Angela Jenks, UCI anthropology associate professor of teaching, has been named the American Anthropological Association Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching recipient. The honor bestowed by the 10,000+ member association recognizes educators who have impacted the discipline through outstanding teaching and inspiration to their students.

For Jenks, the award marks the fifth recognition of her excellence in the classroom since she joined UCI in 2013. In 2017, she was named the Social Sciences Dean's Honoree for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and she received the Teaching Assistant Instructional Development Award from the UCI Division of Teaching Excellence and Innovation. In 2018 she was named a UCI Provost's Teaching Fellow, and in 2019 she was the UCI Academic Senate Early-Career Faculty Award for Teaching recipient, an honor that recognizes her as one of the campus’s top teachers.

Read more about what drove Jenks to pursue a career in anthropology and teaching in this 2019 feature.

Jenks teaches roughly seven courses a year which primarily fill the medical anthropology minor, including Medical Anthropology; Anthropology of the Body; Cultures of Biomedicine; Disease, Health and Inequality; and Race, Gender and Science. She’s taught graduate courses in medical anthropology and one on pedagogy for future professors, and she’s taught courses for the UCI School of Medicine’s Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC). She also helped revamp the anthropology department’s honors program from a series of independent studies courses into seminars that allow students to meet and work together as a cohort under a faculty advisor. She served for four years as the coordinator of anthropology’s master’s program in Medicine, Science, and Technology Studies and she taught the graduate program’s proseminar. She also served for two years on the department’s Undergraduate Committee, 2018-20.

Recently, she launched the online open access Teaching and Learning Anthropology journal for which she serves as editor in chief. She and the editorial team are beefing up the online infrastructure for sharing resources – articles, films, digital materials, syllabi and more - with teachers who can also then exchange important ideas, reflections and support.

Jenks earned her Ph.D. in medical anthropology through a joint program with UC Berkeley and UCSF. She pursues research looking at the intersection of anthropology and medicine, examining efforts to improve the cultural competence of U.S. health care. She’s spent time in medical schools, managed care organizations, and hospitals, exploring the understandings of culture and race that are incorporated into efforts to address health disparities.

As the AAA Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology, Jenks will be honored at the association’s annual meeting Nov 17-21 in Baltimore. The conference will also be offered online.



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