May 27, 2003 Vol. VII, No. 17

Outstanding CSUN Professors and Lecturers Honored at Reception Ceremony

Honorees Include Outstanding Professor, Other Awardees and 25-Year Faculty and Lecturers

CSUN President Jolene Koester and Faculty President Michael Neubauer hosted the university's 2003 Honored Faculty Reception and breakfast on Thursday, May 15, in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union, highlighting the best in achievement and service by the university's faculty.

Seven CSUN faculty members received individual awards led by English professor Robert Chianese's selection as Outstanding Professor for 2003. In addition, 28 faculty members were granted emeritus status, 16 were honored for completing 25 years of Cal State service, and nine lecturers were honored for 25 years of service here.

In addition, Neubauer held an installation ceremony for two new Faculty Senate officers: Veda Ward, department chair in the Leisure Studies and Recreation Department, as Faculty Vice President for 20032004, and Sister Rita Basta, lecturer in the Mathematics Department, as Faculty Secretary/Treasurer for 20032004

Outstanding Professor Award

Robert Chianese
English Department

Professor Chianese (right) is widely regarded as an excellent teacher and mentor of his students. The selection committee for the Outstanding Professor Award had the pleasure of reading numerous testaments to his inspiring teaching and his willingness to mentor students outside the classroom. Chianese and retired biology professor Joyce Maxwell together created the course "Different Ways of Seeing Nature," an interdisciplinary general education course that connects the humanities and the sciences. His interest in many different fields of knowing earned him the description of "renaissance man." In the community, Chianese spearheaded the project "Limits to Growth and Quality of Life in Oxnard," which brought together the Oxnard community and several CSUN departments to design "sustainability indicators" for the city of Oxnard.

Distinguished Teaching, Librarianship and Counseling Awards

Karen Kearns
Cinema and Television Arts Department

Professor Kearns (left, center) has been a member of the CSUN faculty since 1985. During her tenure at the university, Kearns has distinguished herself as a scholar, professional radio and television producer, advisor, mentor, coach and, above all, as a teacher. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Golden Mike Award. Kearns' excellence as a teacher clearly extends to her students, who also have earned numerous awards and accolades in both the academic and professional arenas. Under Kearns' tutelage, CSUN students have won Rosebud Awards in the CSU Media Arts Competition and several Christopher Awards.

In her letters of nomination and support for this award, a recurring theme among students and faculty alike is Kearns' passion for teaching and her dedication to the subject matter and, above all, to her students. Again and again, students and faculty colleagues cite her ability to help students realize their dreams, but always tempered by a strong dose of exposure to the hard realities of production work in the entertainment industry.

One student refers to her as a "mover and shaker." Another student refers to her as a "priceless conduit for taking my learned skills and applying them in the real world." And finally, a student summarizes eloquently the reason that Kearns is so deserving of this award: "With Professor Kearns as my teacher and mentor, I feel that I lucked into an academic guardian angel, a woman who will not quit until I succeed."

Nagi El Naga
Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

A CSUN faculty member since 1979, Professor Naga (above, left)was instrumental in developing the Computer Engineering graduate program, and he has directed more than 50 master's theses and projects. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, reflecting both on- and off-campus honors, including the College of Engineering and Computer Science's Outstanding Faculty Award, CSUN's Tau Beta Pi Professor of the Year Award, and the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Merit Award from the Engineers' Council, a professional organization in his field.

Consistently, his students and faculty colleagues praise his superior interpersonal skills, his down-to-earth manner, and his warmth and compassion as a teacher and mentor. His students emphasize again and again his singular and "unparalleled concern for his students' learning and his dedication to serving as a mentor, counselor, and role model."

In a letter of support, one student observes, "He is truly an awesome teacher in every sense of the word, since his greatness awes and inspires us." Another student captures the essence of the kind of teacher and person that Naga embodies: "Nagi El Naga is a man of compassion, of honesty and integrity, and of tolerance and humility. He is not only a great teacher, not only a great engineer; he's the kind of person whom we'd all like to grow up to be."

Omar Zahir
Chemistry Department

Professor Zahir (above, right) has been a faculty member at CSUN since 1990. During the past decade, Zahir has taken a major leadership role on campus in the advancement of pedagogy and the scholarship of teaching. Among a myriad of achievements and contributions, in one exemplary case, Zahir redesigned a "gateway" course that not only resulted in remarkable improvement in student performance in just one year's time, but also has become a model for course redesign and pedagogical development for other faculty in other departments across the university.

Zahir has been an ardent advocate of exploring and implementing new teaching approaches and methods, and this commitment has been realized in his service as a campus leader of a committee charged with examining the relationship between teaching, student learning and graduation rates. Zahir also is cited repeatedly in letters of support as a mentor to students, as an academic who practices what he teaches. A testament to his mentoring of students is apparent in his list of publications since arriving at CSUN: in virtually every instance, an undergraduate or graduate student has co-authored the publication with Zahir.

With equal degrees of respect and affection, students highlight Zahir's "vibrant personality," his "unique accessibility" and, above all, his ability to "mentor and inspire students to achieve their best, and then go beyond their best."

Visionary Community Service-Learning Award

Debra Sheets
Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program

Professor Sheets' (right) service-learning activities include integrating service learning into three courses, receiving eight service-learning related grants, serving as team leader for the Health Sciences team that was selected to attend the CSU Engaged Department Institute, being selected as a Community-Campus Partnership for Health (CCPH) Fellow, and organizing and presenting at the regional Intergenerational Service-Learning Conference held at CSUN in 2002. Sheets also is the recipient of many grants.

Exceptional CreativityAccomplishment Award

Temma Kramer
Cinema and Television Arts Department

Professor Kramer's (far left) original story and teleplay for the highly acclaimed Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie "Little John" reflects the highest levels of artistry and creativity. Moreover, the selection committee was impressed by the critical recognition and professional support this work has received, as evidenced by its reviews in the Los Angeles Times and Daily Variety and as a ranked ratings winner by Nielsen Media Research. The committee found that Kramer's work has brought significant recognition to CSUN and judged it a true honor for a faculty member to have an original story produced by one of television's most respected production entities.

Preeminent Scholarly Publication Award

Betty Ann Brown
Art Department

The selection committee commended Professor Betty Ann Brown (above, left)for her work, "Gradiva's Mirror: Reflections on Women, Surrealism and Art History." In this scholarly survey of the life and work of 11 women artists, from Valentine Hugo to Frida Kahlo, from Paris to New York and Mexico City, who made important contributions to the Surrealist art movement of the early and mid-20th century, Brown, according to one reviewer in Art New England, "gives a new dimension to the study of surrealism and its women" and "reclaims female surrealists from neglect and obscurity."

Faculty Completing 25 Years of Service in the CSU
Name Department
Curt DommeyerMarketing
Nagi El NagaElectrical & Computer Engineering
Stephen GadomskiCivil Engineering & Applied Mech.
Jorge GarciaChicano/a Studies
Adele GottfriedEducational Psychology & Counseling
Kim GreenhalghBusiness Law
I-Nan HsuChemistry
Rajabali Kiani-AslaniAccounting & Information Services
Jack KranzTechnical Services
David MillerChemistry
Janet ReaganHealth Sciences
Diane SchwartzComputer Science
Owen SeiverEnvironmental & Occupational Health
Mary ShamrockMusic
Gerry SimilaGeological Sciences
Shirley SvornyEconomics

Lecturers Completing 25 Years of Service at CSUN
Eugene BergChemistry
Melvin Carter Jr.Deaf Studies
Roberta Dominguez Elementary Education
Terry HatkoffSociology
Catherine JeppsonAccounting & Information Systems
Edward JuliusAccounting & Information Systems
Robert RyanMechanical Engineering
Martha SchwarzbeinModern & Classical Lang. & Lits.
Gerald TynerGeography

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