Briefly Noted

Briefly Noted

Interim Provost Named

photo of Susan Elrod

Susan Elrod, CSU, Chico alumna and dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at California State University, Fresno, has been named interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. 

Elrod has taken a leave of absence from Fresno State and began her new post Oct. 20. She replaces Belle Wei, who resigned from the provost position.

Prior to her dean appointment at Fresno State in January 2013, Elrod was a faculty in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo for 15 years. At Cal Poly, she also served as associate dean for strategic initiatives (science and mathematics), special assistant to the provost, and vice chair of the Academic Senate.

Elrod graduated from CSU, Chico with honors in 1986. She majored in biology with a minor in chemistry. Elrod earned her doctorate in genetics from UC Davis in 1995.

photo of Peter Smits

Interim Vice President for Advancement Named

Peter Smits, vice president emeritus at CSU, Fresno, has accepted a position as interim vice president for University Advancement. He began his post on Sept. 15.

Smits replaces Richard Ellison, who accepted a new position in advancement at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. A national search for a permanent vice president for University Advancement will begin soon. Smits’ appointment is expected to extend at least into the spring.

Smits was vice president for Advancement at Fresno State for 20 years and was responsible for Fresno State’s programs in development and fundraising, university communications, endowment management, and alumni relations.

Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, Smits served as vice president for Advancement at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in western Pennsylvania. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Albany and a PhD from the University of Buffalo.

New Dean Named for Natural Sciences

photo of David Hassenzahl

On. Aug. 1, David Hassenzahl, most recently founding dean and professor at the Falk School of Sustainability at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, became dean of CSU, Chico’s College of Natural Sciences. He replaces Mike Ward, who served as interim dean since February 2014.

Prior to his position at Chatham, Hassenzahl was chair of the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where he received the UNLV Foundation Outstanding Teaching Award and the UNLV Outstanding Department Chair Award.

Hassenzahl received his BA from UC Berkeley and PhD from Princeton University. He is a senior fellow of the National Council for Science and the Environment, serves on the Executive Board of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, and is a founding member of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

Forensics Students Headed to National Tournament

Outstanding student performances at a collegiate speech and debate contest have landed CSU, Chico its first bid to a national forensics tournament in 2015.

Junior Colby Knox captured first place in two novice extemporaneous speaking events at the 2014 Golden Gate Opener, held at San Francisco State University Sept. 26–28. Knox and sophomore Kassandra Bednarski, who was selected as a finalist in the same event, have qualified to compete in the National Forensics Association’s national tournament, hosted at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, next April.

Knox also took fourth place in both of the contest’s impromptu speaking events. Fifteen CSU, Chico students competed after preparing for just five weeks.

Animation Students Third in National Contest

Animation design students at CSU, Chico placed third in a national competition that asked them to create a 30-second film in just 24 hours.

Two teams of students in CSU, Chico’s Computer Animation and Game Development Program participated in the seventh annual 24-Hour Animation Contest for Students, Sept. 26–27. The contest theme was “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” from George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Both CSU, Chico teams completed and submitted films before the deadline. The team headed by senior Brittany Keyes captured third place for its film, Mathamanimals, a 3-D short that depicts the inequality between jungle animals.

The teams were guided by CSU, Chico computer animation and game design lecturer John Pozzi.

Construction Management Faculty Receives Award

photo of David ShirahCSU, Chico construction management department lecturer David Shirah has received the Design-Build Institute of America’s 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award.

Shirah, who has taught at CSU, Chico since 2007, has been a faculty advisor to the University’s award-winning “Blitz Build” community service construction projects since 2008. He has also advised student chapters of the Associated General Constructors of America (AGC), Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), and Construction Management Association of America.

Shirah received his bachelor’s degree in construction management and master’s in education from CSU, Chico.

$6.5 Million for Teachers

CSU, Chico has received one of 24 grants from the U.S. Department of Education to recruit, train, and support new teachers primarily in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. CSU, Chico’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant proposal was funded at about $6.5 million over five years.

The successful CSU, Chico proposal is called the PRISMS Project (Promoting Rural Improvement in Secondary Mathematics and Science). It includes two programs: Residency in Secondary Education, housed in the School of Education, and Next Generation Mathematics Teachers, housed in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.