Four faculty members honored for teaching, service, professional achievement

Four faculty members pose for the camera against gray backdrops

From left: Professor of Biology Kimberly Tanner, Lecturer of Ethnic Studies Mark Bautista, Professor of Biology Thomas Parker and Professor of Political Science James Martel

Award recognizes faculty excellence and contributions to SF State

Four San Francisco State University faculty members were honored with Distinguished Faculty Awards at the final plenary meeting of the Academic Senate on May 8. The awards, given each year since 2007, recognize faculty members who excel in teaching, service and professional achievement as a way of celebrating the University’s climate of excellence. Read on to learn about the awardees’ unique contributions to San Francisco State.

Kimberly Tanner


Kimberly Tanner: Excellence in Teaching Award 

Professor of Biology Kimberly Tanner arrived at SF State in 2004, founding the Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory. Tanner’s focus at SF State has been on the classroom, studying how students learn science and developing methods for improving how science is taught. She says she strives to make science classrooms more “equitable, fair and inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” a mission fueled in part by her own experience as a first-generation college student.

Along with her pioneering efforts to improve the science of teaching, Tanner has spearheaded faculty development in teaching on a department-wide scale, receiving awards for teaching excellence from both the Society for College Science Teachers and the American Society for Cell Biology.

Mark Bautista


Mark Bautista: Excellence in Teaching Award 

Lecturer of Ethnic Studies Mark Bautista is the education coordinator for both the Metro Academy of Ethnic Studies and Metro Academy of Education, SF State programs aimed at helping low-income, underrepresented and first-generation students find success. That’s emblematic of his mission as an educator to “make a more just world for all young people,” something he works toward in and out of the classroom and in his family life.

Bautista’s link to SF State goes far deeper than his time as a lecturer. He received his B.A. in psychology from SF State in 2002, and during his time as a student he helped start the Pin@y Educational Partnerships program, a service learning program for Filipino/a American students.

Thomas Parker


Thomas Parker: Excellence in Professional Achievement Award

Professor of Biology Thomas Parker has spent more than 40 years studying plants from California to Africa, authoring well over 100 papers along the way. His work on seed banks, fire ecology and climate change in tidal wetlands has gained international recognition, and he’s contributed greatly to understanding of the evolution of manzanita plants. The world-class impact of his work has earned him distinction as a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

Along with his excellence as a researcher, he’s trained 55 master’s students since arriving at SF State in 1980.

James Martel


James Martel: Excellence in Service Award

During his time at SF State, Professor of Political Science James Martel has sought out numerous ways to serve the University community. He was chair of his department for nine years and co-chair of the faculty rights panel for two years. He is currently the president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association (CFA) as well as a member of the CFA bargaining team. This leadership and his participation in other committees and councils show Martel’s consistent commitment to giving his time and effort to his peers.

“Rather than thinking of union work as something extraneous to our university community, this award helps show that it is an integral and critical part of what we do together as a faculty and as a community of scholars and learners,” he said. Martel has also written extensively on philosophy, political theory and other related topics.

Each of this year’s awardees received a $4,000 stipend as part of the award. That stipend, along with a reception that follows the awards’ presentation, is funded in perpetuity by the generous support of the SF State Foundation and its new partnership with the Academic Senate under the leadership of Academic Senate Chair Nancy Gerber, SF State Foundation President and Vice President of University Advancement Robert Nava and Chair of the Faculty Honors and Awards Committee Jennifer Arin. This year’s award recipients will be recognized again at the 2018 Opening University Convocation on Aug. 23.