Dr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar, professor of political science at Santa Barbara City College, was named the 2013 California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
He was selected from nearly 300 top professors in the United States and was the only California professor to receive a spot in the winners’ circle.
The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country — those who excel as teachers and influence the lives and careers of their students. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards honoring undergraduate teaching.
Dr. Eskandari, who joined SBCC in 1992, founded and serves as SBCC’s director of Middle East Studies Program and is chair of the Political Science/Economics Department. He is widely considered one of the Santa Barbara community’s leading authorities on the Middle East.
“I am so pleased and thrilled that Dr. Eskandari was recognized with this award,” SBCC President Lori Gaskin said. “Teaching is the embodiment of his heart, and he is a passionate and eloquent champion of his discipline.
“Dr. Eskandari is committed to educating the whole student and has created outstanding and meaningful co-curricular experiences that enrich students’ journey through SBCC. He epitomizes all that is noble and meaningful about being a teacher.”
In 1996, Dr. Eskandari was instrumental in bringing the chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for two-year colleges, to SBCC and has since seen its semesterly inductees grow from 40 to over 140 students in the fall of 2013. As director of the Middle East Studies Program, Dr. Eskandari has brought international speakers to campus by organizing an international conference on the Middle East in 2009, and most recently, renowned journalist Hooman Majd in October.
As part of his experiential learning philosophy, Dr. Eskandari created study abroad and internship programs for Middle East Studies and Political Science majors in Washington, D.C., Paris, Athens and Istanbul, and most recently a one-week internship in Sacramento. Called the Sacramento Program, 26 students participated in the spring of 2013 and learned the inner workings of the California political system by meeting and shadowing the mayor of Sacramento and a number of state legislators including Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams, who is a former student of Dr. Eskandari.
Among his numerous honors, Dr. Eskandari was named the 1991 Professor of the Year at UCSB, and Faculty Lecturer 1998-99 at SBCC, the highest honor faculty bestow on a colleague at the college. In 2002, he was honored by the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges with the Stanback-Stroud Diversity Award for support of curriculum, programs, clubs and extracurricular activities geared to underrepresented students. He also is a published scholar and founder-president of the International Qajar Studies Association.
Dr. Eskandari received his baccalauréat degree from the Lycée Français de Vienne, in Vienna, Austria; his Magister from the University of Vienna, Austria; he received his master's degree and Ph.D. from UCSB.
— Joan Galvan is a public information officer for SBCC.