Cal State LA announces outstanding faculty at Fall Convocation

August 17, 2018

By Margie Low | Cal State LA News Service

Six Cal State LA faculty members were recognized for excellence in teaching and outstanding achievements during the 2018 Fall Convocation at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex.

The four Outstanding Professor recipients and an Outstanding Lecturer recipient were honored for significant achievement in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service.

A President’s Distinguished Professor Award was presented to a previous outstanding professor recipient. This award acknowledges the faculty member’s superlative teaching and exceptional commitment to students, as well as professional accomplishments and services.

Fall Convocation celebrates the start of a new academic year. During the August 17 event, Professor Veena Prabhu, chair of the Academic Senate, welcomed guests and introduced 34 new faculty members.

The six award recipients were introduced by Professor Leila Ricci, chair of the Outstanding Professor Awards Committee. Each recipient is listed below and featured on YouTube.


Daphne Liu is a professor of mathematics in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. She is also a co-investigator for the NASA Data Intensive Research and Education Center for STEM at Cal State LA. 

Liu came to the university in 1991 and is a highly regarded researcher in graph theory. Her research involves both theory and applications, with a main focus on topics in graph coloring, including their interplay with number theory and topology as well as their applications to broadcast communications.

A recipient of three prestigious National Science Foundation research grants, Liu has authored or co-authored nearly 50 research papers, some of which appeared in the most prestigious journals in her research field. In addition, she has given numerous presentations as well as plenary and featured talks worldwide.

Liu is recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award presented by the Mathematical Association of America Southern California and Nevada Section, which recognized her extraordinary teaching and mentoring efforts that have made a great impact on her students. 

Liu has been a visiting scholar at institutions in Taiwan and China. She received her B.S. in mathematics from National Central University, Taiwan, and her Ph.D. in mathematics from University of South Carolina, Columbia. Liu is a resident of San Gabriel. 


Nana Lawson Bush, V is a professor of educational leadership and administration in the Division of Applied and Advanced Studies in Education, which is part of the Charter College of Education.

He is also a professor of Pan-African studies in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. He was formerly director of the Cal State LA-UC Irvine Joint Doctoral Program in Urban Educational Leadership.

Bush is recognized as a leading expert on the relationship between Black mothers and their sons, the development of Independent Black Institutions in the U.S., and the theorization of Black boys and men. His research has become the framework and guide for families, programs, and organizations across the nation.

Bush has published four books, including The Plan: A Guide for Women Raising African American Boys from Conception to College and The Plan Workbook, and 31 academic articles. Most notably, he published a research paper, along with his brother, Edward C. Bush, which was the first comprehensive theory concerning Black boys and men called African American Male Theory (AAMT).

A Fontana resident, Bush received his Ph.D. in human development and education from Claremont Graduate School.  

Ray de Leon is a professor of kinesiology in the Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services. He is also director of the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science.

An expert in exercise therapies for spinal cord injury, de Leon pioneered the use of robotic devices for gait rehabilitation in rodent models. His findings led to the development of new devices used to treat paralysis after spinal cord injury and stroke. A resident of Glendale, de Leon received his Ph.D. in physiological science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

He has secured grants totaling more than $4.2 million, which have supported more than 80 Cal State LA students in research projects, and he has authored over 50 papers that were published in top journals, such as The Journal of Neuroscience and The Journal of Neurotrauma.

He is the founder of the Mobility Center at Cal State LA, which has helped more than 300 people with disabilities get access to exercise therapy.

He also helped develop Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Exercise curriculum in kinesiology. This curriculum emphasizes community service and has received multiple awards and special recognition from Congress, the California Legislature and the City of Los Angeles. 

Dionne Espinoza is a professor of liberal studies in the College of Arts and Letters. She is also director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities.

Espinoza’s research documents the involvement of Chicanas in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. She has published essays on this topic and has co-edited two books: the award-winning Enriqueta Vasquez and the Chicano Movement: Writings from El Grito del Norte and Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era. She is currently revising her manuscript Bronze Womanhood: Chicana Activism in the Southwest Chicano Movement.

Espinoza has served on the editorial board of Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies. She teaches courses on Chicana/Latina and Latin American women’s movements; comparative race/ethnicity, class, and gender studies; and Chicanas/Latinas in U.S. society.

She led the development and expansion of women’s and gender studies as chair of the advisory committee for women’s and gender studies, author of the post-baccalaureate certificate in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and as the first director of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. 

A resident of Covina, she received her Ph.D. in English from Cornell University.

ChorSwang Ngin is a professor of anthropology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. She is the founder of the university’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and Asian American Studies. She has served as chair of the Anthropology department and as director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Program.

Ngin has conducted research in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the United States. Her research has also focused on Vietnamese in refugee camps in Southeast Asia.

She has served as a consultant for the World Health Organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, The World Bank, the Rand, several school districts, and various professional organizations in the U.S. on culture, race, racism, ethnicity, and identity.

Ngin has authored more than two dozen journal articles, book chapters and mémoires, and over two dozen confidential reports on asylum seekers. Her book, Identities on Trial in the United States: Asylum Seekers from Asia, will be released in August 2018.

A resident of Fullerton, she has served for more than two decades on the Orange County Human Relations Council and for a decade on the Sheriff’s Community Coalition. Ngin holds a Ph.D. in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of California, Davis.


Howard Lum is a lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

A Duarte resident, Lum completed his graduate study in structural engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a licensed civil engineer and structural engineer.

A faculty member at Cal State LA since 2008, Lum integrates his teaching with practical applications by partnering with agencies such as Los Angeles County, L.A. Metro and Caltrans, on Senior Design Capstone Projects. He implements design and project management practices in classrooms to prepare students for their jobs after graduation.

He has received multi-year teaching awards in “Connecting Practice with Education” from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and he is a Chi Epsilon Honor Faculty.

Lum’s current research has focused on earthquake response and rehabilitation of critical lifelines. He has authored papers and presented in technical conferences on his field of expertise.

Lum is the design unit manager for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where he has helped design hydraulic structures, hydro-power pumping plants, tunnels, pipelines and highway bridges.

Photo: Seated, from left to right, Howard Lum, Dionne Espinoza, Nana Lawson Bush, V, ChorSwang Ngin, Ray de Leon, and Daphne Liu. Standing, from left to right, Veena Prabhu, Leila Ricci, President William A. Covino, and Provost Lynn Mahoney. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

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