The UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate presented Dr. Merith Cosden with an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award and Dr. Sheridan Blau with a Distinguished Teaching Award at its 2005-2006 Distinguished Faculty Ceremony. Both Cosden and Blau are on the faculty of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education; Cosden is also the Director of Training of the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology and Blau is also the site director of the South Coast Writing Project and has a joint appointment in the Department of English.
The Academic Senate hailed Cosden, asserting, “[She] has excelled at recruiting underrepresented students to her program, which helps to enrich and diversify the University.” About the award Cosden says, “I have been fortunate to have a bright, creative and diverse group of students to mentor. I have been enhanced by being able to work with students who are the first in their families to obtain a college education, who are single parents, or who are from culturally diverse groups. I have mentored a number of immigrants, as well as first and second generation American students from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, South America, Korea, Burma, Israel and Iran. I appreciate their unique considerations of the issues we study.”
Cosden teaches courses on child and family therapy. Her current research, performed in conjunction with local social service agencies, focuses on child abuse prevention and treatment. She also has several grants that evaluate drug and alcohol diversion programs and substance abuse treatment for perinatal women.
The Academic Senate claims that “Dr. Blau’s reputation for teaching excellence precedes him in both departments where his students and colleagues had many wonderful things to say about him. A Ph.D. candidate in Education remarks, ‘My fellow student teachers and I found...a model of the teacher we all wanted to become.’”
Blau founded (and continues to direct) the South Coast Writing Project – a professional development program for outstanding teachers of writing from all disciplines and all levels of education – at UCSB in 1979. A former director of the campus Composition Program (1984-90), he also served for over twenty years as program head of the UCSB teacher-education program in English. He has served as the senior consultant for the development of California’s statewide language arts assessment, founded and served as Director of the National Literature Project, and is a past-president of the National Council of Teachers of English. A specialist in English education, his research and publications range across such topics as seventeenth century literature, composition theory, professional development for teachers, and the teaching of composition and literature. His most recent book for teachers and scholars, The Literature Workshop: Teaching Texts and Their Readers, was named by the Conference on English Education as the winner of the 2004 Richard Meade Award for distinguished research in English education.
[Merith Cosden and Sheridan Blau are available for interviews; to set up an interview contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]