Carl Sundbeck: "The reason I became a Geography major"

With great appreciation for his eight years of service to the Geography Department, a surprise party was held for Carl Sundbeck April 15, 2004, in downtown Goleta. Sundbeck had completed his last class just a few weeks earlier and would be greatly missed.

Since Fall of 1995, Sundbeck had been teaching Geography 3, then 3A and 3B, when it split into human and physical geography. With his energetic and humorous teaching style, he had become one of the students’ favorites. Robin Johnson bought a 2-foot tall card and gathered notes from people who had known Sundbeck over the years. They wrote such compliments as:
” Through Carl, geography came to life.” “Carl was by far my favorite professor here at UCSB.” “I can honestly say that you influenced my teaching, thinking, and career probably more than anyone else in the entire SB Geography community. It’s an honor to be following in the steps of a true teacher.” “You have been an inspiration to me. You have forever changed the way I look at the planet and at life itself.” “Carl is the reason I became a geography major. He made the subject come to life.” “Thanks for being such an instrumental professor who was able to connect with his students like no other.” “I wish him the best in everything he does and know he will continue to touch the lives of those he teaches.”

Yes, although he won’t be teaching Geography 3A and 3B anymore for UCSB, Sundbeck is still teaching. All the while he has contributed to our Department, he has had a full-time position with Santa Barbara City College, where he has been Chair of their department and has received awards for teaching.

Sundbeck seemed genuinely surprised at the party. Dan Montello was supposedly just kicking back with Sundbeck. They were going to have a beer together. The two entered the darkness of the bar and, before irises could open, they heard “Surprise!” from about 20 students and staff who were awaiting him. The group headed out back to an outdoor “lounge,” where Sundbeck was presented with the enormous greeting card, a mug etched with “Carl Sundbeck, for his years of service to UCSB and Geography,” a polo shirt embroidered with the Geography logo, and a printout of some of the photos students had taken of him last quarter during Saturday field trips. And, of course, there was a cake.

Thank you, Carl!

Note: Many people have asked why Sundbeck will no longer teach Geography at UCSB. Some have expressed incredulity at such a seemingly preposterous turn of events. University of California lecturers are hired on a temporary basis to fill a teaching need in the department. Temporary appointments are extended depending upon program needs and availability of funding. Policy also dictates that because these are temporary appointments, lecturers cannot be appointed for more than 18 quarters. Exceptions can be made if there are no tenure-track faculty to teach the course. As the department faculty recruitment has been successful, newly hired tenure-track faculty will be able to teach Geography 3A and 3B.

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