News Release| Outstanding Professors; President's Distinguished Professor; CSULA; Cal State L.A.; Los Angeles; CSU

MEDIA NOTE:  To request for a group photo of the Outstanding Professors and the President’s Distinguished Professor, contact the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs office at 323-343-3050. Reporters are welcome to attend a reception in honor of these distinguished professors on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 3 p.m., at the Golden Eagle Ballroom, on the CSULA campus.

A mathematician, an archaeologist, a philosopher, a linguist, a dramaturg—all dedicated to teaching and mentoring 

Cal State L.A. honors four Outstanding Professors and a President’s Distinguished Professor

Los Angeles, CA – An internationally renowned prolific scholar, an inspiring teacher and mentor, and a respected mathematician, Gerald Beer (Burbank resident) is the recipient of this year’s Cal State L.A. President’s Distinguished Professor Award. He and four other faculty members were recently honored at the 2008 Fall Faculty Day on the Cal State L.A. campus.

Presented with Outstanding Professor Awards were James Brady, a Maya cave archaeologist who actively involves students in his research and fieldwork (Arcadia resident); Jennifer Faust, a published author and expert on the philosophy of science and religion (Burbank resident); Kylie Hsu, a specialist in linguistics who was key in developing two B.A. programs at Cal State L.A. (Monterey Park resident); and Susan Mason, a professional dramaturg who has recently been named a Fulbright lecturer to teach in Japan next year (Santa Monica resident).

At Cal State L.A., the annual Outstanding Professor Awards primarily recognize excellence in teaching, along with citing significant achievements in scholarly inquiry or creativity, professional activities, and service to the campus and community. Presented to a previous Outstanding Professor award recipient, the President’s Distinguished Professor Award recognizes superlative teaching and exceptional commitment to students as well as professional accomplishments and services.

DETAILED PROFILES FOLLOW.

James Brady, Professor of Anthropology College of Natural and Social Sciences

Recognized internationally for his innovative field research, James Brady has been credited by preeminent scholars for creating a new sub-discipline of Maya cave archaeology.

Professor Stephen Houston of Brown University wrote: “Maya cave archaeology has become one of the two best-studied traditions of subterranean archaeology in the world. … In no small part, this breakthrough results from the tenacity of Brady …After decades of exemplary fieldwork in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico, Brady has created a specialty that can now rework prior Mayanist perceptions of the landscape.”

Supported by external funding, Brady has led international field projects with student participation. Many students whom he has mentored or supervised have received campus, state and national awards or fellowships, including four Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral fellowships and three “best papers” at state or national competitions. Students appreciate Brady for his dedicated efforts to help them reach their highest potential and praised him as a “world-class professor.” 

Commended by the Department chair as an “indispensable anchor,” Brady has transformed his department’s writing class into a program that encourages students to distinguish themselves. In the past two years, students from the writing course have won more than half of the Golden Eagle Awards for Excellence, and one other student went on to win a Smithsonian Summer Fellowship. 

Brady has published four books or chapters and 68 articles, some of them in leading journals in the field that he has pioneered. Additionally, Brady has received three Fulbright fellowships, and grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society. Brady, a Cal State L.A. alum, has also received a distinguished faculty alumnus award and an early promotion to professor. 

Additionally, Brady’s research has been featured in the Discovery Channel special, “The Cave of the Glowing Skulls,” and he has appeared on the History Channel, The Learning Channel, A&E, and National Geographic Explorer. One of the projects with students has appeared as a cover story of the Science News. Numerous other articles on Brady’s projects have been featured in Estylo, Smithsonian Magazine, Archaeology Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Angeles Times and in international publications.

Jennifer Faust, Professor of Philosophy College of Arts and Letters

Jennifer Faust’s primary area of expertise is in the theory of knowledge, but her interests also include bioethics, philosophy of religion, and philosophical issues at the intersection of science and public policy. She has authored several publications, including recent papers on the ethics of using racial categories in biomedical research and on religious arguments. She has also presented numerous papers at regional and national conferences. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Michael Meyer, a former student who is now an attorney specializing in marine law, wrote: “Faust’s research leverages the synergy of her scientific and philosophical training—it seeks to disentangle socially constructed conceptions of race, gender and sexual orientation from their use of variables in scientific research, thereby improving both the relevant scientific understanding and, ultimately, the equitable treatment of all people.”

Faust’s interests also include research on strategies for enhancing student learning, which has resulted in three campus Innovative Teaching Awards and several presentations and workshops on campus and at other universities. She is also credited for designing a natural science theme course on race and diversity, and for mentoring many philosophy graduate students on thesis writing.

One mentee and recipient of the Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral scholarship at Cal State L.A. said, “As a prospective professor, I have taken careful note of Faust’s approach to teaching as a model for my own future teaching.”

Professor Faust has been described also as a dedicated mentor, being the department’s principal graduate advisor for several years and serving on 16 master thesis committees.  Students praise Faust as “the most diligent and attentive academic advisor one could have.”

Additionally, Faust plays a key role in academic governance, having chaired or served on a wide range of demanding and important committees at all levels, including several terms in the academic senate with two years on the executive committee, and chair of the CFA Faculty Rights Committee for five years.  Moreover, in the past 10 years, Faust has been a faculty athletic representative. 

Kylie Hsu, Professor of Chinese, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures – College of Arts and Letters
Kylie Hsu is a versatile scholar who has published five books and more than 50 articles and 50 reviews encompassing Chinese linguistics, literature, translations, and multimedia instruction. Notably, her linguistic research monographs have received acclaims from renowned scholars in her field. They speak of her “cogent, convincing, and insightful” analyses, and praise her works to be “meticulous and of the highest quality.”

Professor Hsu has received more than 20 grants for her research and instructional activities. They include a grant from the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, and a multi-year grant from the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.

Most recently, she was invited to be a visiting scholar to conduct a corpus-based analysis of Chinese discourse at the National Academy of Taiwan (Academia Sinica), the most prestigious research institution in the country.

Professor Hsu has also given more than 70 presentations at conferences in the U.S. and around the world, including 17 invited keynotes and addresses. Additional activities include holding offices in professional societies, serving on editorial boards, and organizing and chairing regional and international conferences.

At Cal State L.A., Hsu has received early tenure and promotion to associate professor, and early promotion to full professor, as well as the University’s Distinguished Woman Award. Hsu is currently the coordinator of the Chinese Program and a former associate chair and principal undergraduate advisor in her Department. She was a key faculty in the development of the Chinese B.A. program, the Asian and Asian-American Studies B.A. program, and the Intensive Chinese Program for the CSU Summer Language Institute.

In recognition of her outstanding instruction, a student commented: “If I were to rank Dr. Hsu from a scale of 1-10, I would give her a 10+.” Another stated: “As a person, I adore her; as a professor, I admire her; as a mentor, I trust her.”

Her colleagues also attest to her effective teaching, as noted in one report: “It was an outstanding demonstration of what a truly well prepared instructor can do in a communicative foreign language class in America, in the 21st century.”

Susan Mason, Professor of Theatre Arts – College of Arts and Letters

A professional dramaturg and critic, Susan Mason brings her theatre experience and talent into the classroom and onto the campus stage. Mason has directed six theatre student productions at Cal State L.A. The most recent, The Cloud Gatherer, developed with a colleague, was a finalist in the regional competition for the American College Theatre Festival in 2008.  

Having worked at the Yale Repertory Theatre, Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Theatre Center, Mark Taper Forum and several small theatres, Mason has also been involved in the production of more than a dozen theatre plays presented throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Noted internationally in her field, she was a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship to the Netherlands in 1993. In spring and summer 2009, she will teach as a Fulbright lecturer at Tsuda College and Kyoritsu University in Tokyo.

Mason has authored 22 articles, one book and seven book chapters by highly regarded publishers.  She was also performance review editor of Theatre Journal for three years and an associate editor of Text and Performance Quarterly for two years.

Through her inspiring lectures, Mason is described as a “passionate and talented teacher.” A student commented on one’s enthusiasm for the subject: “Mason sets the class on fire! An infinite pool of inspiration and, of course, education.”

Another student wrote: “Mason has gone beyond simply educating me, [but] has also heavily influenced my life.  I can see myself teaching in the future at perhaps a community college and I can only hope that I demonstrate at least half of the passion and articulation.”

Mason has also been the department’s director of graduate studies for more than 15 years, and has received laudable remarks from both colleagues and students.  One colleague comments that Mason has “revived the program …and has read and critiqued almost every thesis.” 

Besides serving on more than 80 thesis committees, creating a total of seven new courses and modifying another five, Mason modified the graduate program to better prepare students for admission to Ph.D. programs. A former mentee, now pursuing a Ph.D. at UCLA, credits all his achievements to the professor’s support and guidance. 

PRESIDENT’S DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR:
Gerald Beer, Professor of Mathematics – College of Natural and Social Sciences

Honored as this year’s President’s Distinguished Professor, Gerald Beer is an internationally recognized scholar in the area of set-valued analysis—an area of mathematics that combines elements of topology and various aspects of applicable analysis. He is the author of the best-known texts in the field, Topologies on Closed and Closed Convex Sets, and is on the editorial boards of Set-Valued Analysis and The Journal of Convex Analysis.

Professor Beer is the author of more than 100 articles in refereed journals, including publications of the American Mathematical Society and in The American Mathematical Monthly, the most widely-read journal in the United States. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant and a Fulbright fellowship to the Philippines, and has been selected as a National Academy of Science Exchange Scientist to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.  Since 2000, Beer has been selected as a member of the California K – 12 Content Review Panel, working with college professors, K-12 teachers and administrators on the selection of State authorized textbooks.  He has also given numerous invited presentations across four continents.

A recipient of Cal State L.A.’s Outstanding Professor Award and the G.E. Honors Program Professor of the Year, Beer is praised by students as a caring instructor who is “always willing to share his extensive knowledge,” and “instilling…a desire to delve further into the subject.”

A student describing the last day of the class said, “I was so moved by the high level of instruction I had received that I felt [the professor] deserved an ovation.” 

Beer is also a dedicated mentor, being the department’s principal graduate advisor for a few years, supervising several master theses, and is currently supervising an undergraduate student for the MORE programs at Cal State L.A.  Many of the students he has mentored have gone on to prestigious Ph.D. programs with scholarships. 

As a major supporter for Cal State L.A.’s gifted students, Beer has been highly involved in both the G.E. Honors Program and the Early Entrance Program. Moreover, Beer has helped, in conjunction with the faculty in the Charter College of Education, to design a blended curriculum for multiple-subject credential students, and has designed courses for this program. 

A long-time member of the Academic Senate, Beer served as an executive member, has chaired or served on numerous committees at all levels, including Personnel Committees and the Dean Selection Committees for two Colleges. Also, for more than a decade, Beer has been a faculty athletic representative to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) for Cal State L.A. In this capacity, Beer certifies eligibility for all intercollegiate student-athletes at Cal State L.A., serves as chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Board, and regularly represents the University at meetings of the California Collegiate Athletics Association and the NCAA. He is currently serving as associate chair of the Department of Mathematics at Cal State L.A. 

#  #  #

Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 205,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. www.calstatela.edu