News Release| 2011 Outstanding Professors; Cal State L.A.

September 28, 2011

MEDIA NOTE:  A special reception in honor of the six Cal State L.A. faculty members noted below will be held Tuesday, Oct. 4, 3-4:30 p.m., in the Golden Eagle Ballroom on the CSULA campus. To request for individual portraits of the award recipients, contact the Cal State L.A. Public Affairs office at (323) 343-3050.

Four Outstanding Professors, One Outstanding Lecturer,  a President’s Distinguished Professor  recognized for excellence in teaching, mentoring, scholarship

Group picture from Fall Faculty Day 2011.
Pictured: CSULA’s Outstanding Professors (front row, seated l-r) Simeon Slovacek, Feimeng Zhou, Sharon H. Ulanoff, Kylie Hsu (President’s Distinguished Professor), and Ali Modarres; Outstanding Lecturer Atsuko Sato; (back row, standing l-r) Award Selection Committee Chair David Diaz; Academic Senate Chair Nancy Hunt; President James M. Rosser; and Provost Ashish Vaidya.

 Los Angeles, CA – An internationally-recognized scholar, published author and a key faculty in establishing the University’s Chinese Program and Asian and Asian American Studies Program, Kylie Hsu is the recipient of this year’s Cal State L.A. President’s Distinguished Professor Award. She and five other faculty members were recently honored on campus during the Universitys Fall Faculty Day.

Presented with Outstanding Professor Awards were Ali Modarres, an urban geographer whose work has been published in major journals and publications; Simeon Slovacek, a distinguished expert in school reform and program evaluation; Sharon Ulanoff, a literacy specialist who has been instrumental in helping prepare future education leaders; and Feimeng Zhuo, an esteemed chemist who is committed to involving students in research. This year’s Outstanding Lecturer Award was presented to Atsuko Sato, Political Science lecturer.

At Cal State L.A., the annual Outstanding Professor Awards recognize excellence in teaching and cite 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.  


Ali Modarres, Professor of Geography and Urban Analysis College of Natural and Social Sciences

Described as “a very passionate and knowledgeable professor,” Ali Modarres (Ventura County resident) is chair of the University’s Department of Geography and Urban Analysis. A CSULA faculty since 1990, he specializes in urban geography, with a primary research and publication interest in socio-spatial urban dynamics and the political economy of urban design. He has taught classes on such subjects as immigration, public policy, and ethnic community development in the U.S. One of his students commented, “He has a very energetic and fun teaching style... He expects a lot from students, so be prepared to work hard for a good grade.”

He is editor of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning and serves on a number of research and policy advisory boards. Modarres earned his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Arizona and holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in landscape architecture from the same institution. Modarres also has published in the areas of immigration, race and ethnicity in American cities, social geography, transportation planning, environmental equity, and urban development and public policy. Some of his recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cities, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Anthropology of the Middle East

During the last decade, Modarres has developed a research agenda related to urban planning issues in Iran.  He is primarily documenting the effects of the 19th and 20th century socio-political movements in reshaping Iranian cities. His 2006 book, Modernizing Yazd: Selective Historical Memory and the Fate of Vernacular Architecture, focuses on this topic.

In 2005, he received a Community Partner Award from the Community Development Technologies Center (CD Tech) on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary Celebration. Additionally, he was presented “The Best Article Published in the 2005 Journal of Urban Affairs,” a prestigious international journal published quarterly, for his article, “Neighborhood Integration: Temporality and Social Fracture.”

Simeon P. Slovacek, Professor of Education, Division of Applied and Advanced Studies in Education – Charter College of Education Recognized as an expert in the area of school reform, Simeon P. Slovacek (Altadena resident) is also knowledgeable about issues related to charter schools, research and evaluation methodology, assessment and testing, statistics, and technology in education. He has authored and co-authored 28 refereed journal publications, five books and book chapters, and written 96 reports. He received his Ph.D. in educational research and evaluation methodology from Cornell University in New York.

He currently serves as a founding board of trustee member for 19 start-up charter schools (serving more than 6,000 children). He serves on The Accelerated Schools Board and Inner City Education Foundation Board, and the Pomona’s School of Arts and Enterprise Board.  He has served in various board officer capacities, such as treasurer for The School of Arts and Enterprise and vice president and former treasurer for The Accelerated Schools. 

Slovacek is also principal evaluator of the Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC) office at Cal State L.A. He has conducted numerous evaluations and research grants/contracts over the years. In addition to the current evaluation of the Los Angeles Apprentice Teacher Program project at the Los Angeles Unified School District, he has also evaluated National Institutes of Health-funded projects, such as the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) programs, the Minority Biomedical Research Support - Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS RISE), and the Cancer Collaborative Program with City of Hope, among others. 

Recently, Slovacek served as a principal investigator on a National Institutes of Health grant. He also served as site director for two years on the International Social Studies University/K-12 Exploration Series program funded by California Subject Matter Project. Slovacek was on the California Department of Education’s list of approved evaluators for the State’s Immediate Interventions for Under-performing Schools program.

Slovacek joined Cal State L.A. in 1981 as director of Institutional Research and as a faculty member in the Charter College of Education. Currently, he is a professor in the Division of Applied and Advanced Studies at CSULA. Slovacek has also been an invited visiting scholar at Stanford University and the University of New Orleans.

Sharon H. Ulanoff, Professor of Education, Division of Curriculum and Instruction – Charter College of Education

Revered for her work in bilingual/multicultural and literacy education, Sharon H. Ulanoff (Mar Vista-West Los Angeles resident) serves as associate director of the Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership and also teaches in the M.A. in Education, Option in Reading Program, at Cal State L.A. The University’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership program was launched in fall 2009 with approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the CSU Office of the Chancellor.

Demonstrating her interest in student-focused teaching, Ulanoff has served as a thesis committee member for two creative literacy students; thesis committee chair for four M.A. students; and dissertation committee chair for five Ed.D. students and co-chair for another student. A CSULA faculty member since 2001, she has been praised by numerous students for her commitment to education. For example, a student commented: “I have come to consider you as one of my most influential mentors because your insights and expertise have contributed to my understanding of how my professional, academic and artistic interests are all interwoven.”

Ulanoff's research interests include literacy and biliteracy acquisition, teacher identity development, narrative inquiry and practitioner research. She has published numerous peer-review articles in a variety of publications, books and proceedings. Her recent publications address professional development, second-language teaching, and effective second-language literacy practices, including a co-authored book, entitled Differentiated Literacy Instruction for English Language Learners, published in 2009. She has presented at many professional meetings and conferences locally, regionally and nationally.

Ulanoff has also garnered grants in support of her past research on reading comprehension, teacher education reform and assessment of reading specialist competencies. She is chair of the Special Interest Group Executive Committee of the American Educational Research Association, and was recently appointed as a member of the editorial board of the Bilingual Research Journal. At CSULA, she served on the Institution Review Board, the Senate Executive Committee, Faculty Policy Committee, and the Semester Conversion Committee. Ulanoff received her Ph.D. in language, literacy, and learning from the University of Southern California in 1993.

Feimeng Zhou, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry – College of Natural and Social Sciences

An esteemed chemist, Feimeng Zhou (Temple City resident) is instrumental in enhancing and building the infrastructure for biomedical research on the Cal State L.A. campus and has served as the director of the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institution Program for the past six years.

Zhou’s teaching interests include analytical chemistry, instrumental analysis, and electrochemistry. His research areas include surface analysis and bioanalytical chemistry. The thrusts of his group’s research include (1) oxidative stress involved in neurological disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease); (2) development of novel analytical techniques for detection of biomarkers of cancers and neurodegenerative diseases; and (3) nanomaterial synthesis and surface patterning and exploration of these materials and devices for developments of alternative energy sources.

Zhou has published more than 100 papers in the above mentioned areas, which are well cited. He has been invited to give many presentations in conferences in the U.S., China, U.K., and Germany. Since 1995 he has garnered 22 research/training/teaching-related grants with a cumulative amount exceeding $10 million.  He has supervised a large number of postdoctoral research associates, graduate students and undergraduate students. More than 20 former students have earned or are pursuing Ph.D. degrees in science and more than 50 percent of the student participants are from underrepresented minority groups. Eleven of his former research students are professors at universities in the U.S., Israel, and China, while three are working in government research laboratories in the U.S. and U.K. 

Another reflection of Zhou’s success as a teacher is his position as a faculty mentor in a variety of education/training programs. These programs include the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) program, the American Chemical Society-SEED Program, the National Science Foundation Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP) Program, NSF-Research Experience for Undergraduates and the NSF-Scholars Program (which he established jointly with Cal State Long Beach).

Zhou earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from University of Texas at Austin in 1993. His accolades include the 2001 Teacher/Scholar Award by Dreyfus Foundation, the 2002 National Outstanding Young Scientist Award by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Technical Achievement Award by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1995.

Atsuko Sato, Political Science Lecturer – College of Natural and Social Sciences
This year’s Outstanding Lecturer is Atsuko Sato (Monrovia resident), an internationally-recognized political analyst who has conducted field research in Japan every summer since 2007, with an emphasis on the tri-level (international, national, and local) policy analysis of global environmental problems. She is also conducting research on women’s political representation comparing Japan and South Korea.

She began teaching at Cal State L.A. since 2000 in the Department of Political Science. She has taught a variety of courses based on her expertise in comparative politics/public policy, and her extensive training and experiences in research design and methods. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2002.

According to Professor Bowman, the department chair, “Sato’s extraordinary success in teaching statistical methods radically changed the way our students viewed that much dreaded course requirement in the major.”

Sato designs her courses so that every student is able to grasp the course materials, and takes considerable time and effort to make sure students do not fall behind. One graduate student, for example, commented: “Dr. Atsuko Sato has been an outstanding instructor. … She was able to teach in a simple way complicated and complex material.” Another student indicated, “Dr. Sato was extremely helpful when any student had questions on the subject. … I think you are a wonderful teacher. You are full of passion and knowledge for this subject.”

During the last five years, she has published three book chapters, presented eight conference papers, including a keynote presentation at an international conference in Japan. Her accolades include the 2007 Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Research Fellowship, a 2008 Northeast Asia Council Travel Grant from the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and a series of research grants from the Global Center of Excellence at Hokkaido University in Japan.

Additionally, Sato is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies (Japan), the Association of Asian Studies and the Western Political Science Association.


Kylie Hsu, Professor of Chinese, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures – College of Arts and Letters Honored as this year’s President’s Distinguished Professor, Kylie Hsu (Monterey Park resident) is an internationally-recognized scholar who has authored books in the areas of Chinese morphology and discourse pragmatics. Hsu has in excess of 120 publications that include research monographs, textbooks, journal articles, reviews, translations, and creative writing. Additionally, Hsu has given approximately 80 refereed and invited presentations and keynotes at conferences worldwide. She has also received close to 60 grants for her research projects and instructional activities. Her significant professional accomplishments also include organizing international conferences and serving as editor-in-chief of a multidisciplinary journal.

Recognized as an eminent scholar in her field, Hsu led a U.S. delegation of renowned faculty from first-tier universities and research institutions in 2007 to China for outreach and professional exchanges with Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress, Shanghai Stock Exchange, and various academic institutions. In 2009, she was an invited visiting scholar at the Academia Sinica (Chinese National Academy) in Taiwan.

Her extraordinary record of achievements also includes being a recipient of the CSULA Distinguished Woman Award. Hsu is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Michigan and a Phi Beta Kappa scholar. She received her Ph.D. in applied linguistics from UCLA and was selected as a UC Presidential Fellow and a State of California Fellow. She also appears in numerous international biographical publications, including Contemporary Authors.

A CSULA faculty member since 1997, Hsu was a key faculty in establishing the Chinese major program and the Asian and Asian American Studies major program, and in developing a Chinese single-subject matter preparation program. She has also served as the Chinese program coordinator, as well as associate chair and principal undergraduate adviser for the University’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. In teaching, Hsu receives significantly superior teaching evaluations from both students and faculty. They praised her stellar teaching as “A+++” and “an outstanding demonstration of what a truly well prepared instructor can do in a communicative foreign language class in America in the 21st century.”

Through her mentorship, even her undergraduate students have presented refereed papers at international conferences, and several of them have been selected to participate in prestigious programs such as the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program and the Shanghai World Expo 2010 Student Ambassadors Program. In 2005-06, she was a pioneer of the CSU Systemwide Strategic Language Initiative that established the first CSU Summer Language Institute. She is currently the CSU facilitator for the State of California’s Chinese lower-division transfer patterns, and on several occasions she represented the CSU to present at international and regional conferences on instructional technology and distance education.

As the current director of the CSULA presidentially-chartered Chinese Studies Center, Hsu has made immense and unprecedented contributions in involving students, faculty, administrators, and community leaders in collaborating on special events. Her roles in CSULA governance include chairing and/or serving on several scores of committees at all levels. Additionally, she co-founded with a student the Chinese Culture Club and has served as its faculty adviser since its inception.

A former department chair commended: “In your inimitable style you demonstrated how much you really care about the students, the University, and the Department. I thank you for your exceptional service.” A linguistics colleague wrote: “She is truly an exemplary model of achievement and an invaluable asset to our University.”

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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 220,000 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 the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.