“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, April 28, 2016

We have officially transitioned to semesters!  This past weekend dozens of staff worked around the clock and converted all of the student records, registration, and course curriculum to semesters in preparation for the upcoming advising and registration.

And you thought it was just about basketball….Miriam Vivian was quoted extensively on the connection between Bakersfield and Oklahoma on the front page article in the Oklahoman Friday March 18, 2016 for the CSUB basketball team’s game against Oklahoma in the NCAA championship tournament. http://newsok.com/article/5485832

I served as a panelist at the opening presidential plenary at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting.  The topic was  “Thriving in a Time of Disruption in Higher Education.”

The Latina Youth Conference was hosted on campus again this year.  I was pleased to welcome them and give them encouragement to follow their educational dreams.

Isabel Sumaya, Psychology received the exciting news that the $2.5 million NIH MARC U STAR Grant: Preparing Students for a Future in Biomedical Research, has been funded!

Jacqueline Mimms reports that CSUB is partnering with SFSU and other campuses on a $500,000 Prison Initiative Grant “Project Rebound”  to increase the number of justice-involved students who persist to a four-year degree.

In Psychology Isabel Sumaya, Dee Bailey and Susan Catlett’s article “Differential effects of a short-term high-fat diet in an animal model of depression in rats treated with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, ondansetron, the 5-HT3 receptor agonist, 2-methyl-5-HT, and the SSRI, fluoxetine”  was published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior.

Alicia Rodriquez, History Department, was invited to participate in the NEH Summer Institute on “Westward Expansion and the Constitution in the Early Republic,” to be held in Norman, Oklahoma, this June.

A White House invitation:  Alumnus Megan Mawson (BA English, 2007) of The East High School Health Careers Academy was invited to the White House to attend an event that supported the First Lady’s “Beating the Odds” Initiative.  The Health Careers Academy, as part of the California Partnership Academies, in addition to five other schools from around the country, was chosen to speak on behalf of programs with long track records of helping at-risk, impoverished students succeed despite the hardships they face on a daily basis.  Megan, a Health Careers teacher, elaborated on the structure and operation of the academy, offered firsthand accounts of what students’ lives were like before, during, and after participating in the program, and presented feedback on how governmental agencies could improve policy to help such programs flourish.

Christopher Meyers, Philosophy, and The Kegley Institute brought Tracy Martin, father of Treyvon Martin to campus to talk about his vision of positive change.  It was an emotional and powerful evening with more than 2,000 campus and community members in attendance.

The President’s Speaker Series brought David Cote, CEO of Honeywell to campus for a discussion with students in class and a presentation to the campus and community.  It was a lively discussion of visionary leadership and perseverance to reach goals.

 Geology students Nick Mitchell, Richard McGuire, Charlie Gomes and Christopher Cook placed third in the IBA competition.  Jan Gillespie, Geology along with her outside consultant local geophysicist Don Greenfield are advisors for the team.  IBA is the Imperial Barrel Award, a competition put on each year by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.  Teams receive a real world subsurface dataset consisting of seismic and well data from somewhere in the world (we had offshore New Zealand).  The students have 8 weeks to learn about the geology and petroleum systems of the area and then develop and defend a series of drillable oil/gas prospects to a team of judges.  We competed in the Pacific Coast Division which included Portland State, CSU Northridge, CSU Long Beach, San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara and the Univ. of Alaska.  Local oil companies are very attuned to the results of the competition and tend to look favorably on students who participate when it comes to hiring.  It has been good to have them see that CSUB can be a contender even against much larger schools like UCSB.

I was able to attend the showcase of the RIAP program of our faculty and our high school, BC, and Taft colleagues.  I was impressed with the thoughtful and innovative material they have created for their classes and the visions that have for their schools.  This is a cross-curricular program for high school, community college, and university faculty; we have 64 participants this year.  Kim Flachman, English is our campus lead.

At the Alpha Chi convention, Nursing student, Robyn Musick, was elected student rep. to the National Council from Region VII and Jackie Kegley, Philosophy was elected Vice President of Region VII.

We hosted the 2016 Chevron Engineering Design Challenge (CDC) Bakersfield Regionals. Local high school students enrolled in the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Pathways to Engineering Program put their design skills to the test by responding to real-life scenarios and designing products at the annual CDC.

Professor of Economics, Abbas P. Grammy, recently published the Economic and Fiscal Impact report for CSUB. The report quantified the economic enhancement the university makes to the local economy in the form of community engagement, earnings increments, and productivity improvement by measuring the impacts of spending by the university, students, alumni, visitors, and active and retired employees.

Dr. Grammy was also commissioned by the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California to provide an economic and fiscal impact analysis of hospitals operating in Kern County. The analysis included ten hospitals operating in Kern County and highlights their impact to our communities and emphasizes the necessity to invest in and protect our regional health care safety-net.

The Kern Economic Summit is an annual event that provides a forum for economists and business leaders to discuss international, national, regional, and local economies. Economics Department faculty members Dr. Mark Evans, Dr. Richard Gearhart, and Dr. Nyakundi Michieka were guest speakers. Dr. Michieka discussed the relationship between oil prices and local unemployment rates, Dr. Gearhart discussed local trends related to the health care industry, and Dr. Evans discussed local economic policy.

The office of Grant, Research and Sponsored Programs held a Student Poster Competition on Friday, April 8, 2016 as part of the activities for the Research Excellence Day at CSUB.  Please join use to congratulate the students  for winning the Poster competition in their respective categories.  Winners are listed in: 2016 Winners List for Distribution with Majors.

The Research Excellence Day was a fabulous example of the dynamic research that are faculty conduct.  I thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and the posters by faculty and students.

Robert M. Yohe II, Anthropology has published an article in California Archaeology “Recently Discovered Clovis Points in Indian Wells Valley on the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Southeastern Alta California.”

Hawk Honors student, Omar Samara won Second Place in the STEM Poster session at the Western Regional Honors Conference at UC, Riverside for his poster “Development of Autonomous Unmanned Ariel Vehicle for Pesticide Application in Agriculture.”

And that doesn’t even cover the first half of April!  More to come….


Best Regards,


Jenny Zorn, PhD

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, March 28, 2016

-A recent visit to campus from a 2015 graduate provided a testimonial to the great work we do here at CSUB.  She is completing her Masters degree at a UC this spring and has been offered an internship in Washington, DC.  She spoke with a CSUB administrator and reflected back on her years at CSUB and said it was a great education, far better than what she saw the undergraduates at the UC were receiving, saying most undergraduates there never get to see their professors, they are taught by graduate teaching assistants.  She spoke of how she valued all of the dedicated faculty who truly cared about her success and the staff who were supportive of her when she could easily have felt like she didn’t fit in.

-Attached is a listing of the winners of the California State University Bakersfield Student Research Competition which was held on Friday, March 4, 2016. Please join us in celebrating the wonderful work of our students done under the supervision of our faculty. Some of these winners will represent CSUB at the CSU Statewide research competition to be held on our campus on April 29 and 30, 2016.   Thanks to GRASP for organizing the event and competition.

Physical and Mathematical Sciences
1st Place – Nkiruka Oragwam (Chemistry)
2nd Place – David-Allen Alvarez (Geology)
1st Place – [Tie] Rachel Tiner (Geology)
Jordan Martin (Geology)
Engineering and Computer Sciences
1st Place – Sheriff Sadiqbatcha (Computer Engineering)
2nd Place – Alex Ramirez (Electrical Engineering)
Biological and Agricultural Sciences
1st Place – Rachel Oldfield (Chemistry)
1st Place – David Salisbury (Biology)
Behavioral and Social Sciences
1st Place – Andrew Suter (Psychology & Biology)
2nd Place – [Tie] Hala Alnajar (Sociology)
Samirah Hussein (Psychology)

-The College of Business and Public Administration began a new professional development initiative with community partners.  More than twenty community partners participated in mock interviews and mentoring of students to bring Dean Kalfayan’s vision to reality.

Sophia Adjaye from the English Department coordinated this quarter’s event, a talk in the The Warren Family Lectures in Language and Linguistics (L3) series on February 18. The guest lecturer was Sharese King (Ph.D. candidate) of Stanford University, and her topic was Rachel Jeantel on Trial in the Case of George Zimmerman.

– The School of Arts and Humanities advising team was selected to present their proposal “Do Minors Matter: Analysis and perceptions of requiring a minor” at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 9 conference in Los Angeles March 15-16.  Led by Dr. Anna Laven and including advising staff Adriana Sixtos, Christina Chavez and Janine Cornelison, the team sought to better understand the positive and negative impacts of the minor requirement as the school began to consider making minors optional.  The research project contributes to the literature by bringing to the forefront another facet of curricular life that can impact retention and graduation rates beyond that of major selection.

Anna Laven, Ed.D., Advising Center Coordinator for the School of Arts and Humanities, has been invited to serve on the Government Relations Board for the Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  As a member of the Government Relations Committee, Dr. Laven will work to educate, advocate, and take policy positions on issues that affect its members and impact business in the communities of Kern County.  She will attend regular board meetings and focus on opportunities that may benefit our students.  Thank you for your willingness to serve and contribute!

-The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies Professor Tim Vivian’s article “Wake the Devil” received The Historical Society of the Episcopal Church’s 2015 Nelson R. Burr Prize which honors “that which best exemplifies excellence and innovative scholarship in the field of Anglican and Episcopal history.”  Two of his reviews also were recently published:

Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, by Karen Armstrong. Cistercian Studies Quarterly 51.1 (2016): 129-133.
The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity, by Peter Brown. American Benedictine Review 67:1 (March 2016): 114-116.

-Congratulations to Dr. Debra Jackson (Philosophy) for the publication of her article, “Throwing Like a Slayer: A Phenomenology of Gender Hybridity and Female Resilience in Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in  Slayage: The Journal of Whedon Studies, 14.1 [43], Winter 2016.  

– A partnership between Cal State Bakersfield and a Los Angeles water treatment company is giving local engineering students real-life experience with one of Kern County’s most intractable challenges: how to divert wastewater for economical reuse in agriculture.  Luis Cabrales, an assistant engineering professor at CSUB, said the program is great because the nine students, all in their senior year, not only receive training from the company but also receive “hands-on experience on real problems.”

-The Department of Physical Education and Kinesiology led by Kris Grappendorf partnered with Buttonwillow Elementary School and Kaiser Permanente on a Runner Read and Ride Program.  The middle school students ride on stationary bicycles while reading and the PEAK faculty and students are measuring their fitness levels. The research is focused on childhood obesity while motivating students to read while they pedal away. Kaiser Permanente funded the bicycles and fitbits.  During the kickoff event I spoke with students who were enthusiastic about the books they were reading and the fun they were having riding the bicycles. I rode 1.5 miles and burnt 58.1 calories during the open house!

-Five student athletes qualified for the NCAA wrestling championships in Madison Square Gardens in New York City.  Congratulations to Adam Fierro, Reuben Franklin, Ian Nickell, Bryce Hammond, and Coleman Hammond! Nickell, Hammond, and Hammond all made it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated today. Great Season, Runners!

-The Basketball team won the WAC championships on a buzzer beater to qualify for their first time in the NCAA Championships in just their sixth season of eligibility to compete.  They played a great game against number 2 seed Oklahoma (who are still in it, making it to the final four) in front a hometown crowd in Oklahoma City with a few hundred loyal Runner fans supporting them through the final minutes.  All of this during finals week where they took exams during their down time in Oklahoma.

“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, March 16, 2016

-The Ethics Bowl, in its first appearance, won the regional competition.  This weekend they traveled to Washington, DC and brought home more hardware!  They made it to the quarterfinals where one of the students reported that they faced a formidable US Naval Academy who sunk J their chances to move on to the semifinals!   Faculty member Debra Jackson, Philosophy, was the team advisor.  Congratulations to all and thanks for representing us so well!

-CSUB hosted the 24th Annual Kern County Regional Science Bowl on February 13 with 31 teams competing with 160 students, 74 volunteers, and nearly 60 friends and family on campus.  Thanks to Chemistry Professor Roy LaFever who is the faculty coordinator for this event.

-The Department of Teacher Education hosted more than 200 K-12 teachers for a workshop “ Choose Your Own Edventure: Technology in the Classroom” as part of their Residency Program for K-12 teachers.  The workshops I attended were lively and informative for the teachers.  These are the types of programs that serve our educational community and build on our partnerships.

-The Nursing Department hosted a successful site visit and received a positive review by the visiting team.  The Masters in Nursing is now accredited by CCNE!!!!

-A record number of graduation checks are being processed for over 1700 students!  All of your work to help those students complete their degrees during the quarter system has paid off and we will see a record number walk across the stage this June!

-A student art and creative writing project “Writing into Color.  Color into Writing” was a collaboration of Matthew Woodman, English Department and Matthew Rich, Art Department.  The painting class painted colored squares and the creative writing students then wrote poems from their interpretation of the colors.  And other creative writing students wrote poems that other painters interpreted in colored squares.  I was impressed with this interdisciplinary classroom concept and the poetry was especially moving.

-The History Department and the Library continue to collaborate on academic talks in the Dezember Reading Room.  The latest was Mustafah Dhada, History Department and his talk on his research in Mozambique where I learned a great deal about the country and its history.

-The Geology Department hosted a fascinating talk by Geologist Jerome DeGraff  “Fire, Earth & Rain:  Emergency response for Wildfire-Induced Landslide Hazards”  that was specific to our region and personal to me as I experienced the mudslide on Highway 58 back in October.

-The Music and Theatre Departments have produced some entertaining shows this fall and the latest I was able to enjoy was the Opera Theatre.

Dean Richard Collins was selected to serve on the Executive Board of California Humanities and  recently was named to the Executive Committee, serving as Chair of the Audit Committee.  This 40 year old organization supports the humanities in our state with the mission “To connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future.”

-Our Iota chapter of Alpha Chi, the National College Honor Scholarship Society, has been named a Star Chapter for 2014‐15, a recognition achieved by fewer than one‐fifth of the chapters across the nation.  Philosophy Department Professor, Jackie Kegley serves as their advisor.