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Teaching Excellence in the Baskin School of Engineering

Monday, June 13, 2016
Karyn Skemp

Computer Engineering Professor Tracy Larrabee was one of nine recipients of the 2016 Excellence in Teaching award. Awardees are recognized for exemplary and inspiring teaching. Nominated by students and selected by the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching, awardees are recognized for exemplary and inspiring teaching.

“We take our role as educators seriously here,” Larrabee says of UC Santa Cruz faculty. “We care deeply about teaching and learning.”

Larrabee’s award reads “An inspirational role model and an incredibly gifted teacher,” one of many similar comments she received from her student nominators. She’s proud of that. “I’m honored to have received this award. I love teaching.”

"An inspirational role model and an incredibly gifted teacher"

For Larrabee – who uses stories of her own setbacks and breakthroughs to inspire her students – it’s personal. She shares with students the problems that meant the most to her when she first encountered them as a college student: how she found them challenging, how she sweated over the material, and how she felt when she found the solution.

“I make sure that students know that failure is part of the learning process,” she says. “I tell them that the best sign of a good study session is waste basket filled with discarded calculations.”

By encouraging students to embrace hard problems, to stick with them until they find a solution, and to celebrate their breakthroughs, Larrabee teaches students a bit about computer engineering and a lot about life.

Read more about this year’s award winners in this campus Tuesday Newsday article.