“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.

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