“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, June 12, 2016

We graduated our highest number of students during our commencement ceremonies with more than 2,500 students receiving degrees.  Well, provided they pass their exams!

Last night I attended the Nursing Pinning Ceremony and it was a meaningful celebration with each of California’s new nurses taking The Florence Nightingale Pledge by candlelight.

We celebrated cultural ceremonies of the Black Recognition Ceremony and the Chicano/a Celebration in the week leading up to the commencements.

The Antelope Valley Center celebrated its outstanding students and alumnus at a beautiful celebration last weekend.  I declare it to have had won the best balloon display of all of the celebrations!

The last of the four School Honors and Awards Receptions was for the School of Social Sciences and Education.  The many accomplishments of the students were an impressive array that exemplified the mentorship of the faculty.

On June 3 we celebrated the Groundbreaking for the Arts and Humanities office building and the classroom building.  This summer you will start to see the digging begin and over the coming year the buildings will materialize.

During the January-March 2016 quarter on behalf of 9 faculty/staff GRASP processed and submitted 10 proposals requesting a total of $5.2M from three federal agencies, one CSU organization, one professional association, and one state agency.

Graduate students Kenneth Lekim, Cheritha Hewakandamby, and Sarai Espinoza from the Master of Science, Health Care Administration (MS-HCA) program, who work with California Children’s Services (CCS) as Student Research Assistants, presented their initial findings for their current research at the CCS Annual Conference on May 7, 2016. The goal of the research is to assess the readiness of CCS patients transitioning to adulthood with the final goal of being to self-manage and self-advocate for their medical needs. To date, only a small fraction of their target participation has been assessed, but their initial findings show a need to increase and improve educational transitioning services.

Congratulations to Dr. Richard Gearhart, Economics Department, who received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) Chapter at their annual induction ceremony on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. NSLS members were asked to nominate a professor who teaches with heart and passion and has motivated them in their pursuit of higher education.

Dr. Di Wu, Department of Accounting and Finance, was awarded Certified Management Accountant (CMA) by Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in May of 2016. CMA’s assess competency of internally focused accounting skills and is appropriate for professionals working in large, small, publicly traded and privately held enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, academia, and government. More than 37,000 professionals in the U.S. and around the world have earned the CMA since the program was introduced in 1972.

The 2015-16 academic year is nearly in the books as faculty finalize grading this week.  I was pleased to see the joyful faces of all of the faculty, staff, and administrators as we congratulated our students on their graduation day.  Thanks to all of you for making their CSUB academic careers possible!


“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, June 2, 2016

We are in the home stretch!  It has been an event-filled few weeks and it isn’t slowing down yet!

Tonight the School of Arts and Humanities honored students in the Dezember Room with a variety of Project, Paper, Thesis, and Department Awards and Outstanding Graduate Awards.  Faculty and staff were visibly proud of their students and their success.  CSUB Alumna Jacqui Kitchen, the 2016 Alumni Rising Runner for A&H inspired the room with her meaningful Honors Address.

Last night was the raucous and celebratory “The Rowdy’s Late Night”  Starring CSUB Athletics in the Fox Theatre downtown.  A variety of awards were presented including academic awards for the Golden Circle and Best Academic Performance.  Overall student athletes have earned a record high 3.06 gpa.

Also last night we celebrated the credential students as more than 300 new teachers received their final credentials for teaching in our K-12 community.  Bakersfield is a better place because of these new teachers who have been guided and educated by our outstanding faculty!  The room was full of excitement and anticipation of future impact for the next generation.

The student Art Show was an eclectic collection of creativity and energy!  I always enjoy seeing the students’ creations and this show did not disappoint.

I enjoyed the show!  La Gringa was another entertaining performance by the Theatre Department. The story of a Puerto Rican from New York who is trying to find her identity. It will be entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Great job, again!

The Honors Recognition for the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering was an impressive array of student research and academic excellence.  I was pleased to see the family and faculty supporting their students with deep pride.

At Commencement look for the red, white, and blue cords that our veterans will wear and thank them for their service and congratulate them on their accomplishment!  They received their cords at the Veterans Recognition Program.  We heard from several as they thanked their supporters who helped them continue moving forward to their degrees.  Many faculty and staff gave extra attention to these students as they transitioned back into civilian life.  It is always moving to hear the sorts of assistance they needed and appreciated from us.

I enjoyed the breakfast Initiation for the International Honor Society for Economics, Omicron Delta Epsilon.  The Economics faculty are so supportive of their students and happy to recognize them for their academic success.

I was honored to attend the Initiation for Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Honor Society for Business.  Once again it was clear to see the impact our faculty have on these students.  The students appreciated their mentors and the roles they have played in their academic careers at CSUB.

The Eighth Annual Gender Matters Symposium was once again hosted by Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and ClubGEN (Gender Equality Now!).  We heard research presentations by our students and a keynote presentation “Glitter. Power. Love:  A (Re)Introduction to Gender” by national GenderQueer Advocate Jacob Tobia.  I found the talk to be academic, fact-based and an honest and open discussion of gender and a personal journey.  Jacob certainly resonated with the students.

The 20th Annual Psi Chi Research Conference provided opportunities for faculty/student collaborative research projects to be presented.  The projects were in various stages of development and the conference provided a comfortable environment for the students to receive input and feedback as they develop their research agendas.  I was able to attend a presentation on “Thug” a Code Word for a Racial Epithet? that was a socially relevant research project for our current understandings of race.

I spent a couple of hours listening to faculty presentations in the Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum program.  Each of the faculty in the program gave brief presentations on the innovative teaching project they introduced in their courses.  This is a genuine learning community where the faculty learned from each other in critiquing what worked and what didn’t, adapting techniques from others, and creating different learning environments.  It was intriguing to see how divergent disciplines were able to adopt similar techniques.

Alicia Rodriquez, History Department, has been accepted to a second summer institute, this one at the Institute for Constitutional Studies/Stanford University Constitutional Law Center:  “The Reconstruction Amendments:  Freedom, Equality, and The American Constitution.”  Congratulations Alicia!

For five weeks we hosted a visiting sculptor from Japan Sachiko Miki.  She worked diligently to create an amazing sculpture for our campus that deals with Water and the Body.  This amazing sculpture is placed near Dr. Thomas Wallace’s office.  It is an intriguing sculpture that will catch your imagination.  I encourage you to stop by and experience it.

We toasted the newly retired and emeritus faculty and invited them to join with the rejuvenated retired faculty association.  The history in that room filled the air with stories and a collective wisdom of years upon years of academic advancement here at CSUB.  Thousands of students have been inspired, guided, and challenged by these faculty over the decades.  We will miss long-time friends and colleagues and hope they continue to stay engaged with us.

I enjoyed some honest discussions with the Faculty Fellows in the TLC program as we discussed professional issues and career paths.

We have launched several affinity groups as we work to build community here at CSUB:  Black Faculty and Staff Association, Latino/a Affinity Group, Asian Affinity Group, Women Leaders at CSUB, and international faculty are working on establishing a Phi Beta Delta International Scholars Society at CSUB.

As a part of the 2015 Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) grant,  the CSUB AL$ team organized a luncheon to recognize faculty who have participated in the CSUB Affordable Learning Solutions Initiative, along with faculty who have been certified via Quality Matters and faculty doing course redesign.  Librarian Sandra Bozarth serves as the Lead for the AL$ grant.

I attended my first Roadrunner Society Induction Ceremony.  This is a fantastic way to celebrate the academic success of students as they balance numerous demands on their time while maintaining high gpas!

I also attended my first staff recognition ceremony where we recognize years of service to the university.  I am always amazed at these events when I see how many people are so dedicated to the university and love working here!  It’s great to be a Runner!

I learned about the internship program established by Dr. Wallace with President Mitchell when I joined the celebration of the Graduate Student Leader Cohort.  This program develops leadership in our graduate students and provides opportunities for some of our operations to benefit from their work on projects.

About a dozen students have been selected to attend the national HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) conference in October.  We held an orientation meeting with the students and are preparing them to gain the most from this opportunity.

So many more celebrations to attend in the coming days!  I’m looking forward to them all!

“Academics is Soaring” — From Provost Zorn, May 12, 2016

We are fully into the final celebrations and events of the academic year.  It is a celebratory time of the year when we recognize faculty, staff, and students for their hard work and exemplary service.

-Last night I attended an inspiring event hosted by the Wonderful Company in Visalia.  It is a scholarship program for their employees, many of whom work 7 days per week in the fields from sun up to sun down.  Children of the employees were awarded up to $6,000 each in scholarships to attend a community college or 4 year institution.  Hundreds of scholarships were awarded last night, as in previous years.  The students have high retention rates of 86% because of the supports that begin in pre-school through high school.  They support the students here at CSUB, the most popular destination (OF COURSE!), with an onsite tutor.  I witnessed one man thank the President of the Citrus Division for the scholarship for his child.  With emotion and pride he lifted his hand with all five fingers extended, saying “Number Five.  Number Five.  This is my fifth child to receive a scholarship.  Many of these students would never have the opportunity for a college education without this support of the Wonderful Company.  They are dedicated to transforming the lives of the people in the valley through education.  This is our mission, and I am grateful to be able to work with all of you as we carryout this mission.

-The CSUB Research Excellence Awards honored faculty and staff for their Sponsored Programs granted activity.  More than fifty faculty and staff were recognized in the Millionaire Club, Gold Awards, Silver Awards, and Bronze Awards.  It was an impressive array of research projects, many of which included students in the research.

-When I spoke to the student athletes at their opening all-sport meeting I challenged them to push their overall GPA over 3.0.  They have risen to that challenge and continue to push higher.  The CSUB students athletes earned the highest ever cumulative GPA of 3.06 at the conclusion of the winter term.  The women’s soccer team earned the highest women’s team GPA with a 3.39 GPA.  The wrestling team earned the highest men’s team GPA with a 3.02 GPA.  Women’s soccer boasts the highest team cumulative GPA of 3.42 with 24 student athletes carrying a 3.0 or above cumulative GPA.  Seventy percent of all CSUB teams claim a 3.0 or above cumulative GPA.  120 student athletes earned recognition on the dean’s list and 162 student athletes boast a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

-Distinguished CSUB BPA alumnus and CSUB Hall of Fame Inductee, Kevin McCarthy, who also represents local District 23 as a U.S. congressman and House Majority Leader returned to the classroom to speak with MBA students in Dr. Mohsen Attaran’s class at the School of Business and Public Administration (BPA). He shared insights and strategies that have carried him successfully through the years as a business owner and politician:

  • Everything you do comes down to timing and knowing when to hold back and when to jump is an important part of success.
  • Do something you think you can’t do, because that is when you will do your best.
  • Be entrepreneurial: You don’t have to think of something that has never been created, think of how you can make it better.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. You will learn more from failure than you ever will from any success.

-Congratulations to Kate Mulry, History Department, who was awarded a month long fellowship this summer at the Winterthur Museum and Library.  It houses one of the most important collections of Americana in the United States of America.

-And yet another for Kate Mulry, History Department.  She was awarded a fellowship to work in the Council of the American Antiquarian Society for her project “Unwholesome Tinctures:  Inoculation and Questions of Heredity in the Early Eighteenth Century Anglo Atlantic.”

Sandra Bozarth, Librarian is coordinating the CSUB COOL4Ed web site.  Faculty eportfolios are now available on the COOL4Ed web site. When you click on the faculty showcase link you can scroll through and find your eportfolio or search by area. Our own Abbas Grammy, Economics, is listed first. Thank you for your participation in selecting an open source textbook. You all are making great efforts to help to make textbooks more affordable for our students and addressing the issue of the rising costs of textbooks. http://cool4ed.org/facultyshowcase.html

Sandra Bozarth, Librarian is also directing the Affordable Solutions Initiative at CSUB.  We received $20,000 from the Chancellor’s Office for the Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) Initiative which will support faculty in their adoption of affordable course materials.

Heidi He, Nursing  was selected RN of the Year by the Association of Kern County Nurse Leaders (AKCNL)!  The award was announced at the 9th Annual Night to Honor Our Nurses event, which recognizes the dedicated men and women of the nursing profession.  Thirty-seven nurses were nominated under 6 different categories of nursing excellence.  Heidi was named RN of the Year in the area of Advanced Practice for her clinical excellence as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and her outstanding contributions to the nursing profession.  She is recognized in our healthcare community as a knowledgeable, compassionate clinician, and has provided high-quality care to Kern County residents for nearly 20 years.  Heidi is in the final semester of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Fresno State and is completing an innovative Chronic Care Management Toolkit to improve patient outcomes.  Under Heidi’s leadership, the MSN/FNP Program at CSUB has been successfully reestablished and accredited, providing an opportunity for local nurses pursue their goal to become FNPs.

-Under the direction of Sarah E. Appleton, Psychology, the SATP grant from SAMHSA has made an impact in the community in its first six months of operation.  One amazing impact our program has had is that one of our local group homes revised their policies to screen every adolescent for substance use disorders which will allow the kids to be referred to appropriate treatment when needed. They said our training gave them the knowledge and skills to put that into practice! We are looking forward to upcoming regional trainings in June and September and hope to train about 120 additional local professionals.  Great job!

Mustafah Dhada, History Department organized a session for the American Historical Society “Mass Violence and The End of the Portuguese Empire: Mueda and Wiriyamu Examined,” and will be a presidential session.

-The Department of Geology now awards more geology degrees than any other CSU!  The number of CSUB geology majors has skyrocketed over the last 10 years or so. We are now also seeing that these students are successful and are completing their degrees in record numbers. In 14/15 CSUB awarded over 10% of all geology degrees in the CSU.  This success is related to major funding from the National Science Foundation and Chevron for outreach, recruiting, and student success initiatives. It is rewarding to see how all the hard work of the faculty and the support from Chevron are making an impact. In the case of Chevron, it really shows how their long-standing support of initiatives developed by the faculty makes a difference.

Jackie Kegley, Honors Director confirmed that we  are scheduled to host the CSU Honors Conference in April, 2017.  This will be a great way to showcase our campus and its excellence in scholarship.

-The English Department and the Walter Stiern Library hosted a poetry reading “Writing the Drought.”  The readings were a collection of poems by Kern County Authors.

Mahdy Elhusseiny, Accounting and Finance Department, is the advisor to the Financial Management Association student club.  The club hosted the 2nd Annual Foreign Trade Obligations and Implications event with guest speakers with extensive expertise in Foreign Trade.  It was an evening filled with excellent insights and the students posed probing questions.  It was evident to me that our students are well prepared in foreign trade concepts and the intricate nature of financial management.

Celebrate CSUB was a delightful day that showcased so many of our students, programs, and educational opportunities.  Mostly I enjoyed watching the little children engaged in activities such as trying their hands at pottery, intrigued by real brains of animals including a human brain, and poetry writing.  The talent competition was a tough one to judge because of the high level of the performers!

-The last two Brown Bag discussions have been panels on Sexual Assault in 1970’s Bakersfield:  A Story of Women Helping Women and Mental Health.  Each were powerful discussions of important issues for our times.  I was deeply moved by each panel who have given their lives to these issues.

-I was honored to be inducted along with the students into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.  While I could not attend, Dr. Kegley graciously pinned me at a later date.  I am  pleased to see we have a meaningful ceremony for the student inductees and that we provide this opportunity for them.

-The Department of Public Policy Administration hosted their Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony and I was fortunate to have a front row seat to snap photos of some of our staff who were inducted.  That was a fun evening celebrating their commitments to noble professions.

-This week I enjoyed the Years of Service Staff Awards where we celebrate staff with 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service.  I liked the look of the 40 year award, but I think it’s outside the realm of possibility for me!

-The very fancy Student Leaders Awards night transformed the Student Union Multi-Purpose room into an unrecognizably elegant setting.  The student leaders, faculty advisors, and staff mentors received awards for their work as servant leaders.  I was proud to be in the room with such great promise for our future.  Our country needs these wise and classy leaders!

The Runner hosted an open house for their new digs in Modular III.  Advisor Jennifer Burger has established a strong program for our journalistic students.  I wish I had that kind of space when I wrote for the student newspaper in college.  Students these days have it so much better than we did;)  And that’s what we are striving for with our students….better and better experiences and opportunities.

-Thanks to the organizers of the CSU Research Competition which netted some awards for some of our students and was lauded as one the best organized and smoothly run competitions in memory.

-And, of course the visits by Chancellor Tim White and Board of Trustees Faculty member Steven Stepanek provided opportunities for us to engage with our leaders.  Each spoke of how meaningful their days with us were, how they were impressed by the innovative teaching of our faculty, how lively and brilliant our students were with them, and how obvious it is that the staff are committed to our mission.