Distinguished Teaching Award
Read before the Representative Assembly of the
Davis Division of the Academic Senate
June 6, 2000
Professor Theodore C. Foin
DTA Committe Chair
Members of the committee remarked that a Distinguished Teaching Award for Professor Dean Simonton was equivalent to awarding a Master’s Degree after the Ph.D. in the same field. Dean’s previous awards for teaching are both numerous and distinguished. They include the Magnar Ronning Award for Teaching Excellence (1980); nomination for United States Professor of the Year (1997 and 1998); and at the pinnacle, the UCD Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement (1994).
Professor Simonton regularly scores course evaluations of 4.8 or higher (of 5.0 possible points). But to achieve these scores in three diverse undergraduate classes at least eight times each is virtually unimaginable. To top it all off, to achieve a perfect 5.0 score once would be a distinctive accomplishment. Professor Simonton has done it at least five times in two different courses.
It would be very easy to continue on with lists of his teaching and scholarly achievements, but it would simply take too long and just be embarrassing to the rest of us. It would not be an oversimplification to simply summarize the case by saying that Professor Simonton has already “been there and done that.” He teaches everything from history of psychology to multivariate statistics to modeling at the same uniformly high level. The diversity of effort and consistent standard of quality are undeniable.
Normally, we include selected quotes from letters, but again simply to choose among superlatives in these letters, coming from chancellors, past DTA winners and students alike seems pointless, with one exception. In his nominating letter, Peter Dale, Professor of English and former Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies, highlighted how dedicated to teaching that Professor Simonton was:
In 1994, Professor Simonton received the highest recognition for teaching and scholarship this campus has to offer, the UC Davis Prize. It carries with it perhaps the highest stipend of any university prize for teaching in the country, some $25,000. I can think of no stronger testimony to Professor Simonton’s absolute devotion to teaching than to note that within weeks of receiving that prize he was in my office asking how he might use the money to enhance undergraduate education on campus.
Enough is enough. The record is both voluminous and clear. The Distinguished Teaching Awards Committee recommends that Professor Dean Simonton be given his Master’s Degree equivalent – the DTA