On May 21, the California State University, Northridge community came together to celebrate those faculty members whose stars have shined the brightest and longest at the university’s Honored Faculty Reception. Recognized were those who in 2014 completed their 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th years of service; those being awarded Faculty Emeritus status; and a select few who were singled out for their outstanding achievement at the university.
There to witness the accolades were CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison, Shane Frehlich, the faculty president and department chair of the kinesiology department, and several members of the current emeritus faculty.
“This is commencement week,” President Harrison said during her opening remarks. “By Thursday evening, we will have conferred close to 10,000 degrees. It is a time of the year I enjoy immensely and while exhausting, it is so exhilarating, so I can’t think of a more appropriate time to honor the faculty who play the primary role in educating and mentoring the students we serve.”
More than 40 CSUN professors were given Service Year Recognition Awards by President Harrison, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand and Vice President for Information Technology Hilary Baker. Then, eight faculty members were awarded specific accolades to celebrate the outstanding achievements they’ve accomplished on campus.
Sheila Grant and Jennifer Romack each captured the Outstanding Faculty Award. Grant, a psychology department faculty member, has served as chair and founding member of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences Climate Committee and numerous Faculty Senate subcommittees. Her service on several personnel committees at all levels has culminated in her chairing the Personnel Planning Review Committee.
Kinesiology department faculty member Romack has participated in the campus Tiered Mentoring Program — where students research and promote children’s physical activity — the Associated Students Children’s Center, the CSUN Child and Family Studies, Our Community School and many department, college and university committees.
The Distinguished Teaching, Counseling or Librarianship Award went to both David Wakefield (chair, department of child and adolescent development) and Wendy Yost (faculty, recreation and tourism management and queer studies).
Wakefield’s peers describe him as collaborative, cooperative, supportive and simply amazing. He has mentored dozens of students and faculty, focused on projects that support student success and cultivated a culture of teaching excellence within his department.
Even though Yost is a part-time faculty member, she makes her presence felt throughout both of her departments. Yost is focused on mentoring and helping students grow and manage transitions into high-achieving end results. She has been characterized by her peers and students as compassionate, resourceful, giving her all, a dreamer, enthusiastic, motivational, respectful, a difference maker, a forward thinker, impactful, sincere, and one who treats students as human beings and understands the struggles they go through.
This year’s Creative Accomplishment Award went to English department faculty member Martin Pousson for his extraordinary accomplishments in the field of creative writing. He has published a full-length novel and numerous short stories and poems. Over the past six years, he received the College of Humanities Faculty Fellows Award three times. Since his 2007 appointment to the CSUN English department, Pousson has published 15 creative works in esteemed literary journals and in December 2013, he was awarded the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in support of his collection of short stories, Black Sheep Boy.
Charles Hatfield is another professor in the English department and one of the world’s leading scholars in the field of comic studies. He received the Preeminent Scholarly Publication Award for his impressive publication record, which includes books, journal articles, and book chapters on the subject of comics and graphic studies. Two of his publications that stand out are Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature, published in 2005, and Hand of Fire: The Comics Art of Jack Kirby, published in 2011. Hand of Fire earned the Will Eisner Comics Industry Award in the same year.
Dianne Philibosian picked up the Extraordinary Service Award, thanks to her four decades of service to the CSUN community as a faculty member, administrator and mentor. In the department of recreation and tourism management, Philibosian has served as vice chair, chair of the Personnel Committee, chair of the Scheduling Committee and chair of the Post Tenure Review Committee. In the College of Health and Human Development, she has served as associate dean and is currently the director of the Institute for Community Health and Wellbeing.
Lastly, the Visionary Community Service-Learning Award went to health sciences Assistant Professor Merav Efrat for her work in lactation education. She has taught several courses in public health in program planning, public health issues and lactation education. In three of these courses, Efrat has implemented academic service learning to increase engagement in lactation education, creating peaceful playgrounds and developing health literacy for low-income minority adults.