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

Roy Whitaker, Department for the Study of Religion


Roy Whitaker is an associate professor of Africana Philosophy of Religions and American Religious Diversity.  His research and teaching interests include African diaspora religious studies, world religions, comparative religions, contemporary philosophy of religion, new religious movements, Afrofuturism, religious pluralism, hip hop, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Black humanism, and continental philosophy.

In addition to publishing in the “Journal of Contemporary Religion,” “Journal of Ecumenical Studies,” and “Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought,” and interviews appearing in “The San Diego Union-Tribune,” Professor Whitaker serves as a Diversity Liaison for the College of Arts and Letters, Director of the Metropolitan Area Pluralism Study, and Professor of Equity in Education for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity at SDSU.

Professor Whitaker’s current major projects include a co-authored book chapter with Department Chair of European Studies Clarissa Clò titled “Afro-Italian Hip Hop: A Transnational Diaspora Sound,” an essay in The Conversation on “Hip Hop and Afrofuturism,” an edited volume of conference papers “Spiritual Diversity in San Diego, Volume 1,” a co-authored journal article on “Conflict, Climate, & Context: Re-Evaluating Americans’ Support for Refugees with a Survey Experiment,” a review essay “Black Secular Humanism and Its Significance to the Study of Contemporary Methodologies” for Nova Religio, and an invited book project proposal tentatively titled “Hip Hop Spirituality: A New Religious Movement” with Cambridge Elements new religious movement series (Cambridge University Press).

Professor Whitaker consults and advises on various topics, including curriculum development, ethics, interfaith dialogue, life’s meaning, justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Tenure-Track Faculty Award

Yuki Arita, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages

AritaYuki Arita is an assistant professor in the Department for Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages.  She teaches Japanese and specializes in conversation analysis in Japanese talk-in-interaction. Professor Arita received her Ph.D. in Japanese linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include the analysis of human interactions utilizing both linguistic and non-linguistic multimodal resources.

In her recent research, Professor Aritai focuses on the interactional phenomenon of enactment, wherein conversation participants act out themselves or others to accomplish communication goals. She is also conducting research on interactions between native and non-native speakers of Japanese, examining how their native/non-native identities became relevant during ongoing conversations. She is working on textbook analysis with co-researchers, exploring the importance of pedagogy reflecting language use in real-life interactions. 


  • Tenured Faculty Award - Matthew Lauer, Department of Anthropology and Erika Robb Larkins, Department of Anthropology
  • Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Aaron Dinkin, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages


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


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


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


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


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


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

Stephen Goggin, Department of Political Science


Stephen Goggin is an Assistant Professor of Political Science. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. 

Since joining the SDSU faculty, he has taught fourteen different courses, including courses focusing on American political institutions, political psychology & behavior, partisan polarization, and statistics. His teaching has been supported by an SDSU Faculty Forward Award in 2020, an SDSU Center for Teaching and Learning Mini-Grant in 2018, and a CSU Affordable Learning Solutions Grant in 2017. In 2022-2023, he was chosen as the Most Influential Faculty member by Political Science's Outstanding Graduating Senior.

Professor Goggin's research focuses on partisan polarization in modern American politics, particularly its role in shaping voters' ability to hold politicians accountable. He studies how information in media and electoral campaigns can distort public perceptions of politicians and the institutions themselves and, in turn, affect the strategic behavior of those inhabiting those institutions. His research has been supported by grants, including from the National Science Foundation, and has appeared in journals such as The Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Political Psychology, and Election Law Journal.

Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award

Ghassan Zakaria, Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern Languages


Ghassan Zakaria holds a Master’s in Applied Linguistics from San Diego State University (SDSU). In addition, he has received the Advanced Certificate of Teaching English as a Second Language.

For the past 19 years, Professor Zakaria has worked with the Linguistics & Asian/Middle Eastern Languages Department at SDSU and their Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC), Cuyamaca College, The University of Maryland, and The National University. His portfolio includes teaching and navigating Arabic at all levels, beginning with his first job in the US with the United Nations in New York. His teaching portfolio includes Elementary Arabic I & II, Intermediate Arabic I & II, Advanced Arabic I & II, Distinguished Level Arabic for highly proficient students, Conversational Arabic, Arabic Culture and Civilization, Arabic for Native Speakers, and Levantine dialect courses. 

Throughout all these years, Professor Zakaria gave many lectures for LARC-SDSU students on different topics such as Arabic Diglossia, Cultural Globalization, and Christianity in the Arab world. He is also the coordinator of The California Area International Language Network, The STRAND of the Less commonly taught Languages. 

Professor Zakaria developed countless successful materials and assessments in Modern Standard Arabic and Levantine Dialects from levels ILR 0+ to ILR 3+ for SDSU and the University of Maryland.

In 2013, the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) at SDSU recognized Professor Zakaria as the Faculty of the Year. In 2023, he received the Excellence in Teaching award from (CAL) and the Most Influential Faculty Member award from The College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at SDSU.  


  • Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Award - Michael Domínguez, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies
  • Non-Tenure Track Faculty Award - Kristal Bivona, Behner Stiefel Center for Brazilian Studies


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


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


  • 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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


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


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.  

Clare Colquitt, Department of English and Comparative Literature


Clare Colquitt is an Associate Professor of English with special expertise in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American literature. Since her arrival at SDSU in 1986, she has taught a range of classes—from American literature surveys and classes on literature and the environment to the department’s senior honors thesis course and specialized graduate seminars. Her publications include essays on Edith Wharton, Sherwood Anderson, and Rebecca West as well as a collection, “A Forward Glance: New Essays on Edith Wharton,” that arose from the 1995 Edith Wharton at Yale conference she co-directed.

She has been recognized for her teaching by the campus chapters of Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board. She is especially grateful to the outstanding graduating English and comparative literature majors who have named her their most influential professor seven times since 2013, including this past May.

Since fall 2019 Professor Colquitt has balanced teaching with her responsibilities as major advisor to nearly 400 literature students. Earlier in her career she served as Director of Graduate Studies. In both advising positions, she actively encouraged students to study or teach abroad and to apply to the Fulbright program. She is delighted her former honors student, graduating English major Nandi Maunder, will travel to South Africa this August for a yearlong Fulbright research grant. Professor Colquitt, who majored in English, mathematics, and German at Texas Christian University before earning her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, has three times been a Fulbrighter in Germany. She looks forward to continuing to serve on SDSU’s Fulbright interviewing committee and hopes to inspire more SDSU students to become Fulbrighters.

Lashon Daley, Department of English and Comparative Literature


Lashon Daley is the director of the National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, an assistant professor of English and Comparative Literature with a specialization in children’s literature, and an affiliate faculty of the Digital Humanities Initiative at San Diego State University. Her work has recently appeared in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism. Her current book project, “Coming of (R)age: Charting Black Girl Lit Studies,” renders the blueprint for a new field of study that establishes a transdisciplinary approach to understanding how media (children’s and adolescent literatures, film, television, social media, music, and doll production) has shaped our cultural understanding of what it means to be young, Black, and female in the U.S. 

In 2021, she received her Ph.D. in Performance Studies with a Designated Emphasis in New Media from UC Berkeley. She also holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. in Folklore from UC Berkeley. Her children’s book, “Mr. Okra Sells Fresh Fruits and Vegetables,” was released in February 2016.

As a scholar, writer, and performer, Professor Daley thrives on bridging communities together through movement and storytelling. Learn more about her at www.lashondaley.com.


  • Audrey Beck, Department of Sociology
  • Michael Domínguez, Department of Chicana-Chicano Studies
  • Isaac Ullah, Department of Anthropology


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


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