NEWS | April 23, 2012

UC Davis cellular and molecular biologist to receive distinguished teaching award


Richard Tucker, professor of cellular biology and human anatomy at the UC Davis School of Medicine, will receive the 2011-12 Distinguished Scholarly Teaching Award from the UC Davis Academic Senate at a reception on May 2. The award is bestowed annually to a handful of faculty campus-wide who demonstrate excellence in a broad range of teaching activities, including mentoring.

Richard Tucker, Ph.D. Richard Tucker, Ph.D.

"Dr. Tucker is a fantastic educator," said Paul FitzGerald, chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Human Anatomy. "He has contributed at every level to the UC Davis teaching mission, always at the highest level of excellence, as a lecturer, laboratory instructor, course director, mentor to junior faculty and educational researcher. His commitment to education and his depth of knowledge of medicine and science combine with wonderful speaking skills, an engaging style and a great sense of humor to make him an exceptional mentor for our undergraduate, graduate and medical students."

Tucker has been a member of the School of Medicine faculty since 1994. He is the primary instructor for Gross, Radiologic and Developmental Anatomy, the single largest course in the four-year curriculum. His teaching of the course, which includes volumes of foreign terminology and physically demanding laboratory sessions, has consistently received the highest evaluations from students during the past six years, an average of 6.8 out of a possible 7. In their evaluations of the course, students have lauded his caring and motivational style, "fantastic ability to present a large amount of developmental information in a short period of time," and his knowledge of the material, which he "can explain at any level of detail the moment demands."

Tucker also organized a component of the School of Medicine's Pre-Matriculation program, a mini-medical school immersion offered in the summer prior to the start of classes. He also lectures and directs other undergraduate, graduate and medical school courses, including Human Anatomy, Human Cell and Tissue Biology, Morphogenesis, Techniques in Cell Biology, Musculoskeletal Systems, Graduate Gross Anatomy and a seminar in Literature and Developmental Biology. 

For his dedication to education, Tucker has received numerous honors and awards, including the medical school's Kaiser Award for Excellence in the Basic Sciences, which he received three times, in 1998, 2002 and 2007. The award is based on a vote of the entire student body and recognizes sustained excellence in teaching. He is a five-time recipient of the Outstanding Basic Science Instructor Award, which is presented by the senior medical student class. In 2005, he received the School of Medicine's Excellence in Education Award and, in 2007, he received the C. John Tupper Prize for Teaching, the school's highest award for teaching.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at