CSU Voices and Views

Sparking a Love for Learning

Richard Torres (far right) at the Better Together: California Teachers Summit. Also pictured: (L to R) Joan Bissell, CSU's Director of Teacher Education and Public School and teachers summit speakers Desiree Olivas and Leland Melvin.

Richard Torres, far right, pictured with (L to R): Joan Bissell, CSU’s Director of Teacher Education and Public School Programs; teachers summit speakers Desiree Olivas and Leland Melvin. Better Together: California Teachers Summit at CSUF on July 31, 2015.

By Richard Torres
Student Assessment and Educational Measurement, Orange Unified School District

I was never much of a student. The “one teacher who sparked a love for learning” never entered my life. However, when my parents gave me an ultimatum and a choice between work or school, I chose to attend college as a way of delaying the inevitable reality of adulthood. Books seemed so much more inviting than getting a job.

Once I completed my general education at Cypress College, I found myself transferring to Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) still uncertain of what my future had in store. With a knack for writing and an interest in literature, I decided to focus my studies on English. I’m not quite sure when it happened, maybe between the pages of Milton or Shakespeare, but a love for learning was ignited once I became a student at CSUF. The discussions in class opened up my mind to differing views. It was evident that my professors truly loved their curriculum. For the first time, school and learning was fun. More …

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Public Policy, Here I Come

Upward Bound student Thais  Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

Upward Bound student Thais Rodriguez finds her love for public policy while interning at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office in Sacramento.

By Thais Rodriguez
Junior, Garey High School in Pomona

Upward Bound has brought me to great heights—and my internship at the CSU Advocacy and State Relations Office has brought me even higher.

I first joined Upward Bound after seeing all the opportunities that my older brother received through the program. We come from a low-income family and are grateful to participate in a program that encourages us to go to college and helps us find our ideal career path. The program placed me in real-life work experiences that tailored to my strengths. It was suggested that public policy might be the right industry for me because I’m better at English-type subjects as opposed to math. After spending five weeks at the CSU office in Sacramento this summer, I realized that it truly was the right career for me. More …

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A Conversation with CSSA Leadership

2015-16 CSSA Executive Officers
Pictured from left to right: Alfredo Barcenas, Lauren Lombardo, Agatha Gucyski, Taylor Herren, and Edgar Garcia 

Since 1958, the California State Student Association (CSSA) has been at the forefront of providing student advocacy at the university and legislative levels. The CSSA consists of two student leaders from each of the system’s 23 campuses – the Associated Students president and a designated CSSA representative. As the collective voice of the CSU student body, the CSSA works with both the university administration and state legislatures to advocate for or against university policy.

In fall 2015, the Student Involvement and Representation Fee (SIRF) will go into effect – a $2 per-term voluntary fee assessed to each CSU student – a proposal adopted by the CSU Board of Trustees on January 28, 2014. As the CSSA was previously funded by Associated Students membership dues, fundraising, and Chancellor’s Office grants, SIRF will allow each CSU student to financially support the association advocating on its behalf. The implementation of SIRF will aim to create a more stable, independent, and expanded statewide student association.

With SIRF in place and preparation for the upcoming school year underway, the newly elected 2015-16 CSSA Executive Officers discuss their roles and vision for the next year: More …

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Translating Research into Textbooks

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

(L to R) CSUSB Provost/VP Academic Affairs Andrew Bodman, CSUSB Professor in Public Administration Montgomery (Monty) Van Wart, and CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales at the university’s 3rd Annual Student Research Symposium on May 27, 2014 where Dr. Monty Van Wart was awarded CSUSB’s inaugural Outstanding Scholar award for his extensive research in Public Administration. Photo courtesy of CSU San Bernardino

By Montgomery Van Wart, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Public Administration
CSU San Bernardino

Beyond my passion for teaching, scholarly research is a close second. A misconception about non-science faculty members is that our sole expertise lies in teaching. What people don’t realize is that we too conduct research and engage in scholarly activity.

Whether teaching public administration, history, communications or any other subject, professors all conduct research to help our respective universities become the best institutions possible. At CSU San Bernardino, we’ve created an environment where research endeavors thrive. I’m able to bring the research I conduct in the field into the classroom to help give students a well-rounded understanding of public administration topics. More …

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Using Education to Rise from Poverty to Prosperity

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

Honorable Paul Lo at CSU “Journey to Success,” hosted at Fresno State on May 2.

By Paul Lo
Judge, Merced County Superior Court

I was seven years old when my country fell. It was 1975 and communists had just taken over Laos. My family along with thousands of other Hmong families fled to refugee camps in Thailand, which is where we lived until I was eleven.

In 1979, my family and I were admitted into the United States, and it was about that time when education became one of the most important things in my life. We settled in Denver, Colorado and I was placed into the fifth grade not knowing a word of English. I was doing kindergarten-level work in a fifth grade class. Needless to say, the experience of coming here and adjusting was incredibly difficult. I was working from the ground up and needed something to help me rise from poverty to prosperity. Education was and still is my ticket to success.
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A Lifetime of Supporting Education

Bob and Barbara Ellis proudly showing their resolution from the CSU Board of Trustees designating that  Eductaion -1 building at CSULB be named in their honor.

Bob and Barbara Ellis proudly showing their resolution from the CSU Board of Trustees designating that the Education-1 building at CSULB be named in their honor.

Bob and Barbara Ellis have dedicated a total of 73.5 years of their lives to teaching the next generation. Now, with $1.4 million bequest to create a scholarship endowment for credential students at CSU Long Beach (CSULB), Bob and Barbara are helping future educators shape the lives of California’s children.

After graduating from CSULB in 1964, Barbara went on to teach English 22 years at Hughes Middle School and 14 years at Lakewood High School.

Bob earned his credential and master’s degree from CSULB in 1958 and began his career as a teacher and counselor in 1950 at Jordan High School, and concluded it as Jordan’s principal in 1987.  In between, he was principal of six different schools:  Avalon School in Catalina, Freemont Elementary, Newcomb K-8, Hughes Junior High, Wilson and Poly High Schools.

Their commitment to education doesn’t end there.
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Supporting SDSU from Beginning to End

By Kathy Brown
Associate Director of Buying, SDSU Bookstore
Aztec Shops, San Diego State University

The SDSU Bookstore staff

The SDSU Bookstore staff.
(left to right) Ambre Dorsett, Laura White, Kathy Brown, Meghan Smith, Nancy Stevens, Kelly Morlock, Ben Compton

Commencement season is here! As seniors prepare for graduation and underclassmen wrap up their spring semester classes, my staff and I at The SDSU Bookstore are eager to assist with everyone’s end of the school year needs. Commencement season may be one of the busiest times of the year at San Diego State University, but in the heart of the chaos, the bookstore remains the rock of the campus.

Many people think of the campus bookstore as just that – a store on campus that sells and rents books. While that may be the core of its existence, The SDSU Bookstore takes pride in serving the entire campus community on various needs throughout the school year, including graduation. More …

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Trailblazing Beyond Gender for a Stronger California

On April 27, CSU San Marcos President Karen Haynes received the Trailblazer Award from Leadership California alongside her five fellow CSU women presidents. (left to right) Lisa Rossbacher, Humboldt State; Dianne Harrison, CSUN; Mildred García, Cal State Fullerton; Karen Haynes, CSU San Marcos; Soraya Coley, Cal Poly Pomona; and Jane Conoley, Cal State Long Beach.

On April 27, CSU San Marcos President Karen Haynes received the Trailblazer Award from Leadership California alongside her five fellow CSU women presidents. (left to right) Lisa Rossbacher, Humboldt State; Dianne Harrison, CSUN; Mildred García, Cal State Fullerton; Karen Haynes, CSU San Marcos; Soraya Coley, Cal Poly Pomona; and Jane Conoley, Cal State Long Beach.

By Dr. Karen S. Haynes
President, CSU San Marcos

I never intended to become a university president but in 1995, after serving as the only female dean at the University of Houston for ten years, I was provided with the unexpected challenge and opportunity to become the president of the system’s Victoria campus. Today I have served as a university president for 20 years—over 11 of those at Cal State San Marcos—and I am the senior woman president in the 23-campus California State University system.

This week I was proud to join my five fellow CSU women presidents in collectively receiving the Leadership California Trailblazer Award. We all have traveled our unique paths to leadership, bumping up against – and putting some cracks in – what has been called the highest, hardest glass ceiling in America. But my pride is dampened by a sobering reality. As I thought about the award, I was struck by the notion that being a female university president is still considered trailblazing.
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My CSU Path from Military to Success

By Mark Scott
CSU Channel Islands Alumnus

When I graduated with an associate’s degree at Ventura Community College in 2008, I had no idea where to go next. Furthering my education at a four-year university crossed my mind, but affording it made obtaining a bachelor’s degree a far-fetched goal. In search of direction, I decided to join the Marine Corps the following year, which led to my discovery of funding options – such as the GI Bill – that made attending a CSU a reality. Through resourceful faculty and campus services available for veterans and active duty students alike, CSU Channel Islands provided a quality educational bridge that connected the military to my career success.
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PEEPS: Not Only About Marshmallows

By Jeffrey Cabanez
2014-15 CSU STEM VISTA Member
Alumnus, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Jeffrey Cabanez—a CSU STEM VISTA member—ignites passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics in high school students as the CSU Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools Coordinator.

Jeffrey Cabanez—a CSU STEM VISTA member—ignites passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics in high school students as the CSU Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools Coordinator.

When you hear the word PEEPS, what comes to mind? Probably five yellow marshmallows shaped as tiny chickens, or five pink marshmallows shaped as tiny bunnies, placed in a box wrapped in plastic that you eat during Easter. When I hear the word PEEPS, I think academic learning communities, STEM, professional development opportunities, and financial aid.

At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I am working with a brand new scholarship program called the Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools, cleverly shortened to PEEPS. PEEPS aims to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students from underrepresented backgrounds.
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