During your stay at UCSB you will undoubtedly meet professors you like, professors you hate, and pretty much everything in between. Some will interest you, however, so much that you may actually get to know him or her. You may find out what they teach and take all their classes, or ask for a letter of recommendation to graduate school, or even go to coffee with them just to talk about life. For those eager to get started, here are a few you can work with. Most are pretty friendly.
Dr. Klaus Schauser is a professor, scientist, and businessman in one. Born in Chile to a German father and Danish mother, he spent his childhood in Australia, Spain and Germany, earning the Diplom in computer science from the UniversitŠt Karlsruhe in 1989. Following a seven-month journey through North and Central America, Schauser settled on UC Berkeley for his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science, in 1991 and 1994.
“I think the UC system is fantastic. California has a tremendous computer science academia and industry, not to mention a great climate. I thought I would be stupid to go back to rainy Germany.”
Schauser joined the Computer Science Department at UCSB in 1994, teaching classes in parallel computing and computer architecture. In 1998 he started Expertcity, Inc. with two UCSB graduate students. Expertcity currently employs 120 people, including four UCSB professors and several UCSB students.
“It was really a matter of personal need. I was travelling a lot and wanted to access my computers on the road. Other software was slow and insecure so we really set out to make something fast, easy and secure.”
Ask him about his company’s income and he won’t tell much.
“It’s cash-flow positive. I can tell you that we raised over $34 million in venture capital funding when we started.”
Schauser’s success hasn’t impaired his passion for teaching, however. He researches parallel distributed computing in the College of Engineering and taught two computer science courses over the 2001-2002 school year.
“I feel very strongly about UCSB. I especially like its size and the cross-disciplinary research across departments in the university. There are a lot of smart people here and it is continuously getting better. The key to teaching is to just really believe in what you teach and be enthusiastic about it. Attention span is important – involve them, structure the class, give them breaks. Teaching does not come for free.”
Dr. Milton Love isn’t your typical professor, and he really isn’t too typical a person either. Raised in Santa Monica, Love knew he wanted to be a marine biologist since he was 5 years old and blames his lack of creativity for getting him there today.
Love received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from UCSB in environmental biology and zoology and has been here ever since. Although he only teaches sporadically from year to year, Love founded and maintains the “Love Lab,” an externally funded marine research center on campus.
“We take the Huckleberry Finn approach to marine science. Drifting down the river, kind of thinking of stuff as we float, here and there getting to a port and causing trouble. We’re not bound by convention because the university gives us no money. This makes us extremely flexible. We do whatever our fancy lets us.”
Love’s current research involves the ocean habitat surrounding oil platforms off the Santa Barbara coast.
“It’s a very emotionally laden subject. Any findings we make upset a large group of people anyway it turns out. Some data suggests that oil platforms are habitable for fish and people who hate oil platforms don’t like that much.”
Love also researches the population of rockfish on the Pacific coast. He is considered “The Great Satan” in the field by disgruntled fishermen.
“The rockfish population has been just hammered by fishermen over the years. Some people have gotten really upset about our findings but we’re not doing anything devious. We’re not making beagles smoke cigarettes or anything.”
Aside from research, Love is also known for his tattoos.
“It’s a female angler fish with a parasitic male attached to it,” he said pointing to one tattoo. “The male eventually disintegrates until there is nothing left but a sac of sperm.”
Love’s advice to freshmen is not to worry and to do what interests you most.
“Freshman year can be the most disquieting year in a person’s life, but most people survive. Marine science majors: Stick it out for the first two years – they’re the hardest. Get through it and you’ll find tons of fun.”
Dr. Harold Drake is dedicated to teaching students lessons in life, not just ancient Western civilization. His philosophy is to lecture his students not facts to be forgotten after the test, but entire ideas he hopes will last years.
“There is no bald memorization in my class. You don’t remember details just for the sake of remembering details, you remember details when you know why they’re important. The key isn’t just knowing the answer, it’s understanding the question.”
As a journalism major at USC, Drake learned his most valuable lesson as a writer and editor in chief of his school paper.
“You have to learn to boil things down to the essentials because that is what you’re going to need to know when it matters. When someone lectures you for an hour or an entire quarter you have to know what to pick out from that to write down and remember. If you can pick that up from my class I think you’ve learned a skill that you can really go out and market.”
Dr. Paul Sonnino claims his primary reason for studying history to begin with was to avoid the draft during the Korean War. He was drafted anyway, received a G.I. Bill following service and decided he would continue studying history all the way.
Sonnino isn’t as passionate about his teaching as he is for his research. In fact, he finds history meaningless and finds teaching it pointless.
“Study all the history you want, and unless you have a mystical illumination, you can never prove it. And if you have a mystical illumination you are a prophet. And being a prophet is a racket unless, according to Machiavelli, you are armed. Only the armed prophets succeed.”
Sonnino finds the study of history dangerous. Those who aren’t careful in their learning can lose contact with the human experience. Lecturing at his students is certainly not the way to teach them, he says.
“Lecturing was instituted in the 11th century when there were no books. After the printing press, not to mention the computer, lecturing strikes me as inefficient.”
Sonnino is currently writing a book on the Treaty of Westphalia, “combining sadomasochist sex with court intrigue, war, diplomacy and a hundred million Europeans.” He is also just one document short of revealing the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask.
His life’s lessons can be combined into this advice to freshmen:
“If you want to come and just mature, go out and have a good time in college. If you want more, however, find out what passive sentences are and if your professor uses three or more in your first lecture, drop the class. A professor like that will lead you into an authoritative lecture style and you won’t learn.”
Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer is a professor in the Global Studies and Religious Studies Departments. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from Berkeley and graduate degrees in religious studies and international studies from Columbia University. He has been teaching at UCSB for nine years.
“The students are terrific – they’re smart without acting like it,” he said. Fall Quarter he will be teaching Global Studies 1: Global History and Culture and Global Studies 124: Global Conflict.
Professor Juergensmeyer is an expert on India and comparative Indian society, however, he is currently specializing in religious terrorism. “I study people who blow things up,” he said. His latest book, which is on the subject of religious terrorism, is “Terror in the Mind of God,” but he has published at least a dozen other books.
After the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks, news agencies such as CNN and the L.A. Times sought Juergensmeyer for his expertise.
Outside of work, he likes to “travel and drink with friends.”
Juergensmeyer’s advice for incoming freshmen is “don’t get obsessed with your major or what courses to take. The fun of liberal arts education is learning lots of different things. The important thing is learning analytical thinking and global thinking.”