One of the most unique aspects of the University Honors Program is the innovative, discussion-based, honors courses. UHP students have the opportunity to engage with their professors and peers through these settings in a way that may not be possible in a large, lecture-style course. The 2019 Outstanding Teaching Award recognizes a professor nominated by students for being an inspirational and engaging part of the honors experience. This year it was received by Professor Anna Maria Busse Berger from the Music Department. UHP is delighted to have had Professor Busse Berger teach honors courses in the last three years, and looks forward to more. She always seeks to maximize opportunities for students on-and-off campus, such as meeting with composers and artists at the Mondavi Center and even arranging a recent trip to the San Francisco Opera.
UHP also provides students with the opportunity to connect with faculty and develop mentor relationships that often shape their undergraduate careers. The 2019 Outstanding Mentorship Award seeks to acknowledge the dedication of faculty as a guiding force for undergraduate students during this crucial period of academic and professional development. Faculty receiving this award have provided excellent mentorship by being responsive, accessible, helpful and impactful. This year it was given to Professor Ryan Finnigan from the Sociology Department. The student who nominated Professor Finnigan has been mentored by him for just one year, yet, the experience has been extremely powerful and rewarding.
Professor Finnigan went above-and-beyond to help his student grow as a scholar. They met weekly for guidance through the research process, and he used personal research funds to buy the student a STAT program, walking the student through new methods when the research questions exceeded the student's technical skills.
"My mentor is incredibly positive, treating roadblocks as learning experiences. . .[He] is a genuinely delightful person to work with and my education has been greatly enriched because of [him]. [Professor Finnigan] exemplifies the best of the education and research professions and I am deeply grateful for [his] support."