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

October 4, 2012

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

Los Angeles, CA – An esteemed scholar, an environmental biologist and director of the University’s reputable Center for Environmental Analysis, Carlos Robles (La Crescenta resident) is the recipient of this year’s Cal State L.A. President’s Distinguished Professor Award. He and five other faculty members were recently honored on campus during the University’s 2012 Fall Faculty Day.

Presented with Outstanding Professor Awards were Ramani Durvasula, a mental health psychologist whose work has been cited in professional journals and media outlets (Beverly Hills resident); Steve McGuire, a management and entrepreneurship expert who has garnered award-winning case studies with his students (Los Angeles resident); Stephen Rothman, a professional stage director who has been instrumental in connecting the University to the entertainment industry (Los Angeles resident); and Hengchun Ye, a well-regarded geoscientist who is recognized for her ability to prepare students for research and graduate studies (Altadena resident). This year’s Outstanding Lecturer Award was presented to Susan Saul, anthropology lecturer (Torrance resident).

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. 


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

Honored as this year’s President’s Distinguished Professor, Carlos Robles (La Crescenta resident) is a respected scholar in the fields of marine biology and environmental sciences.

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. He has published numerous articles on the dynamics of predation in seashore communities of California and British Columbia. His innovative work on predator-prey relationships has been featured in textbooks and in an interactive display at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

Having received over $17 million in research and research training grants, Dr. Robles’ efforts 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. Robles co-directed the Luis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation/ Bridges to the Doctorate Program, which provided fellowship support to students from underrepresented backgrounds. He is currently on the Executive Committee of the Cooperative Institute on Marine Ecosystems and Climate (CIMEC), a new research institute established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the impacts of global climate change.

For 11 years, Robles served as director of Cal State L.A.’s Center for Environmental Analysis (CEA-CREST), funded by the National Science Foundation. Under Robles’ direction, CEA-CREST became 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. One of his students wrote: “Great professor, very encouraging and allows for student development. Very inspirational.” Another student commented: “Dr. Robles is a great teacher, filled with insight and experience. He genuinely cares about education and does a great job teaching both the conceptual and practical aspects of … the course. His methods are effective but require lots of work on both sides.”

Robles has served as an expert technical adviser to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Damage Assessment Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is currently serving as a campus representative for the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology and for the Southern California Ocean Observation System.

His accolades include 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. He received the University’s Outstanding Professor Award in 2004. In 2006, he received the Giants in Science Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network, a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. That same year, he was a featured profile in “Pioneers Among Us” published in the Journal of the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers.


Ramani Durvasula, Professor of Psychology College of Natural and Social Sciences

Frequently referred by the media as a psychology expert and a mental health commentator, Ramani Durvasula has conducted research on the neuropsychiatric aspects of HIV, sexual risk behaviors, substance use, psychosocial factors and health, eating disorders, and health and ethnicity.

More recently, Durvasula has been exploring the role of mental health in the media, and exploring such global issues as the health issues faced by girls and women who are victims of human trafficking. She authored a book on health and wellness that will be released in 2013 and has recently started working on her second book. Additionally, her work and expert opinion has been cited in numerous print and internet media outlets. She was featured on Bravo’s THINtervention and on the Dr. Oz Show, among other TV programs. On Oct. 9, she will be co-host of My Shopping Addiction on Oxygen. 

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of General Medical Science and the National Institute of Mental Health. She is presently in the second year of the Health Adherence Research Project, a continuation of her longitudinal work examining major psychopathology and personality disorders on sexual health, substance use, and overall health in persons living with HIV/AIDS and those at risk for infection.

A CSULA faculty since 1999, Durvasula teaches a wide range of topics, including introductory psychology, psychopathology, research design, health psychology, clinical psychology, assessment, and substance use. One of her students commented: “She brings her real-world experiences and scientific knowledge together in her classroom. I consider myself lucky to have had her as a mentor. She will be an inspiration for the rest of my life.” Another wrote: “This professor is entirely responsible for igniting my passion for research.”

A licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Los Angeles, Durvasula is past chair of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Committee on Psychology and AIDS, and vice chair elect of the APA’s Committee on Women and Psychology. She completed her master’s degree and doctorate in clinical psychology at UCLA, and her clinical training at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. The American Association of University Women awarded her the 2003 Emerging Scholar Award, and in that same year, she was the recipient of a Distinguished Women Award from Cal State L.A.

Steve McGuire, Professor of Management – College of Business and Economics

Bringing the real world of business into the classrooms and beyond, Steve McGuire works one-on-one with CSULA students and members of the Los Angeles community to move a business idea to a business plan, and then launch it as a new venture.  

A CSULA faculty member since 2003, McGuire is director of the Entrepreneurship Institute and coordinator of the Master of Science in Health Care Management Program at CSULA. He carries out empirical and case study research on culture and entrepreneurship, and the relationships between cultural values, conflict styles, ethics, leadership styles and entrepreneurship in different countries. More than 100 of his students authored or co-authored papers published in academic journals or conference proceedings. Four groups of his students have won “best paper” awards at case study conferences.

McGuire’s inspiration to his students is evidenced by their comments. One student wrote: “This professor is very engaging and entertaining while effectively teaching the course material.” Another said, “Awesome teacher! Lots of work, challenging, but well worth it!”

McGuire has published a book, case studies, scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals, and papers in conference proceedings. He has helped organize several academic conferences, and contributes as a peer reviewer for scholarly journals and conferences. He has also been invited as a guest speaker at universities in Bulgaria, China, Romania, Russia and Washington DC to present research and lecture on leading organizational change and management.

McGuire previously taught as Georgetown University, the Catholic University of Portugal, and The George Washington University, where he was awarded the Bender Prize for Teaching Excellence. He is a former partner of the HayGroup, where he worked as a management consultant for major organizations in 23 countries. He is past president and a current board member of the Western Casewriters Association, and the founding editor of the Journal of Case Research and Inquiry. McGuire has also served on several committees for the University, College and management department, including a role on the College of Business and Economics’ maintenance of accreditation self-study group.

McGuire earned a B.A. at Providence College, an MBA at IESE (Barcelona), and Ph.D. in business administration at The George Washington University. He also studied at Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and the Sorbonne University (Paris).

Stephen Rothman, Professor of Theatre Arts College of Arts and Letters

Stephen Rothman has been a professional stage director for 30 years, and has also directed television sitcoms. Over the last 11 years, since he arrived at Cal State L.A. in spring 2001, he has directed 13 professional theatre productions to rave reviews. Making his way to Florence, Italy, he directed Harold Pinter’s play, Betrayal, for The Florence International Theatre Company. Most recently, he directed the East Coast premiere of Parasite Drag for Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Prior to his appointment as chair of the then Theatre Arts and Dance department at CSULA, he was associate professor of theater at Pennsylvania State University and producing director of Pennsylvania Centre Stage, the professional theater arm of Penn State (1998-2001). He was the founder and artistic leader of the revitalized Pasadena Playhouse, and artistic director of the Sacramento Theatre Company.

At CSULA, Rothman played a key role in developing the Master of Fine Arts Program in Television, Film, and Theatre. He has brought talent agents to campus to view class presentations and to scout students, as well as award-winning artists to share their experiences and advice with students in his classes. He has served on the Academic Senate for several years and as the University’s theme coordinator for the Urban Life and Environment area for the past seven years.

Making an impression on his students, one student commented: “This professor always comes to class prepared and enthusiastic.” Another wrote: “He cares that you walk out of his class inspired.”

 Rothman has also published articles in both professional journals and popular media, including two that appeared in the Los Angeles Times. In spring 2011, his peer-reviewed article was published in England’s The Comedy Studies Journal. In October 2010, he presented a paper at the University of Lincoln in Lincolnshire, Great Britain, as part of an International Comedy Symposium. He is an active member of the Director’s Guild of America and a member of the board of directors for the Global Theatre Project. He is also a 12-year pension and health fund trustee for the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the national union for professional theatre directors. Rothman earned his B.S. and M.F.A. from Florida State University. 

In 1997, Rothman received the Los Angeles Dramalogue award for his direction of Orphans. In 2000, Rothman received a Carbonell Award as Best Director for his work on David Rambo’s play, God’s Man in Texas. In 2003, he was elected to the prestigious National Theater Conference, and in 2010, he was elected as a trustee of that organization. In 2005, he was selected to serve as an L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Voter for the 2005-2006 voting season by the Ovations Review Committee.

Hengchun Ye, Professor of Geosciences and Environment – College of Natural and Social Sciences

Hengchun Ye, who has spent time as a weather forecaster, is a recognized expert in the areas of climate variation and change, hydroclimatology, synoptic climatology, applied climatology, and remote sensing. She received her bachelor’s degree in meteorology and master’s degree in atmospheric dynamics from Zhejiang University in China, and her Ph.D. in climatology from University of Delaware.

A CSULA faculty member since 2001, she has published more than 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals, presented 12 invited talks, and delivered more than 30 presentations at professional conferences. She contributed to the fourth edition of the textbook, Introduction to Earth Science Lab (Burgess International Group Inc., 1996). Her research efforts have been supported by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Formerly an affiliate faculty with the University’s Center for Environmental Analysis, she is currently conducting research as member of the NOAA-funded Cooperative Institute on Marine Ecosystems and Climate. Since 2004, Ye has been a NASA Summer Faculty Fellow, collaborating with colleagues in the Atmospheric Infrared Sounders (AIRS) Atmospheric Research Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on remote sensing data applications in climate research.

In 2010, Ye received a prestigious John Russell Mather Paper of the Year Award from the Association of American Geographers Climate Specialty Group. She was previously a visiting scientist at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China, and at the Department of Physics of the University of Toronto in Canada. She is a member of the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the Royal Meteorology Society.

Within the Department of Geosciences and Environment, Ye served as co-acting chair and is currently serving as the graduate and undergraduate adviser. She has also served as a member of the Academic Senate and on several committees at the department, College, and University levels.

Ye has mentored 15 graduate students and served on another 20 graduate student committees.  She has also mentored undergraduates and high school students in her lab.  Students praised her classroom performance, saying “This professor is so funny and intelligent. She has made this class a great experience.” Another wrote: “I love this teacher! She made the class interesting, fun, and engaging. I would highly recommend her class.”


Susan Saul, Anthropology Lecturer – College of Natural and Social Sciences

This year’s Outstanding Lecturer is Susan Saul, who is a medical and biological anthropologist who has conducted research on three continents. Formally trained in biology, epidemiology and anthropology, she has versatility in taking a multidisciplinary approach to health related issues. This versatility has extended itself to teaching where Saul has taught 17 courses in three departments—anthropology, public health and biological sciences.         

A CSULA faculty member since 1990, Saul is described by her students as a “Very insightful teacher, funny too!” and as “…a pleasure to have as a professor. It is wonderful to see such wonderful energy and passion for the field.” 

Saul has been instrumental in placing students in internship programs, and mentoring students through independent study. Formerly, she was a leading faculty transfer advisement specialist in the Academic Advisement Center for undeclared majors. She has also served on master’s thesis committees within the Department of Anthropology.

This year alone, she has mentored current students into study abroad programs in Kenya and Scotland, paid internships in Atlanta at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and medical school. In prior years, she also mentored students into the prestigious Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholar awards.  

Active in her field, Saul has published papers and delivered presentations at professional conferences. She has also shared her expertise by giving public lectures at community events. She has served as a judge at science fairs and visited both high school and elementary classrooms where she has shared the excitement of her discipline and demonstrated the importance of a college education.

Saul has served on editorial advisory and academic boards for leading academic publishers, including Mc-Graw Hill and Prentice-Hall.  Currently, she is on the Board of Directors for the Torrance Education Foundation.

At CSULA, she has served as a volunteer for activities such as VIP Day, Health Careers Day, and open house outreach events.  She presented a special lecture as part of the University’s One Campus, One Book program, discussing her past research and current insights working with “HeLa” cells, the immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks that continue to be used in medical and scientific research.  

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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 225,000 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. 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.