2016-17 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Outstanding Faculty Service - Matthew Thomas

thomasMatt Thomas joined the faculty of California State University, Chico, in the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice in 2001.  He teaches courses in a range of departmental programs (Political Science, Public Administration, Criminal Justice, and the MA and MPA programs), instructing students from freshman year to advanced graduate students.  He is the author of over 20 refereed journal articles and book chapters, has worked with Butte County criminal justice agencies on evaluations of AB 109 implementation, recently published Reforming New Orleans: The Contentious Politics of Change in the Big Easy (2015, Cornell University Press) with co-author Peter Burns, and presented that research as the keynote speaker at the 2016 BSS Faculty Symposium.  His service contributions include chairing the University Public Safety Committee for seven years, serving on the Resolution Response Team, the Campus Climate Survey Working Group, chairing his department’s RTP committee, and he previously was a member of the University Health and Safety Committee, the advisory board for Safe Place, and an Academic Plan subcommittee.  He is currently co-mentoring the first-year faculty in BSS with Lori Weber, and also mentored the initial group of BSS mentees when the program began three years ago.  He has chaired numerous faculty search committees, and the BSS Dean’s search in 2014-15, and is the campus coordinator for the Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program, the Pre-Doctoral Program, and the Graduate Equity Fellowship.  In the community, Matt is a member of the Butte County Juvenile Justice/Delinquency Prevention Commission, the Butte County Parole Board, and is a board member of Chico Central Little League.

Outstanding Professor - Wallace Leese

leeseProfessor Wallace R. Leese joined the accounting faculty of the College of Business (COB) in the Fall of 1978 relocating from the University of Delaware.  He earned a BBA (Accounting) from Niagara University (NU) and a MSA and a Ph.D. (Accounting) from Arizona State University.  Professor Leese worked for a small CPA firm during his undergraduate journey and for Haskins & Sells (Los Angeles) upon graduation from NU.  This work experience brings a real-world prospective to his classroom. Professor Leese has been the departmental lead person in the cost/managerial area of accounting for over 35 years.  Generally, his publications have dealt with improving cost accounting numbers using mathematical procedures which are now economically feasible because of computer advancements. Early in his tenure he helped define his academic niche within the accounting area by becoming a Certified Management Accountant (CMA).  He is known as a no nonsense instructor.  Learning is clearly identified as the responsibility of his students while explaining text-based material through situational applications is his responsibility.  Classroom examples often expand both the breath and the depth of typical textbook exposure.  His exams are known to stretch the learning of even the most serious students.  Professor Leese served as Chair of the Department of Accounting & Management Science, as the COB Director of Graduate Programs, and as the COB Associate Dean.  Dr. Leese has always been a proponent of developing and maintaining a strong academic program capable of turning out potential accounting professionals.  The requirements to become a California CPA recently expanded to include 150 university credit hours.  Dr. Leese was the main proponent developer of the 30-credit hour Professional Accounting Certificate (PAC).  This certificate not only provided a platform for accounting majors to meet minimum credit-hour certification standards but also prepares students for long-term professional success.  A recent improved CPA exam pass rate of accounting students appears to be a direct result of this PAC program. Executive Director for University Development, Kristine Clare Mazzei, stated “Honestly, I can’t think of a more deserving person.  After visiting hundreds of College of Business alumni for over two years, I can say with certainty that I hear successful accountants most often reference [Leese’s] classes, commitments to quality, and high expectations as central to their professional achievements.

Outstanding Research Mentor - Brian Brazeal

brazealBrian Brazeal joined the Department of Anthropology in 2007 after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on the intersection of religion and economy in Afro-Brazilian communities and in the global gemstone trade. He founded and directs the Advanced Laboratory for Visual Anthropology where students, faculty and staff work together to produce documentary films based on anthropological research. They use the technologies of digital cinema and the medium of public television broadcast to ensure that anthropological insights reach the broadest possible audiences. 

Outstanding Teacher - Nicholas Lynch

lynchDr. Nicholas C. Lynch teaches courses in both the Accounting Option and the Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) programs. Students nominated Dr. Lynch as the Outstanding Teacher of the Year for his unwavering dedication to student learning. In addition to providing exceptionally effective instruction in the classroom, Dr. Lynch provides his accounting students with the study ethic that is necessary for success in the accounting profession and also on the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) examination.

Dr. Lynch is also an accomplished researcher.  In 2016 alone, he published five research articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Lynch’s research is applicable in the classroom.  His research renders his courses to be current in the ever-changing accounting and business world. Dr. Lynch’s accounting ethics students gain a deep understanding of complex topics such as corporate inversions, executive compensation clawbacks, and captive insurance companies -- all topics that stand out in a job interview and provide Chico accounting students a competitive advantage. Dr. Lynch believes that preparation drives learning.  Accordingly, he expects his students prepare, to study, and to excel. As one student points out, the reason that Dr. Lynch expects high effort is that he himself takes the time to prepare, to study, and to ensure that his students excel.

Dr. Lynch enjoys the outdoor lifestyle that living in Northern California offers. In his free time, he enjoys swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Outstanding Lecturer - Ellie Ertle

ertleCivic engagement is one of Ellie Ertle’s passions, and it’s one she passes along to her political science students in fun and engaging ways. Ertle has lectured in CSU, Chico’s Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice since 1999, and employs a “semi-flipped” teaching approach, using project-based learning and communities of practice in class to engage students in social learning experiences. These projects regularly bear wonderful fruit, as students take full advantage of their opportunities to shine. Illustrating her dedication to providing platforms for student civic engagement, Ertle was the University’s director of civic engagement from 2013–2016. Since 2009, she has been the faculty coordinator for Town Hall Meeting program, which gives students the chance to actively participate in civic and democratic conversations about real world policy issues. Ertle incorporates a strong civic and public component in all of her classes, because she feels civic engagement is critical for the development of lifelong learners and democratically engaged students. Additionally, Ertle helped develop the Political Science U-Course, a team-taught and project-based course. Ertle holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of San Francisco, a master’s degree in political science from CSU, Chico and is currently working on a PhD in educational leadership at the University of California, Davis.

Outstanding Academic Advisor - Celina Phillips

phillipsCelina was raised in Fallon, NV on a small purebred cattle and alfalfa hay operation where she was active in both 4-H and FFA. Upon graduation from high school, Celina attended Modesto Junior College and was a member of a nationally winning livestock judging team. Celina completed her undergraduate degree at California State University, Chico in May of 1996. She moved to Gainesville, FL to pursue a MS degree in animal science and coach the University of Florida livestock judging team. During her tenure at the University of Florida, she assisted with various youth livestock programs and assisted with many undergraduate animal science courses. Upon completion of her MS degree, she transferred to Oklahoma State University to complete a PhD in animal nutrition. At Oklahoma State University, she developed an interactive applied animal nutrition Web site and assisted with youth livestock activities and her research focused on applied beef cattle nutrition. In July of 2005, she joined the faculty at California State University, Chico in the College of Agriculture. Dr. Phillips serves on numerous college and university committees. She is active with California Woolgrower’s Association and serves as a co-chair of the Producer Education and Research Committee. Dr. Phillips works with youth groups such as 4-H and FFA by providing educational material and instruction on youth livestock project management.

View Archive listings of previous years Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients:

Outstanding Academic Advisor Award
Outstanding Faculty Service Award
Outstanding Lecturer Award
Outstanding Professor Award
Outstanding Research Mentor Award
Outstanding Teacher Award

 CSU Chancellor's Office Outstanding Faculty Awards 


Faculty Recognition and Support Committee

EM 14-011 establishes the Faculty Recognition and Support Committee (FRAS) for the purpose of honoring and supporting the faculty of California State University, Chico for their excellence and achievements in teaching, scholarly, creative, and research activities and in their contributions to the university community.

FRAS will review, formulate and recommend policy which will maintain, enhance and recognize the professional achievements, teaching excellence and service contributions of the CSU, Chico faculty.

FRAS selects the Outstanding Professor, Outstanding Teacher, Outstanding Faculty Service, Outstanding Academic Advisor, Outstanding Lecturer and Outstanding Research Mentor. In addition they will recommend to the Graduate School nominees for Professional Achievement Awards, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend Program, Studies in Teaching and Learning, Affirmative Action Grants, and Faculty Professional Development Grants for Assistant and Associate Professors.

FRAS is composed of sixteen faculty - two from each of the six larger colleges and one from the two smaller units plus two past award winners representing a diversity of academic fields and achievements in teaching, research, scholarly, and creative activities and in service. Faculty are appointed by the Academic Senate Executive Committee, in consultation with the Provost. In addition, there is one emeritus faculty member, one student, and one non-voting administrative representative.