Faculty Applauded at Annual Awards Reception

  • Peter Edmunds (center) and James David Ballard (right) with Harry Hellenbrand.

    Outstanding Faculty Award winners Peter Edmunds (center) and James David Ballard (right) with then Interim President Harry Hellenbrand. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Harry Hellenbrand, Jerald Schutte, Joyce Burstein, Eric Garcia and Steven Stepanek.

    Distinguished Teaching, Counseling, or Librarianship Award winners are recognized by campus leadership. From left: Harry Hellenbrand, then interim president and award winners Jerald Schutte, Joyce Burstein, Eric Garcia and Faculty Senate President Steven Stepanek. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Vance T. Peterson, Elizabeth Adams, Kyriakos Pontikis, Martha Highfield, Dong-Ning “Donna” Sheng, Julia Heinen and Harry Hellenbrand.

    Faculty award winners receive accolades from campus leadership. From left: Vice President of University Advancement Vance T. Peterson, Senior Director of Undergraduate Studies Elizabeth Adams and faculty award winners: Kyriakos Pontikis, Martha Highfield, Dong-Ning “Donna” Sheng, Julia Heinen and then Interim President Harry Hellenbrand. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Harry Hellenbrand, Rei Noguchi, Rex Mitchell, Juan Oliva (accepting posthumously for Allen Martin), Patricia Watkins, Paul Lee, Oscar Marti. Not pictured: Roger DiJulio, Shoeleh DiJulio, Joseph Anthony Gardner, Darrin Gitisetan, Akiko Hirota, Judith Marti, Nathan Weinberg.

    Harry Hellenbrand, then interim president, recognized 13 retired professors conferred the title of emeritus faculty at the 2012 Honored Faculty Reception. From left: Rei Noguchi, Rex Mitchell, Juan Oliva (accepting posthumously for Allen Martin), Patricia Watkins, Paul Lee, Oscar Marti. Not pictured: Roger DiJulio, Shoeleh DiJulio, Joseph Anthony Gardner, Darrin Gitisetan, Akiko Hirota, Judith Marti, Nathan Weinberg. Photo by Lee Choo.

California State University, Northridge faculty members were celebrated for their years of service and contributions to the university at the 2012 Honored Faculty Reception, held at the University Student Union’s Grand Salon on May 21. The event, which was sponsored by then Interim President Harry Hellenbrand and the Northridge chapter of the California Faculty Association, recognized faculty for their exemplary service. Honorees included faculty and lecturers with 25 to 50 years of service and those who were awarded emeritus status.

“Faculty are the heart and soul of CSUN, as this event proves annually,” said Hellenbrand. The awards are supported by the CSUN President’s Office, The University Foundation and the Center for Community Service-Learning. In general, all CSUN faculty (both full-time and part-time), are eligible and nominations may come from almost any source. Additional information about the awards is available on the Faculty Senate website.

Faculty members honored for their exemplary achievements include:

Outstanding Faculty Awards:

James David Ballard (Sociology)

Ballard joined the CSUN faculty as a professor of sociology in 2002. He is recognized by colleagues as an expert in terrorism, nuclear waste security and criminology. He has completed more than 60 scholarly works and has also delivered 75 presentations at the international, national, regional and local levels.

Colleagues and students of Ballard sing praises for his exemplary teaching, mentoring and service skills, describing him as “passionate” and “inspirational.” He has been applauded by colleagues for his ability to balance the three roles and for maintaining “the highest degree of civility and professionalism.”

Peter Edmunds (Biology)

Edmunds, an internationally renowned marine biologist, joined the Department of Biology in 1992. His research on coral reef ecology has resulted in nearly 90 major scientific publications and 200 conference presentations around the world. Edmunds’ research activity has increased significantly in recent years. He has received more than $5 million in funding from the prestigious and highly competitive National Science Foundation.

Edmunds’ research informs and enhances his teaching in popular courses like “life in the sea,” “coral biology,” “invertebrate zoology” and “biometry.” Former students describe him as a tireless and inspirational champion of his students’ careers. Colleagues call him a “national treasure” whose “conscientiousness in preparing and delivering lectures and learning opportunities is unparalleled.”

Distinguished Teaching, Counseling or Librarianship Awards:

Joyce Burstein (Elementary Education)

Burstein is a schoolteacher, a professor, a mentor and an innovator in the field of elementary education.

She joined the CSUN community in 2002 after teaching elementary school for 15 years. Her informed perspective on the realities of teaching in diverse urban schools has contributed to her effectiveness in preparing future educators. She has been instrumental in designing, planning and revising courses in the Integrated Teacher Education Program and the graduate program for the Department of Elementary Education. In addition, she has served as course coordinator for the social studies and science methods course and the integrated social studies and arts curriculum and methods course.

Burstein also has served as the graduate coordinator for the master’s in elementary education program and thesis chair or committee member for dozens of graduate students. She is the co-author of “Reclaiming Social Studies for the Elementary Classroom: Integrating Culture through the Arts.”

Eric Garcia (Library Reference and Instructional Services)

Garcia, library liaison for the colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education and Humanities, embodies the educational mission of the Delmar T. Oviatt Library with his dedication to supporting teaching, learning and research. He began working at CSUN in 2006.

He is described by staff and faculty peers as an indispensable and invaluable “treasure” to CSUN students and the university. He reaches between 1,600 and 1,800 students a year and delivers between 80 and 100 presentations a year on how to conduct library research. His presentations have earned the reputation of being “fabulously entertaining, yet informative.” Students, faculty and staff laud Garcia for making “extraordinary contributions to students’ research work” by, among other things, creating video tutorials and guides that “lift the veil of mystery that separates students from success with research.”

One of the most significant resources Garcia has developed for students is a web-based, user-friendly guide to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

Jerald Schutte (Sociology)

Schutte is respected by colleagues, administrators and the students he has taught during his 40 years at CSUN, as evidenced by the dozens of nominations he received and the impressive student evaluations. The student letters of support often described his courses as “life-changing experiences.”

His teaching duties at CSUN include the undergraduate statistic and methods courses; the graduate methods; and advanced statistics and survey research courses. Periodically, he teaches the social psychology course. Schutte also has a remarkable service record. He has been active as a Faculty Fellow to the California State Senate, principal investigator under the Academic Opportunity Fund Program of the CSU’s academic computing group and organizer of syllabus sessions. He is currently involved in virtual course offerings for the World Wide Web project on campus. His research interests include the sociological relationship between technology and society and the application of technology to university teaching and research paradigms.

The combination of all of Schutte’s efforts exemplifies a consistent trajectory of excellence.

Extraordinary Service Award:

Martha Highfield (Nursing)

Highfield was chosen as the recipient of the 2012 Cal State Northridge Extraordinary Service Award because of her 16 years of unparalleled service to the university, dedication to student mentoring, professional excellence and research in the medical field.

As director of CSUN’s nursing program, Highfield established a new post-baccalaureate and an accelerated bachelor’s in nursing track for her college. She was instrumental in founding and serving as faculty adviser for the joint CSUN/UCLA Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Chapter at large. With Highfield’s encouragement and mentoring, many CSUN students have benefited from association with this prestigious organization.

Through her role as a research facilitator, Highfield helped develop the Northridge Hospital Medical Center research program. She has presented clinically and academically important work at national and international conferences.

In addition to her academic and pedagogical achievements, Highfield has volunteered with the Nigerian Christian Hospital, providing care to underserved people at a hospital with limited medical equipment, supplies and personnel.

Preeminent Scholarly Publications Award

Dong-Ning “Donna” Sheng (Physics and Astronomy)

Sheng, who joined the faculty at CSUN in 2000, has carried out pioneer research in the field of materials science. She is a leading authority in the area of the Fractional Quantum Hall Effect, which aims to understand the properties of quasiparticles. According to Matthew Fisher from the Department of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Sheng’s findings and her collaborators on FQHE “has already caught the attention of the community, and spawned a number of theoretical papers extending and collaborating on (her) work.”

She is the author of 90 publications, including 10 papers published in 2011. The significance of her work in her field of study is exemplified by the fact that she has received more than 1,500 citations. Her 10 papers published in 2011 had nearly 200 citations, which Ana Cristina Cadavid, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, called “the highest citation index at CSUN.”

In addition, she has published 45 papers in refereed journals since 2000; 18 of those have appeared in Physical Review Letters, the single most respected physics journal; nine other papers were published in prestigious journals in the field, including Physical Review B and Nature Communications.

Exceptional Creative Accomplishments Award

Julia Heinen (Music)

Heinen has been recognized for her achievements both as a professional clarinetist and as an academic scholar whose contributions have brought prestige to the CSUN campus since joining the faculty in 1995, as well as to national and international communities.

She has a distinguished and ongoing record of artistry as a clarinetist in solo as well as chamber music settings. She is a prolific musician, having performed more than 15 concertos, 55 solo recitals and 20 chamber music concerts, including one at Carnegie Hall, in the last four years. She has been committed to premiering, performing and recording new music from some of the world’s most accomplished composers, many of whom have written works specifically dedicated to her. This year she will release two CD’s, of which she is the featured artist.

Most notably, she exhibited bold leadership in organizing and co-hosting the prestigious 2011 International Clarinet Association’s annual ClarinetFest convention at the Valley Performing Arts Center, which attracted more than 1,400 professional clarinet musicians, orchestra composers and clarinet manufacturers around the world.

Her commitment to her craft and world-renowned reputation continues to attract many of the brightest music students to the clarinet studio at CSUN. She demonstrates a formidable work ethic as a collaborator and clinician who has presented master classes at colleges and universities around the country.

Visionary Community Service-Learning

Kyriakos Pontikis (Family and Consumer Sciences)

Pontikis has received the Visionary Community Service-Learning award for his extensive work in providing students community-based learning opportunities that allow them to better understand the dynamics of their fields while providing local nonprofits with services that they otherwise could not afford.

In the six years Pontikis has taught at CSUN, he has developed five new community service-learning courses and modified three existing courses to include a service-learning component. His implementation of community-based assignments ensures student engagement, creativity and success. As a true practitioner of the pedagogy, Pontikis works closely with community partners to help them better serve their clients and become self-sustaining. Recently, students in two of his classes worked with long-time community partner MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity) to create designs for upgrading, remodeling and “greening” one of its buildings.

Many times community partners have needs that require faculty to “stretch” their discipline, and Pontikis has been willing to accommodate these community needs while still fulfilling the learning objectives of his courses. In 2009 and 2010, his students worked with another longtime community partner, Pacoima Beautiful, developing design proposals for a landscape project along the Pacoima Wash and for a mixed-use neighborhood project.

His students describe his approach to teaching as “inspiration” and say they can “feel the energy and optimism radiate from his teaching.”

He is an international leader in his field who has contributed articles to five books, published articles in eight academic journals and disseminated his work in over a dozen arenas.

2012 Emeritus Faculty

  • Roger DiJulio (Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics)
  • Shoeleh DiJulio (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Joseph Anthony Gardner (Delmar T. Oviatt Library)
  • Darrin Gitisetan (Delmar T. Oviatt Library)
  • Akiko Hirota (Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures)
  • Paul Lee (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Judith Marti (Anthropology)
  • Oscar Marti (Chicana/o Studies)
  • Allen Martin posthumous (Family and Consumer Sciences)
  • Rex Mitchell (Management)
  • Rei Noguchi (English)
  • Patricia Watkins (English)
  • Nathan Weinberg (Sociology)

Faculty Completing 25 Years of Service:

  • Stephen Breen (Mathematics)
  • John Dye (Mathematics)
  • Glen Gray (Accounting and Information Systems)
  • Matt Harris (Music)
  • Doris Jones-Nicol (Educational Psychology and Counseling)
  • Nicholas Kioussis (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Alexis Krasilovsky (Cinema and Television Arts)
  • Linda Lam-Easton (Religious Studies)
  • Magnhild Lien (Mathematics)
  • C.T. Lin (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Laurel Long (Art)
  • Richard Lorentz (Computer Science)
  • Takashi Yagisawa (Philosophy)

Faculty Completing 25 Years of Lecture Service:

  • Michael Franklin (Biology)

Faculty Completing 30 Years of Service:

  • Don Brownlee (Communication Studies)
  • Robert Krol (Economics)
  • John Schillinger (Environmental and Occupational Health)

Faculty Completing 35 Years of Service:

  • Tyler Blake (Psychology)
  • Maria-Isabel Herrera (Chicana/o Studies)
  • Robert Ryan (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Owen Seiver (Environmental and Occupational Health)

Faculty Completing 35 Years of Lecture Service:

  • Catherine Jeppson (Accounting and Information Systems)

Faculty Completing 40 Years of Service:

  • Michael Barrett (Delmar T. Oviatt Library)
  • Jerald Schutte (Sociology)