Teaching Awards

Research, teaching, and service to the University are endeavors we like to see recognized. One of the places that happens is at the faculty awards dinner in September. Here are this year’s honorees.

Research, teaching, and service to the University are endeavors we like to see recognized. One of the places that happens is at the faculty awards dinner in September. Here are this year’s honorees.

Delivering the keynote talk of the evening—“What I learned about leadership and community from cowboys, clerics, and communists”— was Professor of Political Science Jane L. Curry, who had just finished her term as Faculty Senate Professor of the Year.


Professor of English Michelle Burnham has produced a remarkable body of work that has had a significant influence on literary studies, history, American studies, women’s and gender studies, and ethnic studies. How? Through her meticulously researched and remarkably readable work in early American studies, a field in which she’s shifted the terrain with books that include Captivity and Sentiment, read by virtually every graduate student in her field, and Folded Selves: Colonial New England Writing in the World System. In 2013 she won the Richard Beale Davis Prize of the Modern Language Association in recognition of the best published essay in Early American Literature. Her latest project, The Calculus of Risk: Writing in the Revolutionary Atlantic-Pacific, has helped alter approaches and boundaries to the study of early America by attending to crucial global connections and economic features in an array of texts from the early American period.


Scale modeling: civil engineer
Ed MaurerPhoto by Charles Barry

Ed Maurer, an associate professor of civil engineering, has research writ in water. He won this award for work on large-scale modeling of land surface processes, including hydrologic modeling, predictability of runoff, and climate change effects on water resources. He’s published a couple dozen articles in the past five years and is in demand for talks at nationally significant venues and for investigative collaboration with the likes of Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, The Nature Conservancy, U.C. Davis, the University of Washington, and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. A couple years ago, though, he wasn’t to be seen cycling near the Mission Campus; he spent his sabbatical at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile as a Fulbright scholar.


Regina Davis-Sowers is a lecturer in sociology who, in the past six years, has taught courses on social issues, diversity, and family, using real-life examples that help students understand the intricacies of diversity issues. She is a generous mentor, encouraging students to work with her on academic publications and taking them to meetings and conferences to acquaint them with the academic profession. She also, writes a colleague, “teaches in ways that permit everyone taking her courses to leave the classroom with the understanding that as human beings we are more alike than different.”


Jeff Zorn, a senior lecturer in English, has taught generations of SCU students since joining the faculty in 1974. In earning this award, which solicits nominations from students and alumni only, he is recognized as a “teacher’s teacher,” in the words of a colleague writing in support of his nomination. “He teaches writing with a traditionalist’s emphases on organization, argument, eloquence, and mechanical perfection supplemented by the profession’s best advances in the areas of process pedagogy, creativity, and multicultural awareness.” He is famously demanding of his students; but the obstacles and frustrations they face “are always fresh on his mind.” Among his favorite writers: Richard Wright and Sophocles, Camille Paglia and Hunter S. Thompson.


President Michael E. Engh, S.J., also honored four SCU scholars for exemplifying and promoting the mission of the University.

Shoba Krishnan, associate professor of electrical engineering, requires as part of a final exam that students present projects to local industry professionals in a design review, a comprehensive report, or a hands-on demonstration. It’s one more way she connects understanding subject matter with its application in real-life problems. Graduates who worked with her as students on research projects in semiconductor chip design can be found at Silicon Valley companies such as National Semiconductor, Analog Devices, Nvidia, TI, and Varian. She herself might be found assisting the Center for Science, Technology, and Society; the Leavey School of Business; and the School of Engineering’s Frugal Innovation Lab in the search and recruitment of students for fellowship programs. She also helped found the student chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

Hoje Jo is the Gerald and Bonita Wilkinson Professor of Finance, and he serves as chair of the department. His research is both leading edge and influential, focusing on corporate social responsibility, ethics in finance, venture capital, and entrepreneurial finance. Twenty of his 60 articles have been published during the last three years; a 2009 co-authored paper, “The Economics and Politics of Corporate Social Performance,” was lauded as the top work in the field of quantitative research on socially responsible investing. He is a committed teacher and mentor to younger faculty colleagues, and he has devoted time to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Korean Student Association, and elsewhere.

Tim Healy, a professor of electrical engineering, developed the Latimer Energy Laboratory on campus after the 2007 Solar Decathlon in recognition of the need for a campus-wide focus on sustainable energy. Today the lab serves constituents ranging from middle-school students to graduate engineering students. Its success led to the establishment of a $1.3 million endowment grant to subsidize its continuing work. He has worked for a number of years with team-based learning approaches that involve students working in class on energy solutions. Last year he extended his teaching to the field of active learning, which blends lectures with student problem-solving exercises in the classroom. He is a teacher and scholar possessing breadth of judgment, historical perspective, and foresight, with a sense of fairness.

Write, teach: Dolores
Photo courtesy
Dept. of English

We close on a sad note, recognizing the exemplary service that Dolores laGuardia provided for the University for 13 years. She lectured in English and in 2008 founded the HUB to support and celebrate writing for students, staff, and faculty. She co-authored four books on writing, tutoring, and multicultural literature and culture, and she was indefatigable in her commitment to creating a culture of writing at Santa Clara. She trained students as writing partners, developing a team to assist other students with class writing assignments and Pathway Reflection Essays. She mentored students to serve as “hired pens” to work with groups throughout the campus to draft texts or edit documents for websites and publications. She collaborated with International Student Services to provide writing and reading support. And she worked with faculty to design effective writing assignments across the disciplines. With gratitude for all that laGuardia did for SCU, the award was presented to her family. Her husband, David Palmer of the Leavey School of Business, and her son, Justin Kukendall, accepted the award on the family’s behalf. She passed away July 20, 2013.

post-image Sparks Here: From left, they’re Shoba Krishnan, Jane Curry, Hoje Jo, Jeff Zorn, Regina Davis-Sowers, and Michelle Burnham. Photo by Charles Barry
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