“Academics is Soaring” – From Provost Zorn, April 18, 2017 Part I & II

Part I

In the past few weeks we’ve had many academic activities that bring such high quality to the CSUB experience.

In February the Theatre Department hosted 500 High School students and their teachers for a day long Spotlight Festival.  I wasn’t able to see the festival in action, but I did see all of the students on campus.

AVP Vernon Harper organized a field trip for Reagan Elementary students to visit campus.  The 150 fifth graders met Rowdy, had a campus tour, and they learned about the importance of attending a university.  The fifth graders were led by our Honors Ambassadors, who were organized by Jackie Kegley, Honors Director.

These types of programs bring students to a university campus, sometimes for the first time in their lives.

Dr. Cameron O’Connor  played at Seattle’s King-FM radio station on Northwest Focus Live with Sean MacLean–premiering a work by LA composer Jordan Nelson (Colburn School);  performed as a guest artist at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, playing with PLU faculty Erik Steigher; and premiered Michael Lee’s (faculty at USC) new work for chorus and guitar with the NY Virtuoso Singers, for their Morton Gould Award Recipient’s Concert, at St. Ignatius Church in NYC.

CAFS faculty member Elaine Correa had a book chapter published:

Correa, E. (2016). “Out of Order!” Exposure, Experience, E-Learning, and Evaluation: An Interdisciplinary Studies Approach @

Service Learning” in Reneta Lansiquot (Ed.) Technology, Theory, and Practice in Interdisciplinary STEM Programs:

       Connecting STEM and Non-STEM Approaches, (pp. 83-106) New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

CAFS Associate Professor, Dr. Christie Howell in collaboration with Special Education Professor, Dr. Yeunjoo Lee, were awarded $250,000.00 from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing for their proposal to develop and implement a four year integrated Educational Specialist Credential Program with a  Baccalaureate degree in Child, Adolescent, and Family Studies (CSPED).  The research team consists of Dr. Yeunjoo Lee and Dr. Christie Howell (Co-Principal investigators) , Dr. Calli Lewis Chiu and Dr. Elaine Correa (AV and Bakersfield Campus Key Faculty). The project runs over the 2017-2018 academic years with the expectation of full implementation of the CSPED program in Fall 2018.

The Runner, under the supervision of Professor Jennifer Burger, has had an exciting run of accomplishments.  About 14 Runner students attended the annual Associated Collegiate Press National Journalism Conference in San Francisco.  During the conference the California College Media Association hosted its annual awards banquet – and The Runner received 14 awards, including third place for best newspaper! The past two years, we’ve received three awards, so this was a significant accomplishment.  Staff members traveled to the WAC tournament for Men’s and Women’s basketball as well as to the Final Four of the NIT Men’s Basketball tournament.

Geology Professor Tony Rathburn participated in the verification cruise of the Research Ship Sally Ride.  When a new ship is introduced to the fleet of research vessels, it must first go through a series of science verification cruises.  These expeditions are designed to test ship operations and the use of various types of gear to collect research samples.  Scientists from around the country are invited to submit proposals to conduct these tests and evaluate the ship’s performance.  The most recent ship to be added to the American Research Fleet is the R/V Sally Ride, named after the first American female astronaut and the youngest American to fly in space (aboard Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983). Dr. Ride became a professor of physics at UC San Diego in 1989, and was director of the California Space Institute. She died at the age of 61 in 2012.  Together with teams of scientists and technicians from Oregon State University, the United States Geological Survey, The University of Rhode Island, Sacramento State University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Woods Hole Oceanographic institution, Tony Rathburn, CSUB Professor of Geology, recently participated on one of the verification cruises aboard the R/V Sally Ride.

Before he left for the cruise, Dr. Rathburn asked students and staff to decorate Styrofoam cups with colored markers.  He placed the cups in an onion bag donated by the ship’s cook, and attached it to the multicorer before the package was sent 1165 m to the seafloor.  Pressure at that depth squeezed much of the air out of the cups, reducing them in size by a least 50%.  These shot glass sized souvenirs of the deep were brought back to the Styrofoam cup artists at CSUB.

CSUB hosted an Immigration Town Hall of 15 lawyers to give advice to DACA students and community members.  The multipurpose room was packed and filled with emotion and deep concern.  Personally, I learned a great deal about what the families face on a daily basis.

Putting CSUB on the map in Cuba!  CSUB sponsored the conference of Irish scholars in Latin America when it was held in Cuba.  This was a high profile conference with Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland, speaking at the launch of the exhibit “The Irish in Latin America”.  Cliona Murphy, History and Carol Dell’Amico, English were among the planning team for the conference. 

Nursing Department’s Dr.Denise Dawkins successfully defended her Special Programs grant to support Sim Center at the OSHPD Funding meeting in San Diego. This is a very competitive process and she was fully funded at $124,196. She received the second highest award.

The Nursing Department’s Capitation grant was also successful in obtaining $192,000 to support nursing education, our highest award to date.

Bob Yohe, Anthropology received a Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiative Award for his work with student, Steve Teteak, titled, “Trade in Spanish California:  An Archaeometrical Analysis of Glass Beads.”  The research investigates the changing form of glass beads to highlight transforming commercial and social interactions in California.

Maryann Parada, Theatre Department received a Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiative Award for her work with student, Estrella Amaro-Jeppesen, titled, “From Teatro Campesino to now: Latino Theatre in Kern County.”  The research examines Chicano and Latino theatre in Kern County .

Kathy  Szick Biology Department received a Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiative Award for her work with student Ivette Yanez, titled, “Investigation of TTX Binding Protein in Newts.”  The research is focused on understanding the nature of the protein binding gene in newts.

Under the direction of AVP Jacqueline Mimms CSUB received one of the largest awards ($20,000) from the Chancellor’s Office for:  Roadrunner Parent Association, Preparing for College Success (work in the high schools), and College Making It Happen.

The CSUB Student Research competition, Sponsored by the Office of Grants Research and Sponsored Programs and Associated Students, Inc. was quite competitive this year.  The research was well presented with excellent methodological designs, making for difficult choices for the judges. The following winners were announced:

Physical and Mathematical Sciences


1st Place – Andrew Hudson (Kinesiology)

2nd Place – Erik Ostlund (Physics)


1st Place – Rosetta Lottie (Masters in Health Administration)

Engineering and Computer Sciences


1st Place – Alex Rinaldi (Computer Science)

2nd Place – Korey Cain (Electrical Engineering)

Behavioral and Social Science


1st Place – Nasseem Alshaif (Psychology and Religious Studies)


Matthew L. McClellan (Masters in Public Administration)

Biological and Agricultural Sciences


1st Place – Jaycie Fickle (Biology)

2nd Place – Kathryn Johnston (Biochemistry)


Mitchell Coleman (Biology)

The Nursing Department received a strong positive report from its 5 year Continuing Approval Visit conducted by the California Board of Registered Nursing. They praised our program for the high NCLEX pass rates, strong student and employer satisfaction reports, meticulous record keeping, and the deep engagement and dedication of the faculty. The reviewers spent 2.5 days touring our campus facilities, combing through binders and boxes of files and records that filled a classroom, then visited clinical sites to observe students conducting patient care under the watchful eye of their faculty.  The next steps include presenting our program at the next Education Licensing Committee Meeting in May, then to the full Board of Registered Nursing in June for final approval.

Kate Mulry, History has been accepted to participate in the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture 2017 Scholars’ Workshop this summer. She submitted her work in progress,  “‘They Will Mix and Interchange their Colours’: Inoculating Sap and Blood in the Eighteenth-Century Anglo Atlantic.”  The funded workshop will provide her with valuable feedback from other scholars and editors on bringing it to publication.

With leadership from Christopher Meyers, Philosophy and Religious Studies and Kegley Center Director and Brandon Pratt, Biology the Kegley Institute of Ethics put the focus on the research on tree-death in our local forests.  Joyce Kohl from the Art Department coordinated an associated gallery show with the event.  http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/local-news/where-are-all-the-trees/677707294

Tim Vivian, Philosophy and Religious Studies wrote an article that will be published this year in Cistercian Studies Quarterly and will eventually be part of a co-authored book manuscript that should be finished this summer.  He also penned a very different article that will appear in Anglican Theological Review.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) hosts a national conference each year where research is presented, professionals meet, and students learn.  The conference organizers produce a student academic competition (College Bowl) at this meeting with teams from each of the regional chapters vying for a national title.  The regional chapter to which we belong is the Southwest ACSM.  The chapter holds a conference in California each fall.  They too host a student academic competition and the team from the winning university is invited to participate in the event at the national meeting as the representative of the chapter.  Small groups of motivated CSUB Kinesiology students have been attending this meeting for approximately 15 years and have participated in the competition.  In the fall of last year, CSUB’s Kinesiology student team won the competition over teams from state and private universities in New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  CSUB’s team (Eryn Chang, Don Baylon, and Andrew Hudson) is making plans to compete at the national conference but their greatest challenge is having the resources to make the trip to Denver in June.  Their faculty mentor is Dr. Jeff Moffit.

Part II

We had 20 teams compete in the Kinetic Sculpture Competition and 40 booths of activities and static displays in celebration of the Maker Movement for the CSUB Fab Fest. NSME’s Andrea Medina is the lead coordinator for this, but many people on campus made it happen!

I visited the Art Show of artwork by our CSUB students that were responses to artwork by San Diego State University students and vice versa.  It was another interesting collaboration led by Art Professor Matt Rich.

Dianne Turner, Art Department collaborated with Reagan Elementary School introducing the 1980s to the children.  Children in grades kindergarten, first and second grade are learning about the 1980s before studying three artists who worked in the 80s. They had a fun costumes day with teachers dressing up as their favorite 1980’s characters.  Of course, a number of the teachers are CSUB alumni.

The Financial Management Association Student Club and Dr. Mahdy Elhusseiny (Accounting and Finance) visited IEX, New York Stock Exchange, Finance Museum, and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New York City.  This is a fabulous opportunity for our students to see this great financial center.

This Los Angeles Times article is a nice tribute to our campus and the Art program.


Jackie Kegley, Philosophy and Religious Studies received the Outstanding Service from Alpha Chi and proceeded to step up and serve the organization again when she was elected Secretary – Treasurer of region VII of Alpha Chi and so is now on the National Council of Alpha Chi.

The Math Department hosted the Math Counts competition for K-12 partners and when I saw the questions the students were computing I was grateful I didn’t have to embarrass myself by trying to answer them!

Dr. Jeffrey Robinson from Rutgers inspired our students with his discussions with them regarding diversity in business careers and entrepreneurship.  I was particularly impressed with his presentation at the Black Chamber of Commerce Gala where he connected so well with our community leaders.

The Alumni Hall of Fame is always so inspiring to see where some of our alumni have gone with their careers and to hear them speak about what CSUB and the faculty, staff, and students meant to them.

The Rising Runners is another program that lets us know what great students we’ve had and where they’ve gone in their short careers.  I heard each one of them talk about a special faculty member who went well beyond the normal expectations and mentored them.  Made me so proud to call our faculty my colleagues.

CSUB inducted our first members of a newly established Phi Beta Delta International Scholars Honor Society.  Cliona Murphy, History and Leslie Williams, Provost Office organized a memorable event for a group that celebrates internationalization.

CSUB hosted a Women’s Empowerment event for the community and  I served on a panel with several distinguished women leaders in our community.  We watched a documentary on mentoring young women and girls and then each of us spoke about our experiences in the hopes of inspiring others.

Last week I attended the Open House at the Children’s Center.  Its academic focus is on STEAM programs.  Debra Jackson, Philosophy and Religious Studies gave a heartwarming talk on why she wanted her daughter to go to the school and what it means to her.  I thoroughly enjoyed her daughter Sophia’s classroom tour she provided me.  Her caterpillar made from an egg carton and all the insects she showed me brought my day to such a pleasant close.  The next morning as I arrived on campus I saw Sophia jump out of Debra’s car and excitedly skip into the center for another day.  It gives me such satisfaction knowing we have such a quality program for the children of our faculty, staff, and students.

Tonight I am heading to the Fulbright Scholar talk by Dr. Jihan Zakarriya, Post Doctoral Fulbright Scholar, Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.  He is going to speak about Gender, Sexuality and Faith in Modern Arabic Literature.  Thanks to Mustafah Dhada, History for bringing him to our campus.

And now we begin the end of year celebration season.  See you at a future event as we celebrate the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and soon-to-be graduates!




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