The recipients of UCLA’s highest honor for teaching, the Distinguished Teaching Awards, were honored by the UCLA Academic Senate at the Andrea L. Rich Night to Honor Teaching awards ceremony at the Chancellor’s residence on Oct. 11. Winners were selected in three categories: senate faculty members, teaching assistants and non-senate faculty members.

Recipients are chosen from nominations from their colleagues and leaders across campus and recommendations by students, involvement in projects that affect the community and profession and their approach to teaching, among other factors.

The senate faculty awardees were professors Donald Buth, Alex Purves, Eric Sung, Abigail Saguy, Ingrid Eagly and Alvaro Sagasti.

Alex Purves is a professor of classics at UCLA. Her work explores archaic Greek poetry and classical prose. She has recently co-edited the book “Synaesthesia and the Ancient Senses” and is currently editing “Touch and the Ancient Senses,” set to be released in October.


Donald Buth is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. His research focuses on invasive fish species and their role in genetics of ecosystems. Buth is also a part of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.


Abigail Saguy is a professor of sociology and gender studies. She studies how cultural schemas shape power relations. Saguy recently received a three-year, $325,000 award from the law and social science and sociology programs of the National Science Foundation to conduct a study examining the concept of gender neutrality in U.S. law and activism.


Dr. Eric Sung is a professor of clinical dentistry and the vice-chair of the division of advanced prosthodontics. His research focuses on dental materials and treatment of the medically complex patients. Throughout his career, Sung has demonstrated a commitment to helping high-need patients.


Ingrid Eagly is a professor of law at UCLA School of Law. Eagly’s research focuses on immigration law and policy and criminal adjudication. Eagly led a group of fellows to Texas to help mothers and children incarcerated at the South Texas Family Residential Center with their credible fear interviews, the first step of the asylum process.


Alvaro Sagasti is a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology. His lab uses a combination of imaging, molecular and genetic approaches in zebrafish to investigate the changes skin cells undergo during development and repair. Sagasti’s lab hopes to shed light on how cells are affected by damage and disease.

In addition, three special awards are made to winners of the teaching awards. This year, Buth received the Eby Award for the Art of Teaching, Purves was awarded the Distinction in Teaching at the Graduate Level, and Sagasti received the Undergraduate Mentorship Award.

The teaching assistant awardees were:
Aaron Crawford — sociology
Matthew Thomas Fontana —  chemistry and biochemistry
Gabbrielle Johnson — philosophy
Sydney Miller — English
Kendra Nyberg — bioengineering and integrative biology and physiology

The non-senate faculty awardees were:
Dr. Jason Napolitano — medicine
Benjamin James Lewis — linguistics
Mary Corey — history