Two faculty members and their colleagues were honored during the 2012 Annual Faculty Awards Reception on March 15 which was held in the South Wing of the University Library. Upon the recommendation of the Faculty Leaves and Honors Committee, University President Mildred García presented Cyril “Ed” Zoerner, professor and chair of the English department, with the Lyle E. Gibson Dominguez Hills Distinguished Teacher Award, and Carl Sneed, associate professor of the psychology department, with the Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award. In addition 44 faculty members, librarians and coaches were recognized for milestone anniversaries, which combined totaled more than 550 years of service to California State University, Dominguez Hills and its students.
García, who was a teacher early in her professional career, said many people can remember a teacher who “lit that spark,” propelling them to achievement. She gave credit to teachers for impacting students, changing their lives and the lives of generations that follow.
“All faculty are vital and key to our students, to the university, to our state, and to our country.
You are the individuals that bring excellence to a new generation of students, who prepare new teachers, new scholars, new leaders,” García said.
Presenting the awards along with García, Jim Hill, associate professor of physics, and chair of academic senate, introduced the awardees and briefly described the criteria for their respective award. He mused that the criteria for the Excellence in Research award is similar to that of the Nobel Prize–working at the frontier of discovery.
In accepting the award, Sneed acknowledged the research achievements of his peers, and a research environment supported by the Office of the President, the Office of Sponsored Research and Funded Projects, the CSUDH Foundation, the College of Natural and Behavioral Science Dean’s office, the psychology department and its chair Mark Carrier, his research partner, associate professor of sociology Sohaila Shakib, and, he stressed, the students.
“We can’t do research without our students,” said Sneed, “I could not get my research agenda complete without the help of my students.”
Trained as a social psychologist, Sneed said he focuses his research on psychosocial factors related to health psychology. His primary research interest is how parents talk to their children about sex. He currently has two funded projects. One is a longitudinal study that focuses on sending text messages to parents and documenting how they discuss with their children sexually transmitted diseases and sex.
Sneed has taught at CSU Dominguez Hills since fall 2005. He has also taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of California, Riverside (UCR). He earned status as a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellow in psychology while at UCLA. He has a doctorate in social/personality psychology from UCR, a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in psychology from CSU Fullerton. He is the author of numerous journal articles and papers, and has been awarded several grants, including a federal grant in excess of $1 million in total costs.
Introducing the winner of the Lyle E. Gibson Dominguez Hills Distinguished Teacher Award, Hill said there are a lot of good teachers, but certain ones stand out as inspirations to the rest.
“You have to be able to communicate the knowledge in a way that makes students care,” Hill said.
Accepting the award, Zoerner gave credit to his parents for planting the seed, to his department and fellow faculty members for their support, and to his students for inspiring him.
“The students here are great for a number of reasons. They’re curious. They’re appreciative. They’re willing to work, and they want to share with you what you have to share with them,” Zoerner said.
Specializing in linguistics, a subset of the English department that focuses on syntax and language construction, Zoerner considers himself primarily a teacher and secondarily a scholar.
“My goal is to develop eternally curious people, to point students towards knowledge,” said Zoerner.
Zoerner knew early on that he wanted to become a teacher. Both of his parents were educators, so he grew up understanding the merits of being a teacher. It was also clear to him that he would teach at CSU Dominguez Hills because it was where he completed his undergraduate studies and his father, Cyril Zoerner, was a professor of marketing and management at the university for 17 years.
Although he considers being named as the Lyle E. Gibson Distinguished Teacher an honor, Zoerner said being nominated by his peers and the support he’s gotten from them since being selected has been especially touching.
“It’s nice to be appreciated by faculty, the people who know me best and work with me,” said Zoerner, adding that it’s the appreciation from students that affirms his success in the classroom.
Zoerner began teaching at CSU Dominguez Hills in fall 1997 and is currently serving his second term as chair of the English department. His first term was from 2002 to 2008. He has authored several journal articles and presented at a number of conferences. He received a doctorate and a master’s degree in linguistics, as well as two separate bachelor of arts degrees, in English and in Spanish, from the University of California, Irvine, and a bilingual/cross-cultural teaching credential with an emphasis in Spanish from CSU Dominguez Hills.
Also at the reception were several students and emeritus faculty members, including William R. Blischke (professor of sociology, 1969-2001), who on behalf of the Emeritus Faculty Association acknowledged all past faculty award recipients and those present at the reception: Lois W. Chi (professor of biology, 1966-1983; CSU Board of Trustees Outstanding Professor Award, 1972; CSU Dominguez Hills Outstanding Professor Award, 1979); Marilyn Sutton (professor of English, 1973-2008; Lyle E. Gibson Distinguished Teacher Award, 1980); and Oliver W. Wilson (professor of political science and economics, 1972-2008; CSU Dominguez Hills Outstanding Professor Award, 2006).
In attendance, from off-campus, were members of the American Counsil on Education Fellows Program, the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities, and Don Herman, member of the foundation board and area manager for Shell Pipeline Company, LP, which has been a long-time supporter of the university and, as a co-sponsor of the reception, made it possible to double the honorarium offered to the winners.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for the faculty to be recognized for helping to educate the leaders of tomorrow,” said Herman.
The event, organized by the Office of Ceremonies and Events, was also sponsored by the Division of Academic Affairs, Academic Senate, and the Emeritus Faculty Association.
Serving as master of ceremonies at the awards reception, Provost Ramón Torrecilha said it is rare to have an event that is fully dedicated to honoring faculty and their service and scholarship accomplishments. He also described the faculty of CSU Dominguez Hills as the soul of the university and said, “Their accomplishments translate into the excitement we have in the classroom, in scholarship, and in the engagement with our students.”
A number of faculty members were also recognized for their milestone anniversaries of teaching at CSU, Dominguez Hills:
5 years: Thomas Philo, archivist
10 years: Carol E. Dales, reference/distance learning librarian
College of Arts and Humanities
5 years: James Keville, assistant professor of art
10 years: Timothy S. Chin, professor of English; José R. López-Morín, associate professor of Chicana/o studies
20 years: Vanessa E. Wenzell, professor of English
College of Business Administration and Public Policy
5 years: Natasa Christodoulidou, assistant professor of management; Tayyeb Shabbir, associate professor of finance, accounting, finance and law; Xia Zhao, assistant professor of management
20 years: Prakash L. Dheeriya, professor of accounting, finance and law; Stephen R. Jenner, professor of management
College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences
5 years: Hamoud Salhi, associate professor of political science; Tara Victor, assistant professor of psychology
10 years: Ralph Saunders, associate professor of geography and earth sciences; Ashish Sinha, assistant professor of earth sciences
15 years: Rodrick A. Hay, associate dean of the College of Natural & Behavioral Sciences, and professor of earth sciences; Thomas Landefeld, professor of biology; H. Leonardo Martinez, chair and professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Noel Sturm, professor of chemistry and biochemistry
20 years: Jerry D. Moore, professor of anthropology
25 years: Davood Soleymani, professor of biology
35 years: Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology
40 years: Jay B. Kaplan, professor of political science
College of Professional Studies
5 years: Dennis Corbin, assistant professor in master of social work program; Susan Einbinder, assistant professor in master of social work program; Diane Mayfield, assistant professor of occupational therapy; Mark Muller, senior instructor for the orthotics and prosthetic program; Susan Nakaoka, acting coordinator of the Asian Pacific studies program, and director of fieldwork and admissions in master of social work program; Jeffrey Sapp, professor of division of teacher education; Joseph Scollo, lecturer of the division of graduate education
10 years: Kelli Beard-Jordan, associate professor of the division of teacher education; Daniel T. Brassell, professor of alternative multiple subject coordinator, and division of teacher education Paula D’Amore, associate professor of division of health sciences; Dennis Dulyea, lecturer of the division of teacher education; Kate Esposito, associate professor of special education; Kamal Hamdan, director of transition to teaching; Lisa A. Hutton, associate professor of the division of teacher education; Barbara L. Kennedy, associate professor of the school of nursing; Deandrea L. Murrey, associate professor of the division of teacher education
20 years: Farah Fisher, professor of the division of graduate education; Kimberly Trimble, professor of the division of teacher education
10 years: Joseph D. Flanagan, head men’s/women’s soccer coach of the athletics department James A. Maier, head softball coach of the athletics department; Monica Rosas-Baines, psychologist of student health and psychological services