By Stephanie Para |Staff Writer|
Psychology professor Dr. Cynthia Crawford was “ambushed” Monday morning by President Tomas Morales and her colleagues who awarded her with this year’s Outstanding Teacher Award.
This surprise accolade has been around since the 2013 winter quarter, according to Psychology Department Chair Dr. Robert Ricco, who nominated Crawford along with her students for this honor.
“When we [psychology department] found out she had won the award, everyone felt that no one else deserved it more than her,” said Ricco.
The Outstanding Teacher award is awarded annually to a professor who has been a tenure instructional faculty member at the university for at least six years.
The ideal candidate would have a record of particular distinction as a teacher, and not have won the Outstanding Professor Award previously,” as stated on the award’s nomination guidelines.
This year was the first ‘award ambush’ said President Morales, who presented the award to Dr. Crawford.
He felt it was unique, heartfelt, and a more meaningful way to be recognized by her colleagues personally.
“She is just an incredible person,” added Morales.
Crawford said she was not expecting it at all, even though some of her colleagues had known since winter quarter.
“They kept it secret,” she added.
“It’s nice to know. You go along, do your work, so it’s nice to be appreciated by them. The students, also, recognizing you as special is nice. It means I am doing a good job,” said Crawford.
Crawford has been known for her teaching and numerous grants she has earned, the majority of which have supported students, especially under represented groups such as Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans as well as others.
“In the Psychological and Biological sciences you are going to be seeing more and more Latino, Latina researchers and professionals, and that’s because people like Dr. Crawford are paving the way, creating opportunities for our students, who are very underrepresented in those areas,” said Dr. Robert Ricco, Psychology Department chair.
Some of the grants she has received include a $3.4 million Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Grant for five years and a Diversity-promoting Institutions Drug Abuse Research Program (DIDARP) grant through NIH/NIDA through 2017, according to the CSUSB psychology department’s webpage.
“I really cannot think of a more deserving human being for this award. In my view, it is really overdue,” said Ricco.
Crawford teaches a variety of psychological here on campus, specifically classes dealing with neurological psychology and types of drugs.
She admits her classes are not known for being easy, but she appreciates that most of her students understand the need for high standards and updated information, and do their best, she added.
“Her students praised her as an engaging professor who is approachable and supportive. ‘The professor is always willing to help us understand a difficult subject,’ wrote one student,” as stated by a CSUSB news release.
“We are there to provide information on a particular topic not just facts, but how to do things. Whatever you are teaching, your job is to make the information meaningful and understandable,” said Crawford.
“I think that what other instructors can take from her is the idea that you can be at the same time a rigorous teacher, demand a lot of your students, but still be incredibly supportive and caring about your students,” said Ricco.
“Dr. Crawford is an outstanding researcher, instructor, and mentor. She is the total package, and is well- deserving of this award,” adds professor Sharon Ward, Crawford’s fellow psychology.
This is a lifetime award, according to the Outstanding Teacher Award guidelines.
It also states that she will now be included in the committee to choose the next Outstanding Teacher.