Outstanding Professors 2000-2001

January 1, 2002

Cal State L.A. Outstanding Professors 2000-2001 Announced

Los Angeles, CA--California State University, Los Angeles named its 2000-2001 Outstanding Professors at the University’s Fall Faculty Day. Those honored were: Raymond Garcia, professor of Chemistry, Diamond Bar resident; Darlene Michener, professor of Education-Curriculum and Instruction, Walnut resident; Ruben Quintero, professor of English, Pico Rivera resident; and Ira Sommers, professor of Criminal Justice, Los Angeles resident. These awards are made primarily for excellence in teaching, but significant achievements are expected in scholarly inquiry or creativity, professional activities, and service to the campus and community.


As part of the annual faculty tradition, Cal State L.A. Professor of Chemistry Carlos Gutierrez (Pasadena resident) was selected as the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Professor Award. This award recognizes superlative teaching and exceptional commitment to students as well as professional accomplishments and services. Only those professors who have previously been selected as Outstanding Professors are eligible for this award.


Raymond Garcia, Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry--College of Natural and Social Sciences

On the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 1982, Raymond Garcia received a B.S. degree at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and B.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UC Riverside. Widely known and esteemed by his undergraduate and graduate students, Garcia has served as department chair twice, and as faculty mentor and principal graduate advisor.


An expert on the dietary and hormonal regulation of plasma lipoproteins, Garcia conducted many research presentations, published in numerous refereed scientific journals, and received more than $2 million in grants to support his work. Significantly for his students, he has engaged more than six dozen undergraduates, 24 graduate students, and nearly 50 high school and community college students in this research. He has trained and mentored nearly 90 more students by sponsoring their presentations at local and national research conferences.


Garcia codirects the Science, Engineering and Math Summer Bridge program, as well as the campus’ Howard Hughes Medical Institute program and the Minority Science Program. He is member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and has served as the Cal State L.A. chapter president for three terms and on its executive committee for 11 years. In this leadership capacity he helped establish—and has continuously helped produce—the campus’ Symposia of Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, providing an opportunity for all students to present their research in a scholarly environment.


Darlene Michener, Professor of Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction--Charter College of Education

Darlene Michener began teaching at Cal State L.A.’s Division of Curriculum and Instruction in 1985. She received her B.S.Ed. degree from Northern Illinois University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of South Florida.


Michener has actively involved herself at all levels of instruction—from her 12 years of preschool and elementary school teaching experience to the development of reading programs on an administrative level. Commended by the Los Angeles County Office of Education for her work in children’s literacy, she is the founder of the Charter College of Education’s “Literacy Collaborative.” The collaborative improves the reading and writing education of area K-12 students by developing the University’s literacy teaching support programs for future and practicing K-12 teachers.


Michener is also noted for her success as the coordinator of the University’s Graduate Reading Programs. Prior to 1985, it took five to seven years for approximately 80 students to graduate. Under Michener’s leadership, the more than 300 students who are currently enrolled in the program graduate in two to three years. Under her coordination, the program has been streamlined so that graduates can receive both the M.A. degree in K-12 reading education and the California Reading and Language Arts Specialist Credential upon completion.


Michener’s work is widely published, and she regularly presents and delivers keynote addresses at professional meetings. She has received 20 state, federal and University grants, has served on 45 University committees, and is active in more than a dozen community programs as well.


Ruben Quintero, Professor of English, Department of English--College of Arts and Letters

A Cal State L.A. alumnus, Ruben Quintero is a professor of English and has been a faculty member since 1988. He received his B.A. degrees in English and in Philosophy from Cal State L.A., and Ph.D. and A.M. degrees in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. He has taught 26 different classes in the English Department, from freshman composition to very specialized graduate seminars. Quintero has also revised the English Department’s graduate program and served as its principal advisor.


Quintero’s scholarship is internationally acclaimed. Experts declare that his award-winning book, Literate Culture: Pope's Rhetorical Art (University of Delaware Press, 1992), is the best work on 18th century English literature to have been published in the last 25 years. Reviewed internationally, the book is regularly cited in current research in this field, and won the University of Delaware Press Award in Eighteenth-Century Studies. As a result of this important text, he is invited to speak at national and international conferences, where his work is often cited and discussed. Quintero has published several essays on American playwrights, has completed a screenplay, is working on a novel, and has had a short story appear in Viet Nam War Generation Journal.


Among all his academic endeavors, Quintero is also serving in his fourth year as the head Athletics Academic Advisor at the University. In this capacity, he is responsible for providing academic advisement for all Cal State L.A. student-athletes; evaluating transcripts for potential transfer student-athletes; assisting coaches in monitoring the academic progress of their student-athletes; and helping student-athletes with long-term curricular planning. In the community, he has taken a lead role in revising the educational system in Pico Rivera.

Ira Sommers, Professor of Criminal Justice, Department of Criminal Justice--College of Health and Human Services

Ira Sommers received his doctorate in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, and was a NIMH post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Before joining the Cal State L.A. faculty in 1996, he was the director of research at the Criminal Justice Research Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Over the course of his academic career, Sommers has conducted and published research on a wide range of topics, including substance abuse and violence, forensic mental health, and domestic violence. He has received approximately $9 million in federal, state and foundation grants, and is currently the principal investigator on a $260,000 National Science Foundation grant studying methamphetamine use and violence. Under a $150,000 grant from Columbia University and the MacArthur Foundation, he is also conducting research on the incarceration and post-incarceration experiences of juvenile offenders.


Sommers has published two books on female offenders and 35 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. He has been a consultant to numerous criminal justice and mental health agencies, including the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice Development and Prevention, and the New York State Office of Mental Health.

At Cal State L.A., Sommers has taught 15 different graduate and undergraduate courses, has had primary responsibility for developing comprehensive exams for the Department, and played a key role in developing the M.S. option in forensic mental health.


President’s Distinguished Professor:

Carlos Gutiérrez, Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Natural and Social Sciences


Professor of Chemistry Carlos Gutiérrez is a highly-recognized figure on campus and a man of many talents (many people aren’t aware that an early interest in science filmmaking led him to receive a student Academy Award). Gutiérrez received his Ph.D. from UC Davis and joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1976. He is currently serving as director of the University’s NIH (National Institutes of Health) Minority Access to Research Careers and Minority Biomedical Research Support programs, and is the University’s faculty coordinator and mentor for the prestigious Beckman Scholars program—a scholarship program that fosters and supports research by outstanding undergraduate students in chemistry and biological sciences research at select universities throughout the United States.


In his 20+ years at Cal State L.A., Gutiérrez has mentored more than 180 students through National Institutes of Health-funded programs or as a faculty participant in other projects such as the National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Improvement in Minority Institutions and Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs.


Gutiérrez has served on and chaired various NIH committees, subcommittees and the NIGMS Council, and is an advisory committee member of the National Research Council Office of Scientific and Engineering Personnel. He has published numerous articles, all with student coauthors. In great part through his effort, the American Chemical Society (ACS) established the Committee on Minority Affairs in 1993, with Gutiérrez serving as its first chair. During his tenure as chair, the Society also established the ACS Minority Scholars Program, a $5 million scholarship program for undergraduates, and the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in Chemical Sciences. Gutiérrez helped to establish the ACS Scholars Program in 1995, and has been active on its behalf since its inception.


As vice-chair of the National Academy of Science Committee on a National Scholars Program, under contract to NASA, Gutiérrez has articulated persuasively the responsibility of all faculty—but especially science faculty—to seek out talented minority students and encourage their academic development very early in their undergraduate careers.

In 1996, Gutiérrez was among the first individuals named by the President of the United States to receive the then-newly-established annual Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The honor was conferred at a White House ceremony. More recently, he has received The Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering (QEM/MSE) Network’s Year 2000 MSE Giants in Science Award, and was one of four CSU faculty members selected for the $20,000 systemwide CSU Wang Family Excellence Award. His campus honors include the University’s Outstanding Professor Award; the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Cal State L.A. chapter of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi; the Cal State L.A. Hispanic Support Network Outstanding Educator Award; and the Cal State L.A. Associated Students, Inc.’s Outstanding Faculty Award.


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