Faculty Fellowship | Nov. 26, 2012 | Spotlight

CSULA alums pay tribute to University professors

Faculty fellowship named in honor of Lipton, Modarres

To carry on the legacy of two outstanding faculty members, two Cal State L.A. alumni have established a fellowship in honor of Cal State L.A.’s Technology Professor Ethan Lipton and Geosciences Professor Ali Modarres. The alums shared that they were inspired by these faculty members, who have made a positive impact on their lives.

The Ethan Lipton/Ali Modarres Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring was created to acknowledge the importance of life-changing teaching practices and to encourage inspirational teaching and mentoring. The fellowship reflects another unique way CSULA alumni have made significant contributions to the quality of education at the University.

“The Lipton/Modarres Fellowship embraces the heart of what makes a university like Cal State L.A. so successful at improving student success—our faculty,” said Catherine Haras, director of the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning at CSULA. “It is wonderful to know that former students cherish the professors and education they received here to a point where they want to give back in such a generous way. Educators are always learning. It is in their nature. What better of a way to help students experience the same quality teacher/student relationship that these alumni experienced than to enable faculty learning?”

The fellowship provides support for a promising CSULA faculty member to further develop his/her skills in helping students reach their potential. A grant—in an amount up to $20,000—is available to support a one-year project that addresses teaching innovation, helps facilitate student learning, serves to inspire students to perform at their highest level, and invests in students’ personal development and professional preparation.

For details: /academic/aa/cetl/cetl_2012liptonmodarresfellowship.php.

Ethan Lipton

Picture of Ethan Lipton. A CSULA faculty member since 1984, Lipton’s expertise centers on the development of graphic com-
munications and technology education-related instructional programs for education and industry. Lipton has developed training programs for the California Department of Education and the Printing Industries Association of Southern California. He has served as president of the International Technology Education Association and on several taskforces for the Career-Vocational Division of the California Department of Education. He is coauthor of Learning to Work in the Graphic Arts Industry. Lipton has conducted research on instructional technology, typography and electronic publishing, and vocational education.

Q: What is the best part about teaching at Cal State L.A.?

A: The people—working with students from a wide range of backgrounds and with a variety of goals to assist them in developing personally and professionally. Learning with them through interactions in classes and labs, and during co-curricular and extracurricular activities contribute to their learning and to the growth of us all.

Q: What is your teaching philosophy?

A: I want to share my enthusiasm for the course content and for learning with my students. I try to create experiences that will excite them now and propel them into satisfying and rewarding professional lives. I seek to develop their ongoing thirst for knowledge, creative thinking, problem solving, and lifelong learning.

Q: How do you think this fellowship will benefit future faculty members as well as CSULA students?

A: It has been said that teaching is both an art and a science. While those of us who want to make a difference with our students seek to learn and grow, our efforts are often stifled by the demands of our professional commitments. This fellowship will provide faculty with some of the time and resources necessary to reflect and assess their teaching and mentoring strategies and to further develop professionally. It should significantly contribute to their further transformation and allow them to create more meaningful learning experiences for their students.

Ali Modarres

Picture of Ali Modarres. A CSULA faculty member since 1990, Modarres specializes in urban geography, with primary research and publication interests in socio-spatial urban dynamics and the political economy of urban design. He has published in the areas of immigration, race and ethnicity in American cities, social geography, transportation planning, environmental equity, urban development and public policy. His articles have appeared in professional journals and scholarly publications. He is the editor of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning, and serves on a number of research and policy advisory boards. Modarres currently chairs the Department of Geosciences and Environment at CSULA.

Q: What is the best part about teaching at Cal State L.A.?

A: Given their diverse backgrounds, our students bring to our classes a wealth of information that helps create a positive learning environment. Given my focus on social and urban geography, particularly as it relates to Los Angeles, I look forward to our class discussions. Their experience and personal knowledge enrich the learning outcome of our classes.

Q: What is your teaching philosophy?

A: First and foremost, I am enthusiastic about teaching. I enjoy being in the classroom and I believe it shows. Second, I try to bring to each class fresh ideas about the topic, and share my applied research experience with them. Third, I believe in an active learning process where students engage with the topic fully by asking and answering questions.

Q: How do you think this fellowship will benefit future faculty members as well as CSULA students?

A: Time is a rare commodity in our university environment. Teaching nine courses in an academic year may not allow for the necessary time to fully reflect on the learning outcomes of our classes. This fellowship will allow the recipients to find the necessary time to enhance their pedagogical style and receive the assistance they need to build upon their teaching and mentoring skills. The net result for our students will be the opportunity to experience an inspirational teaching and mentoring environment that will be transformative in nature.