Dr. Kayfetz receives the UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award

June 21, 2013

Dr. Janet Kayfetz

Congratulations to Dr. Janet Kayfetz, who was awarded the UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award!

Dr. Kayfetz, an Applied Linguist, has been teaching Academic Writing and Great Presentations to our Computer Science graduate students since 2003. In addition, for the past two years she has also taught CS undergraduates, working with Professor Tim Sherwood in CS 189B to prepare the groups for Capstone Senior Project Presentation Day. Dr. Kayfetz has taught writing, communication skills, and pedagogy for more than 30 years and formerly served as director of the ESL Program at UCSB. The UCSB Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for 2012-2013 recognizes the exemplary quality of Dr. Kayfetz’s teaching and was presented during a meeting of the UCSB Faculty Senate on May 7.

Initially nominated by Computer Science students, Computer Science then collaborated with the Bren School to submit a joint submission to the Academic Senate Committee. In their letter, CS Chair Subhash Suri and Bren School Dean Steve Gaines write: “Dr. Kayfetz is an extraordinary educator with an incredible dedication to the edification of UCSB students. Through her writing and presentations courses, as well as through her endless hours of volunteer work in one-on-one or small group student tutoring, conference presentations, and joint publications with our faculty and students, Dr. Kayfetz has clearly excelled in her teaching work and has demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication to our students.”

Professor Suri observes first-hand the improvement in writing and speaking abilities of his own students who attend Dr. Kayfetz’s classes, and writes, “The quality of her courses and the enjoyment of the students are clearly reflected in her course evaluations, which are all close to a perfect 1.0. Student feedback is unanimously positive and glowing.” Professor Suri adds that in addition to her teaching, Dr. Kayfetz works with the Graduate Student Workshop on Computing and the CS Department TA seminar. “Dr. Kayfetz has been invaluable in each of these roles; without her, we would not have been able to offer these services at nearly the same level of quality.”

Perhaps most significant, both CS and Bren students express their gratitude to Dr. Kayfetz’s teaching and the impact it has far beyond the classroom. One says: “150%+++! One of the most useful and best classes I have ever taken. I will carry more material with me from this course than most other courses combined (and I learn a ton in my other classes).” Another student writes: “To say that I owe my job offers to Janet Kayfetz, for helping me completely revamp my job talk and for teaching me skills to handle any situation and yet get the story across, would be a fair statement.” And finally, an appreciative student reflects that Dr. Kayfetz’s teaching “has made me rethink the direction of my professional career as well as my understanding of the role I can play in advancing the discourse in my field.”

When announcing Dr. Kayfetz’s award, Professor Sherwood summed things up this way: “Janet always goes above and beyond. She spends countless hours working with us on our presentations, teaching us to write more persuasively, and in general showing us how to present ourselves, our contributions, and our field more effectively. Please join me in congratulating Janet on her well deserved award!”