2020 Distinguished Faculty Awards

The awards, given annually since 2007, highlight exceptional faculty accomplishments. The honorees (listed below) receive a $4,000 stipend for Excellence in Teaching awards, the Excellence in Service award, and the Excellence in Professional Achievement award.


Burcu Ellis- bellis@sfsu.edu

Excellence in Teaching (Tenured)

Dr. Burcu Ellis. Dr. Ellis is a Professor in the Department of International Relations, where she started as an Assistant Professor in 2003. Throughout her SF State career, Dr. Ellis has received extraordinarily positive evaluations from her students. With more than 700 respondents, over eight years and across multiple courses, her average Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness score is 1.07 on the standard 5 point scale. Dr. Ellis routinely teaches the more demanding courses in the International Relations curriculum, including a 6-unit capstone seminar courses that requires students to submit a 45-60 page paper. Profesor Sanjoy Banerjee noted that, “…A significant number of her students have found jobs that are directly relevant to their paper topics or have continued on to graduate school.” Dr. Ellis’ teaching has also been recognized by others. In 2013, she was nominated for the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Distinguished Faculty Award which recognizes the outstanding teaching efforts in the classroom, clinical setting, or laboratory, and in 2018 Dr. Ellis received the High Impact Teaching Award from the Center for Equity & Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CEETL) at SF State. Dr. Ellis has also contributed to the curriculum in the Department of International Relations at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She developed two certified GE undergraduate courses, “Refugees in International Perspective” and “Muslim Societies in Transition,” and a graduate course, “International Migration.” In a letter of support, it was noted that Dr. Ellis“.. brings her own ethnographic research [to] life in her instruction, where she designs innovative courses where students critically analyze issues of identity, migration and belonging in a globalized world. These courses are designed to be inclusive of students of different backgrounds, creating a classroom culture that promotes equity, understanding and tolerance.”


William Cochlan-  cochlan@sfsu.edu

Excellence in Teaching (Lecturer)

Dr. William (“Bill”) Cochlan. Dr. Cochlan is a lecturer at EOS, the Estuary and Ocean Sciences Center in Tiburon, where he has been since 1998. His appointment there is somewhat unique for lecturers at SF State in that he teaches classes and also maintains an active, extramurally funded research program. Dr. Cochlan makes it a point to bring his life experiences into the classroom to make his teaching relevant to his students. In his letter of nomination, Dr. Jonathan Stillman noted that, “…In his GE class, [Dr. Cochlan’s] “adventures” as a marine biologist add significant color to his teaching, engaging students in the very real excitement of professional work on the high seas. In his graduate courses, Dr. Cochlan often shares from his experiences as a scientist to teach students the practical skills … and soft skills … that the students need to learn in order to excel in graduate school and beyond.” In addition to his teaching at SF State, Dr. Cochlan actively engages in teaching in the community at local, national and international levels. Regardless of the teaching venue or purpose, Professor Emeritus Charles Trick says that Dr. Cochlan never ventures from his basic tenets: 1) In a teaching environment, [he] is alive and accurate 2) [He] teaches a competency, not to a curriculum. 3) [He] promotes a professional appreciation for the subject, frequently reminding students that “good knowledge with bad professionalism goes nowhere.” 4) [He] promotes leadership. 5) [He] understands that belonging to the class is a gift – to him and the students. 


Leticia Marquez-Magana- marquez@sfsu.edu

Excellence in Professional Achievement

Dr. Leticia Marquez-Magaña. Dr. Marquez-Magaña is a Professor in the Department of Biology and has been at San Francisco State University since 1994 when she joined the department as an Assistant Professor. When looking over her CV, one can’t help but be impressed by the quality, consistency and, something one might not expect, the diversity of her scholarly endeavors. She truly has done research from molecules to societies. I believe Dr. Laura Burrus, the chair of the Biology department, summed it up best in her nomination where she wrote:


“During her tenure at [San Francisco] State University, Dr. Marquez Magaña’s research program has evolved from microbial genetics to health equity research. She has published 35 peer-reviewed articles in top notch journals and has garnered highly competitive grants. Her prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Career [Award] was the first such award at SF State. Although microbial genetics and health equity research require vastly different skill sets, her ability to consistently secure federal grants from [the] NSF and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) throughout her transition is truly impressive. As acknowledged by Dr. Tung Nyugen in his letter, Dr. Magaña “has led the development and/or managed 26 investigator-initiated and institutional grants, supplements, and sub-awards totaling over $70 million dollars.” According to Dr. Kenjus Watson “Leti is the first emergent Critical Race Biologist and is laying the ground to usher this framework into an entirely different epistemological domain.” He goes on to say that her work extends “the legacy of SF State in being a sociopolitical driver of greater inclusion in higher education. In my opinion, this level of professional achievement is unparalleled at the University.”


Michael Goldman- goldman@sfsu.edu

Excellence in Service (Tenured)

Dr. Michael Goldman. Dr. Goldman is professor and former chair of the Department of Biology where he started his career at SF State as an Assistant Professor in 1988. Throughout his entire career, Dr. Goldman has been deeply entrenched in service to the department of Biology, San Francisco State University, the entire CSU system and the greater scientific and public communities at large. For 12 years, Dr. Goldman served as department chair where he oversaw tremendous growth in the number of majors. He has served on several committees at the university level. In the last three years alone, he has served on the Evaluation Committee for Academic Institutional Research, the University Academic Assessment Advisory Committee, the Strategic Issues Committee of the Academic Senate, and the Academic Senate itself. At the CSU level, Dr. Goldman has been a long-term leader in CSUPERB, the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. Dr. Susan Baxter, Executive Director of CSUPERB noted that…”… Dr. Goldman led CSUPERB during its evolution from a “start-up” program to a mature, self-governing, and transparent program.” One of the hallmarks of his career is the Personalized Medicine conference that he started, now in its 11th year. This conference brings together internationally known scientists for a one-day event on a specific topic in personalized medicine. Dr. Goldman is well-connected in biotechnology, seems to know everyone likes to connect people with one another. Dr. Goldman loves science and he loves people. He will talk with anyone, giving freshmen biology majors the same respect and attentiveness that he gives Nobel Laeureates.