Faculty Celebrated for Global Approach to Research, Teaching

Photo of UC Davis professor and students looking over Florence, Italy

Professors help campus advance to goal of 'Global Education for All.'

Two faculty in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science were honored Thursday for their efforts to provide global learning opportunities for students — both on campus and abroad.

Rachel Jean-Baptiste, an associate professor of history, received a Chancellor’s Award for International Engagement. Margherita Heyer-Cáput, a professor of Italian, received an inaugural Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad Award.

They were among a half-dozen faculty and staff receiving awards from Chancellor Gary S. May at a reception hosted by UC Davis Global Affairs at the campus International Center.

Portrait photo of UC Davis historian
Rachel Jean-Baptiste

Global approach to history

Jean-Baptiste studies colonial and post-colonial French-speaking Central and West Africa. Her research interests include the history of sexuality, gender and women, marriage and family law, urban history, race and citizenship.

In her teaching, Jean-Baptiste emphasizes how world regions are interconnected. She also served the past two years as faculty director for the UC Education Abroad Program’s Study Center in France, where 300 UC students attend classes at four universities.

“She helped create a cross-cultural dialogue,” one student wrote in nominating Jean-Baptiste for the award. “She advocated for all to engage themselves internationally, but in particular those who would normally feel this opportunity was not as easily accessible to them: the transfer students, the economically disadvantaged, and the minority population.”

Two other faculty and a staff member received Chancellor’s Awards for International Engagement. The awards program was started in 2016-17.

Portrait photo of UC Davis Italian professor
Margherita Heyer-Cáput

Service learning in Italy

Heyer-Cáput, a faculty member in the Department of French and Italian, was one of two recipients of the Excellence in Teaching in Study Abroad Awards.

She created a Study Abroad program that enables students to take part in service learning, earn internship credit, gain the equivalent of a full year of language study, receive credit towards a minor, and advance their cultural skills.

Her Italian Language and Culture in Florence program encourages students to take part in community life rather than simply observe.

According to a group of student nominators, Heyer-Cáput’s teaching and leadership skills create, “an entire experience that is incredibly educational but equally fun.”

— This story was adapted from an article by Bonnie Shea in Global Affairs.