Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award 2020-21 


The Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award celebrates Humanities Division faculty commitment to excellence in teaching, and its transformative impact for undergraduate students.

The award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus John Dizikes, a member of the founding faculty whose powerful ability to inspire and engage generations of students exemplifies our aspirations as teachers. (Photo UC Santa Cruz)



Associate Professor of Philosophy
Recipient of the 2020-21 Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award

"We can become better thinkers by careful study of the works of great thinkers. Philosophy is at once a discipline with its own subject matter and a collection of methods and styles of thinking one can apply across disciplines. To learn philosophy is to learn ideas and arguments but also meta-cognitive skills and styles of thinking. These simple reflections inform three of my overarching teaching aims: to excite interest in the subject matter of philosophy, to nurture students’ own philosophical responses to ideas they confront across the disciplines and in their everyday lives, and to become more careful interpreters of others’ ideas.

I also try to foster a sense of presence, connection, and belonging in my classroom so that my students feel it is possible to take risks that can help them cultivate intellectual virtues such as open-mindedness, courage, humility, and curiosity. This pursuit requires the collective effort of the whole class and involves our creating space and opportunity for quiet students to find their voices and for talkative students to become more skillful listeners."

Associate Professor Dinishak has demonstrated an enviable record as an instructor at every level. Students praise her ability to lead and facilitate class discussion, and they also applaud her facility at creating a classroom environment in which everyone feels comfortable. One student says, “Professor Dinishak was always willing to spend extra time to help us and created a good classroom environment for discussing difficult issues. Being in her classroom made me want to be a Philosophy professor, and I am applying to Ph.D. programs currently.” Another student comments, “I have very much enjoyed all of the courses I have taken with Professor Dinishak. I would take courses with her that I wasn’t even interested in because I knew she would make them interesting. This is the sign of a great instructor to me.”

– Jasmine Alinder, Dean of Humanities