Cal State LA announces this year's Outstanding Professor Awards

August 14, 2017

By Margie Low | Cal State LA News Service

California State University, Los Angeles recognized six faculty members for excellence in the classroom and service to the community during the 2017 University Convocation at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex.

Four Outstanding Professors and one Outstanding Lecturer were honored for excellence in teaching and significant achievement in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service, during the festive ceremony on August 17.

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

Professor Veena Prabhu, chair of the Academic Senate, welcomed guests to Convocation and introduced 40 new faculty members. The six recipients were introduced by Professor Choi Chatterjee, chair of the Outstanding Professor Awards Committee.

The recipients are:



Sharon H. Ulanoff is a Cal State LA alumna and professor of education in the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, which is part of the Charter College of Education. She also is the co-director of the Ed.D. Program in Educational Leadership.

Respected for her work in bilingual/multicultural and literacy education, Ulanoff's research interests include second language writing acquisition, teacher identity development, and practitioner research. Ulanoff has been awarded grants in support of research on reading comprehension, teacher education reform and assessment of reading specialist competencies.

She is on the editorial board of the Bilingual Research Journal and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences. She has had numerous peer-review articles published in academic publications. She was chair of the Special Interest Group Executive Committee of the American Educational Research Association.

At Cal State LA, she has served on the Institution Review Board, the Senate Executive Committee, Faculty Policy Committee, and the Semester Conversion Committee. She teaches courses in practitioner research, qualitative research, reading research, and diversity and equity.

Demonstrating her interest in student-focused teaching, Ulanoff has served as a thesis committee member, thesis committee chair for M.A. students; and dissertation committee chair for Ed.D. students.

Prior to Cal State LA, she was a faculty member at Cal State San Marcos and a bilingual teacher in Inglewood Unified School District. Ulanoff received her Ph.D. in language, literacy, and learning from the University of Southern California. She resides in the Mar Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles.



Talia Mae Bettcher is a professor of philosophy in the College of Arts and Letters. She also currently chairs the Department of Philosophy.

A resident of Pasadena, Bettcher has been actively involved in Los Angeles transgender community, grassroots organizing and creative activities for many years. She served as vice-chair of the Transgender Advisory Council for the City of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission and was a member of a working group to develop policies for Los Angeles Police Department’s interaction with transgender individuals.

An expert on feminist philosophy, transgender studies and philosophy of personhood, Bettcher has authored two monographs, 28 journal articles and book chapters, and has co-edited two special journal issues. She is currently writing her book Person as Intimacy: A Trans Feminism Philosophy. Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy and on the founding editorial board of Transgender Studies Quarterly. Bettcher has served as chair of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of LGBT Individuals in the Profession.

At Cal State LA, Bettcher has served as director of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities and director of Faculty Service Learning. She teaches courses on topics including early modern philosophy, engaged philosophy, trans/feminist philosophy, and the philosophy of George Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA.


Nanda Ganesan is a professor of information systems in the College of Business and Economics. He has served twice as chair of the Department of Information Systems.

Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Ganesan was one of the founding faculty members of the Semnan Institute of Technology in Iran. He has taught and conducted research at higher education institutions in the United States, Australia, Singapore, Japan, England, Iran and Sri Lanka. 

His current research focuses on using cloud computing to enhance technology mediated learning, building collaborative platforms for learning and producing multimedia instructional modules. His teaching interests are in data communications, computer networks, management information systems and information technology literacy. He cofounded the M.S. in Information Systems program at Cal State LA.

Many of his grants have been funded to build hardware and software infrastructure to support hands-on training in computing classes. The extensive set of teaching materials he produced is hosted on course websites.

Ganesan has authored 18 articles in refereed journals, written 21 refereed articles that appeared in proceedings and handbooks, and developed 190 multimedia lab and lecture modules. He has also written many professional reports and given countless presentations in national and international conferences.

A resident of Pasadena, Ganesan holds a Ph.D. in engineering production from the University of Birmingham in England.


Patrick J. Krug is a professor of biological sciences in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. He is also a highly regarded marine biologist and has performed field work uncovering new biodiversity in Africa, Australia, the tropical Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean.

Krug studies how migration by larval stages in the plankton affects the distribution and evolution of marine animals, and ultimately how lineages diversify into new species over time. His research into the evolutionary relationships among species has led to the discovery and naming of new photosynthetic sea slugs, including some studied for anticancer drug development and biocontrol of invasive algae. 

He has discussed his findings in ocean research in dozens of public radio and television reports. He also has been featured in specials for the Discovery Channel and History Channel during which he discussed biodiversity and conservation.   

Krug has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $3 million in research grants. He has mentored many research students, including those traditionally underrepresented in the life sciences.

Krug received his Ph.D. in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. He was a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA for four years, and he has served on the faculty of Cal State LA since 2002. He resides in Los Angeles.


Arturo Pacheco-Vega is a professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. An Arcadia resident, he is also serving as associate chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

He is regarded by his peers and college administrators as an exceptional researcher. Pacheco-Vega received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, where he was also a Fulbright scholar.

His research interests are broadly centered in the fields of fluid mechanics and heat transfer. He often combines analytical, numerical and experimental approaches to carry out interdisciplinary state-of-the-art research in the analysis, design and control of energy systems. He is considered a leader in the field of soft computing and heat transfer.

His research has been published in top journals in his field and presented at well-established conferences. He has authored/coauthored more than 75 journal manuscripts and refereed conference-proceedings articles, as well as two book chapters,

Pacheco-Vega has helped to secure more than $12.4 million in external funds to support research projects, including the University’s internationally recognized Center for Energy and Sustainability. He is the associate director of the center, which focuses on addressing energy issues and educating a new generation of engineers and scientists.



Jay Conway is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, which is part of the College of Arts and Letters.

A dedicated scholar, Conway has taught courses in philosophy for more than two decades. His current teachings have focused on gender and culture, existentialism, postmodernism, ethics, critical thinking, philosophy of film, emotions and law, and human diversity and justice.

One of his former students said: “As a teacher, Dr. Conway sets the standard… Ever the philosopher, he is never at rest, always reading, always writing, discussing, rereading and rewriting.”

Conway has conducted research on the history of philosophy, especially 17th to 20th Century European philosophy, social-political philosophy and feminist philosophy. He is the author of the book Gilles Deleuze: Affirmation in Philosophy, as well as several essays in the areas of history of philosophy and social-political philosophy. In addition, Conway has given multiple presentations at universities and conferences throughout the U.S., and in Canada and Greece.

At Cal State LA, he has served on graduate thesis committees and as chapter secretary for the California Faculty Association. He was previously a faculty sponsor for the Lapices Collective student organization and the University’s Philosophy Club.

A Glendale resident, he received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California, Riverside.


Photo: From left to right, Jay Conway, Patrick Krug, Arturo Pacheco-Vega, Nanda Ganesan, President William A. Covino, Choi Chatterjee, Sharon Ulanoff, Provost Lynn Mahoney, Veena Prabhu, and Talia Bettcher. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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