Outstanding Professors | Oct. 7, 2013 | Spotlight

Cal State L.A. honors outstanding teacher-scholars during Fall Faculty Day


As part of the annual Fall Faculty Day tradition, Cal State L.A. presented one President’s Distinguished Professor Award, four Outstanding Professor Awards, and one Outstanding Lecturer Award to a high-achieving group of faculty members. They are recognized for their superlative teaching and exceptional commitment to students as well as professional accomplishments and services.

Recipients of the awards are selected by a committee consisting of five faculty members, and a representative each from the Alumni Association and the Associated Students, Inc. The committee seeks nominations from members of the faculty, students, and alumni; with student perspectives playing an important role in the process.

A reception in honor of these distinguished professors will take place Tuesday, Oct. 8, 3 p.m., at the Golden Eagle Ballroom, on the CSULA campus.

2013-14 President's Distinguished Professor

Portrait of Enrique Ochoa. A professor of history and Latin American studies, Enrique Ochoa is highly regarded for his research focusing on the processes of state building, globalization, resistance, and migration. His award-winning book, Feeding Mexico: The Political Uses of Food Since 1910 (2000), examined the politics of state intervention in the economy and its connection to the rise and demise of the social welfare state during the 20th century. Ochoa’s work on transnational Latino/a communities led to the 2005 co-edited book, Latino Los Angeles: Transformations, Communities, and Activism, that explores the formation and reformation of diverse Latino/a communities in Los Angeles. In addition, Ochoa published regarding critical and innovative approaches to teaching Latin American Studies and history in the classroom and in communities. He has served on the editorial boards of the journals Latin American Perspectives and Radical History Review. In the community, Ochoa has worked extensively with students, teachers, and community activists. He is a frequent speaker on issues on multiculturalism, globalization, and social justice issues in the Américas. Additionally, Ochoa has served on the national steering committee of Historians Against the War, and is currently a member of the board of directors of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights-Los Angeles. In addition to teaching at CSULA, he was the Michi and Walter Weglyn Endowed Chair of Multicultural Studies at Cal Poly Pomona from 2006 to 2008.

Student comment: “This professor is an amazing interdisciplinary instructor who constantly pokes at your brain and broadens your horizon. I feel I have never been more inspired to work hard and think harder.”

2012-13 Outstanding Professors

Portrait of John M. Kennedy. A professor of music, John M. Kennedy is a world-renowned American composer who produces an eclectic group of work, ranging from mixed ensemble and solo pieces to multi-media compositions. He has focused recently in two areas, creolization in music and the confluence of American jazz and modernist music. Kennedy’s recent composition highlights include the 2013 premieres of “Lamentations: Hayasdan” for flute and piano by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble in Moscow, and performances of his “Smoke and Mirrors: Symbia II” for solo saxophone at the 2013 Thailand International Composition Festival in Bangkok. His commissions include the Olympia Youth Orchestra, the Baldwin-Wallace College Wind Ensemble and the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra. Kennedy studied with luminaries Leslie Bassett, William Albright, Fred Lerdahl and Eugene Kurtz. His work continues to receive recognition with grants from Meet the Composer, Inc. (now New Music USA), annual Standard Panel Awards since 1991 from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and Subito grants from the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles. Additionally, Kennedy performs regularly on the double bass as music director of the Chamber Players of Los Angeles.

Student comment: “I want to thank you for all the help you have given me through my journey here at CSULA. You have been helpful all the time and have guided me just as I was looking for. Gracias Maestro!”

Portrait of Matthias Selke. A professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Matthias Selke is an internationally known chemist recognized for his interdisciplinary research program on the interaction of light and oxygen with organic molecules. Light and oxygen can be toxic and react with various organic molecules, including biomolecules. This process has been studied by Selke and his co-workers at CSULA for antioxidants, such as trans-resveratrol (found in wine grapes), as well as some amino acids and related molecules. At CSULA, he has mentored approximately 60 undergraduate and graduate (M.S.) research students as well as six postdoctoral fellows. Many of these students have participated in CSULA training programs for disadvantaged students, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or the National Science Foundation (NSF). He has explored new metal-based molecules that can make singlet oxygen, which is a high energy form of oxygen used in photodynamic cancer therapy. Selke and his research group have also studied the interaction of light and oxygen with some semi-conducting nanomaterials called quantum dots. In addition to teaching chemistry classes at all levels in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Professor Selke has developed a new undergraduate thesis class sequence in the Honors College at CSULA.

Student comment: “Awesome! Thank you for being a GREAT professor! It is clear you’re doing what you love… We need more professors like you!”

Portrait of Kaveri Subrahmanyam. A professor of psychology, Kaveri Subrahmanyam is a nationally-recognized expert regarding the effect of interactive media on children and adolescents. She also conducts research on language development, and just recently completed a Minority Biomedical Research Support-funded study on Latino children’s second language learning. For her research, she has garnered more than $400,000 in external funding by the National Institute of General Medical Science, the Spencer Foundation, and Consumer Connections. She has published peer-reviewed articles and chapters, co-edited special issues, book reviews and handbook entries, and one co-authored book, soon to be translated into Korean, Chinese, and Czech. Subrahmanyam has also been an invited speaker for talks and panel presentations at the local, national and international level and has participated in conference presentations with her undergraduate and graduate students. She also served as co-editor of a special section of the American Psychological Association’s Developmental Psychology (March 2012). Subrahmanyam published a scholarly publication, entitled Digital Youth: The Role of Media in Development, which received a positive review from PsyCritiques. Additionally, Subrahmanyam has served as an expert commentator for the popular press both in the U.S. and abroad, and has been quoted in the New York Times, the L.A. Times, USA Today, as well as the Guardian, in the UK, and newspapers in Germany and in India..

Student comment: “Her expertise, genuine interest in student achievement, and skill as an educator make her one of the most valuable – and one of the most enjoyable professors I have ever had.”

Portrait of Nancy Warter-Perez. 
 A professor of electrical and computer engineering, Nancy Warter-Perez has been acknowledged for her success in improving STEM education and outreach, particularly for underrepresented minorities. As director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) IMPACT LA GK-12 Program at CSULA, she is working to change the image of STEM in society by training graduate students to communicate their research to a broad audience, working with middle school teachers to bring research-related STEM activities into their classrooms, and providing a wide-range of opportunities for underrepresented minority students to explore science and engineering careers. In 2010, her paper on “Strengthening the K-20 Engineering Pipeline for Underrepresented Minorities,” received the American Society for Engineering Education’s Annual Conference & Exposition PIC IV Best Paper Award. Since 1993, Warter-Perez has been awarded close to $6 million to support engineering and educational research and innovative educational programs. In 1994, she established the CSULA Compiler Research Group to study advanced compiler techniques for high-performance processors. Additionally, Warter-Perez has developed and taught a broad range of computer engineering courses and, since 2000, has co-developed curriculum for training biologists and computer scientists in the emerging field of bioinformatics. She has published widely on compiler techniques for high-performance computing and on collaborative project-based learning.

Student comment: “For believing in my potential, for opening new opportunities in my life, for being an inspiration and one of the rare professors who know how to teach, I want to say … Thank You!!!”

2013 Outstanding Lecturer

Portrait of Kathleen Hinoki.
 A nursing lecturer, Kathleen Hinoki has worked professionally as a registered nurse for 35 years, primarily in pediatrics. She is nationally known for her work in pediatric anticoagulation and electrophysiology, and is currently expanding her research interests to include the study of second degree college students who change over to nursing as a second career. She has published papers and delivered presentations at national and international conferences in her areas of expertise. A CSULA faculty member since 2006, Hinoki has been teaching undergraduate and entry-level MSN courses while working as the lead pediatric clinical instructor for the University’s School of Nursing. She primarily teaches pediatric and nursing research courses, as well as an introduction to higher education course each fall for incoming freshmen. She has also been the Entry Level Master’s in Nursing (ELMN) program coordinator since 2008. Between 2008 and 2012, Hinoki has served as president and past president of the Board of Directors of the Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nurses. She currently serves on the board of directors for Sigma Theta Tau (Nu Mu chapter) as research chair.

Student comment: “[Hinoki is]...very well prepared, helpful, and eager to teach, with a positive attitude that makes me want to learn how to be the best possible nurse.”


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