Congratulations to Assistant Professor Lior Sepunaru for receiving a Distinguished Teaching Award for 2022-2023! This award acknowledges the efforts of Senate faculty members who have successfully united teaching and research, as well as non-Senate faculty based on excellence in teaching and contributions to the teaching mission of the University. The recipients are selected by a committee composed of representatives from the Council on Faculty Welfare, Academic Freedom, and Awards, as well as past recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
The selection committee was highly impressed with Prof. Sepunaru’s superb teaching accomplishments since he arrived at UCSB in 2017. The committee especially noted the effusive praise Prof. Sepunaru received from his undergraduate and undergraduate students. Amongst other things, they call him a skilled and inspiring instructor and mentor who consistently demonstrates care for his students, fosters their accomplishments, encourages their individual success in research, graduate training, grant writing, job finding, and more, recognizes the importance of work-life balance, builds a healthy and positive learning atmosphere, and supports students when they need help. Prof. Sepunaru has taught a full range of courses in his department, including the most challenging upper-division undergraduate courses along with larger surveys; he has an active and highly productive research lab through which he has mentored many outstanding graduate students; and he has developed new courses that employ innovative teaching methods including a combination of lectures and hands-on projects; helped create a “boot camp” that bridges Biology, Chemistry, and Physics; and, last but not least, he has played an active role in K-12 outreach, participating in science fairs, visiting elementary and middle schools, and developing teaching materials for high school.