Awards given to outstanding faculty members

Laura Hass

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Matthew Looper

Matthew Looper

The top-ranked faculty at Chico State are passionate.

Five faculty members were chosen by Chico State’s Faculty Recognition and Support Committee to receive the Outstanding Professor, Teacher, Research Mentor, Academic Advisor, and Faculty Service awards for 2013-14.

Many of the recipients have passions that extend far beyond the confines of a classroom. Art history Professor Matthew Looper was selected for the Outstanding Professor Award. He is the author of eight books.

One of the books was awarded the Association for Latin American Art Book Award in 2010. Looper is also a scholar on Maya iconography and script.

“I came into the field during the late 1980s, when the pace of decipherment of the Maya script was at its peak,” Looper said. “It was an incredibly exciting time, when even people like me with little knowledge could make major contributions.”

Looper became interested in art history when he was in college.

“On a whim, I took an art history course and just got hooked, I guess,” Looper said.

Social work Professor Jean Schuldberg has been named the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award. She also served as director of the Master of Social Work Program for Aging Education.

Schuldberg currently serves as coordinator of the California Social Work Education Center. In 2013, she was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Commission on Aging, the principal advisory board on issues of aging individuals.
Schuldberg played a key role in establishing Chico State’s Interdisciplinary Center for Aging and has expanded the university’s role in the community by establishing partnerships with Passages Adult Resource Center, Veterans Affairs and Butte County’s Public Health and Adult Protective Services departments.

Schuldberg received the award with her husband by her side.

“I was in a faculty meeting. I was pretty surprised,” she said. “A lovely speech was made by the president.”

Schuldberg has some interesting statistics from her work with California Commission on Aging and Chico State’s Interdisciplinary Center.

“10,000 people are turning 65 today,” she said. “That is a lot of people.”

The aging generation is going to be more outspoken and demanding than their parents, Schuldberg said. More people now want to stay in their houses, rather than in a senior living home.

More technology for homes will be available for seniors who require it, she said.

The Outstanding Academic Advisor Award was given to philosophy Professor Zanja Yudell. He served as an advisor for the honors program for eight years. He also serves as thesis adviser and faculty mentor for honors students, while also advising students in the department of philosophy.

“I was quite surprised one morning when President Zingg and a bunch of other people walked into my ‘Philosophy of Science’ course and presented me with the award,” Yudell said.

He has advice for students struggling to write a thesis.

“One thing I tell students writing a thesis is to pick a topic that they’re deeply interested in and curious about,” Yudell said.

“They’re going to be spending a long time reading, thinking, and writing about their topic, and it’s a much more rewarding process if they are motivated by their own curiosity to explore it.”

Biological sciences Professor Colleen Hatfield was the recipient of the Outstanding Research Mentor award. Hatfield has established a record of collaborative research. Under her mentorship, students have secured more than $100,000 in grants. She is the recipient of the department of biological sciences 2013 Excellence in Teaching Award and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching’s 2008 Exemplary Online Instruction Award.

Hatfield has received eight grants and contracts since joining Chico State in 2005. She pushes her students to present their work at conferences and symposiums.

Hatfield has advice for students trying to secure grants.

It is absolutely essential to practice writing to become an effective communicator,” she said. “It is important to not only convey your passion for the topic you are proposing but also convey the compelling reason for why your project should be funded.”

It is clear these faculty members have passions that exceed beyond the classroom. They are one of the many reasons that make Chico State great and hopefully even greater in the future.

John Roussell, the fifth recipient, of the Outstanding Teacher Award, could not be reached by deadline.

Laura Hass can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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