College of Humanities Newsletter

fall 2009


Volume 4, Issue 1

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In This Issue

  1. Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say
  2. New academic year marks new beginnings for the American Indian Studies Program
  3. New faces around the college this semester — more or less!
  4. Sheena Malhotra, department chair, program
    coordinator and globe trotting researcher.
  5. The Angel Network invests in the College’s innovative literacy program
  6. Achievements worth mentioning...
  7. Michael Ross, generous supporter of the Jewish Studies Program at CSUN, dies but will not be forgotten.
    “What my humanities courses contributed to who I am and what I am doing with my life.”
  9. Department of Chicana/o Studies 40th Year Anniversary
  10. The Mission of the College of Humanities
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The College of Humanities Newsletter

Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say

At the start of the 2009/10 Academic Year we face a very different reality than we did a year ago. The past year brought times of hope. The election of the first African American United States President seemed to confirm the promise contained in the College of Humanities Mission Statement: that we value the diversity of the human condition. At the same time, the meltdown of the global economy continues to reverberate through all sectors of the country. Once-giant industries that seemed to be the backbone of American manufacturing have collapsed or are near collapse.  Wall Street’s glory days are a thing of the past.  The seemingly never-ending growth of the housing bubble has burst and along with it, for many, the dreams home ownership represents.  Here in California, the budget has never looked so bleak.  Faculty, staff, and administrators have all been furloughed, enrollments have been capped for this year, and CSUN is taking no new students in the Spring 2010 semester. Is all this discouraging? Yes. Is it hopeless? Absolutely not.

I was reminded that there is always cause for hope by the two speakers at this year's Freshman Convocation. There we heard 2009 CSUN Outstanding Graduating Senior, Antonio Mendez, tell the story of his road from despair to a very bright future. Mendez’s father died when he was a CSUN sophomore and, in his words, “I was shocked.  I was scared and I was heartbroken.”  But he found his way out of his pain, due in part to some “world class people” he encountered at CSUN.  He graduated last year with a degree in Construction Management Technology.  We also heard from Steve Lopez, author of this year’s “Freshman Common Reading” selection, The Soloist. The book, which was released as a movie this year, chronicles the relationship between Lopez and Nathaniel Ayers, a schizophrenic violinist he meets on the streets of Los Angeles.  Through his relationship with Ayers, Lopez came to a deeper understanding of himself.  “I think there is a longing in all of us to make a connection” said Lopez. “To find your muse, to reach beyond your own existence and maybe help somebody.”  He concluded his remarks by encouraging the freshman class to take advantage of the educational opportunity that CSUN provides.

Inside this issue of the College of Humanities Newsletter, I think you will find several stories that speak of our hope in the future.  This year the American Indian Studies Program has moved to our College and a new Program Coordinator from the College has assumed leadership.  The Chicana/o Studies Department will celebrate its 40th anniversary, reflecting on the accomplishments of the past and looking forward to the promise of the future.  We have welcomed new members to our faculty colleagues: Dr. Mustafa Ruzgar has joined the Religious Studies department and Dr. Michael Neubauer has left Mathematics to head up the Liberal Studies Program. Two stories in this issue speak of the importance of external support in furthering the mission of the College.  Michael “Micky” Ross was a benevolent friend to the Jewish Studies Program for 17 years; his generosity will be missed.  We are also pleased to share the news that Oprah’s Angel Network has recognized the important work being done by the Literacy Scholars for the Future of Los Angeles initiative in Liberal Studies.  So, despite the sometimes bleak news, we welcome you to another hopeful year in the College of Humanities!

Dean Elizabeth A. Say
Elizabeth A. Say, Ph.D.
Congratulations to the 2009 CSUN Staff Service awardees
from The College of Humanities
5-Year Recipients
  • Jennifer Lu
10-Year Recipients
  • Geraldine Sare
    Liberal Studies Program
20-Year Recipients
  • Jennifer Elliott
    Religious Studies
  • Fariba Farzan-Schmitt
    Liberal Studies Program
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