College of Humanities Newsletter

Fall 2010


Volume 5, Issue 1

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In This Issue

  1. Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say
  2. In Pursuit of Cultural Fluency
  3. Think Globally; Learn Locally
  4. Partnering for the Greater Community
  5. Diverse by Design
  6. Newly Awarded Fulbright Scholar Travels to India
  7. Shemmassian Puts CSUN’s Armenian Studies Program on World Map
  8. Fifth Annual CSUN College of the Humanities Film Festival
  9. In Memoriam: Richard Anthony Arthur
  10. In Memoriam: Lesley Johnstone
  11. Delphine Ulibarri Lucero Memorial Award in Linguistics
  12. Mission of the College of Humanities


The College of Humanities Newsletter

Message from Humanities Dean Elizabeth A. Say

The first CoH newsletter of the 2010-11 Academic Year provides occasion to remember the past, to celebrate present accomplishments, and to reflect upon future possibilities. In the following pages, we remember two of our own faculty from the Department of English: Tony Arthur and Lesley Johnstone. Drs. Arthur and Johnstone were both memorable in their own right and made lasting contributions to CSUN students, to their respective fields of study, and to the communities in which they lived. Both will be missed and remembered by their families and friends. We also remember the life of one of our extraordinary students who defied the odds to pursue her dream of education at CSUN, receiving her M.S. in Linguistics at the age of 73 and leaving a legacy for others who may follow in her path.

This newsletter will also introduce you to some of our current faculty and students who embody the mission of the College. One of our faculty members, Vahram Shammassian, was recognized for his scholarship and contributions to the "principles of freedom, equality, and justice." Another, Diana Contreras, has travelled to India as a Fulbright Scholar in her exploration of the "diversities of cultures, thought, and perspectives" of human experience. Additionally, you will share the experiences of our 2009-10 cohort of the CSUN Russian Strategic Language Initiative, newly returned from a six-week visit to Russia.

Finally, we celebrate The Maurice Amado Endowed Professorship in Applied Jewish Ethics and Civic Engagement. This generous gift from the Maurice Amado Foundation will enhance the outstanding offerings and opportunities provided in the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program under the direction of Dr. Jody Myers. I hope that you will be able to join us at the Fifth Annual CoH Film Festival, sponsored this year by the Jewish Studies Program, or attend another of the program’s activities throughout the year.

Dean Elizabeth A. Say
Elizabeth A. Say, Ph.D. Alum 1981

In Pursuit of Cultural Fluency

When the 2009-2010 cohort of CSUN’s Russian Strategic Language Initiative Program visited Russia over the summer, students eagerly anticipated cultural excursions to St. Petersburg and the Red October Chocolate Factory as well as meetings with Russian business leaders and educators. They could not have expected to encounter wildfires so numerous and devastating that the western part of the country was effectively shut down for the final two weeks of their visit. As hundreds of separate forest fires swept the countryside in early August following a record-breaking month-long heat wave, the air became so thick with smoke outside the group’s overseas base at the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow that residents of the capital were urged to stay indoors, as far removed from the potentially toxic smog as possible.

In the midst of an official state of emergency, Professor Dina Mokhnatkin, Director of the Russian SLI Program at CSUN, along with her daughter Janet, oversaw the relocation of all the students from their Moscow University dormitories to hotel accommodations with more modern windows and air-conditioning. Once the group’s safety was secured for the remainder of their stay, Mokhnatkin, who teaches Russian language, culture, and literature in CSUN’s Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, was relieved and eager to divert some of her attention...continued on page 2

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