Outstanding Professors 2006-2007

October 17, 2007

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


Los Angeles, CA – An esteemed teacher, scholar and mentor in the fields of Spanish and romance linguistics, Domnita Dumitrescu (Glendale resident) is the recipient of this year’s Cal State L.A. President’s Distinguished Professor Award. She and four other faculty members were recently honored at a reception on the Cal State L.A. campus.

Presented with Outstanding Professor Awards were Sherwood Best, a leader in special education in California with expertise in physical and health impairments (La Verne resident); Darrell Guillaume, a specialist in fluid mechanics and thermodynamics whose research focuses on training and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students (Fullerton resident); Robert E. Land, an advocate for improving literacy for adolescent English learners and cofounder of Cal State L.A.’s Writing Project (L.A.-Windsor Square resident); and Pamela C. Regan, a published author and recognized authority in the areas of relationships, lust and mating (Redondo Beach 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.


Sherwood Best, Professor of Education, Division of Special Education and Counseling – Charter College of Education

Sherwood Best is recognized as “the sole faculty in charge of education specialist credential in physical and health impairments in Southern California” and has assumed responsibility for training half the state’s teachers in this credential area, many from as far away as San Diego, Bakersfield, and Fresno. She is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters, and the only textbook of its kind in the field of physical and health impairments.

In 2004, Best traveled to Bangalore, India, to help establish an early intervention program for infants and young children with special needs at the Vydehi Institute of Medical Rehabilitation. She returned to Bangalore the following summer to assist with the opening of an early intervention center and also to teach graduate courses to occupational, physical, and speech therapists in the center.

Best has been involved in leadership in national and state organizations, including service in the National Division of Physical and Health Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children, the California Association for Physical and Health Impairments, and the Association for the Education of Children with Medical Needs. In 2007, she was appointed to a state-level workgroup to make recommendations to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing Workgroup for special education credentials.

Best’s highest priority has been identified to be “the transformation of credential and master’s candidates into thoughtful and highly qualified teachers, consumers of research, and advocates for children with disabilities.” Her goal is to produce teachers with a passion and commitment to quality education for all students, regardless of the complexity of their disabilities.

One of her students wrote: “I look forward to her class because of the stimulating and well-paced presentation of content.” And, another commented: “Impressively in command of the subject and highly articulate. Wonderfully able to show many sides of problems without prejudice to any.”

Best completed her B.A. in psychology from Pitzer College, her teaching credentials and M.A. at Cal State L.A., and her Ph.D. in educational psychology and special education from UC Riverside.

Darrell Guillaume, Professor of Mechanical Engineering - College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology

Described as “an outstanding professor whose favorite instructional activity is working collaboratively with students on research project,” Darrell Guillaume is the principal investigator or co-PI on external grants, exceeding $8 million in funding support for his work at Cal State L.A.

Over the past nine years, Guillaume’s research had focused on fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and heat transfer. All of his research projects directly involve the participation of undergraduate and graduate students. His current research, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, focuses on aerodynamics of unmanned aerial vehicles and combustion in gas turbine engines. With Guillaume on the team, Cal State L.A. became the first university west of the Mississippi and second overall to achieve successful flight powered by fuel cells last year.

Guillaume—who uses active learning in his courses to promote critical thinking—challenges all students to participate in class using a wide range of interactive techniques. His excellence in teaching has been acknowledged by his students who have awarded him the Mechanical Engineering Department’s Outstanding Professor six times during the past seven years.

A student wrote: “He is one of the most extraordinary professors I have met in any colleges that I have attended. Not only is he professional in his teaching abilities, he is also willing to take time out of his own life to help students in need.”

Guillaume, a Cal State L.A. faculty member since 1998, is also currently serving as acting department chairperson while maintaining a very active, full-time research program. Guillaume has served at all levels of academic governance at Cal State L.A. by acting on committees and leading program mandates. He is also the faculty advisor for Tau Beta Pi, Cal State L.A.’s engineering student honor society. Guillaume’s professional achievements include over 25 publications in top-ranked refereed journals and proceedings of conferences.

Guillaume received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from San Diego State University and his Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering specializing thermal/fluid sciences from UC Irvine.

Robert E. Land, Professor of Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction – Charter College of Education

Representing the fourth generation of teachers in his family, Robert E. Land teaches English/Language Arts methods and K-12 diagnosis courses.

Land also directs Cal State L.A.’s Writing Project, which he co-founded in 1999. The Writing Project provides in-service programs, workshops and other events designed to improve writing and the teaching of writing at all grade levels and in all disciplines to local teachers, schools and districts.

He has published reports and reviews in numerous publications and presented many papers at international, national and regional conferences. His essay on evaluating English learners’ writing has been reprinted three times and has been called a “landmark” article. His most recent article on improving literacy for adolescent English learners recently won a prestigious national award as the article most likely to influence classroom practice.

Land has consistently received outstanding ratings of teaching from his students. One student commented: “His calm and patient mannerism, along with his clear and concise teaching style, made the complex topic of assessments for diagnosing…learning disabilities very interesting and understandable.” Another wrote: “He is truly an outstanding professor. CSULA is fortunate to have such an excellent faculty member on it staff.”

Additionally, Land has served on several department, College and University committees at Cal State L.A. He has been a senior researcher for the National Center on Research, Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST), helping develop Language Arts standards, curriculum, and assessment for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He is a regular reviewer for English Education, a journal focusing on preparing secondary language arts teachers, and was on the editorial board for the Paths of Learning, a journal that focuses on alternative education.

He received his B.A. in philosophy/English from University of Pittsburgh, M.A.T. in English/English education from Duquesne University, and Ph.D. in English education/research methods from University of Pittsburgh.

Pamela C. Regan, Professor of Psychology – College of Natural and Social Sciences
Called upon frequently by media as an expert on “love” and “dating”, Pamela Regan’s research interests focus on the areas of close relationships and sexuality, specifically sexual attraction, passionate love, and mate preference.

Her latest book, The Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships, was recently reviewed by John Holmes, a leading relationships scholar, and he describes her book as “a simply superb text.” Referred to as resources by psychologists, therapists, and health professionals, Regan’s two other published books are The Mating Game: A Primer on Love, Sex, and Marriage and Lust: What We Know about Human Desire. A second edition of The Mating Game is expected to be released next year.

A Cal State L.A. faculty member since 1996, Regan’s coursework is in the areas of statistics and social psychology. Her professional record includes 80 publications, 65 conference papers, and 12 invited addresses. Many students of Regan’s research team have been coauthors on peer-reviewed journal articles and presenters at conferences locally and nationally. Remarkably, 78 percent of her research students have gone onto doctoral programs and careers in the health sciences.

Susan Salgado, a former research student who recently earned her Ph.D., wrote: “To this day, working in her lab was one of my most empowering experiences. She taught me the importance of finding a research interest that I was passionate about and the relevance of research in academic and in everyday life. She is without a doubt an outstanding role model, mentor, and instructor.”

Regan graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Williams College, and received her Ph.D. in psychology and Ph.D. minor in statistics from the University of Minnesota. At Cal State L.A., she has served on the University Academic Information Resources Committee, the Advisory Board of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the Educational Policy Committee, the Advisory Board of the Women’s Resource Center, and as chair of the Institutional Review Board-Human Subjects.


Domnita Dumitrescu, Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures –College of Arts and Letters
Having traveled more than 24 countries to impart and further her knowledge and research in Spanish language and linguistics, Domnita Dumitrescu has received many accolades and honors in her field for excellence in teaching and scholarly activities, including the 2000 Teacher of the Year Award from the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and a senior scholar lecturing award to Argentina. She was most recently nominated for the CSU system’s highest faculty honor, the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Award.

With a reputation as “one of the best translators and interpreters from Spanish into Romanian in her native country,” Dumitrescu has translated into Romanian several major works of modern peninsular literature. She is the author of three books on the structure of Spanish and on the theory and practice of translation from Romanian into Spanish, the editor of a volume on cultural relations between Romania and the Hispanic world, and the author of 44 chapters in books and proceedings volumes, and more than 50 articles in scholarly journals published in Europe, Latin America and the United States. She is also a frequent presenter at national and international meetings of the profession, having organized and chaired many special sessions and panels.

A faculty member at UC Berkeley states: “She has made an outstanding contribution to research and teaching of Spanish Linguistics and to the development of the field of Romance linguistics nationally and internationally. …On the basis of her published work and conference papers, I would rank her among the top ten scholars in our field.”

Dumitrescu’s research interests include the areas of syntax, semantics and in particular pragmatics of the Romance languages—with special emphasis on Spanish and Romanian. She is also interested in researching language contact in either second language learning environments or situations of societal bilingualism, in particular the influence of English on Spanish in the U.S.

At Cal State L.A., she has designed a number of linguistics courses for the Spanish majors and/or graduate students, which have been introduced into the curriculum. She has sponsored the research of two students who became McNair Scholars, and her students have earned several prizes at college competitions both at the local and the national level. She has also directed for more than a decade the local chapter of the Sigma Delta Pi Hispanic Honor Society.

According to one of her students, Dumitrescu is “an excellent professional, devoted to her area of study and her teaching responsibilities.” A student commented: “I really enjoyed this class. Even though it’s hard and requires a lot of time, she made it worthwhile and easier to learn… She should be cloned.” Another wrote: “I admire teachers like her because of the intelligence she has and her desire to learn more. I wish some day that all teachers would be as good as her.”

In addition to her teaching assignments and her numerous professional activities, she served as associate editor of Hispania, the official journal of American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) and as associate editor of the Southwest Journal of Linguistics, the journal of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest (LASSO). She has also served, on several occasions, as faculty consultant at the Spanish Advanced Placement Reading, in San Antonio, TX, and on the California Teacher Credentialing Advisory Panel.

Demonstrating leadership, she has also held several offices in professional organizations. Among others, she was the president of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest, and the president of the Romanian Studies Association of America. Since 1996, she has been the Sigma Delta Pi national vice-president for the West. She served on the executive committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Division on Language Theory, and on the MLA Delegate Assembly.

Dumitrescu, who joined the Cal State L.A. faculty in 1987, holds a diploma in Spanish language and literature from University of Bucharest, Romania, where she taught for 18 years, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish linguistics from USC.

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