California State University, Northridge

From the President's Desk

February 10, 1999

Dr. Ron Kopita to Leave Vice President Post

After more than six years of dedicated service to the university, Dr. Ronald Kopita has asked to leave his position as Vice President for Student Affairs effective June 5, the formal end of the spring semester.

During his tenure, Dr. Kopita has helped lead the campus toward our collective goal of fostering a more student-centered environment and also has overseen major achievements within the Student Affairs Division. Some of them include the creation of the Presidential Scholarship Program for high-achieving incoming freshmen, the creation of Student Outreach and Recruitment Services to enhance our enrollment management efforts, and coordination of the planning for the new one-stop Student Services Center building that is due to open this fall.

Starting in June, Dr. Kopita will be on administrative leave until the start of the spring 2000 semester to explore a range of professional options, including the prospect of teaching in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling where he is a tenured professor. Between now and June, the university will launch a national search for his successor. We hope to have selected a candidate by the summer in order to achieve a smooth transition.

The past several years, with the 1994 earthquake and other challenges, have certainly been unlike any in the history of the university, and Dr. Kopita has played an important role in helping us keep our students' needs foremost in our thoughts. It is therefore with the utmost gratitude that I extend our best wishes to him as he prepares to launch a new chapter in his professional life.

National Center on Deafness Director Named

I'm pleased to announce that the university has appointed Ms. Merri Pearson, an administrator with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., as the new director of Cal State Northridge's renowned National Center on Deafness (NCOD). Since 1994, Ms. Pearson has been a program officer and project officer with the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education, recently overseeing grant programs totaling about $45 million annually. During the past decade, she also has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at institutions including Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., George Washington University and the University of Puget Sound. She has also worked as a sign language interpreter.

As a hard-of-hearing individual herself, Ms. Pearson brings a deep personal knowledge of the challenges encountered by the approximately 250 deaf and hard-of-hearing CSUN students served by NCOD. Her task will be to continue and enhance the superb services provided by one of the truly exceptional programs on campus. Because Ms. Pearson currently is completing her doctorate at George Washington University, she will not arrive on campus until later in the spring.

I could not mention Ms. Pearsons's appointment without also recognizing the wonderful legacy of retiring NCOD Director Herbert Larson, who is continuing to guide the center in the interim. His nine years as NCOD director have chronicled the center becoming the largest single recipient of grant funding in the entire university. He led the university's successful bid to have NCOD receive the federal government's designation as the lead agency in the Western Regional Outreach Center and Consortia, responsible for assisting postsecondary programs and institutions that have deaf and hard-of-hearing students in this region. Ms. Pearson will have the pleasure of building on the firm foundation that he and the NCOD staff have established.

Campus Achievements

Annual Report on Program Review

The Chancellor's Office requests annually that each CSU submit a summary of the university program reviews that were completed during the academic year. During the 1997-98 term external program/accreditation reviews took place for the following programs at Cal State Northridge:

Anthropology (BA/MA): External reviewers praised the faculty for effective teaching, high quality research and their efforts to address students' needs. They commended the department for impressive instructional materials and for the Northridge Center for Public Archaeology.

Biology (BA/BS/MS): External reviewers found a highly regarded department within the university with productive faculty who maintain student-oriented research programs. The department was commended for its track record of placing graduates into jobs and graduate/ professional programs.

Computer Science (MS): External reviewers found a conscientious, dedicated faculty who deliver the newest, most advanced material in their courses. Faculty were also commended for grants obtained from corporate, government and other sources and for a high level of cooperation with the Computer Science industry.

Engineering (MS): External reviewers described a qualified faculty who are enthusiastic about teaching and professional activities, provide excellent advisement for students, and have received funding from industry and government agencies to support their research.

English (BA/MA): External reviewers praised faculty as strong scholars and committed teachers who are productive and current in their fields. Reviewers felt the student publications New Voices and Wings deserved special mention. Composition courses are clearly designed and organized with abundant support services.

Environmental & Occupational Health (Industrial Hygiene Program) (BS/MS): The BS program was approved upon this initial request for ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation. ABET found a program with an admirable reputation in the region and statewide. Faculty were commended for their excellent credentials and for the excellent atmosphere, morale and general faculty/student relationship.

Family Environmental Sciences (Interior Design Program)(BS): The program was accredited on it first attempt by FIDER (Foundation for Interior Design Education Research). FIDER was impressed that the university offers students a rich cultural environment and exposes students to the basic and creative arts as well as design theory. They commended the program for quality work and the department members' positive attitude throughout the department.

Journalism (BS): The department was re-accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The visiting team recognized the department's excellent ties to a rich media market as one of several strengths. The student body was found to be exceptionally enthusiastic and supportive. Both full-time and part-time faculty were praised for enthusiastic and engaging teaching.

Kinesiology (BA/MS): External reviewers found a department that serves as an active learning center. The program has a well-established reputation for its broadbased curriculum and a strong faculty committed to scholarship and teaching. Notable facilities include the Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled.

Leisure Studies and Recreation (BS/MS): The department received re-accreditation from the National Recreation and Park Association. The review team found a faculty committed to the accreditation process, an administration that was very supportive of the department, and students who believed they were getting an excellent education. The Therapeutic Recreation option is a strong program and students routinely exceed the national average on the national certification exam, the team said.

Modern & Classical Languages & Literatures (BA/MA): External reviewers praised the highly professional department for its student/faculty rapport and collegiality within the department across all language sections. The reviewers observed innovative programs involving the community and creative student projects. Of special mention were the state-of-the art Language Learning Center and initiatives in technology for distance learning.

Philosophy (BA): External reviewers commended the faculty for redesign of the critical reasoning program and for supporting other departments wishing to offer critical reasoning. Faculty were praised for promoting quality research and for maintaining a high quality curriculum. Students receive excellent advisement and praise faculty as effective teachers. The reviewers noted the two highly respected journals published by the department, Nous and Philosophical Perspectives.

Should you wish to have additional information about these reviews, please contact Dr. Margaret Fieweger, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, in Academic Affairs. In addition to providing public accountability for quality, the program review process continuously demonstrates the academic distinction and excellence of a Cal State Northridge education. My congratulations and thanks to departmental faculty, deans and staff for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students.

Blenda J. Wilson

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President Blenda J. Wilson