Professors Alison Baker, Daniel Hostetler and Ángel Valdés will receive the 2014 Provost’s Awards for Excellence.
The awards honor the faculty members’ efforts in teaching, service, and scholarly and creative activities, respectively. They will be honored at their respective college commencement ceremonies in June and will present at a symposium in fall quarter.
“This is a truly deserving group of faculty who have dedicated their careers to their students and their disciplines,” says Provost Marten denBoer. “Each one of them has done transformative work and made significant contributions to the university. We are proud to have them as faculty at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Baker, who teaches medieval literature in the Department of English & Foreign Languages, will receive the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She challenges her students to not only understand the text of a novel or assigned academic reading, but to also “walk away with positive encounters with old stories.” Baker has regularly received excellent teaching evaluations, consistently earning an average rating of ‘very good’ over 11 years. She has inspired many students to pursue careers in higher education. In addition to her work in the classroom, she has developed pedagogy presentations and workshops in basic reading, Medieval English and foreign languages. She has also written articles on effective teaching strategies and offered readings of Middle English works to variety of audiences. Baker serves on numerous committees at Cal Poly Pomona, including the CLASS curriculum committee and the GWT Advisory Committee. She has received the Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society Outstanding Faculty Support and Advising Award four times and is currently serving as the vice president of the Executive Committee of the CSU English Council.
Hostetler, a plant sciences professor, will receive the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Service. He has served as farm supervisor for 38 years and as department chair for 20 years. He was instrumental in developing the Cal Poly Pomona Farm Store and AGRIscapes Center, which is visited by tens of thousands of people every year. He is one of the core developers of Cal Poly Pomona’s Horsehill Vineyards wine and an integral member of the management team for the Pumpkin Festival. Hostetler and his students sell Cal Poly Pomona products at local farmers markets, and he maintains strong relationships with youth organizations throughout Southern California. Hostetler has secured nearly $750,000 for student scholarships and over $3 million in donations to support students and the College of Agriculture’s living laboratories. In addition, he was named a Kika de la Garza Fellow by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2007 and has been invited to serve as a Fellows Advisor in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Valdés, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, will receive the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Scholarly and Creative Activities. He is internationally known for his research of sea slugs. He uses molecular biology to precisely identify the species of sea slugs, making it possible to track their worldwide distribution, spread, and evolution. He has discovered more than 100 new species and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and four books. In addition, he has received over $3 million in funding from various agencies, including the National Science Foundation. Since 2010, Valdés has published 20 peer-reviewed articles with Cal Poly Pomona students as co-authors, and he has received departmental and college level teaching awards.