Amber Katherine, a philosopher who has blended her passion for the environment with teaching and mentoring, and Dan Nannini, a counselor who has become something of a statewide guru on transferring to universities – have been named Santa Monica College’s 2011 Co-Faculty of the Year.
In naming the winners, the SMC Academic Senate also announced that it was nominating Katherine for the statewide Hayward Award, which honors outstanding community college faculty who have a track record of excellence in teaching and professional activities and have demonstrated commitment to their students, profession and college. The Hayward Award is sponsored by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.
“Professor Katherine and Dan Nannini are such outstanding faculty members that we could not narrow the award this year to just one recipient,” said SMC kinesiology professor Elaine Roque, chair of the Academic Senate’s Sabbaticals, Fellowships & Awards Committee. “Amber is a compassionate and caring professor who has helped transform SMC into one of the greenest colleges in the state, and Dan is one of the state’s leading transfer experts at an institution that is the No. 1 transfer college to the University of California, USC and more. We’re honored to call them our colleagues.”
Katherine, of Mar Vista, who has taught philosophy at SMC since 1999, has been a campus leader, particularly in the area of sustainability. She has served on the Academic Senate Executive and other committees, chairing the Environmental Affairs Committee.
She was instrumental in developing the “ecological literacy” track of SMC’s graduation requirements and was the leading faculty member working with the Associated Students to organize the 2008 Focus the Nation Teach-In on Global Warming Solutions, at which SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
She is the advisor to the EcoAction and Philosophy clubs, has been involved with FEAST and Earth Day celebrations on campus, and was awarded the 2007 Chair of Excellence in Philosophy and Social Sciences that provided funds for her to spearhead the “greening” of SMC’s curriculum.
In the classroom, she has taught a wide range of philosophy courses, including environmental politics, and is a meticulous mentor who uses office hours to facilitate wide ranging and engaging philosophical discussions with students.
She has presented widely at academic conferences throughout the United States and is the author of the recently published “Greening Philosophy: A Fresh Introduction to the Field.”
Nannini, has worked at the college for 23 years ever since he was hired as a general counselor in 1988. During his tenure, the Culver City resident has been assigned to several counseling divisions, including the Scholars Program, an honors transfer program. But he has made a particular mark in the past 14 years as the Transfer Center faculty leader, a role that is critical to the college.
Under his leadership, the college sponsors dozens of workshops for students on completing applications and navigating the transfer process. His office brings in four-year university recruiters to campus on an almost daily basis during the school year, conducts bus tours to universities statewide, and hosts the largest college transfer fair in the state, attracting more than 100 universities worldwide. In addition, he has helped develop transfer agreements with four-year institutions throughout the world, including the Ivy League Columbia University in New York.
But he doesn’t stop there. Nannini uses his extensive contacts statewide to personally appeal on behalf of students who have not been admitted to a particular university when he believes the student should be given another shot.
On a larger scale, he is the author of the “Nannini Guide,” which provides a road map to students and counselors that details the intricacies of the UC transfer admission process. And he has become active at the statewide and national levels, serving as president of the Transfer Center Directors Association and giving presentations throughout California and the U.S.