California State University, Northridge
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About the AAC&U

AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantage of a liberal education to all students, regardless of their academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915 by college presidents, AAC&U now represents the entire spectrum of American colleges and universities—large and small, public and private, two-year and four-year. AAC&U comprises more than 1,100 accredited colleges and universities that collectively educate more than five million students every year.


AAC&U organizes its work around four broad goals:


Through its publications, meetings, public advocacy, and programs, AAC&U provides a powerful voice for liberal education. AAC&U works to reinforce the commitment to liberal education at both the national and the local level and to help individual colleges and universities keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges. With a ninety-year history and national stature, AAC&U is an influential catalyst for educational improvement and reform.



Team Members

William Watkins - Dean of Students, currently serves as the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at California State University, Northridge.  He has been a part of the senior leadership of the division of Student Affairs since July 1993, and has played a central role in the division's transformation to focus on student learning outcomes.  He provides leadership to Student Housing, as well as other departments that focus on campus life and co-curricular programming to support new student transition, engagement through clubs and organizations, volunteer service, and leadership activities.  He is the primary official responsible for administering the University's Student Conduct Code.  Prior to joining Student Affairs, he worked in human resources for 19 years, attaining the level of Associate Director for Personnel and Employee Relations.  He earned his undergraduate degree at CSU, Northridge, holds a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and earned a Doctor of Education at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999.


Maureen Rubin - Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies - Named Interim Director of Undergraduate Studies in August 2006, she was the founding director of the Center for Community-Service Learning where she helped to develop and secure funding for over 300 new service-learning classes.  She wrote and implemented successful grant proposals to help students on her campus participate in projects centered on gang prevention, school readiness, computer literacy, self-help legal assistance, and bringing English and citizenship skills to immigrant elders, among others.  An experienced faculty trainer and peer mentor, she has published widely about service-learning pedagogy, civic engagement, community collaboration and effective outreach. In 2001, she was awarded the Richard E. Cone Award from California Campus Compact for excellence and leadership in cultivating community partnerships in higher education.  Rubin joined the University in 1984 as a professor of journalism. Prior to joining the university, Rubin was Director of Public Information for President Carter’s Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs in the White House, and held similar positions for a U.S. Congresswoman and Consumer Federation of America. Rubin is a graduate of the Catholic University School of Law In Washington, D.C., holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Relations from University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Boston University.


Shelly Thompson - Director, Student Services Center/EOP-in the College of Humanities at CSUN since 2001.  During that time, she has designed, developed, and implemented academic advisement and student services delivery structures and systems for over 3,600 students annually, and initiated activities and services aimed at enhancing student development and improving graduation rates.  Ms. Thompson has serves on numerous committees within the University, including the CSUN Retention Subcommittee, Commencement and Honors Convocation Planning, New Student Orientation, University Planning and Budget Group, and the American Indian Studies Interdisciplinary Program Committee.  Prior to serving as the Director of Student Services, Ms. Thompson was the Coordinator of Academic Advisement at the College for seven years.  A member of the National Association of Academic Advisors, Ms. Thompson has been awarded the 2007 Team Award, a CSUN Merit Award for Excellence in Service in 2006 and the 2004 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Award.  Ms. Thompson graduated cum laude from CSUN in 1990 with a B.A. in English Literature and has completed graduate coursework in Educational Psychology and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.


Johnie Scott - Assoc.Professor, Pan African Studies - faculty member at California State University, Northridge since 1984 in the Pan African Studies Department.  He teaches traditional, classroom-based and distance learning courses in Writing, Black Culture, Third World Cinema, African American Music and Contemporary Issues in the African American Community. He is the Director for its Writing Program – the first and largest Black Studies Writing Program in the nation with an annual enrollment in excess of 1,000 students taking a range of courses from Developmental Reading to Advanced Writing. As one of the original founding members of the Watts Writers Workshop started by author-screenwriter Budd Schulberg which emerged from the Watts Revolt of 1965, Professor Scott has been honored with an Emmy nomination for The Angry Voices of Watts, a Greater Los Angeles Press Club Award for the groundbreaking 1975 series on Los Angeles' inner city street gangs entitled "Coming Home, To What?," and a coveted CASE Silver Award for an autobiographical essay on the 1992 Los Angeles Riots entitled "The Fire This Time" published by Stanford Magazine. He was elected in 1998 to membership in the Academy of American Poets.


Roberta Orona-Cordova - Assistant Professor, Chicano Studies, Writing Program Coordinator for the Chicano/a Studies Program at CSUN.  She has been teaching Freshman Composition at UC Berkeley, California State University - Long Beach, Santa Monica College, and CSUN for over 27 years.    At CSUN, she teaches Freshman Comp, Minority Creative Writing, Chicana and Chicano Literature, and  Chicanos in Film.  A graduate of UC-Berkeley, with an MA from California State University – San Francisco and an MFA from UCLA, Professor Orona-Cordova has won numerous awards at CSUN, including the Judge Julian Beck Instructional Improvement Grant for her project “Unifying Developmental Writing Program Assessment: Raising Student Pass Rates,” and a College of Humanities Faculty Fellowship to develop a guidebook for Freshman Composition.  She is the editor of a freshman composition anthology: Chicano/a Studies Reader: A Bridge to Writing, and author of Student Guidebook: Activities and Exercises to accompany the Chicano/a Studies reader.  An accomplished creative writer in her own right, Professor Orona-Cordova is the author of several screenplays and published short stories.


Adam Swenson - Assistant Professor, Philosophy. After graduating summa cum laude from UCLA with Bachelor Degrees in philosophy and Japanese, Professor Swenson earned his doctorate at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2006. His main interests lie within ethics in all its forms (normative, meta, and applied). He also works in social/ political philosophy and the philosophy of law focusing on criminal law, obligations to government, and issues concerning marginalized groups within cosmopolitan societies. He recently published Pain’s Evils, a paper on pain’s intrinsic badness, in the prestigious journal Utilitas. He is the editor of the blog Pain for Philosophers devoted to chronicling and commenting on advances in pain science, palliative care, and medical ethics. He is presently writing a book on the nature of pain’s evil and its bearing on fundamental issues in value theory.


Cheryl Spector - Director of Academic First Year Experiences and Professor of English. As Director of Academic First Year Experiences, Professor Spector coordinates the university's Freshman Common Reading Program, the Freshman Seminar (University 100, a three-unit GE course now enrolling about 1000 students annually), and the Freshman Connection (a cohorted learning community program serving students from a variety of disciplines and departments on campus). Her recent presentations and publications have focused on student information competence in freshman classes, pedagogical strategies for teaching college freshmen, and cross-divisional collaboration in support of freshman success. She spent an angst-filled year in the early 1970s as a college freshman at Rice University, emerging triumphantly four years later as a Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in English. She earned her MA and PhD in English at Cornell University.


Bonnie Paller is Director of the Office of Academic Assessment and Associate Professor of Philosophy at California State University, Northridge. As Director of Academic Assessment she oversees and facilitates department/program assessment plans across the university, is developing a campus-wide model of core academic competencies for all CSUN graduates and assessment strategies for them, assists in the Program Review process, serves on the WASC re-accreditation steering committee, collaborates with the Office of Institutional Research, and represents CSUN to the CSU Chancellor’s Office in all matters connected with academic assessment. Prior to serving as Director, she was a member of the faculty in the Department of Philosophy for 22 years, where she taught courses in philosophy of science, epistemology, and logic. She was academic advisor for the department for 7 years and has served on a variety of college and university committees. She has a double BA from UCSC in philosophy and psychology and a PhD from University of Southern California.


Christopher J. Aston


Maria Turnmeyer


Anne Kellenberger


Sharron Kollmeyer-Gerfen


Merri Whitelock



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