking; updating the curriculum through the creation of new courses; a record of garnering excellent student evaluations; and making effective use of versatile teaching modes; keeping pace with technology and new pedagogical tools, among others. 

Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Award

Michael Domínguez, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies

DomínguezMichael Domínguez, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Chicana/o Studies Department at San Diego State University, having received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. At SDSU, Dr. Domínguez’ teaching focuses on the schooling and life experiences of Chicana/o youth (particularly issues of identity construction, racialization, and community ingenuity), the intersection of sports, race, and culture, and supporting undergraduate researchers.

His courses include explorations of Chicana/o/x schooling, examining the cultural impact of soccer in the Latinx experience, sports and race, decolonial research methods, and teaching methods courses that prepare educators to teach ethnic studies at the K-12 level in culturally sustaining ways with fidelity to decolonial, antiracist principles. His current research projects include research focused on the significance of sport/athletics to Chicana/o/x youth and design-based school-university-community partnerships to develop professional learning communities for Ethnic Studies teachers.

Previously a middle school literacy teacher in North Las Vegas, NV, middle school and the middle grades experience for historically marginalized and BIPoC youth have continued to be central to his work and focus. Beyond his teaching and research efforts, Domínguez serves as the “Gus” Chavez Faculty Scholar supporting SDSU’s Latinx Resource Center, leads SDSU’s Collaborative for K-12 Ethnic Studies Education and Teacher Development, serves as Chair of the NCTE Middle Level Section, Chairs the San Diego Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies Advisory Council, and leads the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department’s Curriculum Committee.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award

Kristal Bivona, Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies

BivonaKristal Bivona is a lecturer in the College of Arts and Letters and the Associate Director of the Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies. Since joining SDSU in 2020, she has taught classes for units throughout the college, including Brazilian Studies, Sustainability Studies, Anthropology, MALAS, the Study of Religion, and Portuguese. Bivona holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA, a masters in Portuguese from UCLA, a masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, and she graduated with a B.A. in English and a Spanish minor from SDSU after transferring from community college.

She is writing the book manuscript, Democracy out of Focus: Cultural Memory in Post-Dictatorship Brazilian Cinema, which examines how Brazilian audiovisual production has functioned as a vehicle for cultural memory in the aftermath of the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Her broader research interests include visual culture and literature from Brazil and the Southern Cone, street art in Latin America, and memory studies. 

2020-2021

  • Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Kim Twist, Department of Political Science
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Carl Fielden, Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies

2019-2020

  • Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Paula DeVos, Department of History
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Jason Parker, Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies

2018-2019

  • Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Jennifer Sheppard, Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies 
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Michael Caldwell, Religious Studies and Classics and Humanities

2017-2018

  • Tenured Faculty Award – Hisham Foad, Economics
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Steve Merriam, Rhetoric and Writing Studies

2016-2017

  • Tenured Faculty Award – Eve Kornfeld, History
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Amy Wong, Sociology

2015-2016

  • Tenured Faculty Award – Doreen Mattingly, Women's Studies
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award – Emily Schuckman-Matthews, European Studies
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award – Angela Feres, Religious Studies

2014-2015

  • Tenured Faculty Award – Irene Lara, Women's Studies
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award – Paul Minifee, Rhetoric and Writing Studies
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award – Holly Ransom, European Studies

2013-2014

  • Tenured Faculty Award - William Nericcio, English and Comparative Literature and Director, Master of Arts in Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Todd Braje, Anthropology
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Patricia Morgan, Rhetoric and Writing Studies

2011-2012 

  • Tenured Faculty Award – Jung Choi, Sociology
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Jeff Hay, History

Service

Awards are given annually: one for a tenure or tenure-track faculty and one for a lecturer.   Recipients receive money in support of their professional activities and are selected based on: 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.  

Audrey Beck, Department of Sociology

BeckAudrey Beck received her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Duke University. Following graduation, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. She examined the impact of union formation and dissolution on parenting and child health. She first came to San Diego State University as a postdoctoral research associate in the Center for Health Equity Research and Policy.

Dr. Beck’s work uses demographic methods and population data to understand race, ethnic, and nativity disparities in health. She has published her work in Demography, Social Science and Medicine, Journal of Gerontology, Social Science Quarterly, American Journal of Public Health, Sociology of Education, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. She has taught a number of courses, including Sociology of Health and Illness, Survey Methods, Population Studies, The American Family, and Introductory, Intermediate, and Advanced Statistics.

Dr. Beck has served as the Department of Sociology’s undergraduate advisor, including hosting student workshops and other forms of outreach; most recently, she helped pilot a college initiative to transfer faculty advising to the CAL Student Success Center. She has also served on the University GE committee and CAL’s Curriculum Committee, including serving as Chair for the latter two years. Finally, she has served as the University and CAL Curriculum Liaison, assisting faculty and departments in creating and modifying curricula and programs.

Michael Domínguez, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies

DomínguezMichael Domínguez, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Chicana/o Studies Department at San Diego State University, having received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. At SDSU, Dr. Domínguez’ teaching focuses on the schooling and life experiences of Chicana/o youth (particularly issues of identity construction, racialization, and community ingenuity), the intersection of sports, race, and culture, and supporting undergraduate researchers.

His courses include explorations of Chicana/o/x schooling, examining the cultural impact of soccer in the Latinx experience, sports and race, decolonial research methods, and teaching methods courses that prepare educators to teach ethnic studies at the K-12 level in culturally sustaining ways with fidelity to decolonial, antiracist principles. His current research projects include research focused on the significance of sport/athletics to Chicana/o/x youth and design-based school-university-community partnerships to develop professional learning communities for Ethnic Studies teachers.

Previously a middle school literacy teacher in North Las Vegas, NV, middle school and the middle grades experience for historically marginalized and BIPoC youth have continued to be central to his work and focus. Beyond his teaching and research efforts, Domínguez serves as the “Gus” Chavez Faculty Scholar supporting SDSU’s Latinx Resource Center, leads SDSU’s Collaborative for K-12 Ethnic Studies Education and Teacher Development, serves as Chair of the NCTE Middle Level Section, Chairs the San Diego Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies Advisory Council, and leads the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department’s Curriculum Committee.

Isaac Ullah, Department of Anthropology

UllahIsaac Ullah (Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2013) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology, specializing in digital and computational archaeology, geoarchaeology, and the archaeology of anthropogenic landscapes. He works broadly in the Mediterranean region, with interests in food production systems spanning from the Neolithic period to the modern day. He employs a wide variety of digital and geosciences approaches in his research, including 3D scanning, statistical analysis, simulation modeling, geomorphology, and sediment analysis.

Dr. Ullah is the undergraduate advisor for the Department of Anthropology, and regularly teaches ANTH 395 "Introduction to the Anthropology Major," ANTH 302 "Principles of Archaeology," ANTH 349 "Roots of Civilizations," ANTH 562 "Computational Archaeology," and ANTH 563 "Anthropogenic Landscapes." As undergraduate advisor, he has worked to expand the off-campus internship program for Anthropology, and regularly oversees the ANTH 495 internship course for Anthropology majors.

2020-2021

  • Eve Kornfeld, Department of History
  • Esther Rothblum, Department of Women's Studies
  • Jamie Madden, Department of Rhetoric and Writing Studies

2019-2020

  • Roberto Hernández, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies  
  • Edith Benkov, Department of European Studies
  • Deborah Poole, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages