Outstanding Professors 2004-2005

October 1, 2005
For immediate release:


Cal State L.A. Honors
Four Outstanding Professors
and a
President’s Distinguished Professor


California State University, Los Angeles presented its 2004-2005 OUTSTANDING PROFESSOR AWARDS (OPA) at the University’s Fall Faculty Day. The faculty members honored were: Joanne Altschuler, associate professor of social work (West Los Angeles resident); Sachiko Matsunaga, professor of Japanese (Sierra Madre resident); Joseph B. Prabhu, professor of philosophy (Altadena resident); and Carlos Robles, professor of biology (Pasadena 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, Martin G. Brodwin, Cal State L.A. professor of education in the Division of Special Education and Counseling (La Canada-Flintridge resident), was selected as the recipient of the 2005-2006 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.


A reception in honor of these outstanding professors was held TODAY at Cal State L.A.

Joanne Altschuler, Associate Professor of Social Work - College of Health and Human Services

Recognized as an exceptionally talented teacher, Joanne Altschuler completed her doctorate in social work at USC, where she concurrently earned a Graduate Certificate from USC’s Study of Women and Men in Society Program. Prior to earning her Ph.D. and coming to CSULA in 1995, she worked as a licensed clinical social worker in a variety of capacities.

In her tenure at CSULA, Professor Altschuler has taught 93 classes, including 22 different graduate and undergraduate courses. She played a significant role in the development of the Master’s of Social Work program and devotes considerable time to student advisement, including serving as advisor to the graduate student organization.


Dr. Altschuler was co-principal investigator of a two-year research project (1997-1999) investigating knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of HIV/AIDS among older adults. Based on the findings, she coauthored an education curriculum that is used by community programs serving older adults in Los Angeles and central California. Her expertise in the area of HIV/AIDS and older adults resulted in her appearance as a guest on the series Aging in L.A. that airs twice a week on LA CityView cable channel.


From 2002-2003, Dr. Altschuler served as a co-investigator and trainer for the Adult Protective Services Social Work Training Project. She co-designed and administered a training curriculum on current California Welfare Institution Codes pertaining to elder and dependent adult abuse.


Her peer reviewed articles and abstracts appear in major professional journals. Dr. Altschuler has made more than 20 scholarly presentations at national and regional juried conferences. She has evaluated scientific abstracts for the Gerontological Society of America, evaluated research proposals for the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, served on the curriculum review committee for Hebrew Union College, and has given feedback for revisions of Social Work and Social Welfare, a widely-used introductory textbook.


Dr. Altschuler has received a number of CSULA honors, including being selected in 2004 to serve as a faculty mentor in the NIMH Career Opportunities in Research (COR) Program. In 2000, she received the Outstanding Field Faculty Liaison from the Field Education Program in CSULA’s School of Social Work, the Extraordinary BSW/MSW Faculty of the Year in 2000 and Professor of the Year in 2002, and the CSULA Distinguished Woman Award in 2002.


Sachiko Matsunaga, Professor of Japanese, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures - College of Arts and Letters

Described as an accomplished linguist and teacher, Sachiko Matsunaga, who earned her Ph.D. in Japanese Linguistics and Pedagogy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has been included in International Who’s Who of Professionals, Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century, and Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.


Since 1995, when she arrived at Cal State L.A., Professor Matsunaga has taught 18 different courses in all levels of Japanese language, including Business Japanese, Japanese Linguistics and Japanese Civilization. Among the students she taught, five became successful high school teachers, eight participated in a summer internship program or a year-long study abroad program in Japan, two entered a graduate program (one in the U.S. and one in Japan), and two obtained employment in Japan upon graduation.


Dr. Matsunaga’s research interests include the reading processes of Japanese by native, non-native, and heritage learners, and the pedagogy of reading. She has published two books and 24 scholarly papers in journals, books, and conference proceedings. She also has written a dozen pedagogical articles in print and online, and co-edited a dozen volumes of pedagogical newsletters. In addition, she has given more than 36 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.


Dr. Matsunaga has received six internal awards for innovative instruction and for research at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, as well as five different external grants to hold nine campus events and to attend two out-of-state workshops. She was an invited board member of Teachers of Japanese in Southern California, a selected member of the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers) panel, and an elected board member of the Association of Teachers of Japanese. Her other professional activities include serving as a referee for entities such as Modern Language Journal and Language Learning.

At Cal State L.A., Dr. Matsunaga has served as faculty advisor to the Japan Club and undergraduate advisor of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and is coordinator of the Japanese program and director of the Japanese Studies Center, which provides scholarships and organizes events. Since last year, she has been chair and graduate advisor of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.


Joseph Prabhu, Professor of Philosophy - College of Arts and Letters

A model of what academicians aspire to be, Joseph Prabhu is noted as “an excellent teacher who makes a lasting impression on students; an intellectual and widely recognized scholar; and a colleague who is a solid citizen of the university and the world.”

Dr. Prabhu was educated first in economics at Delhi University, studying with Amartya Sen, future Nobel Prize winner, among others. He then went to Europe to study philosophy and religion, spending time at Heidelberg and Munich Universities in Germany and Cambridge University in England, where he received his M.A. in philosophy. It was at Boston University that he secured his Ph.D. with a thesis on “Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion.”


Dr. Prabhu has taught at CSULA since 1978, but has also been visiting professor at UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. His teaching interests are in metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, social and political philosophy, and comparative religion. In addition, he has presented more than 100 guest lectures at universities in Germany, Spain, Turkey, Japan, Australia and India.


The National Endowment for the Humanities has granted Dr. Prabhu nine fellowships and he has also garnered fellowships at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University and the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago.


Dr. Prabhu has edited The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar (Orbis Books, 1996) and Indian Ethics: Ancient Traditions and Contemporary Challenges (Ashgate Press, 2005). His own book, Liberating Gandhi: Community, Empire and a Culture of Peace, is being reviewed by Rowman and Littlefield; while another book co-edited with the renowned literary scholar Terry Eagleton, Left-wing Christianity, has been commissioned by Duke University Press. In addition, he was a co-editor of ReVision, a journal of philosophy, spirituality and psychology, for a six-year period. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and is being nominated to the Board of Trustees of the Chicago-based Council of the Parliament of World Religions.


In addition to his academic commitments, he has been involved in the ministry of All Saints Church, Pasadena, the Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP), and other groups involved in peace and intercultural understanding.


Carlos Robles, Professor of Biological Sciences - College of Natural and Social Sciences

A respected scholar in his discipline, Carlos Robles received his bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Since joining the CSULA faculty in 1979, he has held several positions at Cal State L.A., including acting associate dean of graduate studies and research, and both associate and acting chair for the then Department of Biology and Microbiology.


Having received over $12 million in research and research training grants in only the past ten years, Dr. Robles’ grants support innovative training in environmental research, including classroom exercises, special field experiences at remote field stations, and internships with government agencies concerned with the environment.


Dr. Robles is the director of Cal State L.A.’s Center for Environmental Analysis (CEA-CREST), a multidisciplinary research institute conducting basic and applied research in diverse ecosystems of North America. The Center is the first of its kind funded by the National Science Foundation on the West Coast. Under Dr. Robles’ direction, CEA-CREST has become a nationally-recognized model for diversity-centered environmental education, reaching out to pre-college students and placing numerous graduates from underrepresented groups in Ph.D. programs and government agency positions. Dr. Robles also co-directs the Luis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation/ Bridges to the Doctorate Program, which provides fellowship support to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Excelling in his role as a mentor-scholar, one of his students wrote: “…he has given me insight into what it means to be a role model and motivator.”


Dr. Robles has served as an expert technical advisor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Damage Assessment Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He has published numerous articles on the dynamics of predation in seashore communities of California and British Columbia. His work has been incorporated into textbooks and into science museum displays. He was recipient of the 2000 CSU Bautzer Faculty Advancement Award and the 2001 Undergraduate Institution Faculty Mentor Award, presented by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. He was also recognized as a Featured Minority Scientist Profile by the National Science Foundation.



Martin G. Brodwin, Professor of Education, Division of Special Education and Counseling

Charter College of Education
Well-known for his work in rehabilitation counseling, Professor Martin Brodwin is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Professor Award for 2004-2005.

Martin G. Brodwin, a Cal State L.A. alumnus, earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. Since joining the faculty in 1988, Dr. Brodwin has served as coordinator for the University’s undergraduate program in rehabilitation services and graduate program in rehabilitation counseling. In 1996, he and a colleague received a $750,000 four-year Department of Education grant for a training program directed toward rehabilitation counseling and special education graduate students.


Dr. Brodwin was presented the 1996 Outstanding Rehabilitation Educator Award by the National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals in the Private Sector. This special honor is given annually to recognize educators making outstanding contributions in the field of rehabilitation counseling. In 1997, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Charter College of Education category and also the 1996-1997 CSULA Outstanding Professor Award. In the Education and Professional and Applied Sciences category, Dr. Brodwin was one of only four CSU faculty members selected for last year’s $20,000 CSU Wang Family Excellence Award. This year, Dr. Brodwin will also be honored as the Distinguished Faculty Alumnus at the 32nd Annual Cal State L.A. Alumni Awards Gala.

Dr. Brodwin was a commissioner on the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) for nine years. He also served as president of the California Rehabilitation Counseling Association, executive council member for the California Association for Counseling and Development, and editorial board member for several professional journals in counseling and rehabilitation. His book, Medical, Psychosocial, and Vocational Aspects of Disability, published in 1993 and 2002, has been used as a textbook in over 80 colleges and universities.


Leading Cal State L.A.’s rehabilitation programs to national recognition, Dr. Brodwin is a passionate teacher known for his dedication to “at risk” students. His strong support of and lifelong ties to his students are evidenced by the fact that of the four dozen articles and chapters he has published and the 48 professional presentations he has delivered since joining the university, almost half have been coauthored by students and alumni.

A student wrote: “This instructor makes going to school worthwhile. His understanding of student’s needs, his thoughtfulness, and caring are rare. He’s excellent.” Another wrote: “He’s very inspirational and encouraging. Because of him, I am actually considering getting a master’s degree.”


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 185,000 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. Among programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include a noted alternative energy technology initiative; an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, to be housed in the Los Angeles Regional Crime Lab now under construction. www.calstatela.edu


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