“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!

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