Distinguished Award Recognizes Working Professionals in Fields from Legal to Engineering to Education and Financial Management
LOS ANGELES — UCLA Extension today honored 18 instructors for outstanding dedication and excellence in providing professional continuing education and mentorship at one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most comprehensive institutions.
The Eighth Distinguished Instructor Awards were presented to working professionals who provide in-classroom or online instruction for in-demand, rewarding and growing careers and positions in legal, project management, information technology, engineering, design, education, financial management, international studies and more.
“Some of the most experienced, connected and dedicated professionals in the country are teaching at UCLA Extension,” said Michelle Stiles, Interim Dean of UCLA Extension and Continuing Education. “Many recognized this year have been with Extension for 10, 15 and 20 years – because of their commitment to inspire and educate others and because they remain a popular choice for those who seek career advancement or transition.”
Below are this year’s 2012-13 most gifted instructors, as presented through the writings of those who nominated them:
Ashraf Azmi (Engineering and Technology)
As a leader in the development of UCLA Extension’s Information Technology Management certificate, Dr. Azmi uses a variety of techniques to engage his students, including live webcasts for his online classes. He also played a key role in developing custom IT programs for the Empowered UCLA Extension program. He holds a Doctorate of Public Administration.*
Francisco Behr (Landscape Architecture)
Teaching one of the more rigorous classes in the sequence, Behr does everything he can to make himself and his expertise available to his students. He is an award-winning architect involved in the 2001 renovation of the then-Grauman’s Chinese Theater and has been teaching at Extension since 1995.
Elisa Cabal (Humanities)
A native of Colombia, Cabal has been a professional interpreter for more than 25 years and Extension instructor since 2010. She has helped elevate the quality of the Interpretation and Translation Certificate by advocating for practical hands-on training, raising admission requirements, developing a custom rubric and recruiting new instructors.
Elizabeth Rourke Chappelle (Education)
A “teacher’s teacher,” Chappelle assumed leadership of the General Education Clear Credential program when a former instructor left. Since then, she has improved the program, recruited new instructors, created new syllabi, promoted collaboration and more – all prompting increased enrollments.
Miles Chen, PhD (Humanities and Science)
Chen is approaching legendary status. Since 2001, his leadership, skills, mentoring and unique style in teaching statistics and math have meant his classes routinely fill up within minutes of enrollment opening. Chen uses real-world examples, like measuring the statistical significant of red Skittles, remote-controlled cameras and other technologies to captivate students.
Todd S. Davidson (Business, Management & Legal)
Having taught 13 different courses over the past 18 years at Extension, Davidson consistently receives high marks from students who are embarking on financial planning and management careers. He also was instrumental in a year-long project to update and secure renewal of the program to meet requirements for students who attend Extension to test for national certification.
Deborah Deutsch (Business, Management & Legal)
The Paralegal Training program veteran has received consistently high student evaluations because of her effective delivery and preparation, and for inspiring confidence in her students. One of them said they learned more in two weeks in Deutsch’s class than what they had learned in 16 years as a legal secretary with in-house training.
Kyle Duncan (American Language Center)
Noted for his sheer love of teaching, Duncan has been teaching English as a Second Language for 24 years. He also has developed many programs for the ALC, and recruited and mentored new instructors. He brings his many intellectual and artistic interests to every course he teaches, thereby giving international students introductions to critical thinking and many new topics.
Jeremy Forte (Education – Pathway)
Forte came to Extension by adapting his health and nutrition curriculum for a resource center to a college-level course for students in Extension’s Pathway program for young adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. He also has created new partnerships on the main UCLA campus to benefit Pathway students.
Prentiss Knowlton (Engineering and Technology)
Knowlton has taught more than 150 information system courses since 1994 at Extension. His superior computer programming knowledge and industry expertise means consistently high enrollments. He is considered one of Extension’s most successful online instructors.
Richard Langendorf (Visual Arts)
Langendorf, recently profiled in a leading photography magazine, has worked to develop a range of ambitious, challenging and academically rewarding photography classes and information session – from visualizing the urban landscape to history of photography to Photoshop for photographers.
Shelby Ledgerwood (Business, Management & Legal)
Ledgerwood is credited for single-handedly retooling Extension’s 40-year-old Wine Education program to bring forth higher standards with a business-like and more academically rigid focus. She has mentored new instructions and sought collaborations with many outside associations and institutions.
Sean Leonard (Engineering and Technology)
Construction Management is one of the most popular certificates and Leonard, who has been teaching at Extension since 1994, is instrumental in keeping the curriculum current and in recruiting new instructors. As the CEO of his own construction management company, Leonard’s real-life examples are appreciated by his students.
Elizabeth A. Likes (Fitness)
Likes both develops new elective courses while teaching the required ones for the popular Fitness Certificate. Teaching since 1998, Likes has received high marks for her effective online instruction methods – she was the first to develop the online course – and for providing students with networking ideas and referrals.
Steven Moore (American Language Center)
With a background in working with actors, Moore uses that prior experience to be a very effective instructor for the Teaching Pronunciation for Foreign Born Professionals program. Moore also is credited with instilling a new level of confidence in foreign born professionals through his executive coaching program taught at Extension.
Gina Pilic (American Language Center)
Pilic, who has taught more than 20 different Academic Intensive English Program classes since 1996, has such a strong reputation that many students ask to repeat a level of the course just to get her class. She also has created new curricula for a number of ALC courses, as well as presented innovative techniques such as taking Grammar and Writing students to local public schools to discuss family histories.
Steven Rothstein (Entertainment, Music)
Rothstein receives raves from his students even though he often teaches several music theory courses that can sometimes be dry and difficult. He is credited for going to great lengths to research and put together film clips to inspire Film Scoring program students and help them better understand the music in films.
Tonja Wright (Education)
Wright was very successful in launching Extension’s successful Autism Spectrum Disorder certificate that has benefited not only special education teachers, but also mental health professionals, behavioral aides and parents of students with autism. She also is credited with keeping the curriculum current in a field that is consistently changing with new research and findings.
For more background about these and other instructors, or to explore certificates, new course offerings and summer quarter classes, visit www.uclaextension.edu.
About UCLA Extension
UCLA Extension is the continuing education division of the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA Extension offers evening, weekend, and online courses and certificates for professionals in business, management, engineering, information systems, entertainment studies, public policy, public health, the humanities and many other fields. Find out more at uclaextension.edu.