In the past five years alone, Ivonne Heinze Balcazar, associate professor and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, has made major contributions to her department in the form of new Spanish programs and courses, adding to her multitude of accomplishments since arriving at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) 13 years ago.
For the entire body of her work and service to the university community, Heinze Balcazar was honored with the 2016 Excellence in Service Award, which recognizes “contributions to university governance and development, and acknowledges that service is an essential component of CSUDH’s mission.”
Heinze Balcazar will carry the University Mace, an honor reserved for highly distinguished faculty members, along with fellow honoree associate professor and chair of Chicana and Chicano Studies Marisela Chávez, at the College of Arts and Humanities Commencement Ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 21.
“In fall 2003, with great passion, I began teaching as an assistant professor in Spanish linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages. Since that time, I have delighted in the challenges of teaching, research, and service,” said Heinze Balcazar after accepting her faculty award at the Faculty Awards reception held earlier in the year. “As a Latina professor, scholar and administrator, I am proud to join those who have come before me. I want to thank my students who motivate me every day to be a better professor, and a better administrator. …Kamo, Gracias, and thank you.”
Heinze Balcazar’s colleagues praised her consistent service to the College of Arts and Humanities at CSUDH, particularly in spearheading many of the Department of Modern Languages’ significant milestones since her arrival.
She has overseen the creation of new minor programs in grammar and composition, linguistics, literature, and one program in Spanish culture for which she also developed the course “Latin American Cinema.” She has also helped organize Spanish linguistics events, including a symposia examining scholar and poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz.
Heinze Balcazar service also includes participation in her department’s student service learning program “Academia del Español” (Spanish Academy) where students learn to teach Spanish to English-speaking children, and Spanish literacy to Spanish-speaking children in local schools. She has also developed and implemented requirements for students to meet California State University (CSU) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing standards for obtaining bilingual authorization.
“I believe that my service continues to provide collegial and effective interconnection of colleagues across the disciplines and colleges, and offers the community, and myself, opportunities and joys that are unique to CSU Dominguez Hills,” said Heinze Balcazar.
Outside her college, Heinze Balcazar served as a coordinator for the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences’ Social Behavioral Sciences (SBS) program, and played a vital role in the re-establishment of the Women’s Resource Center, and served as its director for over a year. She is president of CSUDH’s Latina/o Faculty and Staff Association, has served for 10 years in the Academic Senate and on 11 committees and taskforces, and lends her leadership and guidance to several student-focused organizations on campus.
“It is a great personal pleasure to see students grow intellectually, mature, to become leaders, and then succeed,” she said. “It has been my mission to create a positive environment for our students’ lives on and off campus, and to fulfill the university’s mission and goals.”