Kathryn De Master honored with 2021 Distinguished Teaching Award

May 26, 2021

Congratulations to Kathryn De Master, an associate professor of agriculture, society, and environment in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, on receiving the Rausser College of Natural Resources 2021 Distinguished Teaching Award. 

The Distinguished Teaching Award acknowledges instructors who excel in undergraduate instruction and significantly contribute to the College’s teaching mission. Nominees are selected based on their command of the subject being taught, their ability to inspire students’ independent and original thinking, enthusiasm and vitality in learning and teaching, student advising efforts, and effective course design, among other criteria.

In rankings from student evaluations, De Master consistently received higher than average scores. She was praised for her instruction in both large lecture-style classes and small discussion or lab-style classes. She was acknowledged for her ability to make students feel individually mentored, her responsiveness to student needs, her engaging lectures, and her innovative teaching methods. 

Evaluations included numerous glowing statements from students, such as:

“One of the best professors I've ever had. Kathy's lectures genuinely changed how I approach the food I buy, grow, and eat. She completely changed my perception of food. Extremely inspiring lecturer, one of the best at Berkeley. She will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about agriculture!”

“Despite the challenges posed by virtual learning formats, she was able to create a welcoming atmosphere in the class which provided an open platform for learning, questioning, and furthering our comprehension of important issues.”

De Master also received the UC Berkeley 2016 Faculty Award for Outstanding Mentorship of graduate student instructors. She researches the sociology of agriculture, rural livelihoods, farmland access and tenure, farmland financialization, diversification in farming systems, and the agri-food tech sector, among other topics.